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Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

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  • Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

    I'm finding the instructions for Seachem acid buffer and Seachem alkaline buffer quite confusing. Some forums state the ratios are dose:dose ratios, not weight:weight ratio. However, my Seachem bottle says " for best results base ratio on weight of product added". To further clarify the issue, could someone please answer the following scenarios based on the Seachem product recommendations? ( I understand some tinkering will be needed with doses for individual tanks, my question is - what does the product label initially recommend).
    TANK: established 80l (20 gallon) moderately planted tank with no CO2 injection and soft water (KH 1, GH 3), aiming for a target pH buffered at 6.5. No phosphate buffers added. Light fish load (15 Cardinals).
    How many grams of each product, and at what frequency, would be added if:
    1) the tank pH is 7.0
    2) the tank pH is 6.0
    3) If my tank has achieved the stable target pH of 6.5 and I am doing a 20l (5 gallon) water change with tap water pH 7.5, KH 1 GH 3

  • #2
    Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

    The instructions for Acid and Alkaline Buffer are dose-to-dose. I will try and clarify the following statement: for best results, base ratio on weight of product added. Here is an example of what we mean by this: the instructions for Acid Buffer state to use 2 g (1⁄4 teaspoon) to every 80 L (20 gallons). It is simply more accurate to weigh the amount of product in grams than to add the buffers based on teaspoons. However, we realize that not everyone has a balance on which to measure grams; therefore, we give the instructions based on teaspoons as well.

    Please keep in mind that these ratios are based on RO/DI water. If adding the buffers directly to the tank, as you alluded to, some variation may be necessary.

    If you want to target a pH of 6.5 in a tank with a starting pH of 7.0, then you should add 1 dose of Acid Buffer to 1.3 doses of Alkaline Buffer. For a 20-gallon tank, this would mean 2 g (1⁄4 teaspoon) of Acid Buffer to 18.2 g (about 2.5 teaspoons) of Alkaline Buffer. Of course, if you have a starting pH of 6.0, then you will need to adjust the dosing accordingly. You can add the buffers directly to your tank daily until your desired pH is achieved. Once this has occurred, then you will only need to add the buffers for the volume of the water that you are replacing. Since it is not RO water and has a slightly higher pH than neutral, then you will have to make some adjustments to the dosages.

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    • #3
      Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

      [QUOTE=Tech Support EH;6402] Of course, if you have a starting pH of 6.0, then you will need to adjust the dosing accordingly. QUOTE]

      Thank you for clarifying the dosing volumes for the first scenario. Could you please state the recommended dosing for question 2?Is it the same product weight, being 2g acid buffer and 18.2g alkaline buffer?

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      • #4
        Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

        It is not quite as cut and dry when starting with a pH other than 7.0 and therefore takes a bit of experimentation to see how much product it takes to get to your desired pH. (Though this most certainly can be accomplished.) Because you will be starting at a pH lower than 7, and will want to bring the pH up a good bit, you will more than likely need to add more Alkaline Buffer than you would if starting at 7.0. I would try using a ratio of about 1 dose Acid Buffer to 1.5 doses of Alkaline Buffer and see what kind of change you get. If this does not get your pH where you want it to be, then you can always add more of one or the other buffer alone to bring you to the desired pH. Of course, you don't want to have large pH shifts in your tank in a short period of time. I don't mean to to vague, however, because the ratios are based on RO water, it takes a bit of experimentation to know how much of each to add for particular tanks. Hope this helps some, and please let us know if we can try and clarify further.

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        • #5
          Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

          So, keeping in mind *individual tanks needing their own adjustments*, Seachem instructions for soft water recommend:
          For a target pH of 6.5 add 1 dose of acid buffer and 1.3 doses of alkaline buffer, daily until the desired pH is reached. The instructions are the same regardless of starting pH.
          To target other pH level just change the dose ratios, for example to target pH 7.0 use 1 dose acid buffer and 2 doses alkaline buffer daily until the desired pH is reached.
          1 dose acid buffer is 2g per 80L (20Gal)
          1 dose alkaline buffer is 14g per 80L (20 Gal)
          Is this correct?

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          • #6
            Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

            For a pH that low, I'd recommned you have a KH of at least 2.5. I have an aquarium with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8, and my KH is 3 (a 70 gallon freshwater aquarium with about 30 "4 inch" goldfish, and 7 plants like "amazon" and "anacharis"). If you let your pH drop below 5, you can risk killing all of your fish. Why? Because, water with a low or acidic pH w/o adequate buffering and dissolved oxygen can cause a bad redox balance or practically no redox reduction, which all invertebrates and fish cannot tolerate. This is particularly useful for short-term disease/parasite treatments, however, you will notice your fish loosing scales, have open wounds,etc.
            Last edited by LabTest57; 08-10-2009, 23:37.

