High pH level!


crsublette

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3 main components to test is KH, Total Ammonia (or NH3 more specifically), and Nitrite. These parameters are the ones that cause problems for beginners. Once they become familiar with these, then they can look on to the others, but I bet ya a hobbyist can get away for a long time, with few if any problems, in their pond.

Water changes essentially dilutes the pond water to become more like the source water's chemistry. If the source water is not good, then water changes from the source water could be causing more harm than good to the pond.

I think the avid hobbyists can become a bit overly obsessive about testing too much. It is like a skinny person trying to stay skinny by always counting calories with every single meal. It's really not that necessary to do to stay skinny nor to have a healthy pond.
 
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crsublette

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Waterbug said:
I'm also not really sure why people focus on pH rather than KH. I assume it's because most people have heard/read the term pH and so they figure they understand pH. Maybe for a few it's confusion over alkaline vs alkalinity which may be the case here.
I think focus on pH since EVERYONE and their dog says they should look at their pH and I bet they could not even explain why. It is one of the "follow the crowd" things in an essence that says, "hey, everyone is testing their pH so I should do it too."

I bet ya very few pond hobbyists, outside of the avid crowd, truely understand pH. All they get told is a number range like, such as "8.4 or 7.8 or whatever is best", so then the new hobbyist just "nods their heads in a agreement like a robot". Then, they wonder why they can't get a stable pH. Focusing on pH will never bring someone to a stable pH.

There needs to be a change in this regard... Folk really need to start substituting the ' p ' for a ' k ' followed by a " anything above 200ppm ". If you're KH is above 200ppm, then you'll never have problems with pH.

I don't know who started the entire deal about focusing on pH, but I believe it has cause more problems than realized.
 

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Waterbug said:
Salt and KH are not related. Something like baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) does have a salt component but it is the calcium carbonate, or calcium bicarbonate, component that's measured by KH and is responsible for pH buffering. Salt, sodium chloride (NaCl) is just what remains when baking soda reacts with acid. The only role salt plays is it's useful in producing a cheaper product, baking soda.

Pure calcium carbonate can be used as a buffer, it's just more expensive. Water movement can affect KH too by lowering CO2. So it can be a little confusing. But then so can pH.
Sorry WB, that is not correct. Sodium is not considered to be a salt in the context of pH chemistry. Sodium is considered to be an electrolyte element.

"salt" in the context of pH chemistry is defined as an ionic compound that result from the neutralization of an acid or base. In our context, "salt" is the carbonate or bicarbonate.

KH is the measure of the buffer system, not including calcium. In the context of our pond's water buffer system, the KH is a measurement of the carbonate (CO3-- or CO32- depending on how ya write it, and HCO3-).

I was actually being redundant when I stated "pH is the result of the KH and its salt". To be more precise, pH is the result of a weak acid (carbonic acid, H2CO2) and its salt (CO32- or HCO3-). For anyone curious, carbonic acid (H2CO2) is the result of carbon dioxide (CO2) being dissolved into water (H2O).
 

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Waterbug said:
Pure calcium carbonate can be used as a buffer, it's just more expensive.
True, calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is used as a buffer in the form of aragonite, oyster shells, coral, Lithaqua, etc, but CaCO3 is extremely slow to precipitate in the water and requires a lower pH to dissolve the CaCO3 more readily. In coral reef systems, there are CaCO3 reactors where the CaCO3 is mixed with injected carbon dioxide (CO2), the CO2 dramatically temporarily reduces the pH in the reactor chamber, to increase the dissolving of CaCO3 into the water.

In regards to the expense, it depends on the product you're using. Limestone (which is a mix of aragonite and other crystals) is incredibly cheap, but a tremendous amount of it have to be used since it is slow to dissolve.


Waterbug said:
Water movement can affect KH too by lowering CO2. So it can be a little confusing. But then so can pH.
That is not necessarily correct. CO2 has almost zero, if extremely little, effect on KH due to how carbonic acid is the denominator in the pH equation.

In the context of the buffer system in our pond water...

