pH nearly 8.4

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by adli100, 15 Aug 2009.

  1. adli100

    adli100 Newly Registered

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    i'm new to planted tanks and have planted my tank.
    The problem i'm having is that my plants are browning and some are just turning to mush in front of my eyes.
    i have done a ph test and it appears and my tank is sitting at about 8.5!!!!!!!
    i'm sure this is the problem as i am using a fert and have adequate lighting...i think!
    can i just use a pH down to get it down to about 6-7
    any advice would be greatly apprieciated
     
  2. amy4342

    amy4342 Member

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    Are you using Co2? Some more details would be helpful - what lights and ferts are you using, tank size, what plants etc.
     
  3. adli100

    adli100 Newly Registered

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    no co2 and im using api leaf zone fert.
    tank is 190 ltr and i got a few fish in there but not many and it isnt them that are causing the browning
    i have amozon sword plants and too be honest am still trying to identify the others.
    i am a newbie to all this so you'll have to bare with me with my ignorance!!
    the lights are a 55watt pll grow light and two single tubes one red hue???? one white?????? think they 32watts!!!$£!£"!£$
     
  4. amy4342

    amy4342 Member

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    Ok, well, it isn't your pH that's the problem - plants can tolerate a wide range of pH, so if it's not causing your fish any problems it won't be causing your plants any problems.
    Plants photosynthesize to make the food they need. For that they need three things - light, fertilizers and a source of carbon. 40% of a plants mass is actually carbon, so they need a lot of it! Land plants take in the carbon from carbon dioxide in the air, but there is much less carbon dioxide in water, so plants can't always take up what they need.
    Light is what drives photosynthesis - the more light, the harder the plant photosynthesises. But, without adequate fertilisers and carbon, it's like trying to rev an engine without oil - it will cause damage and eventually kill it.
    If you have a 55 watts over a 190l (42g) then you have 1.3 watts per gallon (WPG). This is classed as fairly low light - anything above 2WPG is classed as high light. So you aren't driving your plants to photosynthesize too hard. Unfortunately, it sounds like there's not enough carbon in the tank to enable the process to take place so the plants are dying.
    There are two ways to add carbon - either with a yeast based system (you put yeast, sugar and water in a bottle, the yeast ferments and produces carbon dioxide which is then directed into the tank) - it's cheap, easy to maintain, but dosen't produce a lot of carbon dioxide, especially for such a large tank, although I would personally recommend it as a starter, you can always upgrade at a later date.
    The second is to buy a source of bottled carbon dioxide (normally a fire extinguisher) and direct it into the tank - it is expensive to buy the equipment for this, although it gives good results.
    Moving onto fertilisers, they can be classified into two types - macro and micro. Plants need both to photosynthesise. API Leaf Zone only contains micro fertilizers. Tropica Plant Nutrition + is a good fertilizer since it contains both. Alternatively, it is extremely easy to buy the chemicals and make fertilizer yourself - it's also much much cheaper than any commercially produced product.

    We all started somewhere (and I still don't think I'll ever arrive at the station :D) so keep asking questions.
     
  5. adli100

    adli100 Newly Registered

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    thanks for getting back to me!
    i will set up a fermentation device later today!!
    i have used tetraplant complete substrate under the gravel as well so hoped i'd covered all aspects!
    can you recomend a good site that will help me identify my plants i have one that is green with a white strip running the length of the leaf it has a large thick stem and it appears that each leaf starts going milky-ish at the end this makes it way down the leaf turning it to mush!!!
    all my other plants appear to be going brown but possible still growing slightly but this plant is slowly breaking down in front of my eyes!!!
     
  6. Nelson

    Nelson Member

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  7. adli100

    adli100 Newly Registered

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    thanks for the sites they seem very informative and i have already identified a couple of my plants!!!
    so does the browning on the leaves mean they are getting not enough ferts!!!!???!!!
     
  8. Nelson

    Nelson Member

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    can you post some pics.
     
  9. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

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    It sounds like it *could* be a dracaena which is actually a non aquatic plant. Which would explain why it is dying off!
    Like Nelson says some pics would help to ID it :)
     
  10. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    yep, or if it is aquatic then it is CO2 problems or just emersed growth dieing off.
     
  11. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    While it probably isn't causing the problems you are seeing a pH that high is higher than normal. What is the pH of the water out of your tap?

    Have you got anything in the tank that is calcerous and is raising the pH and KH? The likely suspects are gravel, stone or fake concrete ornaments.

    If there's a big difference between the two I'd step up the wwater changes to reduce the effects of any buffering material.
     
  12. adli100

    adli100 Newly Registered

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    i got a pH of 7.6 from my tap!
    i have no ornaments and no stones just some bog wood and fine gravel with tetra substrate.
    i did a 25% ro water change and will do another one in the week fingers crossed that will help
     
  13. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    Sounds like it's probably your gravel. You might want to take some out and test it with vinegar or a stronger acid (I use brick cleaner). If it's got calcerous material in it it will fizz.

    However it's not the end of the world and weekly 50% water changes will reduce the effect of it on your water and your plants and fish will love the large water changes. It also really reduces the chance of algae getting a foot-hold IME.

    As a side-note are you using RO water normally or did you just use RO this time to get the pH down? Unless you have soft water fish that need soft water then I'd simply use your tap water and do large water changes with that. Also 1, 50% water change will alter your water parameters more than 2, 25% changes as the second 25% change is also changing a quarter of the 'new' water!
     

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