View Full Version : Adding Seachem Acid Buffer every day
To keep the available CO2 at 30, I am trying to keep my pH at 7.0 or below.
This was not an issue in the past. Now I am supplementing with CO2 and Seachem Excel at the dosage schedule.
Every day I test, the pH is 7.4 and I dose 1/4 tsp for a 20 gallon tank (mine is 10gallons).
Are my plants or the CO2 'eating' the Acid Buffer? I have Onyx as my substrate and I understand that has high Calcium and Magnesium. My tap water is also 9-10 dKH and the GH is 20 dGH.
Why is this happening?
Tech Support JA
Acid Buffer at a dose of 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gallons will lower your dKH by 0.6 points. Therefore you will want to perform a larger dose in order to obtain your target dKH. You need to lower your dKH in order to reach your target pH. Acid Buffer will convert KH to CO2 which gases off, or you need to increase CO2. However, we do not recommend a CO2 level greater than 25ppm, as the CO2 can effect organisms in the tank. Also, your Onyx is high in carbonates which will keep your alkalinity up, which will want to give stability to your pH and not allow it to drop. Swtiching to Flourite will remedy this problem.
And if I do not switch over to Flourite for this tank, the Acid Buffer converts the KH to CO2 which gases off or is used by my plants correct? So by adding the Acid Buffer I am 'feeding' my plants CO2?
And the carbonates in the Seachem Onyx is in addition to the high amount of Calcium and Magnesium? Or part of one of those two?
Tech Support JA
By using Acid Buffer to "create" CO2 for your plants, you will also be introducing other ingredients within the Acid Buffer that will build up over time, with infrequent water changes and frequent additions of acid buffer. Therefore, we recommend only using acid buffer to establish your target pH and perform a water change regularly, at least twice a month. This should assist in both the formation of your desired pH and keep other ingredients from building up over time.
The water change recommended on the Seachem Daily Dosage Schedule of 5% once a week - should be enough correct?
Honestly, I got the Onyx because I thought it was good for plants - the same as the Flourish - just a different color. This was before I knew (2 years ago) that it increased my already hard water.
By the way, regardless of the chemistry and understanding the details of what is happening; my plants are doing so well now (with the daily dosage) that I had to take them out of the tank and replant them - re-arrange them. The color of the new leaves are bright green, roots are popping up all over the place and the algae is slowly dissappearing. Of course the leaves with algae are being replaced with the brand new leaves with the bright green color. Thank you!
Tech Support CH
A 5% water change is sufficient as long as your are not adding Acid Buffer daily. If you are adding Acid Buffer the water change % will be higher. The exact precentage will depend on the amount of Acid Buffer you are dosing daily.
I have stopped adding the Acid Buffer to this tank as you suggested.
The other tank with the Seachem Flourite I do adjust to 7.0 pH just out of habit.
Although with everything that I have learned with my aquariums, I am learning to 'unlearn' some things.
Thank you for the continued support.
Tech Support CH
Great! Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.
Acid Buffer will convert KH to CO2 which gases off, or you need to increase CO2.
I also have really hard water and I'm considering trying your product. Before I do however I'd like to know what happens to the calcium when acid buffer lowers kh, as you say here acid buffer turns kh into co2 so that helps me understand what happens to the carbonate in the calcium carbonate. Is the calcium precipitated out into an insoluble salt like it would with a phosphate-based product? Also, if acid buffer is comprised of bisulfate salts I'm curious to know if this is sodium bisulfate as I don't want to add sodium to my tank (i.e. exchange calcium ions for sodium ions).
Tech Support CH
Calcium is part of your General Hardness (GH) not your carbonate hardness (KH). Acid Buffer lowers KH and does not effect GH.
Calcium Carbonate is the material that aragonite sand and live rock are made of. It does not dissolve very quickly. When it does dissolve you have calcium and carbonate separate in the water. They are no longer together. So the Acid Buffer effects the carbonate and the calcium remains in the water.
A high GH is not harmful to plants. In fact, most soft water plants grow better in hard water. So if you are concerned about the high calcium I would not worry about it.
The conjugate ion is sodium but the amount is negligible in comparison to the total mass of the material. Also you do not use a buffer like this on a frequent basis further decreasing any impact. Because Acid Buffer is so powerful the amount needed to use is very very small, even further decreasing any potential impact.