The salt is HC03- is the bicarbonate ion concentration, which is the ion measured by total alkalinity (sometimes referred to as KH in less precise terms)

The weak acid is H2C03, which is CO2 dissolved in water (H2O)

pH = pKa + log([HCO3-]/[H2CO3])

Also, CO2 and H2CO3 is always in equilibrium in the water due to electrochemical bonding. When the CO2 is dissolved in water, it creates carbonic acid (H2CO3). Since electrochemical bonding forces equilibrium, some of the H2CO3 seperates to forms an extra Hydrogen ion (H+) and bicarbonate (HCO3-). The extra H+ lowers the pH of the water. The extra HCO3- temparorily and slightly increases the KH.

When aeration is activated, then this forces some the extra H+ and HCO3- to become H2CO3 and then the aeration dissolves some of the H2CO3 into CO2 and H2O, with the air pushing the CO2 to the surface, which allows the CO2 to be forced into the atmosphere most of the time. If there is a heavy thin layer of CO2 in the atmosphere above the water, then this will prevent the CO2 from dissipating out of the water into the atmosphere, but this only would happen in an enclosed container due to the smallest amount of wind would displace this CO2 gas layer.

Rarely do folk have a problem with low calcium, but it does happen so this is why it is good to at least take a glance as to what your calcium levels are in the water by talking to the city water processing plant or dong a calcium test. A high GH does not indicate a high calcium level; GH is quite deceptive. Still, again, I stres that KH is still far more important.
 

crsublette

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Now I got pretty dang technical in my two previous posts.

The begginer does NOT need to know all those details to be able to properly monitor pH or KH.


Waterbug said:
I think it would be way less confusing, and our hobby would be way better served, if we didn't use the term KH at all, or considered any other buffering agent other than baking soda. Then we could say "test baking soda level" instead of KH. And we'd say "raise the baking soda level to 200 ppm". At least it would be simpler for people who didn't enjoy all the details. But I don't see that happening.
People really do not need to know details anyways in the first place.

In the context of our ponds, I like the idea of calling it a "test baking soda level" instead of KH. It's not that simple when managing amazon planted aquariums or coral reef systems, but it'll work for what we're doing.
 

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To make one particular clarification on my part and to maybe help the reader...

The KH term is a slang, in the way we use it for "carbonate hardness". The correct term to be used is "total alkalinity". However, in our context, total alkalinity and KH is synonymous.

In actuality, KH (or "carbonate hardness") actually is just a "catch all" phrase to measure the concentration of all buffering elements, that is the presence of any weak acid and its salt. When measuring KH, in addition to carbonate, you are also actually measuring acetate, phosphate, borate, and various other buffering. However, in our context of ponding, the carbonate buffering system is the most prevalent. So, we end up using a KH test to determine the carbonate buffering.

As far as I am aware, there is no true test for carbonate (CO32-) or for bicarbonate (HCO3-) that we can apply.

So, we pretty much call it KH for shorthand.

Again... Folk don't need to know these details. Folk actually don't need to know much to merely operate, but I think the details are interesting in how it puts all the puzzle pieces together.
 
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From an idiots point of view (MINE), if I suspect something is wrong, the first thing I do is test Ammonia and Nitrite. If both of those are fine (zero) I look at PH next. I know to you all, that makes little sense. A few of you, as well as my hubby, have tried to explain KH to me, too many times, and I just can not wrap my head around "buffering" ... I just figure some day I will have that "duh" moment and will be able to connect the dots. For now, I accept that KH has something to do with preventing the PH level from crashing or having major swings. So to me, and probably wrong, but if the PH tests where it normally does, I am not in "crash mode" ... of course for these reasons (and more) hubby is in charge of our water conditions. Just responding in the regard of why some of us dummying test the PH:)
 

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Capewind, I completely understand your positioning but one a quick question...

pH is a reactionary result. This means the problem has already happened and you're fixing it afterwards.

Why is it easier for you to understand pH and not KH ?? I'm not asking you about the chemistry, just talking about the test and result.
 
