Quantcast

pH help please

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
Let me preface this by saying I'm not a chemistry whiz. Before I posted, I read several of the Randy Holmes Farley articles in the chemistry links--some of it I understand--a lot I don't.

That said--Sunday the feed pump to my calcium reator died and my media turned to mush, so I shut it down. I figure I'll need to tear it down, clean it and replace the media, which is a Saturday kind of job.

In the mean time, my pH is slowly climbing to the point that it is peaking over 8.5 in the evening. I shut the lights off an hour early last night because it was about 8.54 and making me nervous. Everything in the tank looks fine.

I did a water change Sunday before the reactor pump crapped out and my pre water change calcium was 410 and the alk was 13 dkH. By Tuesday evening, the calcium was 360 and alk was 7 dkH, so I started dosing B-Ionic in addition to my gallon of kalk I drip each night.

Under normal operating conditions, my pH fluctuates from 8.2 overnight to 8.35 during the day (Pinpoint monitor). This morning it was 8.26, but went up to 8.37 after I dosed 25ml each part B-Ionic.

My question is, should I be overly concerned about the pH and how can I lower it? The only way I can see to lower it is a water change. Are there other ways?

Sorry so long--thanks
 

kevinpo

Expert
Joined
Jul 1, 2003
Messages
2,287
Location
Spokane Valley, WA
This morning it was 8.26, but went up to 8.37 after I dosed 25ml each part B-Ionic.
The above is an excellent range for PH in a reef tank. I have run over the years PH ranging from 7.8 - 8.4 (not in one day) without any adverse effects on fish and corals.

HTH,
Kevin
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Katrina, what is the pH in the morning....how low is it before it gets to 8.54? I think watching your inhabitants will be sufficient. Perhaps, shortening your light cycle for the time being if you are overly concerned will help.

Anyone have experience dripping white vinegar?
 

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
Hi Nikki, I think it has been 8.20-8.25 in the a.m. My kalk is usually still dripping in the morning when I check it. The lights don't go on until noon and since I'm usually at work I'm not sure if it goes any lower or when it hits 8.5+. I got home a little early yesterday at about 5 pm and it was 8.51 at that time. So it's easily swinging 3.0. Is that typical if you're not running a reactor?

dripping white vinegar?? straight vinegar? how does that work?

That reminds me, I was wondering if the pH stays lower with the reactor running only because the effluent pH is low, or if CO2 is actually entering the water and affecting the pH?

I thought about adding baking soda to increase the alk (my alk generally stays in the 12 to 16 dkH range). This should also drop the pH, right? But I don't feel like I know enough about what I'm doing to be tweaking that way. According to the RH-F article about correcting calcium/alk, I'm within appropriate parameters. All those articles that say don't ever let your pH rise over 8.45 are haunting me!!!!
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Hi Katrina
Stop dosing kalk?? Kalk comes in at around a ph of 12 or higher, so stop it until you get things back in shape. On a side note running your DKH at 12 to 16 is pretty scaring in itself. At a salinity of 1.025 you should be around 8 and a calcium level of around 385. Why are you runnning so high??

On the reactor it is because the effluient is low.


Mike
 

tomz

Reality; an open mind
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
76
Location
Snohomish WA
Mojo,

Is there a table or calculator available somewhere that lists what your alk, calc and sg should be in relation to each other given one known value? I found this calculator "http://www.kademani.com/reefchem.htm" but it doesn't list specific gravity. Or is the sg not that big of a factor as long as it's within a specific range? Thanks.



Tom
 

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
Thanks Mike I will do that. Should I also stop dosing B-Ionic? When I got home tonight my pH was 8.60 so I immediately turned the lights off. My calcium is 400, but my alk has dropped to 7 dkH, which I believe is okay.

I continued to dose kalk because my calcium was dropping so rapidly. I have about 16 small to medium size sps, 2 clams, about 15 zoo colonies and two gorgonians.

I guess at this point I'll leave my lights off tomorrow until I get home. Then get the reactor back on Saturday, do my weekly 10% water change and take it from there.

Thanks
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Tom Salinity is the key to calcium and alk levels in your tank. Salinity is basically the limiting factor. Remember calcium will actually inhibits corals ability for tissue growth, so running high levels really puts a lot of stress on the corals. anyway here is how it works salinity wise.

