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Plane Crash To Ph Crash


2601angela

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In the tank section someone asked what causes a pH crash - well I have never seen - actually - that brought up here before - in that maybe not a lot of people experience the situation. I thought my reply may generate some discussion and bring to light other hobbyists experiences in the hopes of fending off death to other swimming pets. Please excuse the fact that I tend to be very detailed - but I always assume the reading audience included the newest of the new goldbie owner.....

My answer was as follows -

Well; I do not know how much you actually know about pH, for example; how buffering capacity regulates such things as the speed of change or pH relationships to (or effects of/on or by) ion exchange, absorption material or resins used in the filters, or the actual multiplicative characteristics, relative values and meaning of pH movement from - say - 7.6 to 7.5, on and on.

I will give you an example of a unique, yet actually happened, hobbyist created pH crash. It was unintentional and he survived (most of the fish and the hobbyist) and learned from the experience.

Jay was over his Rena filters - they were hard to prime, were inefficient because they allowed blowby, the unsealed heads allowed leakage thru the wire connection over time (caused by backpressure problems relater to a UV and a chiller). He replaced the canisters with another brand.

Now he had two XP3 units sitting unused - what to do with them.

Then he got a great idea. By adapting his siphon tube to the intake end and hanging his output line on the side of the tank with the already supplied variable out put valve - he had a great - I mean great - siphon cleaning system. No more buckets of water from the siphon to dump. and the setup could stay under the tank in the cabinet. One weekend he tests the setup out - of course there was no need to remove the fish as long as he was careful not to suck them up in the intake siphon. No replacement water needed preparing since the water was going right back into the tank.....

He did a great cleaning job- the only result was a just slightly cloudy visual aspect of the water - similar to when tanks have a mineral suspension or alike - nothing to worry about he thought. Within an hour or so - all the fish were at the top; heavily gasping for air.

Frantically he called me - as I got there he had already done what I asked - tested the pH. His normal test was always around 7.8. this test showed 6.0 I actual reran the test myself thinking he was to excited and frantic to do it right - but it was right on 6.0. I pulled out my digital reader - it showed less - I was surprised they were not all dead. In fact - one of the fish - who had just expelled solid waste - his pooh was changing color as I watched it - to a bright blue.

I had only seen this one time before - when a fellow hobbyist call me one late night to come over when his Oranda started to float upside down (his $125.00 Oranda) -- in cleaning his new tank - he prefiltered his tank water thru a "PUR" filtration water gallon container to keep to a clean water concept (or so he thought)- for all intensive purposes - demineralizing the water and removing - basically - all buffer capacity. He must have been thinking that he was cleaning at the Helmsley Hotel or something.

Taking drastic immediate action - of course he had no change water prepared - I took a bottle of pH up - which is highly concentrated - and mixed a number of capfuls in the tank water while he prepared change water - by the time he had the change water ready - I had brought the pH - after 13 capfuls into a 55 gallon tank (I am shocked that they could stand that amount of reagent concentrated in the water). I also added a few capfuls of Hydrogen Peroxide to try and supplement whatever oxygen they were up taking across the gills - and by this time you could tell it was decreasing quickly.

And - no - he did not have another tank to put them in - and I thought of dropping them in a bucket of prepared water - which he did not have - but I thought that shock would have definitely finished them off.....

At this point you do not know which would kill them first - The sudden drop of pH, the binding of the oxygen in the water so that it was unavailable to the gills (them sucking at the top of the water, not simply just under the surface, would be like us going to drink from a lake to make up for oxygen deprivation in the atmosphere) the bodys change of osmotic potential and movement across membranes, or the sudden rise (making the secondary shock like a Disneyworld roller coaster). Of course the reaction to the sudden rise would be dependant on how long they were in the initial 6.0 level - sort of like exposure time to a radioactive source and rads in accumulation time.

Before we even started to change the water; they started going further away from the surface. The ones that started turning upside down - one did not make it - in fact he was expired in the first minute after I got there - The others were starting to revert to normal. We implemented a full water change - a slow one using a gravity feed with a small hose of one gallon to every minute while we pulled 40 gallons off at one time.

