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Using Baking Soda To Temporarily Raise Ph?


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Hi everyone. Some of you may know that my tap water tests at around 7.6 and then within aprox 4-6 hours in the tank, my water always stabilizes at around 8.2 or 8.3. A few of you have said you have a similar problem and it doesn't seem to affect things terribly. One in particular was Jsrtist so if you are reading this question I would love your input , especially because you said you have similar water to mine. I've been reading a few posts about using baking soda to raise the ph. I noticed one a few minutes ago by you Fishy Fish after searching for "dose baking soda". I see that it seems to be a bit of a problem for people who have ph in the low ranges and actually need this to be raising their ph considerably and reliably. But do you guys think this would be a good option for me, since the tank eventually evens it self out? There have been a few times the tap has tested at 7.4, and doing a big water change when the tap and tank are so different still makes me a bit scared, especially with all the illness that I have been dealing with. The last few times I did water changes, I moved the fish into a smaller temporary tank with old tank water, did the change and cleaning. Then let the tank sit and adjust for a while. But there are times when that is just a pain or not a good option. (like if the fish is sick and I dont really wanna stress them out with all the moving) What do you guys think about adding baking soda to my tap. Like I could figure out how much it takes to get a 3 gallon bucket to raise to 8.2, and then use that? Or do you think if I added it that way it would rise even HIGHER after sitting in the tank? I suppose I could test this theory out with my new tank since there are no fish in there yet and I haven't started to cycle it. Fishy- in your one post you say to add 1 teaspoon every 30 minutes. But if I treat the tap before I even put it in the tank, I could do it all at once correct? I do have ph up, but I've seen many of you say not to mess with the stuff. And honestly, I tried using some the other day before I saw it was not recommended. And it took so many drops for me to even see a change that I just thought "no way am I adding that much!". I was testing it in buckets though, not my tanks with fish. I had a bad experience with ph down already. A while back a store told me my tap ph was too high, and I needed ph down to lower it. I used it on two poor unsuspecting betta tanks, and the end was not good. I still feel really guilty. So glad I'm getting such good consistent advice now.

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Hello :hi

I have never needed baking soda myself, so I can only go by opinion and what I've read - but we both know that a pH drop is far worse for the fish than a rise in the pH. For large changes, it's probably a good idea to add some baking soda to raise it, so the fish doesn't have the shock of a suddenly lower pH. I believe I read a post that the amount the pH can rise from baking soda has a cap - so even if it should raise your tank's pH, I don't believe it can go much higher than your tank pH anyway.

Since Jsrtist has water similar to yours, it might be wise to see what they have to say - or anyone else who has had the same pH situation. :)

Good luck!! :goodluck

Debbie

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I am not an expert, but I will share my experience and what I've read.

You might want to look into a pH buffer like Buff-it-up. I used to use baking soda, and that did not "hold" the pH at a given level. When the review says it keeps the pH "rock solid", that is my experience, too.

My thought, though, is to use it to keep it stable at a somewhat lower level - 8.2 sounds quite high to me. Perhaps you could do an experiement with old tank water, and if it worked out, then you wouldn't have to worry about your water out of the tap (which from my reading is actually in a good range for Goldfish) changing to that high level - good when you have to do frequent or large water changes.

Maybe the chemistry buffs here could tell us, but I think the buffer would keep it maintained at a certain level, and not just raise the pH level, as baking soda would do.

I am curious why your pH would go up so much. Do you have crushed coral or rocks with limestone in the tank? Interestingly, they say that driftwood lowers pH, maybe some of that might help?

What is the KH in the tank? That could be an interesting factor.

I do not have a "high pH" problem - quite the opposite - so I will be interested in seeing how you work this one out.

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Lantern: Yes we have very hard water here but I've read that also leads to very stable water so I take it as a good thing. Sounds like I'd much rather have a high KH than a low one like you have the pleasure of dealing with. That sounds like a real pain! I did the readings the other day. My tap KH is about 200 my tap GH is about 320. I've talked to quite a few people that make it sounds like the 8.2 really isn't so bad, as long as it is consistent, which it is. I can visualize the pinkish color in my mind, it's ALWAYS the same. I've tried to figure out what exactly it is that makes the Ph rise. If I sit a jug of tap water in a room and test it in a day, it actually lowers from about 7.6 or 7.8 down to 7.4. But if I put the water in a tank, it goes up. Through various little tests I can come up with that it's somehow related to the filter. My tanks are very simply. Gravel, and a few decorations. But I've noticed that the ph rise will occur in a completely bare tank, as long as it's got a filter. To test it, the other day I set up a large 29 gallon rubbermaid, filled it, and added the filter from my 10 gallon QT tank to it. Within a day, the ph was 8.2. I've read good things about buff it up, but I thought it was only needed for those with a low KH or GH? Baking soda seems to fit my needs perfect because I really am only interested in that temporary up. My water seems to take care of the level maintence itself. I am mainly concerned about that 4 hour initial period where the water has not risen yet.