Salinity calcium alk
1.027 412 8.0
1.025 385 7.5
1.023 354 6.8

Salinity is the total ammount of all the elements that make up saltwater. Calcium, alk are only but 2 of the many elements. If you reduced the total (as in the salinity) then all the elements with in it should reduced proportionatly, if you are going to keep a tank with an Ionically balanced water chemistry.

Katrina B-Ionic will cause your alk to go crasy for about an hour or so after you dose it so make sure you test prior to adding it.


Mike
 

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
Mike, thanks again.

I've kept my alk high to try to combat bryopsis. A couple of months ago it was getting out of hand, so I raised my alk to 16 and magnesium to 1400-1500, and the bryopsis receded substantially. As it is still lurking, I've tried to maintain these higher levels to keep it in check. Is the danger of these higher levels is that it will be difficult to maintain an adequate level of calcium?

I've been doing a lot of reading about calcium & alk the last couple of days and I keep going back to this:

Alk: 2.5 - 4 meq/L or 7 - 11 dKH
Ca: 380 - 450 ppm

"If you are anywhere within these ranges for both parameters, you do not need to perform any correction on your tank chemistry,... .it makes no difference what the relationship is between the two values" RANDY HOLMES-FARLEY
Is that true--"it makes no difference what the relationship is between the two values"?

TIA
 

tomz

Reality; an open mind
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
76
Location
Snohomish WA
Mike,

I found a post in August of last year where you stated "I run my dkh at 13 and up and try to keep my cal always over 460". These are considerably higher values than what you listed as needed for Ionically balanced water chemistry. From what I have seen lots of other people run theirs higher also. What is the risk in doing so? Thanks.


Tom
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
Yea Tom for a good year I tried to push the envelope in regards to cal and alk to see if I could stimulate higher growth levels. I did find that the higher levels did provide for a little more skeliton growth, but also found the tissue in general was not developing at the same mass as it was prior to these conditions. The corals did seem healthy but were a little more suspectable to small events. Ie tissue took alot longer to regenerate from damage.
The general concept of what I am saying and trying to relate, is that calcium actually stops coral tissue from multipling cellularly. not just high High levels but most all levels. Corals however have evolved to take care of this problem through certain means. Calcium levels are the same with in the corals cells at the same level as it is in the water column( this is caused by respiration). Corals cells have developed a means for removing the calcium from their cells through the use of carbonate. Basically the calcium is pushed to the outer membrane of the coral tissue cell where it is then drawn out by the carbonate and then percipatates onto an available seed surface, Ie the coral skeliton. A corals skeliton is just a depository for the the coral itself (Ie the coral tisue is the coral) so that it may perform the above operation in which it needs to do in order to grow. The common perception (and it was mine entering the experiment) that with higher levels of calcium I would be able to enhance this process with a result of faster growth. From that standpoint it was sucessfull, but with the running of higher levels I forced the corals to expend alot more energy as they had to work harder to perform the above operation more. I found that the tissue was not keeping up with the growth of the skeliton as it had in previous years, also one can detrimine that the more energy required for this operation would take away from energy required to do other critical processes, since a coral operates under a fairly restrictive energy budjet.


take care


Mike
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
Joined
Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
oops sorry Katrina, the reason calcium is becoming harder to keep up is that alk will percipatate calcium out of solution, it wants to bind up with it.


Mike
 

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
Okay, I recalibrated by pH monitor and oops :oops: my pH is fine.

Nikki suggested that I read the instructions :lol: and sure enough, your supposed to recalibrate it monthly :eek2:

Okay so that mystery is solved, the calcium reactor is cleaned, refilled and running and my calcium seems to be stable at about 385-390 and my alk at 9-10 dkH and I can sleep again.

Thanks for your help!!!
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Katrina, out of curiosity, what brand of media are you using in your Ca reactor?
 

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
Carib Sea ARM. Which brings up another interesting "read the directions" issue. Most info I've read about setting up calcium reactors recommends an effluent pH of 6.5 to 6.9; however, the ARM container says 7.5. I've got mine set close to 7.0. The effluent alk is almost 20 dkH, so I guess the media is dissolving.
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.
Top