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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Fiki said:
What I want to say is that, due extremely low buffer capacity such as kH zero, pH value simply can not be stabile, especially if you use pressurized CO2 at the same time. Therefore, I've been trying to avoid often fluctuation of pH caused by buffer insufficiency in aquarium water, as they can cause a lot of problems regarding the fishes health and possible stress. In addition, I would appreciate if you could make a short list of aquatic plants and fishes that you successfully grow at KH zero, using the CO2 injection at the same time.
Personally, I am not sure if the CO2 tables we use are correct. After spending years chasing KH, CO2 and pH I found easier way. No KH buffering, no pH testing and no sick fish and plants. Actually, fish are much happier and plants grow even healthier. The plant list includes several dozen plant species from Echinodorus and Cryptocoryne to Wallichii and Toninas. Never had a plant that wouldn't like it. Lower the KH nicer the plant.

Fish I have are Tetras, Angels, Altums and Discus, naturally soft water fish. Brackish and Tanganyikan Cichlids are not compatible of course.

Generally fish don't like pH changes and high CO2. The actual pH doesn't matter. CO2 is natural to the fish. It creates stability at pH ~ 5.6. It never goes bellow 5 or so. (As an experiment I added peat moss to lower it even more, bellow CO2 capacity of 5.65 to 3.7 and still no problem)

We can not stress more the need to use CO2 only. No other acids are safe.
If you see your fish in stress or dead then it is due to high CO2, poison or non CO2 acid.

banderbe said:
Hi Edward. How do you avoid the dreaded pH crash? Or is that just another myth?
Can you define such crash?
What we see is CO2 overdose not pH crash. It is the CO2 killing the fish not the low pH.

Tropical rainy season removes carbonates (KH) buffering and takes large amounts of humic and carbonic (CO2) acid. Are there casualties because of some pH crash? No.

We shouldn't be afraid exploring more natural approach growing fish and plants in our aquariums.

Thank you
Edward
 

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Great post Edward! Your explanation fits all of the facts I know of. You say you don't think the pH/KH tables give good numbers for CO2 - I agree with that. How do you measure or estimate how much CO2 you have in the water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hoppycalif said:
Great post Edward! Your explanation fits all of the facts I know of. You say you don't think the pH/KH tables give good numbers for CO2 - I agree with that. How do you measure or estimate how much CO2 you have in the water?
Thank you hoppycalif
Not knowing the CO2 level worried me for some time. When everything was growing well I couldn't test it due to the KH being at zero. One dose of baking soda exposed the probable CO2 level of 10-15 ppm. This was enough under high light 6 Watts per gallon PC.

Here are the CO2 rates:
10 gall => 10 bubbles / min
50 gall => 50 bubbles / min
100 gall => 100 bubbles / min

I would like to add that tiny aeration is beneficial when fish is in the aquarium.

Thank you
Edward
 

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I like the idea and the information that you posted.
I'm interested in giving it a shot.

I currently buffer with baking soda. How would I go about making the change in such a way that avoids fish stress? Anytime I try to reduce the amount of buffer I add my fish gasp at the surface.
 

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PH crash is not a mith.

What is "pH crash?" Simply, this is when the buffers in your water are all used up and the pH of the water plummets. This is not good for the tank inhabitants or the biofilter. Many of the nitrifying bacteria are inactive at a pH below 6.0.

It happen to my tank and my Hagen KH test at this time show around 1 mg/l.

My Ph went to around 5 in matter of hours.
Liquid CaCo3 was administered, no fish loss.

I was working with Hagen CO2 system at that time, I, only in rare occasion manage to have around 20mg/l of CO2.
 

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Edward, help me understand here. Are you saying that in your opinion/experience the actual pH is not important (as long as it doesn't drop below 5), but stability is the important factor? A bubble rate of approx 1 per second in your 50 gives you a pH of 5 and fish and plants are happy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Krisybabe9 said:
Anytime I try to reduce the amount of buffer I add my fish gasp at the surface.
All of my 13 aquariums don't have any pH buffers and KH and still, I never see any fish gasping for air. All tanks run CO2.

What kind of fish do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bert H said:
Edward, help me understand here. Are you saying that in your opinion/experience the actual pH is not important (as long as it doesn't drop below 5), but stability is the important factor? A bubble rate of approx 1 per second in your 50 gives you a pH of 5 and fish and plants are happy?
Sure the pH can go bellow 5 that is not a problem. I am saying that the pH due to CO2 will stop at around 5.
I had a group of 8 Tetras in pH of 3.7 for 3 years. Peat addition with CO2 pushed the pH that low. They multiplied to 20 fish on their own. I still have them today in the same aquarium. Very healthy fish.