This may not seem like the ultimate conversion and reparation for some people here- leaving high density particulate water with the good - but it was a fast guessing game, time did not allow article reviews on-line - it was a half educated guess at what would not kill them; while diluting the problem water condition; while leaving what was left of cycled water and what the fish were accustomed to. There was little time to sit for a focus group study nor did I ever come across this very creative situation.

They all showed signs of improvement - but then you have to go thru the destressing exercise - freeze dried foods with peas with some Epsom salts, watching for ich; upping the garlic feed - on and on -

What happened? Unlike filters you can buy that are setup the same way; they use micron canister filters to remove the microscopic particulate matter as the water is returned to the tank. In his setup; his filtering system simply used filter pads and carbon. this was contributing to the particulate output by tearing up the bigger particles thru the agitation in the filter. Like taking rocks and pulverizing them into fine sand. By doing so; the activity of naturally occurring decaying process of the larger particulates, was now exponentially increased; as well you have exponentially increased the surface area that is reacting to the breakdown processes.

This was supported by the tests of the water for the three evil toxins - Especially the teat that indicated levels that I never saw fish able to survive in before - only because of the short time factor did they survive - his test he did before any cleaning - with the same test kit - showed no trace of ammonia.

That is an example of what can cause a "pH crash" - as per your question - many things can - if you do your daily water changes, use caution in standard procedure alterations, and increment and monitor the responses of your tank to filter system changes or upgrades, observe affects of water line work recently done or after storm water quality, as examples - you should never experience a pH crash.

Asking what causes a pH crash is like asking the NTSB what causes a plane crash - Yet it is a good question - maybe others will describe some experiences they had to deal with - so I gave you an example of a fish-crash 2006 sequel.

Eric

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My gosh eric!! I'm sorry I couldn't read all of that - what a mouthful!! I was part way through reading but was overcome with exhaustion and fell down :thud I hauled myself back up again but kept dosing off :zz so I had to make a pot of coffee :read . Drinking the coffee only made me realise how hungry I was :druel:feedme so off I went to make some pizza and popcorn :food:popcorn . Now I'm so stuffed I need to go back to sleep so I won't be able to finish reading the above post afterall. :sleeping:

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LOL - well do you watch a soap opera summary program or the soap opera (I do not watch soap operas)- you are probably one of those students that used CRIB NOTES to make book reports - shame on you - LOL

Well just to let you know, just like the dream sequence and wake up to reality twist in Dallas, you missed the juicest part!!!

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Darn it - I was beginning to think there was a crypic message hidden in the text but I got lost in all the detail - and I missed Dallas too. lol

but, back to topic, I haven't experienced a major pH crash. When I noticed that I didn't have much buffer I started to use Seachems Gold Buffer and it works great.

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I had a horrible pH crash in my fish room once. I used to use Amquel for dechlorinating the water for all my tanks in the fish room. I went to this great fish show and got into a convo with a guppy breeder and he GAVE me a trio of his blue-ribbon award winning half-black red tailed guppies. I was so excited!!!! I hurried home, put them in a tank that was cycled and all went well until I did the water changes. The fish got terribly sick and died before I could figure out what it was. I also lost several bettas in the fish room too.

What happened -----> the Amquel was REACTING with my city water and causing the pH of the water to CRASH. I mean it was nasty -- below 6.0 on the test. The fish had big areas of white stuff sluffing off of their scales -- probably their slime coat. I mean the acidic water was litterally eating them up. I can't imagine what they went through and STILL feel awful about it.

I used to pull gallon jugs of water from the tap, put in Amquel and let them "age" for a few days between water changes, but when I did the water changes, the new water's pH was crashed to straight acid. I had NO IDEA the Amquel was doing that. The water would be 7.8 out of the tap and within 36 hours of treatment with Amquel it was 6.0. I can't imagine what those swings in pH did to the fish. It's a miracle that any of my bettas survived. They really are hardy. Apparently the Amquel ruined the buffering capacity of my water and bang, the pH couldn't hold.

