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Old 09-24-2008, 08:21 PM   #1
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pH drop?

Last time I tested my pH (admittedly a few weeks ago) it was a nice 7.2...

Now I'm guesstimating it to be at 6.2. Definitely in the low-mid 6 range.

I'm having some troubles with plant die-off on one side of the tank... but the ammonia level doesn't seem to be affected...

any ideas? I did add a piece of driftwood but it was soaked well beforehand and it's been in there for a couple of weeks (added it a couple of days after I last tested pH probably)...

The fish seem happy enough but I'm just curious in case it's something I'm doing.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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Driftwood is known for lowering pH. The degree that it lowers the pH depends on the type of wood and the size relative to the size of the aquarium.

Decaying plant matter can also lower pH. You should remove dead leaves, etc rather then letting them rot in the aquairum.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:45 PM   #3
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I've been doing what I can with the leaves... except that if I turn the filter off to get at them they get un-stuck from the filter basket and float everywhere so it's a little hard to nab them. I'll work on it again.

Didn't know decaying plants could lower pH- makes sense though because some of my anacharis are not so happy...
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:50 PM   #4
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OK. Got rid of a lot of plant matter (went through all of the not-emerald-green plants and snapped off what easily came off/looked poorly) and did a bit of rescaping, the fish seem happier with the new arrangement (one of the cories was swimming loops through the arch in the driftwood last night and the tetras are hanging out in the front instead of in the back by the filter intake).

I'm guessing I should let the pH right itself slowly with standard 25% PWCs instead of doing a big change all at once? Everybody's happy and healthy and active.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:50 PM   #5
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Did my weekly 25% PWC yesterday. Vacuumed half the gravel I can (live plants and whatnot), got some dead leaves out of it. I used half spring water (pH 7 I assume) and half warm tap to get the water temp closer to the tank's.

pH is now 6 and I would guess maybe even 5.8...

On a hunch I tested my tap water and it is 7.6 if not 7.8 (card goes from 6-7.6).

I pulled out all dead leaves and weak looking/dying plants, I rinsed the filter and filter pad free of all gook (including bits of dead leaves- and I used tank water, no worries), I treated the water with dechlor and swished it around well- the only thing left seems like the driftwood but it's been in there for long enough that it shouldn't be still releasing tannins, right??

The water is crystal clear, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, didn't test nitrates today but last week they were 5.

ACK!

I want to get some more fish now that I know my biofilter is well established...

I'll try to find some time to do a more thorough gravel vac this week (will have to pull the fish out, they have a habit of getting way too close to the gravel vac for my liking) to get it really clean- do another PWC- see if I can work that pH back up towards normal.

Any other suggestions? Obvious things I'm missing?
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:59 PM   #6
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could be phosphates. Negatively charged ions can bring you ph down. Right now my tank is cycling and I have so many nitrites that my ph is down more than a point.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:02 PM   #7
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Except my tank has been cycled for several weeks and the nitrite count is 0... could this still be a factor?
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:05 PM   #8
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Have you tested your KH? I suspect that it's probably very low to non existant, which means you'd have very little to stabilize your pH and it could change easily.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:12 PM   #9
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I have not tested the KH (doesn't come with the API kit).

If my KH is low, what would the fix be for that? From the reading I am doing it seems that the fish breeds I have do OK in low pH water but the female betta I am considering would not.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:59 PM   #10
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Unless you're trying to breed your female betta should be fine.
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