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Conditioning RO water for South American Cichlid tank (lightly planted)

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  • Conditioning RO water for South American Cichlid tank (lightly planted)

    I have been looking at the different products and I'm confused as to which products are best for my application and how best to apply them.

    First question, when conditioning RO water for SA Cichlids, will the Seachem SA Cichlid salt take the place of Equilibrium?

    Second question, what is the proper sequence of steps when conditioning RO water?

    Example:
    Step 1: Add Alkaline buffer until desired KH is reached
    Step 2: Add Acid buffer to bring pH to target
    Step 3: Add SA Salt or Equilibrium to bring GH to target

    Third question, since the < 20PPM RO water is a known variable, can you provide a baseline for product amounts (in grams please)?
    I understand there are many variables and one size does not fit all but please be as specific as possible.
    (assume mixing 5 US gallons at a time)

    If I am completely in left field, please provide guidance

    My apologies if this is basic knowledge, and thanks in advance.

    Briar
    Last edited by Briar; 03-07-2017, 10:39.

  • #2
    My buffers and SA salt arrived via post a while ago so I gave my logic a try...

    Starting point: 5 gal (appox) of RO @ 2-3ppm

    First I added 1.5gram of Alkaline Buffer
    Results: 42 ppm, 4dKH, 8.1pH

    Then I added 0.7grams of Acid Buffer
    Results: 70 ppm, 6.9pH

    Finally, I added 0.5 gram of SA Cichlid Salt
    Results: 94ppm, 6.9pH and I believe 4 or 5 dGH (I find it difficult to differentiate the color change but that would seem inline with my PPM meter)

    It seems right, but please advise...

    Thanks in advance,
    B

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi there! Let's go through this from the beginning, for the sake of clarity. SA Cichlid Salt is intended to be a GH supplement just like Equilibrium, but it does have a different mineral composition. You don't need to use both, but it may be necessary to chose between them depending on whether you want the mineral environment to best favor the plants (Equilibrium) or best favor the fish (SA Cichlid Salt). Neither will cause damage to fish or plants, but you'll get your best plant results with Equilibrium and your best fish results with SA Cichlid Salt.

      What you've described sounds like a pretty good sequence, but you'll want to calculate out the amount of Acid and Alkaline Buffer that you want before adding it to the water - often, the water chemistry does not respond quickly enough to the addition of buffers to be able to accurately dose A&A Buffers by guess-and-check.

      What do you mean by a baseline? Are you wanting to know the effect that each of these products will have on TDS, or are you wanting to know the specific amounts of these products that we recommend to reach a given water chemistry? The changes in water chemistry you are seeing seem like what we would expect, but I need to know what results you want out of the products before I can tell you what our recommendations are to reach those results.

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        [QUOTE=Tech Support RT;n21308]Hi there! Let's go through this from the beginning, for the sake of clarity. SA Cichlid Salt is intended to be a GH supplement just like Equilibrium, but it does have a different mineral composition. You don't need to use both, but it may be necessary to chose between them depending on whether you want the mineral environment to best favor the plants (Equilibrium) or best favor the fish (SA Cichlid Salt). Neither will cause damage to fish or plants, but you'll get your best plant results with Equilibrium and your best fish results with SA Cichlid Salt.

        What you've described sounds like a pretty good sequence, but you'll want to calculate out the amount of Acid and Alkaline Buffer that you want before adding it to the water - often, the water chemistry does not respond quickly enough to the addition of buffers to be able to accurately dose A&A Buffers by guess-and-check.

        What do you mean by a baseline? Are you wanting to know the effect that each of these products will have on TDS, or are you wanting to know the specific amounts of these products that we recommend to reach a given water chemistry? The changes in water chemistry you are seeing seem like what we would expect, but I need to know what results you want out of the products before I can tell you what our recommendations are to reach those results.

        Thanks![/QUOTE]

        RT,

        Thank you for your assistance :-)

        I understand on the SA Cichlid Salt vs. Equilibrium.... that's simple enough.

        By "Baseline" I assumed (LOL) since quality RO water by definition is a known variable that product amounts would be pretty standard depending on desired target values.
        Most of the charts I'd found online simply refer to the ratio of Acid Buffer to Alkaline.

        Based on what I want to do, I think my ideal target values would be:

        pH 6.9-7.0
        dKH 5
        dGH 6

        I want soft but I also want stable, so looking for a happy medium. I'm open to any advice you may have.

        I've had Bolivian Rams for quite a few years but they are nearly bullet proof. I'd like to try some of the other ram species.
        My tank is low light, and plants are limited to Anubias ssp, Crypts, and Java Fern.

        My TDS meter is mainly used for calculating the rejection ratio of my RO membrane. It did seem like a good, second opinion qualitative guide though when doing my "guess and check"




        One more question please.

        Can I use this water for weekly water changes in my established aquarium and as a result slowly bring the tank's numbers to the new target range?

        I appreciate the guidance and the great product line.
        Last edited by Briar; 03-09-2017, 16:59.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi there!

          To get those parameters, here's what we'd recommend per every 5 gallons of RO:

          3.1 g Alkaline Buffer
          1.6 g Acid Buffer
          8 g Equilibrium

          And you can definitely use this with every water change! That's the way we normally recommend customers make changes to their water parameters.

          Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            [QUOTE=Tech Support RT;n21327]Hi there!