For large changes, it's probably a good idea to add some baking soda to raise it, so the fish doesn't have the shock of a suddenly lower pH. I believe I read a post that the amount the pH can rise from baking soda has a cap - so even if it should raise your tank's pH, I don't believe it can go much higher than your tank pH anyway.

Fishy: Yep that is exactly what I was thinking.. And like you said, I just didn't want it to go even HIGHER than my tank.

Sounds like definitly something to experiment with in either case!

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Okay I just did a little test. I took a 3 gallon bucket of 70 degree water. I tested the ph and it came out to about 7.6 (maybe 7.5). Then I added one tablespoon of baking soda to it, then took the ph reading. It was 7.9. I added a second tablespoon and it took it to 8.0. I added a third and it took it to 8.1. After that every tablespoon added kept it steady at 8.1. I went up to 7 tablespoons. It stayed at 8.1. So the initial addition of it makes it jump the most and after that it gets harder and harder. That seems like a good thing.

Now I am doing another test, to see how it stays. I took two 3 gallon buckets and added 70 degree water to both. I tested both and both ph were 7.6 (maybe 7.5). I added 1 tablespoon to the first bucket and 2 tablespoons to the second bucket. As I assumed bucket 1 had a ph of 7.9. Bucket 2 had a ph of 8.0. Now I am gonna let em sit a while and test them again. And then test em to see what they do during the 4-6 hours it takes to let my tank adjust. That way I can figure out if I just wanna add the one, and figure it's close enough. Or if I want to add 2 or 3. See if it makes a big difference in the long run. I am thinking it won't and my best bet will be to just add 1 tablespoon for each bucket I use and call it done. We'll see. lol... (can ya tell I liked Chemistry in school? Bet most of us on here did!)

Edited by CountryLovah
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I think that you may not want to raise your pH any because it will just raise the eventual pH that much higher.

There was another post recently about someone's pH going up and up. It looks similar to your problem. I've made a link to the relevant post:

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/...st&p=767404

Hope this helps.

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Thank you SOO much Claire! I actually did read that post but it was a while back when I first got on this board. I remembered the problem and thinking "wow this is JUST like my tap water" but at the time I really didn't even think about baking soda so I hadn't really paid attention to when Pixie said the last thing that was needed was that... Re-reading it now (even with just a few more weeks of knowledge and understanding) was very very very helpful! I did run a few more "tests" and in the end the baking soda will NOT be the way to go for me, just as you suggested. I was worried about it possibly leaving the end result higher than intended. I did finish my bucket tests and it did turn out true that it didn't matter whether I used 1 or 2 or 12 tablespoons, it took my tap water to 8.2. So at that point the test was to add that water to a tank, and sure enough it did shoot up to 8.6. I suppose it would be okay to use in an emergency. Since for whatever reason it seems to need to be added to a tank, I suppose if I ever ran into a problem and needed to use a rubbermaid, it seems as though I could use it then to match the ph of the main tank PERFECTLY. I can test that out more even though. But using it in the main tank is only going to make my tap water even further from the tank water. Generally, the level is only a change from 7.8 to 8.2. There have been a few occasions where tap is 7.4 and where tank is 8.3. But generally the 7.8 to 8.2 is what happens. I seem to be lucky because mine is actually less drastic than pinkspores. I also ran into the problem she did where you would think if you mixed the two it would balance. But I guess our KH is so high that whatever is dominant takes over and doesn't let the other affect it. Thank you for reminding me of this post. At this point it looks like I can just let it go, change my water as needed and not worry about it. If at some point down the line the fish start behaving strangely I can look into it again, but for now it seems to be more trouble to both me AND the fish to worry about it, then it would be to just leave it alone! lol Oh and I loved your B.K. --before koko's. Very cute.

