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Old 06-18-2004, 01:44 AM   #1
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PH Level way too high I think, Help!

Hello,

I have had my 55 gal tank since January 2004 it always seems to have a high PH level. It has been as high as 8.8 in the last few days and then down to maybe 8.2 at a low point in the last week or so. I have tried the chemical buffers to attempt to lower it to no avail. We have a blue and yellow tang, a clown fish, a flame angel, some chromis, crabs, starfish and snails (and live rock) that all have been in the tank and are doing fine but my we recently bought 2 Bangaii Cardinals and one already died and the other will not eat and I do not think it's going to make it. I am reading that the PH is critical so I'm thinking this may be the problem as I've heard that sometimes fish won't eat if they do not like the PH level. Any suggestions? All the other fish are doing fine (suprisingly!). Thanks!

Alisha
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Old 06-18-2004, 06:21 AM   #2
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What's the PH of your replacement water?
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Old 06-18-2004, 06:32 AM   #3
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Many times existing fish can acclimate to higher ph or even nitrate values. When new fish are added, they get shocked and die. Does the buffer that you are adding lower ph or try to stabalize it at 8.2? Are you dripping calc? Is there anything in your tank that may raise ph? Something is causing ph to rise, the buffer is only temporaily lowering ph before it goes back up. What is your Alk? It sounds like some water changes are neseccary. Try 10-20 % every 3 days for a couple of days.
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:21 AM   #4
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What are you using to measure the pH, and what time of the day are you taking these readings? What are all the other water parameters? Maybe you could give a list of your complete setup to help diagnose the problem.

Also, your aquarium seems very heavily stocked so it may be best to not add any other livestock for the time being.
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Old 06-18-2004, 11:16 AM   #5
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:42 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. The PH of my replacement water is around 7.6 (it is filtered tap water). The setup is a 55 gallon tank with a Euro-Reef protien skimmer and about a 10 gallon sump along with an air filtration system which makes the bubbles (sorry, my husband would know better what all of it was!) which was all set up by a reputable LFS. The buffers claim to lower and stabalize the PH but are not doing either. I am not dripping calc, in fact, I do not even know what that is. My Alk is between 0 and .25, usually 0. I am using Aquarium Pharmaceuticals testing kit to test, and lately I have been testing after work, about 7 to 8 pm. The Nitritres are fine (I don't have the specifics as I am at work but they are the lowest level) but the Nitrates are also high, about 80 or so. Thanks again for all your help.

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Old 06-18-2004, 10:14 PM   #7
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Water change, water change, water change. I assume you meant ammoinia was between 0 and .25. Your Alk is the alkalinity and I will assume you dont have a test for that. (I don;t think aquarium pharm makes one-could be wrong) But if your nitrates are up at 80, a water change in critical for your livestock. How often do you do waterchanges? What kind of salt are you using? Can you describe your filtration a little more in detail. I think you may have a nitrate factory there. And lastly how much LR do you have?

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Old 06-18-2004, 11:33 PM   #8
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Agreed, way overdue for a water change. Nitrates are not as toxic as ammonia and nitrite, but 80 is really high. It would be extrememely difficult to do a relatively quick acclimation to keep your new fish alive. The cause and solution to your problems is most likely rooted in your equipment and maintenance schedule. Please post a complete listing of both and we'll see what we can do to get your tank straightened out.

FYI, PH is a measurement of how acidic or base your water is. Too far in either direction is a bad thing. Alk. is what helps buffer your PH to keep it stable.
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Old 06-19-2004, 12:23 AM   #9
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Hello again,

Just came home and read your replies. I tested again a few minutes ago and you're right, I was referring to ammonia at 0, I have no idea what my Alk is. I'll have to get a test for that. Can you recommend a better complete test kit or should I just buy some individual tests for some of the other tests? PH is still about 8.8, Nitrites at 0, Nitrates at 80, our SG is 1.0225.

Our setup: Euro-Reef protein skimmer set up below the tank which we were told by our LFS was the best on the market and was the only skimmer/filtration system we needed in conjunction with our live rock. We have approximately 40-50 lbs of LR. We started up with the best "live sand" if that matters too. We have a 55 gallon diamond (pentagon) shaped tank that drains to a 10 gallon sump below which also houses the protein skimmer and the pump. We have a 96 watt aquarium light set on top and the fish listed above and one coral (a flower pot coral, I think, that's doing badly too). The salt we use is Instant Ocean when needed and we've only needed to add it 1 or 2 times since January (or so we thought!). We add our filtered tap water as needed a couple times each week and also clean the skimmer at that time.

I hope this gives you more info so you can help us further. I have a feeling I'm going to be buying some RO water this weekend! Thanks again!

Alisha
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Old 06-19-2004, 12:59 AM   #10
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The clouds are beginning to part, but it's still a little foggy. First, a "reputable" LFS is a myth just like the loch ness monster. Just kidding I am sure there are a few. Your store was correct for the most part on the "berlin" method of filtration. However a lot of factors come into play with that. The most important being your LR. I can tell you now, that you simply don't have enough to provide adequate biological filtration for your current fish load. You more than likey need twice as much, which would then make your tank nearly too small for a tang. I am unfamiliar with a "diamond" shaped tank off the top of my head, but it may be "do-able" for a tang. *shrugs* You say you started up with the "best" live sand. If it came in sealed bags off the shelf, it was not only NOT live, but NOT the best either. But again it will do if you have enough of it. How much did you start with? Another thing that is eating at me, is that you say you use Instant Ocean when needed. What do you mean by "needed"? You don't add it directly to the tank do you?

Ok a breif description of a water change: With good water a salt mix is added in a bucket or a tub and pixed with a small pump until SG, temp, and pH match your existing tank water. Then old water is removed from the tank and replaced with the new water. This should be done at least bi-monthly or as needed. You probably need a 20% water change daily until your nitrates are under control.

Keep us posted. Good luck and use us as much as you need. That's what we are here for!!

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