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Old 05-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
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persistent PH and bored seeming fish

Hey I have had a freshwater aquarium for years and my tank is well established and cycled. its a 30 gal tall with an led hood so its nicely lit. Im just now trying my hand at live plants for the past cpl months so i have about 4 live plants as well. I currently have 2 odessa barbs and 3 albino tiger barbs as well as 1 african butterfly, an albino bristlenosed pleco, and a glass cat.

the water from my tap comes out nearly if not perfectly neutral ph. but somehow once its in my tank for a day it skyrockets to probly 8.3 (its not quite 8.4 but higher than 8.2 so im assuming .3 even tho it isnt technically on my chart) i used to try the chems to bring it down but those would work for a few hours and then jump back up and I was doing more harm to the fish with the swings so I stopped.

Also idk if its just me but when I look at my API MTK chart the nitrate colors for 40 and 80 are absolutely identical so idk if I have 40ppm (safe limit) or 80 ppm (dangerous) so im wondering if it is possibly a trate issue? Idk how to lower that either tho.

My reasons for wanting to do this is because when I do my PWC my fish seem happy and active until the next day when they get listless and just sit (float) there. A lot of times the even float vertically with their nose down and tail fins pointing straight up. this used to scare me but theyve been doing it for almost a year so its not death motions... I just want a happy active environment for them not just a space for them to exist...

I feel I should note that my ph IS STABLE. it doesnt swing back and forth so Im not extremely worried about it but it just doesnt make sense to me. there are a few fish Im interested in that dont like such high ph. Is there a way to bring it down and keep it down with out multiple daily water changes?


And I know this post is getting long but just for good measure heres my numbers.
ammo: 0
trites: 0
PH: 8.3
trates: 40 (80?)
Temp: 78
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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I believe the way to lower nitrates is just by doing PWCs. And also I'm fairly sure even a reading of 40 is a bit too high
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #3
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What s the hardness of your tap water? Water hardness, ph, and dissolved CO2 all interplay. If the hardness in your water drops, the co2 leaves the water and the ph rises...
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:07 PM   #4
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What s the hardness of your tap water? Water hardness, ph, and dissolved CO2 all interplay. If the hardness in your water drops, the co2 leaves the water and the ph rises...
Oh I actually have no idea I've never heard that one before. I think we have slightly hard water not too much really. so is hard water better or is it just going from hard to soft what causes the ph to go up? do I combat That with co2 somehow?
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:34 PM   #5
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The best way I have found to combat it, is to use replacement water of similar hardness as my tank...
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:59 PM   #6
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The best way I have found to combat it, is to use replacement water of similar hardness as my tank...
but how do I know what my tank is? I just use my faucet to fill it so how do I know what the water has changed to?
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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How often do you do pwcs? And how much to you change? It may be the build up of nitrates that are causing them to appear listless.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:28 PM   #8
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I test my tap and my tank, and use distilled water as well add tap water. You really should dechlorinate the water before adding it to the tank also.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:13 PM   #9
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How often do you do pwcs? And how much to you change? It may be the build up of nitrates that are causing them to appear listless.
um i would say about 25% and it usually ends up being biweekly. I probably don't stick to the schedule as well as I should but I didn't know there was something wrong I always thought the trate level was fine and the ph was unchangeable. what do you suggest?
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:17 PM   #10
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I test my tap and my tank, and use distilled water as well add tap water. You really should dechlorinate the water before adding it to the tank also.
I've tested my tap water too but it's pretty much unrecognizable from my tank water lol. the ph is fineoutof the tap it's after a day in the tank it rises. Is it something at the source or in the tank?
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #11
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You should test the hardness of both tap and tank water to find out what you're dealing with. I had always assumed I had hard water, but after testing it I found it to be of average hardness. If your water is soft, then it becomes easier for things to affect the PH.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:10 PM   #12
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um i would say about 25% and it usually ends up being biweekly. I probably don't stick to the schedule as well as I should but I didn't know there was something wrong I always thought the trate level was fine and the ph was unchangeable. what do you suggest?
As in twice a week? Or every two weeks?
If its the former then either you'd have to be overstocked and/or not cleaning the gravel or filter often enough.
If its the latter, then you would do well to do it weekly and see if conditions improve. If they don't, then you'll need to increase either the volume or the frequency of the water change.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:40 AM   #13
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As in twice a week? Or every two weeks?
If its the former then either you'd have to be overstocked and/or not cleaning the gravel or filter often enough.
If its the latter, then you would do well to do it weekly and see if conditions improve. If they don't, then you'll need to increase either the volume or the frequency of the water change.
as in every two weeks. I'll start doing it every week and report back in a little while. thanks guys!
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:52 AM   #14
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You might want to examine what you are using for decor also.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:28 AM   #15
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You might want to examine what you are using for decor also.
Yeah, good point! Some gravels and sands will raise ph, as will things like shells and corals and some rocks.
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