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Old 03-20-2006, 12:25 AM   #1
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pH Drop - stressed fish

I'm a week into a cycle, tonight the pH took a plunge from the 8.0 to 8.2 range to 7.8. I understand this might be part of the cycling process, and/or oxegen issues (the filter and air pump should be oxegenating plenty). The fish are breathing pretty hard and I'm worried.

I also understand pH fluctuations are usually a symtpom and not the problem, right?

Anything else cause this type of sudden drop? I did about a 20% water change over the last 24 hours (in small batches) to drop ammonia and nitrites down to a survivable level, and I'm using ammo-loc to keep toxic ammonia down.

Any home remedies for low pH? Baking soda? If that would work, at least until I can get some pH buffer at the LFS tommorow.

And yes, I'm aware that cycling with fish isn't popular on this board, I was told by both my LFS stores to do it this way, I didn't find out about fishless cycling until after it was too late.
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:54 AM   #2
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Yep .. baking soda will bring pH up. Dissolve it in some water before adding and then wait awhile before testing pH again.

Also, pickling lime ( found in grocery stores) will bring the pH up as well.
1 tbsp in a cup of water ( for a 30 gallon tank ) and add slowly to the tank.

You could also try a water change.... The rapid breathing is due to ammonia most likely and as you and I discussed before, this pH can cause a more toxic ion of ammonia to form.

Also, as the tank begins to cycle, the ammonia will become converted to nitrite, which is very toxic to fish. The nitrite will bind to the hemoglobin in the fish's blood and prevent oxygen from being carried in the blood. In short, the fish begin to suffocate. Again, keeping on top of partial water changes would be a good idea.

If you know someone with a SW tank, you can ask for a scoop of their substrate to seed the bacteria in your tank.

As for the quick drop in pH, a good buffer can help keep it stable. You might look at getting some Kent's Superbuffer.

Good luck.

JG
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:55 AM   #3
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TYVM!
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:43 PM   #4
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Kent superbuffer is great stuff... raises dKH as well.
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:39 PM   #5
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Got some at the LFS. No change in pH after about 7 hours, but I understand pH can take awhile to shift (and you want it to go slow), and I'm not checking calcium hardness (although I wonder if my swimming pool test kit would work for that...)
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:13 PM   #6
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What is the possibility of removing the fish till the cycle is complete. Just because the LFS did not know what they are talking about does not mean they have to suffer.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:38 PM   #7
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During the cycle, you can see the ph drop. the fact is, the tank is very unstable during this period and that is normal. I would not add anything. Not recommended... Your water changes should provide everything you need to keep it going right now...

Other things that have an impact on PH is:

Glass Tops
Substrate
Rocks (Decorations)
lack of oxygen.

Also, the PH changes during the day as well.. It will be higher at mid day than at mid night.

When are you testing the water?

I also am with the LFS taking the fish back and allow the tank to cycle..

I would relax on testing all the time too. maybe 3 times per week.

One of the worst things you can do is be impatient. Read, read, and then read some more.

I hope this helps...

Cheers,
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:05 PM   #8
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I discussed this in another thread, but so those of you who suggest it, I have put the fish in a smaller (10g) temporary tank until the cycle.

I can't do frequent large (20% or more) changes of a 75g tank unless I get some serious plumbing done in my living room. Its just not possible. But I do a 50% change in a 10g tank pretty easily, to keep levels low - I should be able to keep easily that water in good shape for the remainder of the process with frequent water changes. I picked up an extra heater, filter, etc.

The fish are much better now.

The big tank is not. I'll try to relax about it and stop testing 5 times a day
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