Baffled by pH

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by MolaMola, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    I have a handle on other tank tasks that have been pressing, so now I need to attend to my problems with pH and Alk and am not sure how to begin.

    - Low pH - 8.1 in AM, drops to 7.8 or lower in afternoon, back to 8.1 by next AM.
    - Drop is backwards of what I expect, but this is in a classroom and as soon as students leave the pH starts increasing. So, too much CO2? Too little O2? Both? Should I try to measure ambient CO2?
    - Not enough photosynthesis happening in tank during the day? Should I have fuge light on during the day instead of night?
    - I totally need to clean and calibrate my Apex probes, but regardless the cycle is there.

    - Low Alk - at this point I don't even know the value. 6ish? Thought I loved obvious color change of Red Sea Pro something test kits. If anybody uses this... on the Alk/dKH one, the color changes from blue to rust on the card. Does yours turn gold/yellow instead? Do I read it just when the green is gone and it is yellow?
    I also have a less precise API KH kit I was going to have students use but I even have trouble reading that color change.
    - I have BRS 2-part dosers since summer still not set up. Supposedly not too difficult but will take time to read about it, set it up, find a place for reservoirs, see if I have Apex outlets, etc. This is why I never got around to it. Have been sometimes dosing by hand and trying not to increase Alk too much, but this spikes pH and I have not done it on a regular routine. I guess I have my answer - set up dosers; I think not interested in kalk at school.

    I have been really lazy and anxious about addressing these problems, but I need to get on it now.
    Man, it is really annoying to not have the tanks at my house. My choice, but frustrating nonetheless.
  2. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    My PH stay around 7.8 to 7.9 and does not budge.

    How old is your alk kit? Do you want a fresh alk test kit? I have a Red Sea Alk that I don't use (I only need Mag and Calcium, I use Hanna for Alk)
  3. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    It's most likely your students. My pH will drop 0.2-0.3 units within 2-3 hours of having 6+ guests at my house. Best thing to do is run an airline from your skimmer To outside or if that isn't possible, run a CO2 scrubber.

    BRS did a piece on CO2 scrubbers:
    Coral reefer likes this.
  4. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    Hi Mola, credit to you for trying to figure it out and end the tank anxiety! My thoughts on the issues:

    1. pH, I think it's all about those little critters sucking up all the O2 and building up the CO2 in the room. When I had 20 people over at our home for thanksgiving my Apex alarmed with low pH and immediately rebounded when I opened windows. But your levels aren't really that bad. My tank swings about 0.2 between day and night. My levels were also at your levels before I added a CO2 scrubber. During the day when the kids are there, consider opening the windows and having good ventilation.

    2. Alk, your life will change when you get a Hanna alk checker. Really a great investment. It's so easy and it gives you a digital reading. Once you have that you can dose alk manually or having a dosing pump do it. I love my Neptune Dos. It's perfect for managing brs 2 part. But it is expensive.

    So in conclusion, open windows when class is in session and get a Hanna alk checker. And when you bring your alk up bring it up slowly.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. PH swings from 7.8-8.1 aren't going to hurt a thing. And the Hanna ALK checker is the one Hanna that's a must have. In less than a minute you can check Alk and if it's steady you can feel safe your calc is ok as well.
  6. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    Thanks for the replies. I thought that pH was unusually low and was wondering why everything in the tank looks fine. Hanna Checker sounds like the plan for me! Plus I'll get dosers set up. Tank is right at a door so maybe I can try leaving it open a crack and see if it has an effect. Playground is right there too, so I can switch to clever airline tubing suggestion if it's too noisy. I made sure one return line disturbs the water surface for gas exchange but doesn't help much if the room is full of CO2.
    Thanks again for the suggestions.
  7. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    What happens to your pH on the weekends when no one is there? Does it do the same thing?
  8. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    Weekends and winter break it looks like it ranges 8.0-8.2, dropping down at night and rising during the day like a tank in a normal place.
    Well, Apex logs are very cool. I guess I have been so concerned with room temp (47 deg at times!) I have not examined the other parameters. Very cool.

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