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Old 08-06-2009, 02:13 PM   #1
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Crushed Coral

I received a prophecy of doom from a LFS guy recently. I'm slowly adding batches of neons to my 55g planted to get a school going and several of them have been dying off. My paramaters all seemed fine so I asked for his opinion and he pretty much said its a matter of time before my 6.0 ph kills everything in the tank. I didnt take too much stock in this, but its probably true that even with slow acclimation the ph drop from the lfs to my tank can be too much for a neon. Plus i'd like to add co2 one day which will just drop it further. I think i'll get some crushed coral to slowly put my tank at around 6.4.
Anyone have experience with this? I'm looking for measurements like maybe a half cup of coral once a week or something.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:17 PM   #2
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Neons should be okay at 6 imo. They prefer acidic, and if you're going to add the co2, the crushed coral should be added as a buffer rather than to raise the ph (so the ph doesn't crash). It's more likely that the neons are just a weak line or are stressed from shipment. As long as you acclimate properly, the neons should be okay.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #3
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You could put it in your filter, in a filter bag. Some people have to do that to buffer the water (and keep the pH from crashing). Try half a cup, give it a few days and see where the pH is. It won't be a fast increase.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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Ok, thanks. I have some nice big cannister trays so that will be easy. Does the term 'buffer' mean that it won't raise the ph, but rather protect it from any dramatic swings? In other words it would take a large amount to cause any noticable change in ph?
I wanted mainly amazon fish and corries in the tank anyway and prefer acidic water, but I can't think of any negative consequences to having a 6.2-4 ph where as the 6.0 seems to boarder on the edge of trouble.
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:17 PM   #5
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It will raise the pH but it also raises the KH which helps keep the pH stable. When I mentioned people using it as a buffer, they used it more for the increased KH to keep their pH steady (though it would have risen as well). It doesn't take that much to see a raise in pH IME, especially the small rise you are looking for. Try half a cup and see what that does. You can always add more if you need a higher pH.

I used it in a Malawi tank to raise the pH.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:19 PM   #6
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Well here's a stumper. My PH has always been 6.0. Sometimes after a big waterchange it will go to 6.1 or 2 for a day before dropping again. I checked it today for the first time in about 2 weeks and its at 6.8! My GH is 120ppm and my KH is still less than 20. What could have caused the rise in ph? The fish seem healthy so I'm not complaining... its just really odd. Could my area's water have started doing something different? I did a wc two days ago.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:27 PM   #7
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When is the last time you changed your water? Do you have well or city water? Water softener? Any rocks? If it happened abruptly, it's probably the water company, otherwise it was probably something more gradual. If you top off, the evaporating water will leave the calcium etc, and it'll slowly become more concentrated (higher ph). Also if you have any lime (rocks, calcium deposits) it'd cause a slow rise in pH and kH (similar to crushed coral)

