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Old 09-30-2004, 12:42 AM   #1
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? about pH

Our pH out of the tap is 7.0.

But our tank within a day or two falls to pH= 5 (or lower). 8O
Our GH=107 ppm, KH=17.9 ppm, Nitrites & Nitrates= 0.

We are trying to do a fishless cycle in a 75 gal but stopped adding ammonia because the ammonia is jumping to 8 WAY TOO EASILY.
(This tank had a 4 inch oscar and two 3 inch bushy nosed plecs a few weeks ago but we lost them due to extended power failure.)

Does an acidic pH prohibit the good bacteria from establishing itself properly?

Does ammonia cause pH to drop?

What can we do to make things work so we can get cycled properly?

Help!
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Old 09-30-2004, 01:07 AM   #2
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What is in the tank for substrate, rocks, decorations... Having a tank drop from 7 to 5 in the span of two days is not typical unless something is contaminating the water and causing the ph drop. How much ammonia have you been adding? Are you SURE it is pure ammonia and has no additives?
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Old 09-30-2004, 09:31 AM   #3
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THe weird thing is ALL THREE of our tanks were at pH 5. We started using "Proper pH 7.0" in the 10 gals, especially since one has it bettas in it, but it only gets it to 6.5. Trying the proper pH in the 75, it only lasts about a day and is back down to 5. So we don't want to waste it.

We knew the pH in the tanks was 6, but got a pH kit that shows down to 5 last week.

The 75 has small standard beige/black gravel mix and the 10 gals have the larger round/smooth gravel. Never had luck with live plants so all have plastic. The 75 does has two pieces of wood (drift/bog) and one petrified wood/rock.

Our tanks have always tested at "6 pH" (or lower) since days one... two years ago. At one point I filled up a tank with tap water, no treatment (now are using AmQuel, before we used Bio safe), and less than two days the 7.0 pH dropped to "6".

We've bought a bag of crushed coral, too, and tried adjusting the pH before starting the cycling in the 75 but it jumped to 8+. Now have a smaller bagged amount and will watch that.

-Mrs. Chile
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Old 09-30-2004, 10:47 AM   #4
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Draw a container of tap water and leave it sitting out for 24 hours, then re-test the pH. You may find that it too has dropped.

You may need to use a buffering sand or crushed coral substrate and buffering rocks/shells in your tanks, but they might dissolve rather easily with a pH of 5!
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:14 AM   #5
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You've got the same soft water in Alabama as I've got in NY. My pH actually fell to 3.7 8O . This problem was solved by using cc in the filters.
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Old 10-03-2004, 11:59 PM   #6
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What did you do to raise the pH from 3.7? I did let tap water sit out on the counter and after two days it fell to pH of 5 (or lower).
Is there a ratio of cc to gallons to get pH of 7.0 for those with soft water problems?
We've got less than a cup of cc in one of the filters in the 75 right now, been there about a week and no change yet.
Will leveling the pH help the tank cycle?
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Old 10-04-2004, 11:29 AM   #7
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I used 2 cups in a cannister filter on a 125gal tank. I have a Milwaukee SMS PH controller on the tank and I've ben watching it carefully. The reading is displayed digitally and is accurate to .1. I know this worked for me.

I watched the pH climb gradually from 5.5 to 7.3. This took about 24 hours. After only a day the pH was stable and will vary from 6.9 to 7.2. Even with the injection of CO2 my pH is now constant. The KH rose from 0 to 4. My feeling is that if you get your KH anywhere from 4 to 6, you'll achieve a stable pH and it's what you should be looking for.

To answer your question about leveling the pH and cycling. It's an interesting question. I can't confirm this but I think a pH crash kills off the "good" bacteria. The bacteria will come back at a very low pH but, you'll kill it with your first large water change. Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Old 10-04-2004, 02:49 PM   #8
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I read that a pH below 5 will kill off all the cycling bacteria. I tried to look for a link (I just read it last week!) but I can't find it now.

I have also read that at a pH of below 7, ammonia is less toxic. I wouldn't think that this means that a water change is not necessary, but it means that the relatively harmless ammonium is in a greater concentration at a lower pH.

http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html
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