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Old 07-21-2013, 02:42 PM   #1
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pH fluctuation & algae?

I'm still having issues with the pH in my tank fluctuating like crazy. It was fairly stable for a few days around 6.8-7.0 and then yesterday it was up to 7.4 and today it's down to <6. I didn't do anything to the tank between those two readings. Any idea what's going on and what I can do to stabilize it? I have a hunk of base rock in the tank and had been adding baking soda periodically to bring the pH up but I haven't done anything in a few days because it had been stable. I just did a ~50% WC which brought the pH up to about 6.6, which I know is a big change for the fish but nitrite levels had spiked up to dangerous levels.

I was also wondering if the brown gunk on my air line and in my filter is algae and what I can do about it. It doesn't really bother me that much since its only on the air line and in the filter but I don't want it to take over the tank or anything. Best pics I could get are below.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:57 AM   #2
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The ph being high is probably from you trying to raise it with baking soda. My guess is you have well water? Sometimes water will change coming out of the tap at the house( more common with the well) The only way to know this is to pour some into a cup and let it sit out for 24 hours testing before and after to see what it drops to.


Its not a good idea to try to mess with the ph levels in the tank. It only causes more work from you and as you can see it will jump all around if not careful.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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The ph being high is probably from you trying to raise it with baking soda. My guess is you have well water? Sometimes water will change coming out of the tap at the house( more common with the well) The only way to know this is to pour some into a cup and let it sit out for 24 hours testing before and after to see what it drops to.

Its not a good idea to try to mess with the ph levels in the tank. It only causes more work from you and as you can see it will jump all around if not careful.
I do not have well water. The one high reading is the first time it's been high. Most of the time it was very low, hence the need to raise it. Our tap water consistently tests at 8.8+. Maybe I didn't explain clearly before, but when it went up to 7.4 and then back down to <6 I hadn't added anything to adjust the pH in several days. It had been stable at 6.8-7 for 4 or 5 days before that so I hadn't messed with it. That's what I can't figure out - first a swing upward and then a big drop over the course of a couple of days.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:34 AM   #4
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How's the water test otherwise? City water could also change and I've seen it happen.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:17 PM   #5
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How's the water test otherwise? City water could also change and I've seen it happen.
Because the pH has been fluctuating and has tended to be on the low side, getting BB established has been slow going. Yesterday the nitrate and nitrite were both pretty high (I'm not at home to tell you exactly what it was but NO2- was bright purple and NO3- was in the dark orange-red range.) The last few tests, the ammonia had been under .25 and nitrate and nitrite at 0 so I hadn't done a WC in a few days when it jumped and then dropped. For several days the only thing that had gone into the tank was food.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:25 PM   #6
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Ok I think I understand now lol tgell me if I miss understood.

Your fishless cycling? so a common problem is when ammonia gets super high it can cause the ph to crash. That's why I was asking how the other water perimeters are. And a low ph during a cycle can stall the bacteria
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:10 PM   #7
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Ok I think I understand now lol tgell me if I miss understood.

Your fishless cycling? so a common problem is when ammonia gets super high it can cause the ph to crash. That's why I was asking how the other water perimeters are. And a low ph during a cycle can stall the bacteria
Fish-in cycling. It had been cycled but I had to treat with antibiotics a while back and it wiped out the BB so it's cycling again. I have 1 platy, 1 cory and 6 serpae tetra. I've been testing at least once a day and doing WCs as necessary but things don't really seem to be improving. Ammonia will spike, I'll do WCs to get it back down to tolerable levels, it'll be ok for a day or two, nitrite and nitrate will spike, WCs, it'll be ok for a day or two, the pH will tank and it all starts over again.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:40 PM   #8
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Don't dose as so much ammonia. Only try to get 1ppm or so.


How big is the tank
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:44 PM   #9
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Don't dose as so much ammonia. Only try to get 1ppm or so.

How big is the tank
I'm not dosing any ammonia.
Tank is 15 gal.

As of this afternoon parameters are:
pH >6
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 2.0-5.0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm

This is after 2 50% WCs yesterday that brought the pH up to ~7.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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I'm not dosing any ammonia.
Tank is 15 gal.

As of this afternoon parameters are:
pH >6
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 2.0-5.0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm

This is after 2 50% WCs yesterday that brought the pH up to ~7.
It looks to be pretty well started now. All you can do is water changes. It will get there sooner or later. By the looks of it my guess would be sooner.
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Old 07-22-2013, 05:07 PM   #11
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Fwiw I tested my treated (w/ AmQuel+) tap water

pH 8.4
Ammonia .25ppm
Nitrate 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm

Just did a 50% WC.
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