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Old 07-10-2011, 09:55 PM   #1
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another fish died, possible pH issue

Well, 1 of my 3 green chromis died. He was fine yesterday when I added some koralias. He ate yesterday and was lively.

This morning he was acting sick, sitting on the bottom, breathing hard. There were no visible deformations - spots or discolorations. I immediately did a water test. Everything was fine except pH was about 7.8.

I immediately did a 25% water change. Retested pH after about an hour and it was still about the same.

I don't know if this is the issue. I have always had trouble with my pH. I just can't keep it up. I have lots of water movement, good filtration, lots of surface agitation, and do weekly 25% water changes.

Any thoughts? Do you feel pH was the issue?

If I can't keep fish, I'll definitely never be able to keep corals.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:25 PM   #2
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What's your ph swings like? highs and lows and how long it takes to swing. I've always been under the impression that lower or high ph doesn't kill the fish, but great enough swings do. Have you tested alkalinety ? if you have a low buffer, I believe it could cause the swings but not 100% on that part
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:36 PM   #3
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I really need to get a digital pH tester. The API high range ph test is incredibly difficult to read for me. So, that being said, I don't really know the swing.

Our house is incredibly not ventilated though, so I think a high level of carbon dioxide in our house could be contributing.

So I think I might need to aerate the water better, but I don't know how. I have the 300gph return pump from the sump split up into two return lines and they are both pointed at the surface of the water, rippling it. Also I have the overflow box which aerates the water when the water is skimmed through it. Then I have massive aeration in my sump where the water flows through 3 pvc pipes separating 3 containers. I also have macro algae in my refugium on a reverse light cycle from the display tank. Then I have 1290gph water flow inside the tank. So it doesn't seem like aeration would be the issue!

I guess at this point all I can say is that I *think* I have a pH problem, but I won't know for sure until I get a digital pH tester. Though I do know this morning, using the API high range pH test, it was a brownish color closest match to 7.8 on the color chart.

So many unanswered questions that I don't even begin to understand. Kind of makes me feel like a failure.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
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Going to try to understand this article: Low pH: Causes and Cures by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:14 PM   #5
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Imma read up on that, perhaps you need to look into ventilating your house? But until then we need some soild numbers if possible I'm sure between everyone on aa we can figure it out. I'm still stuck on the low buffer possibliity but imma read that article
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:29 PM   #6
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Did you test the pH with the lights on or off?
The light can effect the pH in the aquarium.

But as mentioned earlier, it's the drastic swings in params that cause the fish to get stressed and lead to disease and illness.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:33 PM   #7
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Ok so IF you do have a ph issue, that is killing your fish, it looks as though there are 2 or 3 reasons behind it that are possibilities. I understand that you state you feel you have sufficient disturbance of the surface water, but lack of correct aeration of surface water could cause ph swings, the other one is that you mentioned your house isn't well ventilated and co2 levels are higher than normal, if you have aeration of your water with higher than normal co2 in the air, it'll cause ph drops at night. Can you get your hands on a digital ph meter? If not I'd try to test the alkalinity of your tank, still interested in what your buffer is.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:53 PM   #8
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I'm buying a digital pH meter tomorrow from my brother in law for $25. The pH was tested with the lights off (moonlight leds on). However, since I have the fuge light on in the sump during the night time, I have a 10watt 6500k compact fluorescent running during the night.

I didn't get around to measuring dKH because I was alarmed by the pH reading and wanted to do a water change ASAP. However, I was told in another thread that dKH reading doesn't matter to fish.. however I guess it effects/affects the pH.

I will measure dKH tonight and provide a few sample pH readings tomorrow.

What do you mean by buffer? I added some marine buffer that is supposed to raise the pH to 8.3 (even though I know i'm not supposed to, i'm supposed to fix the problem naturally).. I was just scared because the fish was sick.

We'll know more tomorrow when I get my hands on the digital pH meter and measure alkalinity.

Thanks for trying to help walk me through this. Do you guys ever feel lost?
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:12 AM   #9
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I always feel lost lol, as a matter of fact I don't really feel like I have a solid knowledge of saltwater and its dynamics. The buffer is your waters capacity to buffer against ph changes, drops and raises. There are specific chemicals that are directly related but can't remember the names, I do however know that alkalinity is part of the buffer, ie if your alkalinity is high, it will prevent ph changes to an extent....but again that's just part of it
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:14 AM   #10
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Oh and please make sure the ph meter is calibrated if possible, no sense in going thru all this to find out the meter was outta whack
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ever see someone cut a 125g in half??
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