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Oak extract

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
Hello

I would like to lower my pH, 2 days ago I added peat (tormec activ from JBL) inside the sock directly in the tank.
Neutral sand, neutral stone (granite and basalt), pozzolan (jbl) ph7 under the sand only on the right side, osmosis water
My parameters:
pH 7
Kh 3
Gh 2
Conductivity 60us
The problem I think comes from the minerals, my tank stayed 1 month with tap water with wood, sand etc..
I have made several water changes since then.
2 days ago before adding the peat, my Kh was at 2 after a water change at 50%.
Do you think I can use oak extract or is that a bad idea? I would like my pH to be 5.5

5s9j.jpg
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,297
Location
Germany
pH 7
Kh 3
Gh 2
Conductivity 60us
The conductivity and the other readings don't fit anymore. As I know your TDS-meter is calibrated correctly I am pretty sure the drip tests for pH and KH have now reached their limits, showing numbers that can't be correct. The GH still fits vaguely the bill, but I'd be suspiscious.

Do you think I can use oak extract or is that a bad idea? I would like my pH to be 5.5
I already warned you via PM, but to expand on this:
Oak extract (you showed me a german product, which I know the ingredients of) often contains diluted hydrochloric acid without information about the concentration. Most manufacturers don't tell you whether it has 10 or 40% acid.

Please be patient, you have been up until now. It takes time for all the readings to get where you want them. Another RO waterchange and bigger amount of peat should get you where you want to be. pH takes a week or two to stabilize and will likely at first be only at around 6 slowly going down bit by bit over weeks and months.
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
369
Location
San Francisco
My first suggestion would be to determine whether it's actually necessary to lower the pH to 5.5. If your conductivity is low, you might reach your goals without lowering the pH.

I do add acid to my water before water changes, with a few caveats:
  1. I know the exact concentration of the acid, so I can calculate the the expected pH drop stoichiometrically.
  2. My KH is zero.
Absent those things, you would need to experiment with water outside your tank to know how much extract to add. Only when you can accurately measure the pH of that water would it be sensible to add to the tank. I don't recommend lowering the incoming water to more than 1 pH unit lower than your tank.
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
My first suggestion would be to determine whether it's actually necessary to lower the pH to 5.5. If your conductivity is low, you might reach your goals without lowering the pH.

I do add acid to my water before water changes, with a few caveats:
  1. I know the exact concentration of the acid, so I can calculate the the expected pH drop stoichiometrically.
  2. My KH is zero.
Absent those things, you would need to experiment with water outside your tank to know how much extract to add. Only when you can accurately measure the pH of that water would it be sensible to add to the tank. I don't recommend lowering the incoming water to more than 1 pH unit lower than your tank.
I have a couple of A.Mendezi that are due to arrive at the beginning of July that I intend to breed afterwards, I don't know if the pH plays a role in this
But I'm going to forget the oak extract idea, I'm going to do a final water change to 50% in 2 days then I'll put some more peat back in and see if the pH goes down
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
Not primarily. The low conductivity is what blackwater fish have mainly adapted to, as soft water keeps the spawn free of bacteria. pH is secondary, but helping the situation, as low pH also creates an antibacterial environment. In short: Soft water is more important than acidity.
That's good to know
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
369
Location
San Francisco
I don't know if the pH plays a role in this
I'm not certain of the mechanism, but it's thought that pH plays a role in egg case hardening and the ability of the eggs to hatch. This may be due to hardness and not pH itself. That said, I've observed empirically when keeping A. sp. Alto Tapiche that they would not breed in soft water at pH 7.5. They bred very regularly at pH below 7 (same conductivity). In that case, I lowered the pH through peat filtration.

A secondary consideration is that pH (along with temperature) may play a role in sex ratio of the offspring.

-B
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
I'm not certain of the mechanism, but it's thought that pH plays a role in egg case hardening and the ability of the eggs to hatch. This may be due to hardness and not pH itself. That said, I've observed empirically when keeping A. sp. Alto Tapiche that they would not breed in soft water at pH 7.5. They bred very regularly at pH below 7 (same conductivity). In that case, I lowered the pH through peat filtration.

A secondary consideration is that pH (along with temperature) may play a role in sex ratio of the offspring.

-B
Thanks for the explanation Ben
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
Good news, i removed all the stones, my wood no longer rises to the surface
50% water change
fjdq.jpg

and I put a full box (1 liter) of peat (Tormec Activ Jbl)
I'm keeping my fingers crossed
 

rasmusW

Active Member
Messages
288
Good news, i removed all the stones, my wood no longer rises to the surface
50% water change
fjdq.jpg

and I put a full box (1 liter) of peat (Tormec Activ Jbl)
I'm keeping my fingers crossed
Could adding so much peat at once not end in a pH crash? I know it’s not going to be instant drop but still fairly quick.
-i’m by no means an expert here, so i’m not sure if that would only be an issue if if there where any fish in the tank. If any at all.

How do microorganisms in a tank react to “fast” pH drops?

-r
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,297
Location
Germany
Could adding so much peat at once not end in a pH crash?
No, as the humic substances are buffers themselves. It will likely end up in the 4-5-range.

An actual pH-crash happens in overstocked, unplanted, badly maintained tanks with soft water. E.g. if someone has soft water (GH <5, KH <2) to begin with, keeps a high densitiy of fish and doesn't do waterchanges. The little KH will buffer for a while, but when Nitrates (dissolved in the form of nitric acid) rise they even out the KH at one point and then it's free-fall for the pH. This is why such a tank is dependent on frequent high volume waterchanges.

In softwater biotopes we add humic substances which buffer in the low pH-ranges, stock the tanks lightly and many use emersed plants like pothos to keep nitrates and the like low. A pH-crash is very unlikely, maybe even impossible.

How do microorganisms in a tank react to “fast” pH drops?
That's a problem I raised early on, when the OP said he wanted to cycle the tank with tap first an then switch to RO. The composition and ratios of species depends on the wter parameters, meaning the microbe community build up in a pH of 7.5 is almost completely different from one grown in a tank cycled at a pH of 6. Additionally with all the leaf litter and botanicals there are also biofilms that help stabilize the system in open view, that are otherwise restricted to the corners and the filtermedia. Their composition also depends on the parameters.

So basically, now that the tank is closing in on the planned parameters the actual cycling will begin.
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
The KH2 is blocking me, I am going to change the water again, it is impossible for the pH to go down, it is back up to 7.20.. Because of residual tap water
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
369
Location
San Francisco
This happened to me too, there was tap water soaked into the wood. I used a little more acid in the beginning to neutralize it, but it will eventually get diluted out.
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
This happened to me too, there was tap water soaked into the wood. I used a little more acid in the beginning to neutralize it, but it will eventually get diluted out.
It's annoying when you want to lower your pH, I'm on my 4th change at 50%, I have the impression that it's more complicated to lower your KH when it's low
 

Ben Rhau

Apisto Club
Messages
369
Location
San Francisco
My problem was with NaOH, not KH. And it was still annoying. I would think KH is even harder to get rid of.

For me, the effect lasted weeks. I didn't have the pH high the whole time, but I did need to add more acid than the other tanks, and the pH bounced up much faster. Patience and persistence will eventually win out. On the plus side, waiting longer before you add fish is only better for the fish.
 

Wazaaaa

Member
Messages
89
Location
France
I'm doing a water change at 60%, we'll see the result, I have catappa leaves, alder fruits and bark of si sied + mangrove bark
 

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