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Old 21-01-2004, 09:20 PM
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Default Experience with SeaChem Acid Buffer & Alkaline Buffer

Does anyone have experience with SeaChem Acid Buffer and Alkaline Buffer?

I know this goes against the established wisdom in this hobby, but I
maintain my swimming pool water chemistry using chemical additives (ph, kH,
gH, and sanitizer). Why is it difficult to achieve a stable chemistry in a
FW tank with additives as well?

So, I went ahead and purchased a 300g bottle of Seachem Acid Buffer (came up
to $16 with taxes). I then filled up a 22L bucket with tap water (kH=2,
gH=3, pH=8.0), added the conditioner and a tiny amount (1.0 gram) of Acid
Buffer. I could measure this exact amount using a laboratory grade
electronic scale I have. With this, the pH dropped to less than 6.0 and the
kH to about 1 dkH.

I threw in a heater and let the water sit in the bucket till the next
morning then measured the pH and kH. The pH was at 7.4 and hK at about
1.0-1.5 dkH.

In the evening that day, I started over again with fresh tab water (warm
water this time). I then threw in (same old 22L bucket) a 50W heater and
maxijet 1200. I figured this should speed up equilibrium by vigorous mixing
and aeration that gets rid of the CO2 produced by the addition of Seachem
Acid Buffer. Subsequently, I added baking soda very gradually until the kH
reached 6 dkH. I figured this is high enough buffer to stabilize the pH,
right? Only then did I add the Acid Buffer - a lot more this time - to bring
the pH to 6.0.

I let the bucket mix for 10 minutes, then measured the parameters again: kH
= 5.5 dkH, pH = 7.0! I thought to myself, ok, this is a dynamic reaction and
will require time to stabilize. So I added more Acid Buffer to bring the pH
back down to 6.0, and let the power head and heater running overnight.

When I tested the water in the morning the pH was 7.6 and the kH = 3.5!

That same evening, I started over again. This time I did not use baking
soda, but an AlkalinityUp product I used for my swimming pool. Luckily with
this stuff, I could calculate the exact dose needed to set the kH to the
desired level - no trial and error necessary. I set the kH to 4.5, and added
enough Acid Buffer using a
1:1.3 ration as recommended on the bottle to produce a pH in the range of
6.5 as per charts on the bottle.

Next morning, the pH was 7.6, kH was 3 dkH! What did I miss?! I figured
that when adjusting the pool waters, we usually have to adjust all three
parameters, pH, kH and gH. So I dug up the old bucket of CaCO3 Up and read
the label. As it turns out, we aim for and gH of 200-300 ppm (11-16 dH) in
the pool. This is too high for my purposes since I would like to keep soft
water species. I figured, I should try a 6 dH instead.

I dosed for 6 dkH, 6dH, and a pH of 6.0. Within 15 minutes, the pH was back
up to 7.2!


Reading the label on Seachem's Acid Buffer bottle, it says that the product
lowers the pH and produces CO2. Hmmmm, is this * HOW * it reduces the pH? Is
aeration driving the CO2 out thus causing the pH increase?

I don't know. But the label says that the product should be used in
conjunction with Alkalinity Buffer to produce the desired (stable) pH. But
it mumbles something about adding it directly to the tank for best results .
I DON'T THINK SO !! At least not until I get stable water parameters in a
bucket for a couple of days.

At this stage, I am very skeptical about Seachem claims regarding the
combined use of Acid Buffer / Alkalinity Buffer. The best way to verify,
obviously, would be spend another $20 and try it. But again, the company's
literature mumbles about having to "trial and error" the correct combined
dose. Well, that does not make me comfortable.

So .. does anyone have any success / experience with SeaChem Acid Buffer /
Alkaline Buffer or other similar products? Why is it that pool water can be
balanced but not aquarium water?

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