Also (I believe you're getting your water tested at the lfs) maybe try somewhere to test you water, as it might have changed with the kit. (liquids are better ftr)
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:36 PM   #8
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I did a 25% wc two days ago and its city water. I've been using the API kit for all my readings and I even did this one twice since it surprised me so much lol. I don't top off. There are a bunch of rocks in my tank, but they've been there for several months and the PH has always been 6.0. I dont use any chemicals or softeners in the tank. I just add half a cap of Prime after the wc to get the chloramine out.
I'll definately be testing this every day now. The tap water after gassing off used to test 7.6 ph. I'll have to see how it tests now that something funny is going on. I wouldnt mind if it stayed this way. Then I wouldnt be nervous about adding co2.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:26 AM   #9
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Eeeek! I tested it this morning right before goin to work and the PH was maybe 6.1 or 6.2. Thats more or less what it has been for the past few months. So... my tank had a ph spike? I'm definately getting the coral now to buffer so this never happens again. It was too dark this morning to tell if my ten neons all survived this swing. I gassed off some tapwater overnight and that tested at ph 7.5-8 which is about what it's always been.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:50 PM   #10
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i would first off like to say the lfs has no clue what they are talking about. whas the ph difference? how slowly do you acclimate them? how do you do it? neons prefer the lower phs for the most part. heck they are caught in ph water as low as 3.5 if i remember correctly.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:21 PM   #11
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Hee hee. Yeah, the guy started our conversation by telling me I can't have mollies without salt in the tank. The argument being salt is naturally present in rivers and lakes due to runoff therefore my tank should have it also.
I just tested the water and its at about 6.4 right now, up from 6.1 this morning. The big scare was yesterday when it was at 6.8. Is that too much of a swing to be occurring? It seems unusual to me since I've always had a 6.0. Only thing different is the addition of ten neons.
I acclimate them by letting the bag sit in the tank for about 15 minutes, then i pour maybe 15% of the tank water in there, wait 15 minutes and repeat. I do this probably 5 or 6 times and dump the bag water into the sink whenever it gets too full.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:28 PM   #12
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i would try a drip method. you use airline tube and a valve so it drips slowly take a couple hours in a bucket. slowly add it. plus it depends their tap vs your water. i would also get a kh and gh test.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:43 PM   #13
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Okay, are we testing tank water or tap?

When I found out I could outsmart petstore employees at 13, I stopped listening to them, except one manager that works at a petland nearby..

The airline method, as mentioned earlier, is alot better, and will stress them less (although what you're doing is much better than just dumping them in). Since the pH is that much different, and the fish are sitting in a small bag, the pH swing is pretty large. (the "then I pour maybe 15% of the tank water in there" part throws me) If the fish are in a 500mL bag, at a pH of 7 then you put 250mL of 6 pH in there, (if I'm doing this correctly, as its been like 2 years) you'll have an almost instant drop of .33, lowering the ph of the bag to 6.66. (someone please correct me) We didn't get that much in dept of buffers, but depending on the buffers of your and their water, this change could be smaller or larger.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:12 PM   #14
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Thanks! I'll see about researching the drip method when I buy some corries in a week or two. The Past few times I've tested the PH in the tank its stayed at about 6.4. I'm still adding crushed coral to my cannister during my next wc.
I do have a gh and kh tester. the GH always tests at around 120 to 140 ppm or mg/L (i'm never sure what units to use there) and the KH is very low. When I add the first drop of solution the color doesnt change which the instructions say means I have less than 20. Surprisingly the GH and KH didnt change with my PH spike so I suppose it has to be some change in my area's water I guess.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:17 PM   #15
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Da Squid,

I was thinking of changing my gravel out to crushed coral. I have not tested my ph sense I don't know when...my tank is at least 4 yrs old and I have had the same fish in them, so I've not had any problems. I don't know that much about crushed coral, which is why I am on this site researching. How do you feel about using crushed coral as a substrate?
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:23 PM   #16
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you shouldnt for the most part.
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:18 PM   #17
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If the tank has been doing well for 4 years without you even needing to test then I'd say don't mess with it. I just bought a bag of this stuff and it just likes like tiny white rocks. If your doing this for purely aesthetic purposes then there is probably something more attractive out there that wouldn't screw with your levels. I'm a beginner with all this, but from what I learned so far...there's my two cents.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:54 AM   #18
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Well, I was busy last night. Did a big cleaning to pull out alot of the hair algae, then a 25% wc, then i squeezed out one of my filter trays and added a little stocking with about half a cup of crushed coral. The PH last night was maybe 6.2 or 4 before the change. This morning it was 7. I'm guessing that was from the tap water I added and not from half a cup of coral. Also, my tank has been pushing 86 degree's from a heatwave we've been having (even with my fans all pointed at the tank) and yesterday we got a thunderstorm that broke the heat. The temp this morning was about 78. So an 8 degree temp change and a .8 PH change.
If my fish survive all these swings then they deserve little fishy medals .
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