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Old 10-15-2002, 04:03 PM   #1
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new tank - pH problems

Hi all. I set up a 32 gallon tank about a month ago. I initially had problems balancing the pH. My tap water was reading about 7.2 and I plan on having a community tank, so I wanted to keep it at a steady 7.0. From what I've read online, those pH down products aren't very reliable, and may actually keep the pH meandering up and down, when the most important thing about pH is to keep it relatively stable. I set it up like that (with 7.2) anyway and let the filter run. I started investigating and read about using distilled water. When I checked the tank's pH again, it had risen to 7.4. So I got some distilled water from the grocery store (pH tested about 6.7) and started trying mixtures of tap, tank, and distilled water. I figured about 1/3 of each should do it. (By this time I had checked everything in my tank substrate, rocks, decorations, etc, by sitting it in water for a few days to see if anything else was raising the pH. I also tries the vinager test, to no avail. I also added peat moss to my filtration system.). So I tried again. It seemed to have stabilized at 7.0, so after 2 weeks, I went out and purchased 6 zebra danios, which seem very healthy and happy. I've had them for about 2 weeks and the ammonia level has risen so little that i can't even read the pale shade of yellow on the test chart. It seems that cycling is going fine. But when I checked the pH again. it's risen to 7.2. Any ideas? or do I just have MAGIC alkaline water? I don't know what to do anymore and I wanted to get this pH issue settled so I can continue with the growth of my tank.

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Old 10-15-2002, 08:59 PM   #2
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If your water is going to stay stable at 7.2, that is not such a bad thing. It would be better to leave it there than to keep messing with its chemistry trying to bring it down. Fish will do fine at that level, depending on the fish you are going to get, some even like it higher than that.
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Old 10-15-2002, 10:32 PM   #3
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Hey. thanks for the reply. Does anyone else have other ideas why this id happening? I'm not sure if it's still rising or if the pH has stabilized. But either way, I'd like to get it down to 7.0 Eventually I want to have angels and gouramis in it and besides, ot just bothers me that the pH is rising and i have no explanation for it. Any suggestions would be a great help. Thanks again. =}
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Old 10-16-2002, 03:48 AM   #4
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do you have city or well water? how hard is your water? do you have a lot of aeration in the tank?
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Old 10-16-2002, 07:52 AM   #5
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Have you tried using a tap water purified when preparing your water? You just hook it up to your faucet and filters the water. I also use Proper pH 7.0 made by Aquarium Pharmaceutical in my tank and it does maintain it a 7.0. It helps neutralize chlorine & detoxifies heavy metals, all of which can have a effect on the pH.
Good Luck!
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Old 10-16-2002, 01:32 PM   #6
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btw--most fish are now aquarium bred and have over time became more tolerant of varying conditions...as long as there are not drastic pH changes , you are generally better off to not use chemicals and such to alter the pH, by so doing you can create more stress for the fish than just letting them adjust to what you have--most chemicals alter it rapidly and temporarily
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Old 10-17-2002, 10:14 AM   #7
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Hey Crazze, You want to explain your post a little more. You totally threw me on the one about to pure of water pulling items from the fish tissue.

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Old 10-17-2002, 11:32 AM   #8
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Hi guys. Thanks for all the responses. My water is city water, relatively soft. I'll try using the Brita water filter next time i do a water change. I've also read that most commercially available "pH stabilizers" actually do more damage than good because they change the pH for a few days and then they suddenly return to normal, instead of letting it remain stable. I eventually want to get angelfish, and although they seem to prefer slightly acidic water, i assume domesticated angels can live in higher pH's. I doubt any of the pet shops around bother to adjust the oH of the tap water anyway. The pH of my tank rose again, to about 7.3-7.4, and I'm beginning to think it's just changing as the tank is cycling. I'll keep an eye on it and hope it evens out. Thanks again for the suggestions.
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Old 10-17-2002, 03:36 PM   #9
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not sure what those add on filters take out, but here's an excerpt on pure water with the link listed below

"RO water can be used for marine and reef tanks as the salt mix provides all the essential minerals and salts needed. Straight RO water is not acceptable for freshwater as it lacks essential minerals and salts. You must learn how to adjust the water chemistry if you use RO water for freshwater tanks."

http://www.algone.com/reverse_osmosis.htm
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Old 10-30-2002, 07:34 AM   #10
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Buffer

Have you checked the carbonate hardness (kH) of your water? It sounds like it has lots of buffering capacity and is using up the acid you put in to lower the pH. Just a thought . Also, on the subject of buffers, I have used the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Proper pH buffers for a long time and have never had any problem with them. We use them in the freshwater tanks at the store and they stay right on target. Available are mixes for pH 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, and 8.2. If all else fails, buy some R/O water from the LFS and add the proper buffer to set your pH where you want it. BUT, as crazeee said, you must make sure the minerals and salts are put back into the water. I would be surprised if your Angels were not OK in 7.2 water...we keep them in 7.0 and they do just fine.
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