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Old 11-04-2003, 12:11 PM   #1
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Consensus on PH?

My feelings are that unless you are trying to get fish to spawn, the ph level is unimportant. Most species of FW fish can thrive in a very wide ph range. It is the sudden shifts in ph which cause fish problems.

Also, the cheapy test kits where you add 3 drops to a small vial are both inaccurate and subjective. How large is a drop, and what color does it most closely compare to on the chart?

I recently tested 2 of my tanks with a color comparrison test kit. I couldn't tell if I were reading 6.6 or 6.8 so I assumed 6.7 on both tanks. I then tested the tanks with a newly calibrated MilwaukeePH600 pocket tester. I got 7.1 in one tank, and 7.2 in the other. What do you think?
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Old 11-04-2003, 12:56 PM   #2
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So what kind of consensus are you going for? I assure you, while african fish can 'survive' lower PHs, they truly prefer higher range, not just for breeding. And vise versa for South American fish/cichlids, which like a lower range.

You should never be saying "Its ok, they can survive." You want it to be "Its great, they'll thrive"
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Old 11-04-2003, 01:18 PM   #3
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you can't create different sized drops out of the same dropper.
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Old 11-04-2003, 01:22 PM   #4
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Re: Consensus on PH?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianNY

Also, the cheapy test kits where you add 3 drops to a small vial are both inaccurate and subjective. How large is a drop, and what color does it most closely compare to on the chart?
Yeah that's the same test kit I use...and i'm beginning to wonder if it was worth the $40 i paid for it.....

I had a massive tank issue recently and the same test kit registered NO ammonia/nitrates/nitrites....so I assumed I was ok....then I took a sample in for a check at my lfs and the said my ammonia was a BIT on the high side.....(but my pH reading was bang-on)

**** piece of crap test kit......now i'm not even sure I should use it..

Can any of y'all recommend a good CHEAP test kit I can buy (ebay or otherwise)??

thanks,

Zach.
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Old 11-04-2003, 01:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SicklySweet
you can't create different sized drops out of the same dropper.
yes you can....it's all relative man....when you're dealing in such small amounts of fluids (such as the indicators in the droppers), any imbalance can result in big changes in colour....it all depends on the tester kit and the parametres therein.

conversely...when you deal in gallons or litres, +/- a few millilitres here and there is not a problem at all.

but, for the most part, the drops that come out of the dropper would eventually average out I think.

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Old 11-04-2003, 01:47 PM   #6
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The way I know I can probably trust my pH and hardness tests at least is that I know from my local water purification plant what those values are in tap water, and my tests give about the same readings. The pH in my tanks have remained very stable so far, the hardness has gone up a bit, which is a good thing.

When you test something like ammonia, the size of the drops shouldn't be that critical... you're mainly trying to determine if there is ammonia or not, the exact amount is not that important, since anything else than 0 is bad.
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Old 11-04-2003, 01:48 PM   #7
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Over time, and inaccuracies in the test kit drops should average out. If it looks like 7.1 one day, then 7.0 the next, and 7.2 the third, and then 7.1 again, you can rather safely assume that the ph is holding steady.

If any changes are to be made to the ph, you should try to do this sslloowwllyy over time and with frequent monitoring. The end result would be the ph you want and fits in with your maintenence schedule. It is easy to change the ph for 24 hours, but it needs to hold the new value to be of any use.
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Old 11-04-2003, 02:07 PM   #8
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Here's my take on it all, as someone with a chemistry background of sorts.

With any test kit you are using at home, you simply are not going to get any level of accuracy. The best you can aim for, and IMO what these tests should be used for, is to monitor CHANGE in your tank. Thats it. If you test your pH at 6.4 one day, then 6.7 the next...you cannnot say "my pH is 6.7" or "my pH has increased by 0.3 points"....what you CAN say is "my pH has increased". Of course you can get a general feeling of the readings in your tank....and sometimes you'll find a great deal of precision in the readings...but you cannot then infer accuracy.

As for colorimetric tests....they are used extensively in environmental testing, because they are so simple to use. It is true that each human eye is going to perceive color differently, but their intent is not to pin down some exact measurement....rather a rough idea of the range. pH measurements based on conductivity are far more accurate....but really not necessary in an aquarium IMO. We're keeping pets....not laboratory experiments.
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:09 PM   #9
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Well ferret, I did use the word thrive. But I make the assumption that you'll try and provide your africans with a higher ph by using a coral substrate which I would not use in my discus tank.

If I didn't make myself clear, I apologize. What I'm getting at is how fine tuned does anyone think they can achieve in pH? And, is it really needed?
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:12 PM   #10
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Perfectly fine tuning it is probably unnecessary. It doesn't have to be 7.3421. But you should definately have a target range of something like 7.0-7.5. If it suddenly drops to 6.0 there's a problem most likely, and can stress/shock the fish.

Ironically, I never check my ph :P I should, but I don't. My tap is 7.3 which is fairly decent for all my tanks but my 90 gallon, which has crushed coral in one of the filter buckets.
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianNY
My feelings are that unless you are trying to get fish to spawn, the ph level is unimportant.
10 kudo to you for that statement.

Another reason I see for doing PH tests is if you have expensive fishes. However, the cost of doing daily PH test versus the cost of a few cheap guppies seems frankly silly.

Another silly thing is when I hear “Expert A” quote a website that claims he need his water PH has to be “X” for his fishes survive. If the person did further research he would find that different “authoritative” websites quote different PH values for the same fish. My book then use completely different PH values to these websites.

Example: PH for the common guppy Poecilia reticulate
pH: 6.8 to 7.8 = http://www.petfish.net/guppy.htm
pH: 7.0 to 8.0 = http://filaman.uni-kiel.de/Summary/S...ame=reticulata

Combine the above with the fact that 2 different fishes species that share the same natural ecosystems suddenly require different PH levels in the home AND dodgy test kits, I start to smell male cattle waste with regard the whole issue.

