The Trouble with pH


Calcium is 425. Alkalinity is 4 meq. And pH is...7.8?Sound Familiar?

It’s an all too familiar scenario: calcium and alkalinity are within optimal ranges, but pH is low. Under these circumstances low pH levels can be attributed to three main causes. Fortunately, aquavitro™ offers unique solutions for each one.

1. Utilizing a buffer with the improper carbonate/bicarbonate ratio

Many competing buffers for reef aquaria are simply sodium bicarbonate. Such buffers have a pK of only 8.0 in saltwater and simply are unable to maintain a pH above 8.0. The low buffering pK is a function of the low carbonate/bicarbonate ratio.

eight.four™ supplies a properly balanced (carbonate/bicarbonate) buffer system that yields an industry leading pK of 8.6 which makes pH maintenance of 8.3-8.5 easy. A higher pK increases the buffer's ability to counteract inevitable acidic sources in the water. eight.four™ will safely raise marine pH while adjusting alkalinity. eight.four™ contains a concentrated, balanced blend of bicarbonate and carbonate salts designed to restore disrupted buffer systems and increase carbonate alkalinity.

Dosing requirements will vary, but do not exceed the recommended dose without checking your pH and alkalinity (alkalinity should not exceed 6 meq/L). If an alkalinity of 6 meq/L has been reached and a pH of at least 8.20 has not been attained, the system may be ionically unbalanced. Check magnesium levels.

2. Low magnesium levels

Severely depleted levels of magnesium (below 800 mg/L) can cause depressed pH levels and an inability to maintain proper calcium levels. ions™ restores magnesium (and ionic balance) by employing the most concentrated, fully dissolved magnesium. ions™ is the first and only liquid magnesium supplement that does not contain ammonia. If magnesium levels are within an optimal range and you are using a buffer with the proper carbonate/bicarbonate ratio, acidifying sources may be disrupting the buffer ratio.

3. Organic acid influence on the buffer

The buffer ratio changes as a natural consequence of the buffer’s ability to counteract acidifying sources such as organic acids (produced naturally from waste) or introduced from non-pH controlled husbandry products. In this case, adding more buffer would unnecessarily result in a rise in alkalinity and a drop in calcium. balance™ ends this see-saw effect. It resets the ratio by converting bicarbonate into carbonate in order to reassert a higher pH without affecting calcium level.

balance™ is an optimized blend of sodium and potassium hydroxides with a NSW ratio (27:1) of sodium to potassium to avoid ionic imbalance with long term use.