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Is Buffer needed when pH is 8


cpfc
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My tank is now setup with rocks and a 20 kgs of Bunnings Sydney Sand. ph is 8 KH 4 and GH 6 (that is the API kit). It is now 24 hours since putting the sand in. Am I right in thinking that buffer is unnecesary at the moment or should I be doing somthing about the water hardness? Should I monitor and expect another change in parameters as minerals from the sand disolve in the water?

BTW this will be a Malawi tank.

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Assuming it's silica sand and was washed well before you put it in your tank, there may not be many/any more minerals to dissolve.

If the rocks you're using are white/limestone type rocks you might have enough buffering already - if not - it would not hurt to add something with buffering properties, that way it will help maintain balanced levels once you add your live-stock.

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I have some coral sand and a filter sock ready in case. Not sure about using it yet in case the pH goes up anymore. The sand was washed well, put in tank whilst full of water and an 80% water change was done afterwards. I left it overnight and it went clear. I then changed the filter wool. I will test again tonight. I have added stability.

The tank is very close to being ready but just not quite stable enough yet. I may get a lump of holey rock with small holes that I am told fry like. The main rock work is andesite.

I am loath to pay for Malawi Buffer if I do not need it but I do not want a pH crash due to the low KH in Sydney water.

Assuming it's silica sand and was washed well before you put it in your tank, there may not be many/any more minerals to dissolve.

If the rocks you're using are white/limestone type rocks you might have enough buffering already - if not - it would not hurt to add something with buffering properties, that way it will help maintain balanced levels once you add your live-stock.

Edited by cpfc
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I use the aquasonic buffer for my African tank - it's cheap (if you buy 10kg) and works fine.

In my opinion, I'd be bringing the KH up above 10 and the GH atleast 15. I would have thought you'd want atleast these figures for a Malawi tank? My Tanganikan tanks at about 12 and 25, respectively.

Cheers

Glenn

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I think I will manipulate kH as the pH comes down. I certainly do want to up KH but not by going higher than pH of 8.

I use the aquasonic buffer for my African tank - it's cheap (if you buy 10kg) and works fine.

In my opinion, I'd be bringing the KH up above 10 and the GH atleast 15. I would have thought you'd want atleast these figures for a Malawi tank? My Tanganikan tanks at about 12 and 25, respectively.

Cheers

Glenn

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The normal chemical processes of aerobic organisms (fish, bacteria and plants to some extent) is to produce CO2.

CO2 drops pH, and enough CO2, with low or zero KH can cause pH crashes. This is why pH crashes happen.

CO2 will bang it head on the KH before it can affect the pH.

A high pH is required for Africans, and with Sydney tapwater’s KH being zero (last I heard), makes the addition of KH generator essential, regardless of what the pH is.

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Day 2

Ammonia test has a hint of green so still there.

Nitrite 0

Nitrate has the slightest hint of orange so something maybe there

pH 8.2

KH 5

GH 7

Sand is doing something to the water.

The normal chemical processes of aerobic organisms (fish, bacteria and plants to some extent) is to produce CO2.

CO2 drops pH, and enough CO2, with low or zero KH can cause pH crashes. This is why pH crashes happen.

CO2 will bang it head on the KH before it can affect the pH.

A high pH is required for Africans, and with Sydney tapwater’s KH being zero (last I heard), makes the addition of KH generator essential, regardless of what the pH is.

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There appears to be some seashell in there but I have coral sand on hand for when the fish get their muck in there.

There is also another factor - the dead live rock in the overhead that came with the tank. Could that be doing something?

I doubt very much that the sand will have enough buffering capacity to counter the CO2 produced by a fully stocked tank. Testing it in a bucket will not be good enough to confirm this. Unless it's limestone sand.

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it's important to remember your also stabilsing the water chemistry with carbonates

as this reduces the chance of a pH crash when your working with alkaline parameters

as has been mentioned the carbonate value decreases with the increases of organic matter

so regular water changes and the use of pre conditioned water reduces any stress to the fish

caused by variation in water chemistry

the other positive on buffers is that it also contains trace elements that leaching, bi carb

and non iodised salt don't give

Chris

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There is also another factor - the dead live rock in the overhead that came with the tank. Could that be doing something?

now we find the real reason for ph 8. i was begining to think Hornsby was connected to a bore water supply

sydney sand [without shell fragments] is neutral.

the base rock that is in the "overhead" will hold the ph at it's current level, but as you add stock the ph will lower as it combats wastes. you may well have to assist the paremeters with additives as stock levels increase and the rock 'activity' settles. be ready for a dramatic rise in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as the base rock starts to brew, but once it settles you should have a very stable tank.

take care

Colfish

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You are right about the spikes. Nitrites shot up very high and I missed the ammonia. I may start with just one fish in case as a canary in the mine but only when params are right and a small amount of nitrates. I am bringing back some media from work to act as a bacteria seed as well. Stability is very important for me. There is of course no guarantee of Sydney Sand coming from the same source as what I got and the same level of shells.

Is live rock calcium based or random?

now we find the real reason for ph 8. i was begining to think Hornsby was connected to a bore water supply

sydney sand [without shell fragments] is neutral.

the base rock that is in the "overhead" will hold the ph at it's current level, but as you add stock the ph will lower as it combats wastes. you may well have to assist the paremeters with additives as stock levels increase and the rock 'activity' settles. be ready for a dramatic rise in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as the base rock starts to brew, but once it settles you should have a very stable tank.

take care

Colfish

Edited by cpfc
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I put up two containers of water yesterday. One with 180mls of water of tap water and the other with 180mls of tap water and 50 mls of sand. I put 2 drops of prime in each. I will test both tomorrow.

Can you do me a favor and test the sand separately in a bucket with tap water? (see if the ph goes up over 1~2 nights)

If Bunnings Sydney Sand does buffer the ph to 8.2 then i might actually go buy it! :D

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Can I ask how much buffer you use? I am working out how much I would need for a 215l tank and how much it would cost.

it's important to remember your also stabilsing the water chemistry with carbonates

as this reduces the chance of a pH crash when your working with alkaline parameters

as has been mentioned the carbonate value decreases with the increases of organic matter

so regular water changes and the use of pre conditioned water reduces any stress to the fish

caused by variation in water chemistry

the other positive on buffers is that it also contains trace elements that leaching, bi carb

and non iodised salt don't give

Chris

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Sample 1 Tap water Drop of Prime - KH 3 pH 7.4

Sample 2 Tap water Drop of Prime + Bunnings Sand - KH5 pH7.8

Make what you want. Test kit is API. Either way I would not use Bunnings sand on a low pH tank;).

Next is what buffer and how much is needed for a years supply?

Main tank pH 8 and KH 6 so both have dropped. The main change has been the addition of more Vallisneria and putting the dead bits in the filter to encourage bio activity. It shows how susceptible Sydney water is with such a low KH.

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