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Ph Issue


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  • Regular Member

Prior to our 2 week vacation, Thomas and I did full, giant water changes on all of our tanks and scrubbed out the filter media (in tank water). Everything was fine and stable. Upon our return, we found all fish (goldies, fry, betta, and pleco) in good health (also starving :P ) and the water gloriously still clean.

Before doing anything, we tested the water and all looks normal.

Goldie tank:

(amm, nitri, nitra) 0, 0, 20ppm

Fry tank:

0, 0, 1-2ppm (there are a lot of plants and algae in this tank)

Our problem:

The pH has jumped from its normal 7.6 to 8.2 in both tanks.

Our tap water tests around 7.4 on a regular basis.

kH in both tanks is around 9-10? (160-179 ppm).

We're curious and not quite able to figure out why, after about 7 months of an established cycle with stable pH, our levels have gone from 7.6 to 8.2.

According to Rick Hess's book, it's okay to put a fish from a low pH into a high, but never the other way around. Since our tap water is neutral and our tank water is now basic, how do we change the water? Do we need to bring the water pH up before adding it? Or do we need to lower the tank pH before doing a water change?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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  • Regular Member

Joy I wonder if feeding them and all the biolaod helped keep the ph lower but since they were not fed over time while you were away that helped your ph stabilize at 8 (this is just a therory of course )..at 8 is good but I see your concerns for your waterchange I would to frequent smaller changes in the mean time till you figure out ..oh and glad to have you back !!!

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Hmm, that's a really interesting theory. The BBs turned the ammonia produced by the piggies' eating into nitrite and hydrogen ions, thus lowering the pH.

I don't know if it tells the whole story, though, because the fry had PLENTY to eat between the hornwort, the amazon sword roots, and the green algae carpeting the tank.

Small water changes was my plan, too. Just wanted some extra input.

And it's good to BE back!!

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  • Admin

You know you could do a small test :D

Take some water from the tank into a smaller tank or container....Then do a water change in that container with water you would use for a water change....test it before and after to see how much it would change... :D

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  • Regular Member

JOy I go thru this ALL the time... My tap water tests around 7.4 (or 7.6). My tanks always maintain a level of around 8.2. I was soooo sooooo soooo concerned about it and I think I posted about a million posts asking for advice.. Various people (I can't remember exactly. Maybe Kristen was one?? Whoever they were it was members you would trust if you know what I mean) told me they had the same problem and never experienced a problem with a water change, even a large one, as long as both PH were above 7.. I still was cautious so I did a bunch of tests with baking soda. I found that while a small amount of it can raise the PH, once i put that water in the tank, it would then rise as it normally does, so I would end up with a PH of 8.4 or higher. (I did all of this in an unoccupied tank by the way lol)

Eventually I gave in and just did the water changes. The fish have never even slightly behaved badly.. Whoever it was that gave me the advice just said to watch the fish. You will be able to tell if it's effects them.. As long as they seem okay, it should be okay. So far, everything has been okay on my end.

The other option I've found is setting up a rubbermaid tub, with good aeration and treated tap water.. Either setting it up in the same room so the temps are matched, or using a heater and setting the temps to match in different rooms. I've found that after the water is aerated for apporx 5 hours, the ph has risen to 8.2. And I can safely use that water.. It's a pain though, especially when dealing with larger tanks.

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