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pH Issues


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  1. #1
    dcmartinpc - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Don

    Default pH Issues

    Well.... I have been having serious pH issues. The wife likes the house at a nice 72, and because of that, the doors have been shut tight for the past several weeks. I asked my wife to stop exhaling CO2, she did not like that So, I decided to pull my skimmer air from outside. Others have said that it didn't make a big difference, but we shall see. My pH had been hitting 7.6 over night... Below is a graph of my pH over the past 10 days. Can you tell what day we were out of the house all day? It hit 8.15!!! I started pulling outside air Monday night, and you can see the instant effect on pH... Also, I have not run the lights since I received several new fish yesterday... I can't wait until the lights come on today to see what the pH does then. I am hoping for at least 8.1 or even 8.2... After that, I will probably fire up my kalk reactor again...

    picturephp?albumid157&amppictureid798 - pH Issues

    Any other ideas besides a CO2 scrubber? Too much maintenance and the media gets expensive!

    Don

  2. #2
    adalius - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Josh

    Default

    Yipes. Not even sure what to suggest on this other than opening the house up once in awhile.

    Also, what are you pulling this graph from? Did you just get a data dump from a probe and make a graph or does it do that in some software for a controller that you're using or what?

  3. #3
    ReeferRob - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    Dosing alk with help to raise the pH just be careful.
    It would be best to open up the house.
    Also are you getting good surface ripples to help with the gas exchange?
    "We shouldn't think of an environment where livestock can survive, we should ensure an environment where livestock can thrive."-Rabidgoose
    "If it's gonna be that kinda party, Ima stick my ........ in the mashed potatoes!"-Beastie Boys

  4. #4
    Tom@HaslettMI - Reefkeeper
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    Oct 2009
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    Awards Yugo Award - For helping with the CR Booth at MCES Monthly Giveaway Winner Monthly Giveaway Winner Photo of the Month Tank of the Month

    Default

    +1 on the alk. What is your alk reading? How and when are you dosing alk? Dosing in the evening or throughout the night may help some (depending on how you supplement).

    Another though... reverse light cycle on a fuge with chaeto and/or other macroalgae may help.

    Off the wall idea... house plants? They would suck up the CO2 during the day.

    BeakerBob's expertise may be helpful... perhaps this thread could be moved to his Discussion with the Experts section?

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Manoj
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    Default

    Don,

    Few things are needed to help you in the right direction.

    1. The graph is pH vs ?? , the X axis (time) has to be populated to see the rate of fluctuations.

    2. What kind of corals do you have and how large is your system?

    3. Whats your dosing and light regimen?

    4. Do you monitor alk?

    5. Equipments accuracy and tolerance range.

    As always with anything reef related , its not the fluctuations that kill , its the rate of fluctuation.

    Some helpful reading: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-05/rhf/index.php
    Last edited by Manoj's Reef; 08-18-2010 at 12:55 PM.

  6. #6
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Default

    The graph looks like it came from an apex? The x axis is time. Not sure what the scale is...looks like each tick is a day given the cyclic nature of the pH.

    Feeding kalkwasser with your top off help elevate your pH overall. Dripping it at night only will reduce the difference between peaks and valleys.

    Running a fuge will help raise your pH also because the photosynthesis consumes CO2. Running lights on the fuge in a reverse photocycle will help reduce the difference between peaks and valleys.

    Probably the best case would be feeding kalk with top off and running a fuge with reverse light cycles. This will elevate and help to reduce the peaks and valleys. I'm not saying this will fix it 100% but it should help if you aren't already doing it.

    Move the effluent of your calcium reactor to your fuge. The algae will help uptake CO2 before getting into the rest of the system.

    ^Note these suggestions will be more effective with a larger size fuge.

    Other possible suggestions that come to mind:

    I have read about people that have connected an air line on their skimmer venturi and run it outside to get fresh air to help with the problem. I imagine you can only run it so long though or their won't be enough force to get air into the skimmer...could always hook up an air pump I suppose to give it a boost.

    Try increasing surface aggitation in the display or sump. This could help or hurt depending on whether the controlling factor for elevated CO2 is the indoor air or excessive CO2 in the tank. Either way, could be worth a try to see whether pH goes up or down as a result.

    I eventually gave up on my calcium reactor due to the same problems you are having. With the the relatively small fuge I had, it wasn't really enough to treat the CO2. I had a korallin calcium reactor which did not have the second chamber. I'm not sure what reactor you have? I suspect a two chamber unit would be easier to regulate excess CO2. (BTW- When you get a chance, start a reef showcase so your system specs are linked in your postbit).

  7. #7
    dcmartinpc - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Don

    Default

    I will get my system in here early next week. Heading for a quick long weekend away with the wife! NO KIDS! I need a break! Work is driving me nuts, whoever said getting into Enterpise IT was a good idea obviously never worked in IT :D Anyways.... I am not currently dosing alk, and I can't remember where it was when I checked it a couple weeks ago, a little low, but not horrible.

