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Old 10-23-2019, 07:52 AM   #1
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A small rant with questions

Okay guys here is the scoop. I decided to do a 55G tank. Biggest I have ever done. I then decided to do sponge filtration to get away from bio wheels. Now here is where the trouble starts.

I know to not chase pH because drastic changes kill fish. My tank cycled. I quickened the process with ghost feeding and bacteria in a bottle. Tested water daily. Send the ammonia spike the nitrite spike then the glorious nitrate level of 5 ppm with no ammonia or nitrite. Awesome. Did all that with a HOB bio wheel. My PH would be around 7.6-7.8 a little high but it was steady. Then before I bought fish I decided to buy sponge filtration and try it out. I had to buy two small units as the went from recommending 30G on package to 100G. I was impatient and said two 30G will be fine. After a little air line cutting and a few plastic connectors I positioned them on opposite sides of the tank and let my biowheels and filter cartridges float in tank for a day to help with new sponges gaining bacteria. Did my water test and PH was around 7.8-8.0 I thought ok no big deal not a major jump and tank is still fishless. No ammonia or nitrite still ghost fed. So letís get some barbs they are hardy and will survive a slight ammonia spike. The next day I did just that. Straight after work. I neglected the water tests. Got them home and did a drip acclimation. For about an hour maybe hour and a half. Fish were fine and I donít have a QT tank yet so in they went. They instantly went a hid amongst my rocks. Coll thatís why they are there. Next morning I was off. So I did my water test. No ammonia or nitrite ok cool. No nitrate 🤷*♂️ where did it go. But fish are alive and eating no big deal pH.... solid 8.2 grrr WTF. Tank ran at 8.2 for a week. Fish are alive and eating. Still hiding but alive and well. I decided to try Indian almond leaves. Bought a pack and it had three six-eight inch leaves. I put them in the tank. Two days later they sink and I did notice a slight tint nothing drastic so everything points to normal. This whole time tank is still at 8.2 steady not going up or down. Leaves are now on the bottom of tank for another two days test again and pH looks like itís headed upwards like a 8.3 double grr. IAL is supposed to lower not raise pH. WTF!!!!. Fish are still doing great. To the point I decide to add two rainbow sharks and a Bala just last night.

Now the questionable questions.
Because I am running sponges off of air and not power head is it over airating my water causing a high pH? Does activated carbon help lower pH? My dream fish (rope fish) likes a more neutral ph and I do not want to kill him. What do you think his survival chances are? As I write this post I am contemplating getting new cartridges and throwing the good ole biowheel back on to see if it changes anything. Luckily I can turn my airline back to just using a stone with little hassle. But the pump is still supplying the same amount of air to the two sponges or the stone so would that really matter?
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:33 AM   #2
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Couple things here:

Return that Bala to the pet store. It has no business being in anything smaller than minimum 180 gallons.

Return one of those rainbow sharks, they will kill each other.

CO2 builds up in tap water, creating carboxilic acid thus lowering pH. As the CO2 off-gasses in your tank, the pH will rise.

What rocks are in your tank? Sounds like they are buffering your pH upwards.

Do you know the kH and gH of the tank water?

How are you testing pH?
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Old 10-23-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
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The rocks came from a local creek. They were rinsed and scrubbed with a stiff brush then sun dried. I do this process twice before placing any rocks in my tank. I use an API master kit and I had purchased a five in one test strip just to double check. They have agreed the whole time. I will get specific numbers for you after work. The bola shark does need a bigger tank I agree with that. 180G is a bit much in my opinion. I have a 100G that will be its next home when it gets bigger but itís current four inches I figured I had a month or two. I have always had no problems with two rainbow sharks at a time. Due to the ample hiding space and decent tank size they usually get along just fine.
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Old 10-26-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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I have came to the conclusion that the rocks must go. Currently sourcing good roach and pieces of drift wood to maintain hiding place.
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Old 10-30-2019, 03:55 PM   #5
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A small rant with questions

The rocks have been removed. I placed five pieces of decorations all provide some kind of cover. Next is to get the pH to come down. I am not going to rush it and potentially put fish in shock. I plan on buying more Indian almond leaves to assist in this. My water source tests at a 7.6 so my water changes and the leaves should gradually get me to my target range of 7.0 - 7.5. I want to use a little chemicals as possible (only declorinator) If I can get it to my target range by the second week of December I am going to get me a rope fish .
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Old 10-30-2019, 03:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remington View Post
The rocks have been removed. I placed five pieces of decorations all provide some kind of cover. Next is to get the pH to come down. I am not going to rush it a put fish in shock. I plan on buying more Indian almond leaves to assist in this. My water source tests at a 7.6 so my water changes and the leaves should gradually get me to my target range of 7.0 - 7.5. I want to use a little chemicals as possible. If I can get it to my target range by the second week of December I am going to get me a rope fish .
Is that a degassed tapwater measurement?

My tapwater measures 7.6 .... then degasses to its true pH of 8.2 over 24 hours. (carboxylic acid off-gasses as CO2 to reach equilibrium with the atmosphere thus raising the pH).
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Old 11-02-2019, 05:16 PM   #7
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Is that a degassed tapwater measurement?

My tapwater measures 7.6 .... then degasses to its true pH of 8.2 over 24 hours. (carboxylic acid off-gasses as CO2 to reach equilibrium with the atmosphere thus raising the pH).


Iím going to say it was not degassed. How should I lower my pH with minimal chemicals?
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:53 AM   #8
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Iím going to say it was not degassed. How should I lower my pH with minimal chemicals?
You really don't have to lower pH at all for your fish selection and tank goals.

Safest way would be to mix RO and tapwater to a desired level.

But even at a 3:1 RO:Tawater your pH will still be >7.5 most likely. So you may as well go with reminerallized 100% RO at that point.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:17 AM   #9
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So did the rocks raise the pH?

I don't think your pH is too high. If you acclimate properly they'll be fine. For example, I've currently kept discus for 8 months now in a pH of 8.4. I have calcium build up flaking off my heaters. They are perfectly healthy.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:57 AM   #10
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Removing the rocks has not noticeably effected my PH. That being said I have also not done any water changes just adding some due to the loss of volume of rocks. My nitrate and ammonia levels are fine. My hardness and alkalinity are the same. I will hopefully remember to update this when I do a 20% or more water change.

If the water ainít broke donít fix it 🤪
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:07 AM   #11
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I've had questions about heavy aeration/water circulation raising pH as you'd find in a hot tub or a large pool. I think for the purposes of an aquarium it would be little to none.

As ZXC pointed out, your tap water will off gas and raise pH. My tap from the water company pH test is 8.0. it ends up being 8.4 in my tanks.

IME, you can keep several fish in a pH of 8.6 or lower that most people think you can't.
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