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I honestly cant answer you in a way that makes any sense LOL. KH is just a number to me. You could tell me the ideal target number was x, but I have no basis to understand what is bad, in either direction, or HOW bad, what to do about it,, when or how ... So I leave that all to hubby LOL. If I am testing PH, it is because I, the constant worrywart is thinking something is off... PH has always been okay, but since it is a test I am familiar with, it falls into check the easiest and most obvious first. I need to be able to understand the WHY, and for some reason, I cant "get" the KH issue through my brain LOL. I *do* need to better understand the chemistry angle and cant get it LOL. Hubby sometimes teases me about being the dumbest smart person he knows. The hidden joke is IQ wise, I test out extremely high, but I get stumped by some of the simplest things.
 
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Capewind, I completely understand your positioning but one a quick question...

pH is a reactionary result. This means the problem has already happened and you're fixing it afterwards.

Why is it easier for you to understand pH and not KH ?? I'm not asking you about the chemistry, just talking about the test and result.
Do you now understand Charles that the average fish keeper just doesnt really care about KH relying instead as I said on PH , KH GH and others arent tested for.
Unless your buying say the Tetra pond kit they dont see KH or GH, buying instead the Ammonia PH Nitrite and Nitrarte they keep things nice and simple some dont even understand the chemical terms,and what you are trying so well to explain is lost on them .
Weve had 27 years in this hobby now and have talked to many, many people thats how we worked out the keeping things simple formula, you tend to loose them otherwise

rgrds

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Dave, maybe you are lucky enough to live someplace where you don't get ph swings. I don't understand all of Charles chemistry, but I do understand how to read a kh test, and what to do with the test result. And my fish really appreciate me taking the time to learn it, particularly when we have ten inches of rain in five days.
 
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crsublette said:
Sorry WB, that is not correct. Sodium is not considered to be a salt in the context of pH chemistry. Sodium is considered to be an electrolyte element.

"salt" in the context of pH chemistry is defined as an ionic compound that result from the neutralization of an acid or base. In our context, "salt" is the carbonate or bicarbonate.
Sorry C, that is not correct. You can call carbonate a salt if you wish, your prerogative. Doesn't make it true though.
 
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Dave, maybe you are lucky enough to live someplace where you don't get ph swings. I don't understand all of Charles chemistry, but I do understand how to read a kh test, and what to do with the test result. And my fish really appreciate me taking the time to learn it, particularly when we have ten inches of rain in five days.
We test for KH but the adverage fish keeper doesnt, my fish also appreciate me taking the time to learn.
One of my two mentors was the Chair of the BKKS Health Standards Committee who we are lucky to have as a member of our club, so I was taken through everything by him.
But the fact still remains thatin helping people we came across this time and time again, people dont see it as a necessary test to do.
I dont know why pehaps they didnt do well in on the Chemistry at school, we also found they also aviod other tests like Disolved Oxygen content or DOC Total disolved solids or TDS all important.
I've a feeling that this problem stems from peoples Aquarium days they didnt do it then and perhaps they feel they dont need it now ?.
Can I ask you if you test for DOC or TDS?
Remember back in the days of being a Kid who won a goldfish on the fair......... we never tested for anything back then, just changed the water in the bowl yet those goldfish if you were lucky lived for many years mine managed ten, we didnt even know to dechorinate, its a wonder they did surive or were the some tough Hombre's back then ??

rgrds

Dave
 

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capewind said:
I honestly cant answer you in a way that makes any sense LOL. KH is just a number to me. You could tell me the ideal target number was x, but I have no basis to understand what is bad, in either direction, or HOW bad, what to do about it,, when or how ... So I leave that all to hubby LOL. If I am testing PH, it is because I, the constant worrywart is thinking something is off... PH has always been okay, but since it is a test I am familiar with, it falls into check the easiest and most obvious first. I need to be able to understand the WHY, and for some reason, I cant "get" the KH issue through my brain LOL. I *do* need to better understand the chemistry angle and cant get it LOL. Hubby sometimes teases me about being the dumbest smart person he knows. The hidden joke is IQ wise, I test out extremely high, but I get stumped by some of the simplest things.
This is the point I am trying to make. I bet ya don't understand PH any better than KH.

It IS just a number to you just like pH is just a number to you. You don't need to understatnd WHY. If you can't "get it", that is the chemistry angle, then don't worry about it since it it completely not necessary.

You are told a number with PH and, whenever your test result strays from that number you are told, then only then you get the impression that "something is off".

