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Old 11-07-2006, 06:35 PM   #1
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low PH...

Not sure where to post this so I'll stick it here...

I was just looking at my mum's fish and they seem to be wobbling or just floating to the top, so I checked the PH and the ammonia and it looks like there's a problem, the PH is about 5-6.5, and this I know is bad for the fish. So is there anything I can do to raise the PH to the nice and safe level of 7.5?

EDIT:
Just checked the Nitrates and Nitrites and the former is through the roof, looks like I'll be sorting this out myself....
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Old 11-07-2006, 06:56 PM   #2
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What exactly is the pH reading? A range of 5 - 6.5 is huge. The level does not need to be a magic number. As long as there is a nice buffer, she will be fine with regular water changes. Usually a lower pH indicates a low buffer but that's not always true.
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Old 11-07-2006, 07:04 PM   #3
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If her nitrites are through the roof the tank is still cycling. High nitrites are poisonous to fish. I would be doing daily partial water changes of 50% until the nitrites went to zero.
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Old 11-07-2006, 07:40 PM   #4
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If this is a mature tank, it's entirely possible that some form of OTS (Old Tank Syndrome) has set in. This occurs when there is a lot of DOC (dissolved organic carbons) in the substrate lowering the tanks ph.

OTS
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:59 PM   #5
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PWC's will safely get the ph levelsback inline. The posts above I completely agree with, your problem isn't with the ph but disolvedorganics in the water. If it were me, I would do 50% PWC's every other day for about 3 times. This will get your parameters back to being more stable. Also, don't shoot for an exact ph level, a stable ph is much better than a perfect ph. And don't use chems to adjust the ph, it will only create ph swings, which are not good for the fish at all.
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Old 11-08-2006, 12:47 PM   #6
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It was the NirAtes that were through the roof, the NitrItes were fine. Anyways, I've done a PWC, vacced the gravel with a python (and the water coming up was very cloudy) and refilled with fresh (and treated) water. I just did another Nitrate test and it's still looking high, but could be something to do with the water dechlorinator so I'll test again later to be on the safe side.

Anyway, the fish are looking much happier and the loach is zipping about like a loony...

I'll do another pwc on friday and test everything again...

(I think my mum will have to owe me some money for this test kit cos it's supposed to be for my tank!!!)
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:20 PM   #7
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Sounds good. From your description, it may very well be a Old Tank Syndrome situation. Doing several small water changes over the next few days will help everyone adjust to the re-balancing of the tanks parameters.

*Don't charge your mum!
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:24 PM   #8
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Continued PWC's should get that Nitrate level down. You could also add some media designed to help nitrify the nitrates to her filter if you do not want to help her with the PWC's in the future. You will still have to do them, just not as often.
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:26 PM   #9
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Well, I'm happy to do the PWC's, it's just convincing my mum that it's not my tank!!!

Anyway, I took out the plant that was in there as it was looking weak and struggling to survive, so I was wondering if there are any plants that are good at cleaning up the Nitrates?
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:08 AM   #10
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I believe all plant varieties reduce nitrate levels a little but you'd want to check the Planted Tanks section for more info on that.
TBH a regular water change routine will solve your nitrate problems: I'd go with this method first off. I also agree with jchillin: do plenty of small water changes until levels go down. Don't just take out 50%+ water and replace it in one go b/c you will stress your fish with the sudden change in params.

On the pH: it's worth bearing in mind, btw, that on the pH scale the difference between 5.0 and 6.0 is a ten-fold increase which is an awful lot. Because it's decimalised I think sometimes people don't realise how large the scale actually is.
To raise your pH the water changes will help (bring it back to around neutral at 7.0) but if you needed it any different to that (more alkaline at 7.1+ or more acidic at 6.5-7.0 or whatever) then natural means are far better than using chemicals like pH Up or Down or Proper etc.
You can use certain rock to raise pH (e.g. ocean rock and the like), and driftwood will help lower it to slightly more acidic levels.
As someone said, a stable pH is adequate for fish even if it's not the 'correct' pH. Using natural means to buffer it in this way ensures any change is gradual.

Btw, your loach is probably going crazy b/c of the sudden changes in his params: every time I do a pwc (even if it's just a small one) my schistura zip about all over and often flash as well. They're very sensitive fishies!
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