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View Poll Results: Why do/did you think pH was so important?
Science class in school. 11 33.33%
The LFS you got your equipment/stock from 9 27.27%
Misleading websites 10 30.30%
What's a pH? I need some coffee! 3 9.09%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:01 AM   #1
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pH and your aquarium

So.... I got thinking tonight. When I first set up my aquarium, my first thought was "Uh oh, gotta get a pH test kit". I've noticed that this seems to be the case for pretty much anyone who fails to research a lot before setting up a tank. Just so we're clear, this isn't a thread to point out irresponsibility or anything of that nature. I'm just curious as to why there is the mindset that pH is so important. After learning everything that I have, I feel like it is way overrated. Obviously, you want it steady, but why does everyone feel that there is a certain number required? I've yet to see any research that says "these fish NEED this pH". Of course, african cichlids are mostly kept in a higher pH. Discus, angels, rams, etc are usually kept in a lower pH. Why is it, though, that aside from the most sensitive of fish do people worry about pH?

Most commercially bought fish are bred in the same tap water we use on a daily basis. How many of these fish are kept in waters that mirror their natural environment? I just want to know what it is in our brains that makes us think pH is so important. I wanna know because I've been there!
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:04 AM   #2
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I'm not sure why people think that. Maybe it's because others think that, and some tell you that. Not sure where it all started though.

Luckily I already know about pH non-importance. I was lucky enough to find that out right when I was starting.

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Old 03-07-2011, 02:14 AM   #3
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I voted for LFS. When I went there during our tank cycle to have the water tested, (I didn't own a test kit yet), they advised me that my pH was really high. I can't recall what they told me, but it was above 7.6. They tried to sell me on "pH Down", but I didn't go for it. I figured once the tank cycled, the pH would stabilize and be lower.

After the cycle was complete, I purchased test strips, (yeah, eek! lol), the pH was off the charts. Shortly after joining this site, I found out that the test strips were FUBAR and that the API Freshwater Master Kit was way more accurate... so, I purchased it and threw out the strips. After performing my first liquid test, my pH was reading at 7.6. I even tried the High pH test, but it was only reading at the first color, (7.4? or whatever).

All I know is every time that I test my pH levels, they are stable. My fish are healthy and active and I figure, when it comes to pH levels... if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:18 AM   #4
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A long time ago pH mattered. This was when popular fish like neons were wild caught and not used to being in a fish tank. Additionally, filtration and nutrition wasn't at its best and guess what LFS and other figureheads of aquaria did? They blamed the aspect of tanks that's easy to read and easy to say "That's different from the wild, it must be the cause of our mortality rates."

All and all I would say that the misconception of pH is the fault of literature, older hobbyists, LFS, and just newbie logic.

I will concede that pH IS important for inverts and SW tanks and also for breeding purposes.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:52 PM   #5
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I can understand it being important with sw.. and inverts. I also see it as important with fish like discus.

I just really want to understand why it's such a huge misconception that it's just so important. And why 7 seems to be the magic number.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:57 PM   #6
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Hm, my dad always wondered why his aquariums never lasted. Then today my mom told me that he always was messing with the pH trying to get it perfect. Then today my dad said it was also partially because he was too impatient to properly cycle. Then they didn't do a correct in fish cycle. Those aquariums were doomed from the start. Sigh. At least I know better.

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Old 03-08-2011, 10:23 PM   #7
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I think it's because it's one of the main tests for FW. And back when they were just discovering things for aquariums, they discovered PH. Of course all pet shop owners at the time as well as hobbyists felt it was the most important. And the idea probably bred into the next generation.

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Old 05-22-2011, 07:03 PM   #8
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Very interesting thread!
I shyed away from Discus for years before I took the plunge into the Discus world.
All the books I read stated Discus needed PH around 6.0 or lower. My LFS said the same thing about Discus needing low PH.

I keep all my Discus in tap water with a PH of 7.0 with no problems.
I've even heard of people keeping "happy & healthy" Discus in water with a PH of over 8.0

PH is overrated!

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Old 05-22-2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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In all honesty .. from a science teacher point of view, pH is very important! It's just that in the course of normal proper aquarium keeping, pH fluctuates very little, so it's not as big a deal to those educated in it. However I can see why a newbie to aquariums would feel overwhelmed about tank size, fish stock, water temps etc .. etc ..etc.. oh and btw ... there's also pH.

For those of us that buy our fish locally, chances are the LFS tank water is at a similar pH to our tap water. However ... what if you purchase fish online? How about the pH of that water? Would we acclimate those fish the same as LFS purchased fish? Again, if we do the proper procedures, we probably are (ex drip acclimation) and pH should not be an issue.

Thankfully, fish are remarkably adaptable to higher or lower pH's when done moderately.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
Thankfully, fish are remarkably adaptable to higher or lower pH's when done moderately.
This was my whole point. I totally see how it is important, but what I was getting at was why it seems that all who are new to the hobby have a pH test kit, and pH up and pH down. But, ammonia and nitrite seem to go on the backburner.
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