People think when fish die due to pH rapid change from 8 to 5 that the reason is the 5. This assumption is wrong. If the pH changes from 5 to 8 the fish will also die. The rate of change is the reason, not the actual pH.

I no longer test for pH because it is irrelevant. The fish don't care.

Thank you
Edward
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
chiahead said:
Edward just curious do you shut the Co2 off at night or leave it on 24/7?
Hi chiahead
Good you asked because I see a potential problem with turning the CO2 off at night. Look how many hours it takes to get CO2 out of water. In this great post #1 by hoppycalif:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/science-of-fertilizing/26816-some-co2-relevant-data.html
It must take a long time to get it back in.

This is why I let the CO2 on continuously 24/7 without interruption.

Thank you
Edward
 

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whenever I leave my co2 on 24/7 when I wake up the fish are gasping at the surface. I guess how youi get around it is lower the buble rate a bit so les Co2 gets in the tank but spread over the whole day so its all balanced. Interesting thought. That should keep it pretty stable. Doesnt the ph change a bit during the peak photo period when the plants are consuming co2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
chiahead said:
whenever I leave my co2 on 24/7 when I wake up the fish are gasping at the surface. I guess how youi get around it is lower the buble rate a bit so les Co2 gets in the tank but spread over the whole day so its all balanced. Interesting thought. That should keep it pretty stable. Doesnt the ph change a bit during the peak photo period when the plants are consuming co2?
You don't run air stone, do you? There should be an air stone if there is fish to exchange gasses and keep the water fresh. Adjust it to the minimum possible flow. I haven't notice pH fluctuations.
 

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Edward said:
You don't run air stone, do you? There should be an air stone if there is fish to exchange gasses and keep the water fresh. Adjust it to the minimum possible flow. I haven't notice pH fluctuations.
So you are running an airstone and CO2 both on lower levels 24/7? That's a very interesting approach. I may have to try that sometime.

Are you using RO water to get a KH of 0 and then adding only GH back for the plants?
 

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This is a very interesting thread in that it proposes things that most do not do.

-A kh of 0, with CO2 injection
-pH of 5 or lower
-24/7 CO2 on a low kh tank
-airstone while CO2 is on not affecting CO2 levels.

This really points out how many different ways there are to achieve success in our chosen pursuits in this hobby.

I wonder how many other folks are running a similar set up?
 

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I thought of another question in the meantime. Are you able to keep shrimp in pH that low? Many of us keep Neocaridina and Caridina shrimp that are said to need a pH of 6.5-7.0 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AaronT said:
Are you using RO water to get a KH of 0 and then adding only GH back for the plants?
Yes that's right, RO with CaCl2 at 20 ppm Ca. For Mg dosing PPS Mg solution.
 

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AaronT said:
I thought of another question in the meantime. Are you able to keep shrimp in pH that low? Many of us keep Neocaridina and Caridina shrimp that are said to need a pH of 6.5-7.0 or so.
It used to be said that....phosphate causes algae, nitrate is poison, you gotta have red clay under the substrate, some plants have to have root feeding, etc. I suspect that those who say pH of 6.5-7.0 is needed for some animal life, whether shrimp or discus, or whatever, are just repeating what somebody told them. I know my cherry shrimp are doing very well and my pH varies quite a bit from water change to water change, so I suspect that shrimp react to dissolved solids and not pH, just as fish do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
AaronT said:
Are you able to keep shrimp in pH that low? Many of us keep Neocaridina and Caridina shrimp that are said to need a pH of 6.5-7.0 or so.
Not sure. I don't have shrimps.
The low KH aquarium is not for Brackish and Tanganyikan fish.
 

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Hmm, this is very interesting. I have a KH of 0 naturally from the tap. However, my plants showed signs of Co2 deficiency when the pH reached ~5. Since then I have been buffering the water to about 4 degrees, and have been cautious of raising it higher. I was using a pH controller at the time.

Do you think that the controller was the problem because it does not take much Co2 to maintain a pH of 5 with 0 KH (hence the deficiency)? If so, are pH controllers useless if using 0 KH?

As an after thought, are there any strong benefits to keeping a KH of 0 vs. keeping it at 1-3? You mentioned plants grow better, exactly how do they grow better?
 

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It is much more common for people to have hard to very hard water out of the tap than soft water. So would you not agree if you have fairly hard water and are not adding anything to change the KH, then you can get a pretty accurate reading using a KH/pH chart right?

Not sure. I don't have shrimps.
You must not have any snails either. Shrimp, snails, need high levels of calcium
 
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