Struggling with ph.

thatone08

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Forgive the length, trying to be as specific as I can.

Have a 30 breeder in the basement with sump for about 40 gallons of total water volume. Ph readings from apex probe has always showed the ph as very low.

Bought a salifert ph test kit to check against the probe and also calibration solution to ensure probe wasn’t off. As far as I can tell it is working properly.

I have a window near the tank but it is below ground so even though it’s open it doesn’t boost it a whole lot without opening the windows in the rest of the house. Due to the current heat it’s not an option.

Have trialed running an airline from skimme outside through cracking the window and taping the rest so humidity isn’t crazy in a basement.Ive seen marginal gains. Will be exploring more on this this. Concern on this is, Iwill need to run the line up and out of the cover on the side of the house. Neighbor on this side has lawn treated every couple weeks. And as of late we have had air quality warnings.

I keep alkalinity between 8.5 and 9.5. Dose manually when needed. BRS mixing jug for all dosing. Alkalinity I have both, the ph boosting mix is used when dosing tank, the one that doesn’t increase ph as much is used for adjusting water when mixing salt.

Salt Hw. Thinking of switching, as I’m finding myself not being close to what the levels stated on the box are.

Have an air scrubber that is currently not in use during the attempt of pulling in outside air with skimmer. Media is expensive and in the long run probably won’t help me much.

I have not tried the air stone test, but figured with all the windows opened it would just further confirm high co2 inside.

Only thing I have not tried is dripping kalk. Not against it, just worried about runaway calcium and alkalinity levels to maintain ph.

With all this said, is there something I might not be accounting for.

Additional tank info
Flow- 2 Nero 3
Dry rock and some bio filter media. Maxspect balls and plates.
 
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thatone08

thatone08

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How low is your very low pH?

Are there stove and water heater vents that are not removing enough CO2 from the dwelling?
Has hit about 7.4 a few times, consistently dips into 7.7 range. And atleast once a week the 7.6 range. Last night dropped to 7.54 this was my fault as I replaced a filter sock that hadn’t been pre washed, and skimmer was going nuts so I turned it off. Has risen to 7.7 overnight with the skimmer off.

Stove there is no true ventilation. It is on an interior wall so there is a hood with carbon and a fan. Water heater is vented believe it is going to the attic.
 
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thatone08

thatone08

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Had a pretty bad bacteria bloom when I started the tank. Last summer/fall where it was milky. Can I have to much bio media and bacteria growth that is either consuming or producing a biproduct of their biological processes that could lead to suppressed ph. Or is it only going to be a co2 issue.
 

GARRIGA

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Same situation with high room co2 and kalk was useless. Pushed my alkalinity up 5 dkh and pH improvement a mere 0.3.

Ran a diy Fuge/ATS that raised pH to 8.1 from typical 7.5 to 7.7. Tank was dismantled due to new floors and next iteration utilizing a larger Fuge to see how that goes. I'm expecting this will solve my pH concerns without adding buffer since that Fuge also process nitrates and returns base lost during nitrification that would have otherwise lower my pH.

Can a section of the sump be used as a refugium? Can also add a HOB option as I just did. Sometimes nature solves our problems. Has long before we kept life in a box of water. Keeping it simple my approach.

Below is a Tidal 75 on a 20H and upgrading to an AquaClear 110 due to the much larger volume. Going to be fed by a canister so I can polish the water and decompose detritus and keep the macroalgae as clean as possible. This should help estimate how much macroalgae need for my main. Light will be on the back and top with pot scrubbers that will hopefully contain GHA vs having that take over the macroalgae. Work in progress therefore changes will be made.

You can add additional HOB solutions if one not enough. Including on the back of the tank and mine will be filled by a canister vs having an ugly siphon in the display although that's not a concern with sump orientation.

DIY FUGE-ATS.jpg
 
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thatone08

thatone08

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You can waste a life time on that parameter. In most cases it’s just bad testing.
In most settings, PH will be what it is. And that’s fine.

I’ve not tested PH now for more than 5 years.
Yea, I only want it in an acceptable range, not striving for 8.3. Only concern is plan to be sps dominant, and want to make sure the really low swings don’t happen, and start preventing growth or dissolving skeleton.
 
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thatone08

thatone08

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Same situation with high room co2 and kalk was useless. Pushed my alkalinity up 5 dkh and pH improvement a mere 0.3.

Ran a diy Fuge/ATS that raised pH to 8.1 from typical 7.5 to 7.7. Tank was dismantled due to new floors and next iteration utilizing a larger Fuge to see how that goes. I'm expecting this will solve my pH concerns without adding buffer since that Fuge also process nitrates and returns base lost during nitrification that would have otherwise lower my pH.

Can a section of the sump be used as a refugium? Can also add a HOB option as I just did. Sometimes nature solves our problems. Has long before we kept life in a box of water. Keeping it simple my approach.

DIY FUGE-ATS.jpg
I have been looking into a hang on back. Fuge. Bought tank used and not a fan of the sump at all. It is 2 chambers and filter holder,skimmer , heaters, and apex probes are in the first chamber and the return pump and additional bio media in the second part.