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            • #7
              Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

              Cardinals, yes, that is correct.
              * 1 dose of Acid Buffer is 2 grams per 20 gallons, &
              * 1 dose of Alkaline Buffer is 14 grams per 20 gallons

              So, for a pH of 7.0, you would need 1 dose Acid Buffer and 2 doses Alkaline Buffer.

              LabTest57, thank you for your post.
              Last edited by Tech Support LK; 08-13-2009, 09:29.

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              • #8
                Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                Thank you EH for confirming Seachem's written instructions.
                Labtest 57, thank you also for replying. The values you have in your tank reflect a system with a predicted CO2 concentration of 14 - 28 ppm, well above the 3-4ppm expected in a non CO2 supplemented tank. In a stable body of freshwater with a dKH of 3 the predicted pH is approx 7.5. To obtain a pH lower than this either you are using supplemental CO2 and/or a non carbonate (e.g. phosphate) buffer. Could you please clarify your system?
                Reference: http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm

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                • #9
                  Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                  [QUOTE=LabTest57;6806] If you let your pH drop below 5, you can risk killing all of your fish. Why? Because, water with a low or acidic pH w/o adequate buffering and dissolved oxygen can cause a bad redox balance or practically no redox reduction, which all invertebrates and fish cannot tolerate. QUOTE]

                  As you can see my ID is "Cardinals". My interest is in providing a stable, acidic environment for my Cardinal Tetras. I would like my pH to be above 5.0 In fact I am aiming for a pH of 6.5, this is to help my nitrogen cycle function adequately, as you know these bacteria do not metabolise well below pH 6.5. This is why I am looking at Seachems acid/alkaline (non-phosphate) buffering system. I note you are a "senior member" of this forum and your comments are supported by Seachem's EH. I appreciate credible factual advice. As you may know the Cardinal Tetra comes from the Rio Negro. I will quote from an interview discussing this Rio Negro biotope by Peter Kriz ( http://forum.simplydiscus.com/archive/index.php/t-25886.html )
                  "Finally, the water in the Rio Negro is intensely acidic. We usually found the pH of the water to be at 4.5. In one area we found the water to be a pH of 3.9 !!! The cause of this, or at least a contributing factor must be the slow moving flow of water coupled with tons upon tons of decomposing driftwood and leaf litter. The amount of fish found by simply going to the edge of the stream, and proceeding to lift up a collecting net full of leaf litter was amazing."
                  Could you please justify your statements on pH and "redox reduction" (sic) in light of this information, if you are unable to, I ask that you retract it.
                  Last edited by Cardinals; 08-13-2009, 18:36.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                    I'm no expert at fish keeping... I know that bacteria, fish, plants, etc. are able to evolve and/or live in different environments. In that part of the world, there may exist different strains of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. Algae, micro-algae, and all other sorts of plants in those natural habitats balance the CO2 and oxygen levels. As for redox, it depends on the minerals, water flow, and decaying matter in those bodies of water. A good balance would include a high amount of electrolytes replenishing the GH mineral ions, etc., however, those that are reducers are the ones that would balance it the most. Here's a list of common reducers (-) and oxidizers (+): http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/images/graphics/reducersoxidizers4.jpg


                    Although it may seem that cardinals do better in acidic ph, like 4.5, etc., the fact is they don't. There bodies have to get used to it; their organs and glands function differently than cardinal tetras that can live in PH up to 7.8 w/ a GH of 15. Things you have to avoid to keep tetras in a different pH environment is: osmotic shock, and pH shock. pH shock would not be problematic if your able to avoid osmotic shock in your aquarium, however, osmotic shock is caused by a combination of pH, kH, GH, and salt levels that change suddenly. To find out how to properly avoid osmotic shock you must first know how to balance redox (oxidation reduction potential). A very low PH causes two problems: High CO2 levels (oxidation of carbon), and generally high oxidation. You need more reduction to reduce osmotic stress, however, if you increase oxygen levels it will be harder for reducers to increase the reduction potential in the water because they can oxidize very quickly/easily. Most water conditoners are reducers, however, it's better to have a good electrolyte balance and scheduled water changes to replenish common electrolytes like: calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.