            To get those parameters, here's what we'd recommend per every 5 gallons of RO:

            3.1 g Alkaline Buffer
            1.6 g Acid Buffer
            8 g Equilibrium

            And you can definitely use this with every water change! That's the way we normally recommend customers make changes to their water parameters.

            Thanks![/QUOTE]

            Wow, there is a significant difference between those numbers and my preliminary "guess and check" values
            After reading your recommendation, I ordered the Equilibrium... (rural area, no local sources)

            Since I already have the SA Cichlid salt, could I use it as a back up?
            (e.g., waiting on Equilibrium to arrive, etc.)
            If so, what are the measurements with it?


            You've been a big help, Thanks!
            B
            Last edited by Briar; 03-10-2017, 22:05. Reason: clarification

            Comment


            • #7
              You can indeed! The amount of American Cichlid Salt you'll need is around 1.25 g, but as I mentioned this is going to be heavily weighted in favor of the fish, not the plants.

              Comment


              • #8
                [QUOTE=Tech Support RT;n21374]You can indeed! The amount of American Cichlid Salt you'll need is around 1.25 g, but as I mentioned this is going to be heavily weighted in favor of the fish, not the plants.[/QUOTE]

                I understand and it will only be used as a secondary option to Equilibrium.
                Thanks for all the assistance,

                Briar

                Comment


                • #9
                  You are most welcome!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Follow up.....

                    When I make the water changes using the suggested values for my RO, tank parameters do not react as I expected.
                    24 hrs after the water change, the tank pH climbs to 7.6.

                    I then have to go back and add an additional 3g of Acid Buffer to the tank.
                    After the additional Acid Buffer, the pH returns to 7.0ish, but dKH goes back down as well.

                    I initially thought something must be buffering up but after the additional Acid Buffer the tank stabilizes at 2 dkH and 7.0 with no further swings until the next wc attempt.
                    The substrate is Flourite Red and the 29g tank is well aged (5 yrs +)

                    What's wrong (if anything) and how do I get up to 5 dkH but keep the pH neutral.

                    Edit: I also checked phosphates but found no problem


                    Thanks in advance,
                    B
                    Last edited by Briar; 04-05-2017, 20:53.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Briar,

                      The amounts given were the amount to get 5 gallons of RO water to a 7.0 pH with a dKH of 5. What we will need to know to help equalize the tank at these values is what is the KH and pH in the tank before adding the buffers to the tank?

                      The buffers work with the organic load, so you may need to adjust the ratio slightly to account for what is already pre-existing in the tank.

                      If you know these values, please let us know and we will do some follow up calculations!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the continued assistance.

                        My numbers:

                        29 gallon Aquarium
                        dKH = 2
                        pH = 7.0 measured with HM digital and API kit.
                        dGH = I cant give an value I'm confident with, I struggle differentiating the color shift with the API kit
                        TDS = 600ppm (seems really high to me)
                        Temp = 78f
                        Filtration = Emperor 280 with Seachem Matrix in the basket and OEM filter
                        Finnex HOB "refugium" filled with couple cups (guesstimate) of de*nitrate and 100ml bags of Purigen and Purfiltrum.
                        (water is circulated through the refugium with a small (less than 50gph) pump w/foam inlet prefilter
                        Substrate = Flourite Red
                        Tank is +5 years old
                        Bolivian Rams (5), Glowlight Tetra (1), Amano Shrimp (6)
                        Java fern (1), Anubias sp. (3), Crypts (2, new additions)
                        Minimal Algae growth
                        Gravel is kept clean
                        Low light, old school T8 fluorescent hood.
                        18/6 photoperiod
                        RO system =2ppm

                        I "assumed" using the recommendations for the 5 gallons of RO that each water change would gently move the tank to the desired values over time.
                        The pH jump to 7.6 caught me by surprise and didn't make sense to me.
                        Other than the water change spikes, pH currently remains constant.

                        Briar
                        Last edited by Briar; 04-09-2017, 09:50.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, again, the buffers are designed to work with the organic load and I see that it has vexed out as expected back to 7.0.

                            For your entire tank volume to set pH to 7.0 with a 5 dKH alkalinity:

                            1.6 teaspoons Alkaline Buffer (or 10 grams)

                            0.8 teaspoons Acid Buffer (or 5.4 grams)


                            This will help to reset the ratio in the tank and boost alkalinity, then you can still use the amounts above to refresh with 5 gallon water changes with RO water, but you will want to keep in mind the level of pH and alkalinity in the tank each time to ensure that you are using the right ratios.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=Tech Support AH;n21584]Well, again, the buffers are designed to work with the organic load and I see that it has vexed out as expected back to 7.0.

                              For your entire tank volume to set pH to 7.0 with a 5 dKH alkalinity:

                              1.6 teaspoons Alkaline Buffer (or 10 grams)

                              0.8 teaspoons Acid Buffer (or 5.4 grams)


                              This will help to reset the ratio in the tank and boost alkalinity, then you can still use the amounts above to refresh with 5 gallon water changes with RO water, but you will want to keep in mind the level of pH and alkalinity in the tank each time to ensure that you are using the right ratios. [/QUOTE]

                              I slowly (hours) added the 10/5.4 grams to the tank as suggested... within 8 hrs I got the same pH spike.
                              Only this time it took an additional 6 grams of Acid Buffer to get it under control.

                              dKH now back to 2, with the pH at 7 and stable

                              I think my fish and shrimp are stressed enough. I appreciate the help and realize it's probably an issue on my end.

                              Comment

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