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I am picking up an AP running system this weekend.  I got a deal and grabbed it before i had time to learn much about APs.  i was told there is a way to raise and lower PH organically like vinegar and baking soda.  anyone have info on how to do this and what to use?  also, a friend gave me a PH tester they had for their pool.  will that work to test ph and chlorine (i'm trying to off-gas chlorine for when we pick up the AP system this weekend) or do i need to go to a petstore or somewhere?  anything else i need to get and be testing?  thx! 

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get an API master test (freshwater) kit.. this tests for ph, amonia, nitrites and nitrates..

chlorine will offgas in 24 hours with aeration/exposure to sunlight..

there are "organic" ways to adjust ph, but, with a new system, starting up it's actually good to have a somewhat "high" ph.. my first system ran at around 7.8 to 8.0 the first 9 months or so, and i only needed to add a little maxicrop with iron to supplment the plants due to the nutrient lockout..

unless your media affects your ph, it will drop naturally, and you need to be aware of that, if it goes to low, you could have a die off of your nitrifiying bacteria, i use hydrated lime to keep my ph around 7.2-7.4 now, and my system has been running for 3 years

I use calcium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, 50/50.  The person you are buying from may be willing to throw in a test kit - You need it.

thx!  where can i get those items and anything u (or anyone) can tell me about testing the water before i get a test kit from the seller?  i'd like to start testing and prepping the water i have offgassing and waiting for the fish to come.  thx!

also, if i test the water and it's too high or too low, would i still add calcium hydoxide and potassium hydroxide 50/50 or a different percentage...?  anyone heard of using vinegar and baking soda?  if so, how much and which is for high PH and which is for low?  thx!

George said:

I use calcium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, 50/50.  The person you are buying from may be willing to throw in a test kit - You need it.

you can get an api test kit at just about any pet store that sells fish

you can get hydrated lime from a hardware store, or sometimes landscaping companies..

vinegar would be used to try to lower ph, but i would not use it.. test then worry.. baking soda would be used to raise ph, but again, this isn't something i would use..

you can waste a lot of time "chasing" the ph

you really don't need to mess with it, unless it's extremely high or low..

 

thx Keith, so no vinegar or baking soda and just buy hydrated lime?  do u mind explaining why u wouldn't use vinegar or baking soda?  if the PH is between 6 and 8, should i just leave it and if different than that, then add stuff?  do i add the hydrated lime either way or just if it's high or low?  thx! 

ok,, in my opinion.. vinegar will only be a temporary "fix"... if you have a problem where your source water has a very high ph, the regular recommendation is to treat your tap up water with an acid (and some people do use vinegar) - but, a normal aquaponic system, due to the nitrification process will become acidic over time.. i added lots of eggshells (which also provide calcium) to my growbeds when filling..as well as quite a bit of "shell grit".. these are natural buffers and won't start breaking down until the ph drops to 7 or so, and will only buffer back up to 7.2 to 7.4 or so..i've only used hydrated lime in my smaller system when the ph dropped to low 6's, and i gradually brought it up over several days - using very little hydrate lime to do so.. thats when i started adding buffers to my growbeds..

oh,, and regarding baking soda.. it will add salts.. and while salting to 3ppt for treatment of sick fish is often recommended, some plants won't like it...like strawberries and cucumbers..

thx for the explanations!  now, what are buffers and 3ppt?  thx!

buffers are things that raise the ph to a certain range...they slowly dissolve and will eventually be "used up"

ppt is parts per thousand, salt (use pure salt, not iodized or table salt) is a standard ap treatment to promote fish health, and can mitigate affects of "brown blood disease" which can occur of your nitrites get too high..it also helps the fish keep a healthy slime coat

thx guys!  :)

Actually, I think buffers work not because they dissolve slowly, but because they only are activated when the pH is changed. When you have an alkaline buffer present in your water, it slows changes in pH by chemically reacting with whatever substance is attempting to lower your pH. This chemical reaction uses up hydrogen ions, which in turn, cause pH alterations to naturally have less effect. (Remember, pH stands for "potential hydrogen" and is a measure of how many hydrogen ions are in a solution. Acidic solutions contain more hydrogen ions, while basic solutions contain less)
Keith Rowan said:

buffers are things that raise the ph to a certain range...they slowly dissolve and will eventually be "used up"

ppt is parts per thousand, salt (use pure salt, not iodized or table salt) is a standard ap treatment to promote fish health, and can mitigate affects of "brown blood disease" which can occur of your nitrites get too high..it also helps the fish keep a healthy slime coat

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