                    I know many resources for one to find information on redox., but I find this site or html webpage a lot easier to understand: http://www.ceri.com/ffredox.htm


                    3 things to keep in mind: Have a well established tank (i.e. beneficial bacteria are controlling ammonia and nitrites), keep a balanced redox. or control it to have more reduction potential, and slowly acclimate the fish to the target pH (a pH of 8.0 for cardinal tetras would take about year, because they are a sensitive species).
                    Last edited by LabTest57; 08-13-2009, 18:56.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                      [QUOTE=LabTest57;6842]I'm no expert at fish keeping...

                      Although it may seem that cardinals do better in acidic ph, like 4.5, etc., the fact is they don't.

                      slowly acclimate the fish to the target pH (a pH of 8.0 for cardinal tetras would take about year, because they are a sensitive species).[/QUOTE]

                      LabTest57, this is a thread about Seachem's Non Phosphate (carbonate) Buffer dosing to target a particular pH.
                      I am sorry that you continue to make false statements about pH and acidophilic species despite evidence to the contrary. Many species including Cardinal Tetras, Discus, Loricariidae sp. thrive in very soft, highly acidic biotopes. Such an environment is where they naturally live and breed and to which they are uniquely adapted.
                      Most aquarists, myself included, choose a pH higher than 4.5 when keeping these species for various reasons including but not limited to: improved biofilter activity, compatibility with other fish species and plants, easier chemical pH testing, local (replacement) water conditions, familiarity, etc.
                      I again request that you retract your misleading comments.
                      If you wish to discuss redox potentials, osmotic shock etc then may I suggest starting other threads?
                      LabTest57, can you please confirm your tank pH and dKH as earlier stated and whether or not you are using supplemental CO2 and/or phosphate buffers?
                      Last edited by Cardinals; 08-30-2009, 02:00.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                        [QUOTE=Cardinals;6856]LabTest57, can you please confirm your tank pH and dKH as earlier stated and whether or not you are using supplemental CO2 and/or phosphate buffers?[/QUOTE]

                        I don't use CO2 supplementation, I don't use phosphate buffering, I don't use any seachem buffering. I use sulfuric acid as a way of lowering pH, I use baking soda to increase pH and kH, I use my tap water to increase alkalinity ( it has a kH of ~6), I have very low lighting (I don't need as much CO2), and pH stabilizes around 6.8 to 7.0 with a Kh of 3 to 4, however, it also depends on my bio-load, aerators, and/or surface agitation from filters/pumps.


                        Sorry that you may think that I'm misleading you, however, if that were true, then why not protest about wikipedia? You can't trust it, because it can be editted by anyone. The information I'm giving to you is information that I've aquired from other people, articles, and literature on the internet. I have hundreds of internet resources from which I learn all my "aquarium stuff". I can show/list you all of them if you would like.

                        Also, I wasn't trying to change the topic of this thread, rather, I was trying to give some advice. If you breed fish in water with a different pH,etc. than that of their "natural" environment/habitat, they will become accustomed to it. I have done enough experiments (both long-term and short-term) to see if the information I recieve on the internet-relating to fish keeping- is true or false. I will tell you facts, not what I and others think may be true/fact.
                        Last edited by LabTest57; 08-13-2009, 23:33.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                          [QUOTE=LabTest57;6858]...I don't use CO2 supplementation, I don't use phosphate buffering, I don't use any seachem buffering...

                          ...Sorry that you may think that I'm misleading you...
                          [/QUOTE]

                          Labtest 57. Your various quoted pH/KH values do not seem to fit the pH/KH/CO2 tables. I queried that you must therefore have CO2 supplementation and/or phosphate buffers.
                          I note in April you were posting about use of Neutral Regulator - a phosphate buffer - in your tank(s) - how does this fit with your statement quoted above?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                            During that time it seemed like neutral regulator didn't do much, because I had already been able to buffer my aquarium close to 7.0 (7.2) with bicarbonates. I was looking for information to prove Seachem wrong that their product is misleading, blah, blah, blah... In the end, their phosphate buffer is best added when the pH is at or close to its pKa value; in other words, one would have to manually adjust the tank's pH before adding Neutral Regulator for best results.

                            I simply experimented with it, however, I ended up not using it because I could achieve the same results with a little bit of labor with the right combination of baking soda, sulfuric acid, and water changes. This way it's actually cheaper for me.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Non-Phosphate Buffer dosing (Seachem acid and alkaline buffers )

                              [QUOTE=LabTest57;6992] In the end, their phosphate buffer is best added when the pH is at or close to its pKa value; in other words, one would have to manually adjust the tank's pH before adding Neutral Regulator for best results. [QUOTE]


                              Keep in mind, that is correct for all buffers. Any buffer will be the strongest when the pH of the solution is closest to the pKa of the buffer.

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