View Full Version : Help with pH in new reef tank
I've just setup my first marine tank, a reef tank using live sand & rock. The salt I used was your Reef Salt. My pH seems to be well buffered at 7.5 as you would expect it seems after reading:
The tank has already cycled and there is no fish, corral, or anything but live sand & rock.
I've got Reef Buffer coming in today which from reading your site seems to be the correct choice for raising the pH. If I need something else please tell me.
So I guess my question is can I just continue to add Reef Buffer until I get the pH to 8.3 in one day since I don't have any fish or corals? Basically what do I need to do to go ahead and get it up to 8.3. I did a 20% or so water change last night and that didn't change the pH at all. It's still at 7.5.
And what about alkalinity? It is at 3.78 meq/L. It would seem that if each dose raises the alkalinity by 0.5 meq/L and 0.1 pH then I would exceed 6.0 meq/L well before getting to 8.3. Or am I missing something?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I am using Seachem Reef Salt.
Tech Support EH
Hi, and congratulations on setting up your first reef tank! We really hope that using our products will help to make the maintenance a no-brainer!
Keep in mind that buffers are designed to work with the natural bioload of an aquarium; that is, obviously once the tank is stocked with fish, corals, and/or invertebrates, there will be a source of organic acids trying to constantly pull the pH downward. While you do not have any animals in the aquarium to produce acids, it will be very easy to keep your pH and alkalinity where it should be.
However, upon adding corals, etc, your alkalinity will begin to be consumed and your pH will tend to want to drop. This is why keeping an alkalinity between 4-6meq/L is recommended. With that said, since there are no sources of acids present at this point, there is no reason that you couldn't add enough buffer to get your pH up to 8.3. However, as you said, each dose of buffer will also pull the alkalinity upward, so I would recommend applying the standard dose, then check your pH and alkalinity, and repeat as needed until your parameters are closer to where you want them to be.
We hope this helps! Have a great day!
Thanks for the quick reply!
My Reef Buffer came in and it does bring up the pH, but it's not holding. The first time I treated the tank yesterday I got the pH to 8.2 easily, but as expected the alkalinity went way to high. But I expected that.
So I did a 50% water change and got the alkalinity down and the pH was still around 8.2. Should have written it down. But it was okay.
But then this morning the pH was back to 7.7 and the alkalinity was at 4.88 meq/L.
I know it's the live sand that's causing the problem. If I had to do it over I don't think it is worth using the live sand, but after spending $70 on it I don't want to pull it out and replace it. But it did help cycle the tank really fast which was nice.
So then I treated the tank with a full dose of Reef Buffer for my volume this morning and the pH is now at 8.0 and the alkalinity is 5.62 meq/L. So treating it again will certainly raise the alkalinity over 6. And I expect the pH is going to start falling again.
My filter has Matrix & Purigen in it. And a carbon bag that came with the tank (I'll switch to MatrixCarbon next). I put a bag of Phosguard in it since there was some phosphate in the water.
What should/can I do to stabilize the pH so I can put something other than rock & sand in the tank? How high can the alkalinity go before I have to be concerned about it hurting the fish? Since I'm not putting coral in right now the calcium level isn't as critical. I am going to wait a few weeks before starting the coral.
Thank you again for your help!
Tech Support AN
You are welcome!
The Reef Buffer will certainly raise both pH and alkalinity simultaneously. You may need to add it daily for a while in order to get your pH stabilized, but unfortunately, you will also raise your alkalinity level too. There is no harm to fish in a high alkalinity level, however, typically when you raise your alkalinity really high, you will notice a fall in calcium. Calcium is much more important to corals and inverts, than it is to fish, so this may not be a big deal at the moment since you do not have any corals.
Another option would be to use our aquavitro balance, which will raise only the pH and not anything else. This is the ideal product to use when you can't seem to get the pH where it needs to be, but all other parameters are in good shape. If you would like to read about the balance, follow the link below:
Otherwise, you will want to continue to add the Reef Buffer daily until your pH stabilizes. Just out of curiosity, what are you using to measure your pH? Have you had it double checked with a different method?
Thank YOU! Balance sounds exactly like what I want. I knew you guys had just the right product, I just didn't find it. Unfortunately the closes place to get it for me is over 100 miles away, but I guess I'm up for a road trip.
I'm using a HM Digital pH meter, I also have a Nutrafin master test kit which I'm not crazy about, and for spot checks I use strips. My pH meter was calibrated 2 days ago to pH 7.0 and pH 10.0 solution. All methods agree with each other, well as best as you can read them anyway. That's why I like the meter.
My calcium level the first time I checked a day after filling the tank was at 540. I haven't checked it today.
I just checked the pH and it's already dropped to 7.86 since my last message.
My concern is even if I get the Balance how long is it going to take to get my pH up to an acceptable range? Is it ever going to get there with the live sand in there?
Tech Support AN
You are welcome!
Your calcium level is really high, so it might not be a bad idea to lower it a bit. We recommend a calcium level between 380-450ppm. So before you take a 100 mile road trip, I would see if you can use the Reef Buffer to get your desired results. This is completely up to you, though. :)
How long it will take to get your pH stabilized depends on so many factors, it is hard to say exactly. I'm not sure I understand why you think that the live sand is the issue. Most products that are sold under the guise of "live" sand, where there is liquid in the bag, it is simply unneeded water. The only thing living in the bag is bacteria, which can grow and live on almost anything. I highly doubt that there are any microscopic organisms living in the sealed bag. I really don't think that the sand is having too much of an impact on your pH. What are you using as your source water? Do you know the pH of your source water?
After reading the document referenced in my original post I assumed that my sand was the problem since I have what is talked about in the doc. I also checked the pH of the water left in the bag and it was 7.5. I put two bags in, but dumped the first bag in water and all. I scooped the sand out of the 2nd bag draining as much water from the sand as possible. I belive this is causing the pH problem and I'm sure that is where the extra calcium came from. Unless it was from your Reef Salt which I doubt caused any problems.
I am usjng RO water, but did not check the pH of it. I did check the pH after putting in the Reef Salt and it is 8.27.
My concern is if I keep putting in the reef buffer it is going to keep raising the alkalinity so high I will have to keep doing a lot of water chnges. But maybe that would precipitate out the extra calcium.
Tech Support EH
I see. Once you add corals to your tank, the problem of the higher alkalinity will tale care of itself as the corals will consume it. However, again, a high alkalinity is not really a bad thing, especially since you are not having issues with low calcium.
balance just may be the ideal product for you, as it will not continue to raise the alkalinity. We wish you the best of luck in getting to your ideal ionic balance!