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Old 08-21-2008, 05:50 PM   #1
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pH issue - need some help please

So I have a wet/dry system from lifereef and a skimmer from him as well on a 265G tank, that being said, I'm having an issue maintaining an acceptable pH level....I can not for the life of me keep it about 8.15 from 6-1am and 8.11 the rest of the time (lights come on at 4pm), tank temp is ketp at 79 with a chiller. Here are rest of water values:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 20
Salinity: 1.022
Calcium: 417
ORP: ~340 (no ozone used)
Alkalinity: 3meq/l (8.4 dKH) [have tried up to 4meq/l or 14dKH]
pH: 8.11 - 8.15 ( I would really like to achieve 8.25 to 8.3) (as you can see, the swing is not that big, and would not be noticeable on a chemical test kit, but I can not get passed 8.16, 8.17 no matter what I do).

Things done to test to see if anything might be causing it:

1. removed all sand, and all live rock,tank is empty with just fish - only 10 small fish - same thing, no change
2. cleaned out all filters and skimmer - nothing since everything was already cleaned
3. remove glass canopy's in case too much CO2 was getting trapped in the tank - no change, which means I don't have a CO2 problem
4. added two 4" airstones to the sump - went up by .02 (I have a two different types of digital readers)
5. tried new CaribSea Aragamaz Select Dry Sand which - no change

Products Tried to bring pH up:

1. Natureef Seal Alk
2. Kent Marine pH buffer
3. Seachem Marine Buffer (blue label)
4. Seachem Marine Buffer (purple label)

Even more simple test to determin cause:

1. took tank water and let it sit outside of tank for up to 8 hours - no change
2. took tank water and let it sit for up to 8 hours with an air stone - and pH went to 8.24 to 8.25 and stayed there!!!!

So...what does does this all mean...to me, it would sound to me, and I'm no chemist or expert on this, but that the tank is somehow low or being starved of oxygen...could this be the case...and if so, what is the solution...I don't want to have to put airstone inside the tank!

Help please, this is driving me nuts!


p.s. - would this have an affect on high nitrates...I would think so but I need some expert opinions.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:30 PM   #2
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You can raise the pH naturally by making more surface ripple.
Do you have a lid?
What time are you taking the readings? The same time every day?
I don't think pH has a huge direct effect on high nitrAtes.
Personally, that is not a bad pH reading. Remember, stability is better than the "perfect" temporary pH....
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:33 PM   #3
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IMO, there is nothing wrong with that pH. 8.1 is fine.
Here's a few good reef chemistry articles on pH.
The "How To" Guide to Reef Aquarium Chemistry for Beginners, Part 3: pH
Low pH: Causes and Cures
High pH: Causes and Cures
I'll also add this one, since it's a recap of the above.
Solutions to pH Problems
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:00 PM   #4
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So to answer some questions:

1. As for pH readings and times, yes, pH readings are looked at the same times since it's being reported by an Aqucontroller, so it's being reported on the hour.

2. I do not have the lids on the tank now, and I have tried rippling the water substantially with a little sucess, BUT, the evaporation rate of the water is out of control and it border line rains in my house

3. Also, the question regarding the high nitrates was actually surrounding the low rading of pH do to what I think is causing it, low oxygen in the water...would this increate or decrease nitrates...???

4. Yes, 8.1 is fine, but I really prefer 8.2 to 8.3, and so do some of my tangs and angels, moreso the tangs than anythying, while the others really don't seem to care/mind.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:10 PM   #5
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265 G is a big tank, you will need lots of surface ripple to increase the pH. How much flow do you have?
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:27 PM   #6
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flow is not a problem, I have a 3 week old reeflo wahoo, which I've had to valve down.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:14 PM   #7
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Is that pump a powerhead or a return pump.

Water flow will effect your PH as with the time of the day you test and your tanks age.

You want around 5300 GPH flowing in your 265 gallon from independent sources.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:01 PM   #8
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Have you calibrated your pH meter?

Don't forget to take into account the accuracy of the pH meters that we use. The amount of error possible with a "perfect" meter - calibrated or not - is more than the amount you're trying to adjust for! So you could just be chasing ghosts.

I don't think your fish or corals really care if it's 8.15 or 8.25... as long as its consistent.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:07 PM   #9
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it's the return, can't do more than that on a pre-drilled glass tank, and not going to drill tank after the fact. Also on a fish only tank or even a reef tank, I'd have to say while more is always better as is naturally ocurring in the ocean, I'd have to say that's overkill in my opinion.

On mine I'm limited by 1" drains of ~600gph drain capacity per.
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:11 PM   #10
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You need powerheads for creating a water current throught the whole tank. The drain and return are just 1 part of your eco system. Then water movement would be another part.
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