Basically, unless you have expensive fishes or specific reason, dump the droppers and test tube and leave the hood of your tank alone. If the fishes survived in your LFS shop then they should be Ok in yours as you probably share the same water supply.

But I could be wrong ….
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Old 11-04-2003, 03:49 PM   #12
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If accurate pH tests are necessary, such as for breeding discus, then an electronic meter is in order. As far as pH regulation goes, there are options for low pH, such as a co2 setup that automatically injects gas into the tank when the pH gets above a certain level--I believe that can be accurate to 0.01 pH. As far as high pH, most high pH is a result of high carbonate buffers, which prevent the pH from fluctuating too much.

I do wish the pH drip test was as cut and dry as the hardness drip tests, the hobby would be better for it.

As far as whether it's important to keep the pH at the fishes native levels...I don't know, I hear stories from both camps. Personally, I pride myself on my tanks, and making the water as close as possible to the "real thing" is just part of my own hobby. My 10 gallon tank has a pH of 6.4 and my 30 gallon has a pH of 7.6.

HTH!
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Old 11-04-2003, 04:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LondonGman
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianNY
My feelings are that unless you are trying to get fish to spawn, the ph level is unimportant.
10 kudo to you for that statement.

Another reason I see for doing PH tests is if you have expensive fishes. However, the cost of doing daily PH test versus the cost of a few cheap guppies seems frankly silly.
I don't see it like that. I don't test my water because I'm afraid of losing an expensive fish. Whether my fish are expensive or cheap, I try to do my best to provide them with the best possible environment. I don't test the water daily, and an "expensive" pH test lasts for a long time. I am aware that different sources recommend different ideal pH values for fish, and I don't follow them religiously, but I do care about my pets' well-being first.
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Old 11-04-2003, 05:13 PM   #14
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Sinuhe, we all care about our fish or hopefully we would not have bought them. What I'm saying is I'm not going to strive to hit some magic ph number. Frankly, I don't even know how to read that number off the liquid test kits. And, if I did I wouldn't have any faith that that were the "true ph value".

Plus, fiddling with the ph actually does more harm to the fish than acclimating it to a stable value. IMO
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Old 11-04-2003, 05:17 PM   #15
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Well obviously it's each to his own. If what you do works for you then don't fix what ain't broken ;]
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Old 11-04-2003, 08:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patwa
Quote:
Originally Posted by SicklySweet
you can't create different sized drops out of the same dropper.
yes you can....it's all relative man....when you're dealing in such small amounts of fluids (such as the indicators in the droppers), any imbalance can result in big changes in colour....it all depends on the tester kit and the parametres therein.

conversely...when you deal in gallons or litres, +/- a few millilitres here and there is not a problem at all.

but, for the most part, the drops that come out of the dropper would eventually average out I think.

Zach.

After a bit of searching for something online to confirm what I was saying:

A drop is precisely the expression of the molecular forces of cohesion distributing evenly as the forces of surface tension throughout its body. Hence a drop from the end of a matchstick, which is a dropper with an infinitely small bore, is not substantially different from a drop of the same substance through a glass tube. Once the bore of the tube is large enough so that the forces of adhesion (capillary) do not restrain the liquid against gravity, then you are dealing with a hosepipe not a dropper. But drop size is remarkably constant within the dropper range from infinitely small to a couple of mm.
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Old 11-04-2003, 10:07 PM   #17
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Now that!!!! is a cool bit of research Sicklysweet. Glad you had the ability to go for that one!!
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Old 11-04-2003, 10:21 PM   #18
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ya, if i could solve your inconsistencies i would. Sometimes i try filling up the vial from deep in the tank. For instance, I'll hold the vial upside down so the air stays in, then let water closer to the bottom of the tank fill it. My results seem to remain consistent, hope you can solve the problem
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Old 11-04-2003, 10:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SicklySweet
After a bit of searching for something online to confirm what I was saying:

A drop is precisely the expression of the molecular forces of cohesion distributing evenly as the forces of surface tension throughout its body. Hence a drop from the end of a matchstick, which is a dropper with an infinitely small bore, is not substantially different from a drop of the same substance through a glass tube. Once the bore of the tube is large enough so that the forces of adhesion (capillary) do not restrain the liquid against gravity, then you are dealing with a hosepipe not a dropper. But drop size is remarkably constant within the dropper range from infinitely small to a couple of mm.
SicklySweet, look at it like this....droppers in general are clumsy pieces, unless you're dealing with laboratory equipment like a pipet (see: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chemlab/techniques/pipet.html), there is no way a regular old dropper from your lfs wil be guaranteed to give you a precise single drop when you need it ....i've had times when I press the bottle a bit to hard and too many drops come out..and then i've got to start again...that's what we've come to expect from dropper based test kits.

I think what I was getting at was that it's too easy to mess up with the regular dropper....my personal choice would be to invest in something easier and more advanced (maybe an electronic one).

Zach.

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Old 11-05-2003, 04:57 AM   #20
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this is an interesting debate and to a mere novice enlightening, I tried to get the perfect water chemistry in my angel tank using proprietary products from my local lfs. These included water softeners ph down RO water and a multitude of other ideas given to me. This was done over a period of months and all I ended up with was a whole in my pocket.

my tap water is very hard at 22gh and 12 kh with a ph of 7.8, and in these conditions I have rams that breed in my angel tank, and mollies and bronze corydoras that had a 100% survival rate in a breeding tank. However I believe that with a high kh fry survival is said to be lower than in a lower kh.

What is the answer I truly wish to know.
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