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buffer substrate in canister filter.

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Hi all,


My caridina tank has been up and running for > 2 years with amazonia and I think the buffering capability is starting to reduce now. (Reason being it was a planted tank with tap water before converting it to shrimp tank with RO water + salt shrimp GH+) My ph is ~6.8 in the tank. I don't have plan to reset or set up another tank to replace/transfer shrimps. And my tank is fully packed with plants and driftwood, so don't really have space to put large buckets with new substrate in there like tanks from others I see online. Thinking of adding one more eheim canister filter with fluval shrimp stratum inside to buffer the ph, but not sure whether it will work. I have the following concerns.


1. Concern with whether substrate will turn to dust if water is running through it all the time and clog the filter or make the tank dusty with substrate particles.

2. Not sure whether it will increase nitrate (from what I read, it doesn't leach ammonia, but might leach nitrate) to the point where it will be harmful to the shrimps.

3. Not sure whether it will reduce the ph drastically and will be harmful to the shrimps.


Has anyone here tried that out before? Appreciate any input/suggestions you may have. Thanks.




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Or you can use BorneoWild Humic, this will buffer the PH stable for a few more months. You can put it in a mesh bag and stuff it in the existing filter. Or even just sprinkler it on top of the substrate. No need to use another filter.

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  • 1 month later...

Sera peat also will buffer the ph down. I used one cup in my 20 gallon tank and it lowered ph down to 6.2 so I took some out lol. So it doesn't take much to work pretty good. Though I'm not sure how long the buffering lasts. It's cheaper, about the same price for 500g instead of 60g

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don't forget fresh Amozonia with hugely increase your Amonia and NoS until its been rince. 


If you do partial soil change then, put the soil in a bucket of prepared water and do 100 % water changes until the soil stabilizes. Once that's done, you can syphone some soil out with a 1" filter hose the smaller the more precise but not to small to get clogged up....and use your glass shrimp feeder or pvc tube to replace the soil you removed with out touching you scape to much.... but don't forget to clean that soil first. (btw i guess it come that way to help bacteria growth in the new tank, for replacing I would suggest Amozonia light.)

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Hi reefer333,


This is actually an idea that I have thought about and would have tried if I went the soft water route. I believe that this actually may work. Let me give you some thoughts about this. 

1.) I am not sure if they will eventually turn into dust. I believe that cheap buffering soil will do this. Therefore, brand may be a factor to whether the soil will crumble or not. You can have a different canister where your buffering substrate can be house (e.i. canister filter plus canister for soil). Assuming your water pump is located after your canister filter (which means that your water pump is caking water from your canister filter), you can divide the water out flow from the pump. One flow goes direct to your tank while the other goes through your canister for soil. Put a ball valve to the connection through your canister for soil so that you can control the water flow. Slow water flow should minimize, if not, prevent the soil from crumbling due to high water pressure.


2 & 3.) This is basic process control (an engineering topic/course/field/area/etc). I won't go to too much details about this. Let me give you an example. When you put a cold water in a room temperature environment, eventually the water temperature will turn to room temperature. The key here is the word "eventually." In your case, the water will have its pH at the beginning (say you started with RO water. The water will have pH 7). As you run water through your canister for soil, the water pH will decrease as acid dissolve in the water. Then as time goes by the water pH will not change. That will be your new pH. Running water through the buffering soil will not suck all the acid in the soil. The key here is concentration gradient (e.i. the acid molecules will mix with water until to the point where the water cannot absorb acid anymore because it has reach its saturation point. In fact, this system (e.i. continuous system) will actually reach constant pH faster than a batch system (e.i. you put the buffering soil in water with no flow). Now, say you reach constant pH, if that pH is not what you want, you can always change something in your system (e.g. change water, add buffering soil, etc).




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Try something like this packed with buffering substrate if you don't want to break down your tank completely.  https://www.discobee.com/products/discobee-ugf-box


Personally, I think you should start up another tank and prep for a tank reset anyway though.


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