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Really Low Ph


Guest zoidberg

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Guest zoidberg

I recently re-did my tank completely (29g with an Aquaclear 50 [formerly 200])

All that is in the tank right now is gravel, a few plastic ornaments, a rock cave, 3 amazon sword plants and a SMALL albino pleco (my only survivor from the previous set up).

For some reason my Ph constantly spikes to below the 6.2 level (the lowest mark on the kit). I've been changing approx 3 gallons of water each day (tap ph is 7.0-7.2) to no avail. The PH stays below 6.2

Ammonia is zero, Haven't tested for Nitrate/Nitrite.

Any idea why my water would drop to such a low Ph???

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  • Regular Member

Yep. your biofilter produces acids as it converts ammonia to nitrAte and your water doesn't have enough buffers to keep pH from getting acidic over time. A test for KH (carbonate hardness) would be useful.

So do you have a cycled filter or are you starting from scratch?

You can start raising KH (bicarbonates) by adding baking soda. I'd start with 1/2 teaspoon predissolved in tank water. Then add it slowly to a high flow area. Wait a bit and test pH. Repeat if needed till pH is up by about .4 then stop for the day. I'd do that daily till pH is up to around 7 if you tank isn't cycled. If it is cycled, I'd go ahead and take it up to about 7.6 or 7.8.

After that, I'd get some crushed oyster shells or crushed coral and put it in your media basket or in a knee high hose in a high water flow area. Those will dissolve when pH drops below 7.5 and will increase general hardness (GH) and carbonate hardness (KH) which will keep pH stable. Given your tap water is probably low in KH, you'll most likely still need to buffer it with baking soda. You'll need the KH test to get that situated.

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Guest zoidberg

I got new filter inserts after my fish died, so I guess that could be the cause.

Tank has been cycling for about 10 days now.

Tested for PH/Ammonia/NitrIte yesterday (below 6.2, 0, 0) I don't have kits for the other tests right now.

Is regular baking soda ok? The kind you keep in the fridge?

I'll give this a shot, thanks for the help.

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Guest zoidberg

The baking soda seems to have worked. The tank has been steady around 7.2/7.4 for about 5 days now.

Thanks

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Guest zoidberg

Ammonia is starting to rise (between 0.5-1.0) so I guess the cycling is going well. (about 15 days into my cycle)

Nitrites are still zero to a trace.

Ph is still steady at 7.2-7.4

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  • Regular Member

Cool.

I'd add salt at 1 teaspoon per gallon (rock salt is cheap and works fine. predissolve in tank water then add slowly to a high flow area) to protect against nitrIte poisoning. Maintain that level by adding 1 tsp/gallon of water changed till nitrItes fall to 0ppm.

That level of ammonia isn't a problem with your current pH. When you start seeing more nitrites and ammonia stays below .5, I'd go ahead and bring pH up into the high 7s cuz nitrIte is less toxic at higher pH.

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