PH Help


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Hello all,

I am new to this. I haven't been able to keep my Ph up above 8.0. It seems to stay at 7.8 no matter how much Ph buffer I put into it and I am afraid that I have put too much Ph buffer in it, like a whole bottle over 1 week. So far I have lost one plate anemone, one purple seabae, one blue sponge, and my purple leather is looking down. My clam, Xenia, torch coral, and flame scallop, are not looking too bad yet. And the fish (9 of them) look very good.
My calcium is a little high about 500, but I was told this would get the purple coral line algae going, and it did.

I have had my 175 bow front set up for about 2 months now and I decided to add a 75 gal refuge next to my sump. I baffled it and filled it half way with water, then placed lbs of live sand with lbs of Bio sediment. I waited about 3 hours for things to settle and I think I should have waited for 2 or 3 days. My visibility is very bad in my display tank, but it looks like everything is covered in a white dust.

Has anyone else experienced this?
I finally got my lbs of premium live rock looking very good, and now it looks like I screwed it up.:sad:

I could have paid someone to set all of this up and keep it going every month, but I wanted to learn how to maintain and be successfully with a reef tank.
This is getting frustrating! No matter how many books that I read on this.

Thanks, looking for advise
Do you have a alkalinity test kit? You should always test your alkalinity if you are dosing products used to raise it. If you don't have a test kit, maybe you can take your water to a LFS to be tested? The pH issues your are having could be caused by issue other than alkalinity.

You can blow the dust off of the rocks and corals with a turkey baster or powerhead.
Sounds like you were doing OK I bet with that much Buffer your KH is through the roof! That might explain the losses. You are gonna have some precipitate with that new fuge but it sounds like it is settling well. I would give it a few more days to thin out and then do a spot vacumn in the main tank to clean the rocks. This will cloud it up again for a day or so but it will clear and the rocks will be clean. As for the PH you can dose with Kalk to raise it without killing the KH Just my 2 cents for what thats worth!
Thanks, I will take a water sample to the LFS and I will purchase a alkilinity test. Things have cleared up this morning. Hopefully I can get on the right track and become a ARC member and find out how to make frags from my corals. I was thinking that the white dust was mostly form the bio sediment and not the sand. I only put 10lbs of it in with 100lbs of sand. And of course the half of bottle of ph buffer didn't help. So far everything is living.
Can you give some details on what you're dosing (brands and product name)? For everything, not just calcium and buffer.

There is the possibility that you've hit a critical point with your calcium where that white dust is precipitated calcium. That can lead to a drop in pH which buffer won't necessarily cure.

Also, a calcium level of 400 is just fine for getting coraline algae. The important part is that your level is steady over time. Many additive regimens cause spikes instead of keeping steady day-to-day levels which may be where the 500 mg/l advice is coming from.
First, Welcome to our forum and we look forward to having you as a club member! I'm sure we can help you figure this out and you will learn a lot in the process. It is very respectable that you want to be so involved with setting up and maintaining your tank--you'll be much better off in the end and you'll enjoy the hobby that much more. You have a huge support team at your disposal here pretty much 24hrs a day.
As was pointed out, many additives differ in subtle and not so subtle ways. pH buffers can be different from alkalinity buffers, and it is much more desirable to raise your alkalinity to the proper levels in balance with calcium levels, and let your pH follow. Just using a pH buffer can be like treating a symptom and not a cause, and the effects are shorter lasting.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most marine life doesn't deal well with sudden changes, so, with the help of all the minds here, make a diagnosis, determine a proper course of action, and take those steps (but don't try to get immediate results!). Through the process of elimination you can usually figure out and fix the problem.

The main thing that will help us help you is to give us a fuller picture of your system. how old is it, what salt do you use, what's the specific gravity, what inhabitants do you have, what kind of lights, flow, filtration, etc. Also, what are the other critical levels--ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, temp? pH can often be depressed by a build up of CO2 in the system, so if it is not well oxygenated by water movement and a good protein skimmer, or there is a high ratio of CO2 in your house where the tank is, this can tend to have an effect.