Edited by CountryLovah
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Yesterday I did 100% water changes in both tanks. I wanted to see how the fish would react and if the ph difference seemed to cause a big problem. I did Angels water first, but kept the old water in a bucket that way if there was a problem I could put her back in and then let the water in the tank sit 4 hours the way I always do. She didn't act like it was even a bit of a problem. The tap was 7.8 and the tank was 8.3. I tried the same method with the orandas later, and again didn't even slightly appear to be affected. Looks like I really don't have to worry too much about the ph issue. (and yeah I know a bunch of you told me that in the first place LOL) I'm working out a fish maintence schedule in my head. I'm thinking 50%-75% weekly unless the nitrates get too high, using the syphon but not stirring UP the gravel. Then once a month a full 100% water change, moving the fish to a bucket, stirring up the gravel real well, and letting the ph adjust a few hours. I think they will be better off with a small ph difference than weekly 100% changes where I have to remove them from the tank and handle them twice. This is all of course based on things running smoothly, and once the fish are in the bigger tanks and the cycles are re-established (yep running into cycle issues, see other thread). For now its gonna be lots and lots of daily water changes.

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So glad that helped. :)

I really sympathize with water problems. I don't have a pH problem, but my tap water fluctuates between .25 and 2.0 nitrites, so I'm constantly testing and pre-treating my water. And I'm always checking this forum for new ideas!

Once you get your cycle established, it really does get easier. I only do about a 50% every 5-7 days on my tank now, and then try to do a really big one, like 80-90% once a month or so. I've gone bare bottom in my tank, and I have to say it makes maintaining it a lot easier. Your idea of doing a big change and letting the pH adjust before the fish go back in should be good, as long as the fish don't seem to mind being in a bucket for a while.

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Generally, the level is only a change from 7.8 to 8.2. There have been a few occasions where tap is 7.4 and where tank is 8.3. But generally the 7.8 to 8.2 is what happens. ... At this point it looks like I can just let it go, change my water as needed and not worry about it.

When I posted a problem with my new goldy in qt, one of my discoveries was that, out of the tap, my ph is 7.5 but in the tank, it's at 8.0 or so. I wondered why that could be, since I had nothing in the tank that could "sweeten" the water. But, basically, Daryl said that sort of change shouldn't really matter. But, it is interesting that your tests have led to filtration. That has to explain it as, like I said, I have nothing in my tank, i.e., wood, peat, etc., that would sweeten the water.

Now, Country! What test do you use that you can get such accurate readings? My AFI tests are in half point increments and if a result doesn't match a color exactly, I just have to say plus or minus 7.5, 8.0, whatever...

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Lynda - someone also just told me.. and I kinda want to say that it was Daryl as well, something about aeration being the cause for the ph change! Which would make sense because it would naturally occur with filtration. I am going to fill a bucket with tap water and drop in an air stone and see what happens. I was so panicked about the ph change at first and for the most part everyone said that it shouldn't be a problem. But it was bothering me anyway. I finally did just give in and change the water using the tap at the lower ph and the fish have not even slightly acted like there was a problem. The more I read up the more I realize that this is normal for the tank to be slightly higher than the tap. At first I thought it was just me and was freaking out! lol I worry way too much!

Haha. No my test kit is the same as yours. I use the API kits too. SO for PH is shows 8,8.2, 8.4 etc. But if you look close you can see when a color is between 8.2 and 8.4 so I just say 8.3. : )

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Guest Corrie

and it could just be your hobby pH test kit.

They are usually very inaccurate.

You problem is CO2 and the buffers they have in your water.

It is coming out of the faucet high in CO2, an acid.

When you aerate it, you are off-gassing CO2, and reducing the amount of acid in the water.

Sounds like you have a hydroxide buffer in the water, and it is very unstable.

Aerating will off-gas CO2 and cause your pH to rise.

Filtering your water through aerobic filters will cause the bacteria to consume more carbon - your buffer.

Sodium bi-carbonate (carbon) has a pH of 8.1 - 8.2, the biggest problem with people using it, is that they don't use enough of the bacteria's favorite food - carbon. As the carbon is used up, the pH starts to drop again. That makes them think that baking soda is not stable.

The trick is to lower the hydroxides, use more bi-carbonate.

As you noticed, adding more Arm and Hammer did not raise your pH. It will just make the Arm and Hammer last longer.

What I would do is aerate some containers of water overnight.

Then check pH and adjust as you are ready to use it.

You can get cheap, very good, Hanna pH pens on Ebay for about $15. A lot more accurate and cheaper than test kits.

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