Finally, after much testing and trial and error I realized it was the Amquel and switched to PRIME. The fish have been fine ever since. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't skimp on some things. The dechlor you use can mean life or death to your fish, so don't grab the cheapest thing off the shelf. Prime is more expensive, but I'll always use it, from now on. I learned the hard way. :unsure:

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A PH crash is the worst thing ever. When I had one, it took quite awhile to figure out that a chemical had been added to the water to make sure it was safe to humans because of local construction, but it killed all my bacteria in the filter and cause a PH crash over night. Basically, anything that kills your cycle and remains in the water will cause a PH crash in just hours.

I lost 5 fish becuase of a PH crash and the survivors took a long time to nurse back to health. Now I'm a paranoid mess when it comes to water changes and I always by products to make sure my water stays as close to 7.0 as possible.

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Prime does not claim to have any buffering ingredients that would prevent a pH crash. The vast majority of people who use water conditioners such as Prime and Amquel do so because they have "city water" with chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals, etc, so I do not understand how Amquel would "react" with city water to cause a pH crash. Surely if that were the case where you live it would effect hundreds of people and would have been withdrawn from the market.

The only possible thing I can think of is that when Amquel degasses chlorine and other nasties it may also degas the carbon dioxide so the pH falls suddenly. Prime may also do this. Degassing of carbon dioxide is a naturally occurance that will lower pH in water with low buffering abilities. Even without water conditioners degassing will occur of a 24 hour period. You mentioned that you let your water sit for 36hrs so it would have degassed with or without using Amquel resulting in a possible fall in pH.

I'm inclined to think that either your batch of Amquel was faulty or there was a short term problem with your water supply because if Amquel were responsible for indiscriminate pH crashes nobody would use it.

Edited by Fishmerised
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I had a horrible pH crash in my fish room once. I used to use Amquel for dechlorinating the water for all my tanks in the fish room.

Me too. And I have had a similar exp. with almost killing my fish. I'll never use anything but Prime again! Those ammonia tablets are as bad as Amquel in higher doses. It really makes me mad that there are products on the market supposedly "fish safe", and they can kill.

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if Amquel were responsible for indiscriminate pH crashes nobody would use it.

I think in my case, it's the dosage that's the problem. You can overdose Prime and not kill your fish. But my city water is awful to begin with, so I'm not using it anymore. (the water)

Edited by Lolafish
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Fishmerised, I'm serious when I say it was the Amquel. I tested, and tested, and tested again and it was the Amquel. Other aquarium keepers in this area have had the same problem. Something in the Amquel reacts with our city water and crashes the pH. Most people around here use Prime. It's much more stable with our water and I haven't had a single pH crash since I switched to it. I have no ties to the company that manufactures Prime, I just know that it works and saved my fish. And I'm really not trying to slander Amquel, but I feel that people need to be careful with it as it has caused problems in MY fishroom here in Virginia.

Experienced aquarium keepers in my area told me to switch to Prime and that elimated the problem. In fact, water that sat WITHOUT AMQUEL for 36 hours held the same pH as out of the tap. It was the addition of the Amquel that crashed it, and in a very short period of time. I was amazed, confused, upset, that I'd been using stuff that was killing my fish..... It took me DAYS of detective work to figure it out and it was definately the Amquel.

BTW, I was using the recommended dosage, and not over doing it either.

Edited by gardengirl
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Ok, I did some quick research on Amquel and apparently it is different to Prime in a couple of ways.

The first is that Prime is biodegradable and will break down after 24hrs breaking the bonds that keep ammonia/nitrIte harmless. Amquel will remain active and stable virtually forever unless removed by zeolite or water changes.

The second, and most interesting in this case, is that Amquel is not instant like Prime. It's reaction time depends on the pH, around 5 minutes at 7 and longer for more acidic pH's. Lastly, it is not recommended to use Amquel in water with low buffering ability as it can cause a sudden pH drop. It's recommended to use Amquel Plus with buffers.

So you guys are right, afterall, sorry I doubted you but at least we know now for sure, to be sure. ;)

http://aquabaz.tripod.com

search for Amquel

Edited by Fishmerised
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