When used as directed Reef Buffer™ will raise the pH of your reef system to 8.3 without fear of accidentally overshooting the pH to a dangerous level. Whereas competing products simply use sodium bicarbonate, Reef Buffer™ is made with a blend of carbonate and bicarbonate salts. This blend of salts results in Reef Buffer™ yielding a pK of roughly 8.6 in saltwater.
The pK of a buffering agent is equivalent to the pH around which that buffer most strongly buffers. One would presume, then, that the pK of a saltwater buffer should be 8.3; however, the multitude of organic acids produced by the inhabitants of a reef system forces pH downward to a much greater degree than in a non-reef, marine system. A buffer with a pK of 8.3 would end up yielding a pH more in the range of 8.0-8.2. Reef Buffer's™ higher pK (8.6) allows for greater pH stability in a reef system where the bioload is significantly more than in a fish only system. Competing products are not designed specifically for the reef environment, so their pK is too low (in most cases, pK 8.3). At this pK, the proper pH can never be reached in saltwater.
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A: In short, the answer is pK. Marine Buffer® is intended for a fish-only marine system and has a pK of 8.3, whereas Reef Buffer™ is designed specifically for a reef system and has a pK of 8.6. Because of its higher pK, Reef Buffer™ is more successful at overcoming the multitude of organic acids produced by reef inhabitants that tend to force pH downward in a typical reef aquarium.
A: While both products affect pH and alkalinity, Reef Buffer's™ primary function is affecting pH, while Reef Builder's™ primary function is affecting alkalinity. Use Reef Builder™ to raise carbonate alkalinity without affecting pH. Use Reef Buffer™ to raise carbonate alkalinity and pH.
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