Does Lemon juice work to reduce PH in a system?
I bought some rock wool to start some lettuce seeds and the back of the package said to use lemon juice to reduce the water ph to 5.5 to start the seeds.
I figured this would work in my system as well, which has been consistently coming up with a PH of 8.2, so I squeezed a few lemons into the system and tested the PH the next day and I noticed that the PH went down to 8. So I squeezed a bunch more lemons in. I put about 12 lemons worth of juice into my barelponic system, about 55 gallons of water.
I think the answer to my question is no, because my I tested the levels today, and my PH is still at 8, and all my other levels are weak. I'm about 2 months into cycling my system. My amonia already spiked and was consistently reeding 0.25 ppm, now its at 0. My Nitrites were reading 5ppm now they are 2 ppm and my Nitrates which were at 40ppm are now at 0. Did I just kill all my bacteria? Is all this lemon juice bad for the fish?
I only have 2 gold fish that have survived the cycling. Should I add more fish? Should I change the water and start again? I have a lot of new growth in my grow beds right now. is the lemon juice bad for the plants?
IMO, "natural" pH remedies are mostly pretty ineffective. In an aquarium application, things like driftwood and regular water changes (replacing with pH adjusted water if nec.) are fine and work well. In an AP system, take care of your business with the proper tools. Use HCI or Nitric Acid and make subtle adjustment as to not throw your fish into pH shock (and kill them). Treat your top up water moving forward, but the most important issue is to understand why you are at 8.2 and try to correct it. If its a new system settling down, that's one thing. If you've got an established system that hangs at 8.2, well, something is fishy there :)
Ok, sorry, just read you're still cycling with a few goldfish. In that case, let nature take it's course - the system has other business to contend with before pH comes down on it's own. Mostly, goldfish, comets, koi and similar can handle the cycle just fine. It's actually encouraging to hear that your cycling with fish. I believe it's the best way to get your system running.
Oops, you are right. I really shouldn't reply when I'm tired. Sorry all
As far as I know, tannins are the biggie for pH.
Yep, redwoods are a great source of tannins, but the pitch (resin) that might tend to ooze out of them over time generally keeps aquaculturalists from using redwood or any other soft-wood.
In humans, tannin chelated iron is totally bio-unavailable. In plants, tannin chelated iron is mostly (but not 100%) bio-unavailable (non-heme). So the presence of wood containg tannins could only reduce the bio-availability of iron to plants in your AP system.
Without splitting hairs or getting nit-picky, in practical reality, in an AP setting...seems highly unlikely that tannins would impact the bacteria in a significant way.
No problemo buddy, I was in a huge rush, when I wrote that, was trying to cram, and wasn't directing that comment at anyone in particular.
Yeah, I think the word itself comes from the old German word for oak and/or conifer. And it's not just heartwood that contains the tannins. (Though we probably get caught up with driftwood because of the aesthetics). Leaves, unripened acorns (basically any plant parts that make your lips pucker is probably full of tannins. (I've tasted a green acorn before and it's probably akin to a little tannin-bomb :)...hehe that was totally unintentional...Tannenbaum...tannin-bomb. Anywhos...
I understand those principals and commend them. Pre-treating your top up water (whether with tannic acid or a purchased product) seems a bit 'safer' or 'controlled' (avoiding big pH swings for the fish, not potentially going to far etc)...
The handful of iron seems intuitively helpful, but probably not necessary in a muture system (like yours) where the fish are being fed decent feed. Remember that Terri's study showed us that (red) Talapia only capture on average 11.46% of the iron contained in the feed. The rest gets shat out into the system water. So even discounting your source water (in many places 0.05mg/L, or less, to 0.3mg/L, the upper legal for drinking water , in some places) your still putting in a decent amount of iron in your water. It seems reasonable that you'd fine without the 'handful of iron' in the tannin top-up.
Besides, keep the fish in mind. On the one hand...the plant biology side, iron seems the 'easiest' of the secondary/micro nutes to deal with. You cant really over do it (within sanity), and it doesn't seem to interfere with the uptake of other essential elements.
But on the fish side, a given amount of iron that is fine at neutral or higher pH, is damaging at a lower pH, and deadly within days at a lower pH still. (Though I doubt anyone runs their system even near pH 5.5). Peuranen, Vuorinen, & Hollander,. Finnish Game and fisheries Institute 1994.
Though organic matter in the water (like in AP) seem to lessen this toxic accumulative effect.
Iron is turning out is anything but 'simple'. And the fact that it will form complexes quicker than Kate Moss at a smorgasborg, with just about anything organic isn't helping to simplify...
Almost all hydro literature I've ever come across tells us that you need 2-3mg/L to stave of Fe deficiencies in most plants.
Almost all aquaculture literature I've ever come across tells us that 0.3mg/L or less, are the safe recommended max levels of Fe for fish.
So, something there is fishy. Anyways...sorry for rambling...
Sphagnum moss brings ph down naturally.
Recording how/what you do, observing, and recording those observations is always good. Having a written record to look back on while experimenting is really great sometimes. (Though can be tedious while doing it :)
Hehe...So you noticed...Yeah, I do keep some pretty weird hours when things allow. I'm a huge fan of the architect Buckminster Fuller, and what he called Dymaxion sleep (basically just polyphasic sleep). You really can get so much more done in a day/night. (It's like being part lesbian). Problem is, everyone/thing around you is on a different schedule. A doctor friend once told me that my propensity for ployphasic sleep might have less to do with my personality or constitution, and more to do with the massive head trauma I was subjected to long ago (I actually got to be dead for a short time, really exciting). I don't know if I buy all that, but it definitely did shift my perspective on what is important, and what is not and how to (try to) best arrange the little time that we are given here. And not to waste so much time on what I generally like to call "stupid shit". Though since I'm not rich, avoiding spending time on some such "stupid shit" is unavoidable at times. Anyways...
Yep, sphagnum moss sure will bring down pH, but in Jon's case (if not all cases) the oak leaves are probably a more sustainable route I'm guessing.