    Jimsflies, I think it was you who helped me a LONG time ago with my Neptune Programming for my Kalk reactor... It actually will dose it throughout the day, mix the kalk, wait for it to settle, then dose top off water. I might just fire it back up. I just recalibrated my pH probe 2 weeks ago, so it should be good. I am going to verify this with a pH test, just to make sure my pH probe is not on the fritz, but it did calibrate, and usually, if they go bad, I have heard they won't calibrate. We will be out of the house for 3 whole days this weekend, so I will be monitoring it remotely (I have a Neptune Aquacontroller III)

    I did setup my skimmer to pull outside air... I ran a 1" PVC pipe outside, put a screen in it, and then adapted it down to my skimmer inlet line size in the basement. So far, it has definitely made a difference.

    My display is a 60G starfire cube. My sump is another 60G cube, divided into 3 sections. The first is half the cube, and it is where my filter socks receive the tank drain water and where my skimmer sits. The other half is divided about 70/30. The 70% is what will be my fuge, if the stupid algae would ever grow!!! If anyone wants to ship me some fast growing chaeto, I would be forever in your debt, I can't seem to find a strain that grows! The last 30% is the return section where I have some rock rubble...

    At this point I dose NOTHING :D I nuked my tank when I tried to do the whole bacteria/carbon source dosing... Just a protein skimmer and Calcium Reactor, but I took the Calcium Reactor offline, and yes it is a 2 chamber.

    Alk is the only thing I am thinking about dosing right now, and I am going to do it through a Kalk reactor with my top off. Water changes pretty much have kept everything else in check.

    I have VERY good surface agitation in the display... I have a Dart Gold on a OM 4 WAY and a Vortech MP40w ES. When the vortech is running full bore, I have roughly 8500 GPH including the return... But the vortech is usually dialed down, but even at 6000-7000 GPH, well you can imagine :D

    The Ticks are really dumb!!! They are roughly every 32 hours.... Which is a pain to try and figure out where everything is. But, pretty much the peaks are at 7:00 - 8:00 PM... My Halides are on from 5:30 - 9:30. T5's from 3:30- 11:30 PM.

    I am open to any ideas anyone has. I will try to get more info later, but this is what I can do right now.

    I am keeping mainly LPS (Acans, Chalices) and zoanthids right now. I am working on getting back into SPS, but I am doing it slowly, because I lost so much before...

    Don
    Last edited by dcmartinpc; 08-18-2010 at 02:31 PM.

  8. #8
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Default

    So you used to dose kalk, but haven't been right?

    That will definitely help.

    I never had a great time getting chaeto to consistently grow either. There have been a few times for a month or two I had it jamming and I will say that in those times my tank also looked awesome. I wished I had a greener thumb when it comes to macro algae. I eventually used some caulerpa...but in the months before taking down my old tank it had started to grow on the back rocks of the display and was becoming a problem.

    When you get around to it, here is the linkto enter your reef information.

  9. #9
    CalmSeasQuest - Reefkeeper
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    Jan 2010
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    Thomas
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    Default

    All great ideas. I tried many of them prior to going the scrubber route.

    Reverse lighting the sump with Cheato did help some. Running the skimmer intake line outside made very little difference. 2-part dosing helped (at least the Alk part) but the biggest improvement (before the scrubber) came from and ATO w/Kalk dosed overnight.

    All that still wasn't enough, so I purchased a CO2 scrubber about 9 months ago. It works great (I average a 0.20 pH increase.) It's virtually no maintenance and not very expensive - On my small small tank (~70 gal) and skimmer, the media lasts about 9 months (I just replaced mine for the first time.) Replacement color changing media (Soda Lime) is available for ~$54/gallon (TheFilterGuys) which is enough for about 6 refills. Even cheaper if you buy in larger quantities You can use any canister filter instead of purchasing a commercial unit.

    For me, it was a simple (and cheap) way to resolve my pH issues.
    Last edited by CalmSeasQuest; 08-18-2010 at 04:22 PM.

  10. #10
    cg5071 - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    chris

    Default

    I had some issues last winter myself. I didnt realize the difference fresh air makes since I only started last sept. 8.1 was good for me then as well. I have been wondering what to do this winter too. Likely start kalk with ATO and maybe draw air from outside.

    As far as chaeto, really pull it apart as long as it wont get caught in pumps. Basicly a few strands at a time. Also with some rubble along the bottom or something it can catch on, it will grow into a mat sort of. I am having the best luck so far this way and it was kind of an accident by leaving stray pieces when I removed it because it was not doing so well. I am planning on putting real low k rated bulbs over my fuge too (like 70w HPS) 3600k? Someone stated that that is what they were using for plant growth and worked great. Probably not what you would want for caulerpa though since it would likely go sexual.


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