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Old 05-18-2011, 04:18 PM   #1 
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moniibettalover's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Wales (UK)
Is it true??

Im planning on making a coconut cave for my tank and came across an article on some site and it said 'Coconut caves are great for any fish that likes to hide...They may lower your pH too'. Is that possible (the lowering pH bit)?

EDIT: here's the link to the article
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:08 AM   #2 
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Location: Alberta, CANADA
I've never made one but I've heard they do lower PH but not a whole lot.
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:21 AM   #3 
Join Date: Feb 2011
This is going to get all jumbled together (bad browser old computer) so I'm gonna ...... paragraph ....... Any fibrous plant material, whether peat or salt-acid washed driftwood, will reduce the pH of the water to some extent. ....... pH is directly related to alkalinity through the Kh (carbonate hardness) of the water. To raise pH we add carbonate materials and to lower it we add carbonate sequestering materials OR we use ion resins that sequester the carbonate. Iron and other metals also act as hardeners. ....... The primary process that occurs with plant matter which sequesters the carbonates and other ions is actually petrification. A large chunk of driftwood, if added dry, will suck a great deal of the hardness in an aquarium out of the water and lower the pH and we use bags of rough peat in filters to do the same thing. It is interesting to note that most leaves used for tannins actually REDUCE the hardness of water but in such a small way that people rarely see the difference. ....... Changes in pH while dangerous for fish can be lethal to exposed bacteria. When you aerate an anaerobic environment you're not only changing the oxide state of the water but you're also changing the pH because dissolved carbon dioxide is an acid... this is why I usually advise adding aeration when treating bacteria and fungus in aquarii that are not normally aerated. ....... Standard practice with such things like coconut shells, driftwood or ornaments made from woven plant fiber or carved hard wood is to soak them in a bucket of waste water from a water change for a couple days. ....... Since I'm a little puckery about things I'd advise carefully baking them at 250 for four hours too, it will sterilize any store dirt and bacteria in them. Remember that after the baking they'll raise blisters on you so let them cool down oven off and cracked open for a couple hours then wait about five hours before putting in water. ....... So the simple answer is "Yes, any dead and dry plant material will lower pH to some extent but it also absorbs pollutants and is a bacteria haven." Expect a mild drop in pH that you can compensate for with a very very small amount of baking soda. Talking microliters in volume. The inside of a shove-on pencil eraser is about one milliliter (cubic centimeter) so we're looking at a one millimeter thickness of baking soda the diameter of a pencil's fixed eraser. So, unless your water is very unstable you shouldn't have to worry. The lower your pH to start with, the less effect the object will have on it as well.
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