Which hang on the back did you go with?
 

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The fact that your biggest gas exchange (skimmer) being turned off caused your pH to rise from 7.4 to 7.7 tells me you likely have high room CO2.

Your options are either scrub that air before it gets injected into your system from the skimmer, or look into dealing with high ambient CO2.

I agree with above, is your house ventilating properly?
 
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thatone08

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Water heater is vented into the attic? Or vent goes through the attic and out?
Would have to go up and confirm. Can do that later tonight. Would expect to go out, but the builders that did this subdivision I wouldn’t put anything past them. The attic does have some decent venting though. From and back of house have vents and I hear the wind passing through all day.

I can add some picture of what I’m seeing in the basement later on too if that helps.
 
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The fact that your biggest gas exchange (skimmer) being turned off caused your pH to rise from 7.4 to 7.7 tells me you likely have high room CO2.

Your options are either scrub that air before it gets injected into your system from the skimmer, or look into dealing with high ambient CO2.

I agree with above, is your house ventilating properly?
So the skimmer shut off. Is what dropped it to 7.54. It was around 7.7 due to the oven being on for a while. But it did raise overnight whether that was from surface agitation and the oven being off, but I would expect if the skimmer was on. It wouldn’t have dropped that low as it is pulling air from outside.
 

GARRIGA

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I have been looking into a hang on back. Fuge. Bought tank used and not a fan of the sump at all. It is 2 chambers and filter holder,skimmer , heaters, and apex probes are in the first chamber and the return pump and additional bio media in the second part.

Which hang on the back did you go with?
Modified Tidal 75 but going with AquaClear 110. Updated my post so you can see the details and pic.

Upgrading sumps easy enough and could go Triton method which would be as simple as removing everything out of the first chamber and loading that up with macroalgae then adding a reactor for floss and media which can be likely placed in the return section attached to the return pump so water is polished before reintroduction to tank. Assuming one doesn't need the skimmer.

Otherwise adding HOB to sump easy enough. Those AquaClear about 14" wide. However, in the sump the water fall will be extremely loud although will help gas exchange.
 

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I had a basement tank too. I got mine up by running kalk through a continuous doser, opening a window slightly to let fresh air in the basement. I have a fan near the sump and circulate the air in the basement. For me kalk changed the game. I find it hard to overdose kalkwasser at least in terms of alk and cal. Wwc runs a lot of kalk I'm talking gallons a day for their systems and it does a good job. Usually I find that you have to add additional alk and cal through other means to keep up with demand unless you run alot of kalk. It keeps my ph around 8.2
 

danimal1211

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Another option would be a diy chaeto reactor. Pretty simple diy. I tried it on my 10 gallon and it was overkill.
 

GARRIGA

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Here's an idea from @slingfox and this is his pic using pot scrubbers to grow GHA. No clue how to link in his post. Could place those in a tray as he did and see if that scrubs co2 enough to raise pH. Rather brilliant idea.

GHA - POT SCRUBBERS.jpeg
 

Justdrew

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The fact that your biggest gas exchange (skimmer) being turned off caused your pH to rise from 7.4 to 7.7 tells me you likely have high room CO2.

Your options are either scrub that air before it gets injected into your system from the skimmer, or look into dealing with high ambient CO2.

I agree with above, is your house ventilating properly?
I'm in the same situation as this. My house is about 6 years old and very airtight. We are in Vegas so 100+ degrees does not allow the windows to be opened. Using a cheap CO2 monitor i range from about 500 when no one is home to 1200+ when people are around or using the stove. When I turn off my skimmer my pH rises. I run it part time, only during the daylight hours to balance pH. I also use Sodium Hydroxide 2 part and use a hybrid Chris Meckley system and only drip kalk if pH drops below 8.3.
 

GARRIGA

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I'm in the same situation as this. My house is about 6 years old and very airtight. We are in Vegas so 100+ degrees does not allow the windows to be opened. Using a cheap CO2 monitor i range from about 500 when no one is home to 1200+ when people are around or using the stove. When I turn off my skimmer my pH rises. I run it part time, only during the daylight hours to balance pH. I also use Sodium Hydroxide 2 part and use a hybrid Chris Meckley system and only drip kalk if pH drops below 8.3.
Skimmer pulling co2 from room but co2 scrubber solves that although as previously mentioned very expensive. I've contemplated keeping Discus due to my room co2 until algae seemed to have solved most of it for me. Now I have an excuse to dose iron which I'm told also solves dinos for which I'd like to never again cross their paths. Almost made me quit entirely :frowning-face:
 
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thatone08

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I'm in the same situation as this. My house is about 6 years old and very airtight. We are in Vegas so 100+ degrees does not allow the windows to be opened. Using a cheap CO2 monitor i range from about 500 when no one is home to 1200+ when people are around or using the stove. When I turn off my skimmer my pH rises. I run it part time, only during the daylight hours to balance pH. I also use Sodium Hydroxide 2 part and use a hybrid Chris Meckley system and only drip kalk if pH drops below 8.3.
With that Meckley method, where does dropping put your calcium and alkalinity at? I like listening to Chris on podcasts and his own videos.
 

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