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Re: Lowering pH when adding hard water nutrients to soft water

> Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000 17:06:42 -0400
> From: Kevin Zippel
> ...As an update to my cellar chemistry experiments, after
> only 8 water changes in just 4 months, the conductivity in
> the tap-water topoff bucket is 502 (233% of initial), and in
> the RO topoff bucket it's 223 (104% of initial).
> I'd say it's fairly important.  Kevin

I'd say its importance lies in overemphasizing the results. There aren't
many aquarists (I, fortunately, know of none personally) who let 20% of
their tank evaporate and then simply top it off.

Tell us again - how quickly will a lab rat develop cancer drinking 22,000
diet Cokes a day? ;-)

I tend to side with Bob Dixon on this one - it simply isn't worth losing
sleep over in the normal course of aquarium maintenance.

I once had someone call me to task on my method of "synchronizing" tank
heaters for dual- tube setups. This can sometimes be difficult from within
the tank, so I normally set them in buckets of circulating water. Set the
first one to 76, make a couple adjustments until the bucket reads 76, put
the heater in the tank. Do the same with the second, and your tank should
stay awfully close to 76. And neither heater has to carry all of the load,
which was the questioner's goal.

He ended up getting quite frustrated. He was trying to literally
"choreograph" the heaters to read the exact same temperature (according to
his electronic thermometer), and then to both start and stop at virtually
the same instant when installed in the tank. And all while maintaining an
overall precision of 0.1 degree F!

I told him that he should see someone about that case of "precisionitis"
before it became terminal.

Anyone willing to let 20% of their tank evaporate only to top it off from
the tap won't listen to such brain candy no matter how long you preach it.
Those that *are* concerned about such matters have test kits and equipment
that allow them to monitor and react to such build- ups *long* before it
reaches criticality. Human nature being what it is and all.

And this, by the way, is not to denigrate the necessity of such in a lab
environment - as with critical measurements on a cellular level. But that's
a long way from maintaining an aquarium.

> ------------------------------

> Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2000 18:37:23 -0400
> From: Susi Barber
> Its sounding like I don't need to add anything to bring the KH
> up, is a KH of 0 okay, as that is what the water supply has -
> also 0 GH, and 0 Fe, both chelated and free.

The only way to keep an unbuffered tank stable is to change the water quite
frequently. Any increase in the concentrations of nitrifying products will
tend to "crash" the pH otherwise.

> When I add the Equilibrium, I can measure GH, but still
> no KH or Ca, or Fe for that matter.

"Equilibrium" only adds electrolytes to boost GH, and does contain some
small amount of calcium and magnesium. Fortifying your water with it
_should_ take care of any Ca or Mg absence. If it's boosting your GH to 3,
then you may or may not have a sensitive enough test kit to register the
trace amounts added.

You can increase the sensitivity of your calcium kit by doubling the volume
of both the testing sample and the indicator solutions or tablets. Then,
when you add the reagent, each drop will register *half* the value of the
original test. (In other words, you can use a kit that tests in increments
of 20 ppm to read in steps of 10 ppm.)

> Okay, that's good to know, muriatic acid it is, if I still need it -
> depends on whether I have to add Soda Bicarb or not to bring
> the KH up, as above.

Using a strong mineral acid presents the possibilities of accidents - even
if everything goes the way you want it to within the tank, there's always
the possibility of leaks, kids, pets and what- not in everyday life. I'd
save it as a more serious approach, which probably won't even be necessary
considering how little you want to raise KH.

> David Youngker wrote:
> >
> >Considering the success rate most often reported for
> >the water in her area, this overlooked factor may play
> >some significant role in her original problem...
> Please explain:  I am feeding twice a day, and have lots of
> snails in the tanks too, eg I sold 100 a while ago, and am
> ready to do that again (nice profit for Ramshorns at $1 a
> snail at my LFS!)

The remark was in reference to a lack of iron and the plant problem.

I'd have to say that you're doing something right on the calcium if the
Ramshorns are able to produce shell growth.

> Update:  I changed as much water as I could yesterday
> (except for about 1inch), replacing it with new water at
> pH = 7, 2, GH = 3, KH =2 (I was following David's goal of
> 1.5, but if your base is 0, you have to add enough to get
> a register ...And I'm not wedded to pH = 7, I was just
> trying to get the plants pearling even a tiny bit.

Umm - I just pointed out 1.5 KH as the "break point" for pH 7.0. A KH of 2
or so won't throw you very much off. Especially since everything's being
measured with kits rather than electronically.

> Anyway,  today,  pH = 7.4, GH is still 3 for both tanks, but KH
> is 3 for the 3 gal, and still at 2 for the 6 gal.  At least the pH
> didn't shoot up to 7.8 or 8+ as before!

The difference between the tanks (KH) could be an accumulated round- off on
quantities and testing procedures. Sounds like you're finally getting things
where you'd like them.

Much easier without the dolomite, eh?...


David A. Youngker
nestor10 at mindspring_com