I would let the calcium fall to 400 to lower your risk of precipitation, which, as pointed out above, is the result an imbalance in calcium and alkalinity (too much of both).

Keep an eye on your alkalinity levels and check your pH throughout the day. the low should be in the morning and the high just before lights out, but ideally it should not swing too much (I like to see it between 8.1 and 8.3).

since your tank volume is so high, the easiest long term solution for you in my opinion would be a calcium reactor. You may already know this, but just in case, this is a device that desolves aragonite in a reaction chamber through the use of CO2 injection, and then drips the effluent into your tank, adding both calcium and alkalinity in a more consistent manner.

Also, I assume you are adding water to replace what evaporates from your tank? What are you using? One thing you can do to help with your pH/Alk problems is set up a simple drip system and drip Kalkwasser into your tank to replace the evaporated water. If you need to know more about these things, just ask and folks here can explain it easily. Though they may sound complicated, these are pretty simple ways of replinishing calcium, carbonate hardness (alk), and other trace elements without dosing your tank every day by hand.

Do measure your Alk and get back to us so we can help you get your tank stabilized and minimize your losses. And ask lots of questions!

Well I just became a member.

I will try to describe my set up and what I use and the parameters.

OK, I have had my 175 bow front and 30 gal sump up and running good for 2 months now. I have 3 250w 14K metal halides and 2 96w pc antics with 12 LCD looner lights. I use a coralife 220 supper skimmer and a 25w UV sterilizer.
I am using a 2300 gph pump, which is now running up from my basement. I built tall stands to get things as high as possible and figure my gph is about 1500. I also have 2 small power heads in display tank.

I have 200lbs of live sand and 160lbs of live rock in display tank. I also have another 100lbs of live sand with 10lbs of bio sediment in my 75 gal refugium with 2 clumps of sea grass, one clump of green climphora (I forget how you say it), and 2 little green plant that look like little pin trees.

For fish, I have 3 rabbit fox face, one large sail fin tang, one medium Christmas wrasse, one scooter blenny, one yellow tang, one Damsel (black/bright blue streaks), one long nose hawk fish.

For corals I have one large clam (blue/green color), one large flame scallop, one green torch frag, one pulsating Xenia, and a large purple finger leather, which don't look good.

For inverts, I have about 100 or so snails, and about 100 crabs, 2 sand sifter starfish, and several mis. crabs that came with live rock and one horse shoe crab.

I have my Alk tested and it was very high, about 14.0. My ph is holding at 7.9. My Ammonia and Nitrite are 0 and nitrate is below 10. My temperature is holding about 77 deg. I just check my calcium and it dropped to 250. I guess that is why everything is now white, it looks like Christmas in my tank. The water is very clear though. So, I guess this is from me dumping too much ph buffer in tank.

My LFS told me that the only way to get my alk down is to do a lot of water changing. Is this true? I would have thought there was an additive to lower it? My coralife RO/DI only make 50 gpd, so this will be a slow process.

I have been using Oceanic salt, Seachem 8.3 buffer, Seachem calcium, Seachem magnesium, Kent micro-vert vitamins + trace supplement, Kent micro-vert invertebrate food, and Kent Iodine.

I really hope someone can tell me how to lower my alk without the water changes.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
After putting an entire bottle of buffer into your tank, then yes... unfortunately its going to take ALOT of water changes to get your parameters back to normal.
<span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: 'Verdana','sans-serif';">The water changes are the best way to go. You only need to bring it down to the 11-12dHK range to get everything balanced. The water changes should help the calcium levels rise, but you may need to supplement some calcium if it's still low after your alkalinity stabilizes.</span></span>
I mean you could add more than the norm of calcium to the tank and that should lower alk, but its not a desired effect cuz you can throw the balance off in the other direction, sadly enough water changes are the way to go.