When you're addressing the problems with PH, you are actually correcting the KH.
 

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Waterbug said:
Sorry C, that is not correct. You can call carbonate a salt if you wish, your prerogative. Doesn't make it true though.
Carbonate. In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid.


Waterbug said:
Specifically Total Ammonia is NH3 and NH4.
Correct. However, you misunderstood the point I was making. Folk are actually worried about the NH3. NH3 is what is toxic to fish. NH4 only becomes toxic to fish whenever the NH4 converts to NH3.

Personally, I only monitor the NH3 whenever I start cycling a new tank.
 
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Dave 54 said:
Do you now understand Charles that the average fish keeper just doesnt really care about KH relying instead as I said on PH , KH GH and others arent tested for.
Unless your buying say the Tetra pond kit they dont see KH or GH, buying instead the Ammonia PH Nitrite and Nitrarte they keep things nice and simple some dont even understand the chemical terms,and what you are trying so well to explain is lost on them .
Weve had 27 years in this hobby now and have talked to many, many people thats how we worked out the keeping things simple formula, you tend to loose them otherwise

rgrds

Dave
I firmly believe MOST don't understand the chemical terms, including the ones you find so basic. I firmly believe MOST folk making things out to be much more complicated than they truly are.

Dave, maybe you can answer the same question I posed to Capewind.

Why is it easier for you to understand pH and not KH ?? I'm not asking you about the chemistry, just talking about the test and result.
 
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I'm probably the least arrogant of people in the world and you have our deepest sympathy on how your evening has gone but your calling the wrong person arrogant.
It upsets me that you are stressed out.
How do you think we felt after our break in stressed wasnt the word however, the crook undid tears of counseling ridding me of childhood trauma in one, now I worry that I may need help again swtich off which this person who invaided my home and my sanctuary against all the bad things happened in my younger life, bad things that happened deeply scaring me for the rest of my life,how do you think I feel about that?
The man that used such violence on me that a was black and blue for weeks yet clever enough not to leave bruises on my face in those days kids didnt have a voice in the UK .
The man that caused me such mental pain that for years I self medicated on drink to bury the pain he caused!!!....
I didnt take it out verbally on someone just because they have an opinion on something they care deeply about, arrogance is for others on this forum not me and the KKU website reflects that go take a look and see just how wrong you are on that.
Is this the way this forum goes you shout some poor bugger down because he/she has an opinion that another person is allowed to lord it over think again...
My name isnt Dr Kevin Novak a man who came across to spread the word about his Anoxic filtration yet got a disgusting time of it which the people involved should be ashamed of.
My Name is Dave dont forget that and I have a humble opinion of myself almost subserviant you do when your told at the end of a mans fist knee and boot that your shit and as a boy of 11 .
It makes me sad that you feel that way, yet I'm man enough to put my hand up and say this not have an entrenched opinion of myself.
I hope things get better for you I really do.

rgrds

Dave
 
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Dave, I flipped on the statement of the wording of the average ponder doesnt care, in reference to a conversation involving myself. The rest was out of line, and for that I apologize... I already emailed Larkin asking for it to be deleted. Still havent slept and beyond exhausted on all levels.
 
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gardengimp said:
Dave, maybe you are lucky enough to live someplace where you don't get ph swings. I don't understand all of Charles chemistry, but I do understand how to read a kh test, and what to do with the test result. And my fish really appreciate me taking the time to learn it, particularly when we have ten inches of rain in five days.
This is exactly my point. Thanks Dianne.

Folk only need to understand KH well enough to do the test and to compare the results to a chart, that is exactly as folk do with PH, except there is one very important caveat between KH and PH


When observing PH, you are being reactive. Treating the problem after it has happened.

When observing KH, you are being proactive. Treating the problem before it has happened.


It is quite dissapointing the big freshwater test kit from API does not include a KH test. Instead of having a single KH test, these big test kits rather wants to confuse the consumer by having two PH tests, that is one for low range and one for high range or one for all ranges. I think these type of products just further encourages the problems created from focusing on pH.

And, to use Dave's language, folk should be ashamed of them self for encouraging others to focus on pH. It is definitely that important of a basic water parameter folk need to know.
 

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