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Old 10-26-2010, 06:01 PM   #1
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Cant get pH right.

Ok so I'm really starting to get the hang of saltwater tanks the only thing that has eluded me so far is how to set and maintain the pH. Any help would be greatly apprecated.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:15 PM   #2
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pH and Alkalinity (KH, carbonate hardness) are related, as is pH and light (via photosynthesis occurence). You pH will tend to swing down throughout the lights-off cycle, then will swing back up when the lights come on. The extent of this swing can partially be 'controlled' by maintaining a proper Alkalinity level. Most advice I've seen is to maintain it between 7 and 12 dKH, I've seen some advice saying 8-14. If it gets too high, depending on your Calcium level, you can start to get precipitate in your sump and onto your equipment. I have never experienced this, and have kept my tanks anywhere from 7.0 to 11.5 dKH (using Salifert test kit), and the only reef tank (the only place where you would have a lot of Calcium) I keep the CA around 430 currently and the KH I try to maintain it around 8-9.

If you're cycling the tank, you are probably going to see these parameters vary wildly. One thing that I noticed was that when I tore down a tank and temporarily kept the LR in a tub full of water (FW) that when I set the tank back up (it was a 200 w/150 lbs LR) the KH would drop a full point each day. Eventually the rock sucked up all the carbonate it 'needed' and I haven't had to adjust the KH at all for months.

I use Brightwell Aquatics Alkalin-8.3P to boost the KH. That product touts that it will raise your pH to 8.3 and then you can continue to add it to boost your KH without affecting pH. What I've basically found is that while it can raise your KH well (although at about 1/2 the recommended dose) usually your KH stabilizes out to the point where you don't need to adjust it that often, and your pH will continue to drop.

Kind of a long answer but I hope it helps.

Also I have found the use of a pH meter to be COMPLETELY indispensable. I bought the Hanna Instruments HI 98129 combo pH / TDS meter and will never go back. Only drawback is that it costs like $150 new and then you need to buy the calibration and storage solutions. I got a sweet deal on one on eBay with all of that for $100 though. Well worth every penny.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:57 PM   #3
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What is your PH about an hour before the lights go out? What other reading are you getting on your PH?
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:02 PM   #4
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It seems that in the evening the pH is 8.3 and in the morning and afternoon its 7.8.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:58 AM   #5
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That would be NORMAL. You need to check pH at the same time of day for comparison. As Floyd pointed out, pH is lowest just before the lights come on and highest just before they go off.

I use a continuous monitoring meter and see the same type of swing. 7.85 in the morning before I leave for work, and 8.1 before lights out.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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ok thanks guys. problem solved.
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