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Tanganyika Buffer Salt

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  • Tanganyika Buffer Salt

    I would like to pass on thoughts/questions regarding the Tanganyika Buffer. I am currently using this product in one of my tanks to achieve a pH of 8.6-8.7 on RO water. My dilemma is to the amount required to achieve/maintain this pH, as it can easily be obtained with just a couple of doses, but to make it stay on that pH level seems to be a pretty troublesome and cost inefficient task.

    I did work out initially by dosing the tank over a 4 day period with the buffer in increments of 1dkH increase per dosing (which I worked out through various water dosing tests, requires around 0.2g salt/10l water) every time the ph dropped below 8.6, that in order to maintain a pH of 8.6-8.7 somewhat stable the water had to be dosed with buffer salt brining the kH value up to a high 38dkH (which required 8g salt/10l water). Anything less than this would let the pH drop below 8.6 in matter of hours (for kH values between 20-25dkH) to half a day to a day (for kH values between 30-35dkH). However, even with this buffering level in a mature, well stocked tank, the pH still tends to start dropping pretty fast after 4-5 days. The point of this calculation was to establish a 'set' amount of buffer salt dose needed to be added per 10l water to obtain/maintain a pH of 8.6-8.7, so that every time any water needed to be added (PWC, recreation of these same water conditions, etc.) I would know 'exactly' the amount of buffer salt to be added.

    Now, the problems with this are the following:

    - when added 'in full' (8g/10l water) the pH of the water shoots up to 9.0 and takes sometimes up to a day to drop to 8.6-8.7, which actually hasn't caused any issues so far.

    - I still need to keep adding more salt after 4-5 days depending on how much the nitrate levels are increased, which is not time efficient at all (considering I have business and work to attend to, on top of other 5 tanks).

    - it is very cost inefficient, as I have to add 8g/10l initially, and then another around 2g/10l to maintain the pH level until next PWC (which on a 360l tank with 25% PWC a week, is 90g buffer salt a week - more or less one can a month).

    So, my questions are the following:

    a) is it normal that so much of this product has to be used in order to maintain a pH higher than 8.3 (I have also tried on regular tap water which comes out at 9 dkH and in another test tank with less fish load, but I still need to add as much salt as to bring the kH above 35dkH)?

    b) is this product maybe suitable only to efficiently reach and maintain a pH of 9.0 (I could just hit a 12g/10l reaching above 50dkH and the pH would stay fix at 9.0 and the only problem would be I have to become a shareholder of Seachem to make it cost efficient)?

    Thank you for your time and any suggestions you might have.



    PS: The reason I'm aiming for a pH of 8.6-8.7 in this tank is because it's a mix of both Malawi and Tanganyika cichlids, and they both have shown to thrive in these conditions for the last 2 years.

  • #2
    Re: Tanganyika Buffer Salt

    Hi Vic,

    I just answered this question in the other forum thread where it was posted, so I'm copying that reply here, too:

    First, let me apologize for missing this post and letting it go unanswered for so long.

    When first buffering a tank, it isn't unusual to have to add extra buffer daily for several days before the pH begins to stabilize. After that, how often buffer will need to be added again is going to depend on a couple of factors. Is there anything else in the aquarium helping to buffer the water, like crushed coral or limestone? What is pulling the pH down? Driftwood can pull the pH down, as can organic acids released as fish waste and uneaten food breaks down. The more heavily stocked a tank is, the more quickly the buffering capacity will be depleted.

    You mention that you would "need to keep adding more salt after 4-5 days depending on how much the nitrate levels are increased"; if keeping nitrates in check is an issue, you might want to consider adding some Matrix ( ) to your filter.

    Tanganyika Buffer is formulated to target for a pH between 9 - 9.4 so some of your difficulty may come from trying to hit a lower pH by using less. For targeting a pH lower 9 but higher than 8.4, you can use Malawi/Victoria Buffer in combination with Tanganyika Buffer

    The values for the alkalinity which you mentioned indicate quite high levels. Ideally in a Tanganyikan tank, you would be aiming for a KH of 12 - 14 dKH. Are you trying to target a higher KH for a particular reason or just as part of buffering?

    I hope this helps.


    • #3
      Re: Tanganyika Buffer Salt

      Hi DG,

      Thank you for your response…even though a bit late! :)

      In regards to your response. In this tank, there is nothing specific helping to buffer, but on the other hand nothing that would be pulling down the pH either. Just organic acids that slowly deplete the buffering capacity. And since there are no plants either, and algae is well kept in check, there is not much that consumes the nitrates, which is not exactly helping with the acidity level. I guess with a setup like this, it’s inevitable having to add buffering salts more frequently to replenish the depleted buffering capacity. I do have Matrix in this filter.

      I have tried combining Malawi Buffer with the Tanganyika Buffer, but it doesn’t exactly help keeping the pH above 8.4, on the contrary it brings it down closer towards 8.4 (which is quite logic to my understanding as it is made to buffer around that pH regardless of how much is added). But you do have a point in that some of the difficulties comes from trying to hit a lower pH than what the product is made for.

      Not exactly aiming for a certain alkalinity level, as from a fish point of view this doesn’t matter, as long as the pH is kept in check. I just end up on those values after that I have added all the salts necessary to keep the pH around 8.7 in this tank.




      • #4
        Re: Tanganyika Buffer Salt

        You are very welcome!

        Again, we are very sorry for the delay in posting. If you have further questions, please let us know.


        • #5
          Re: Tanganyika Buffer Salt


          Does the tanganyika buffer increases GH and KH which results in higher Ph? Or does it solely increases ph to 9.0



          • #6
            Re: Tanganyika Buffer Salt

            Tanganyika Buffer will increase your KH and pH, but not the GH. To increase GH, use with Cichlid Lake Salt.