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Old 02-20-2005, 12:26 AM   #1
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pH versus Time?

I set up a 55 gal fw tank in early december. Cycle was done in mid january. I have zero ammonia, and nitrite. I actually have zero, or less than 5ppm of nitrate due to frequent water changes (20% one to three times a week). My pH was stable at 7.8 for the first 7 weeks. Then on week 8 it declined slightly to 7.6. Now at week 10 it is a little lower, reading 7.4. The only thing I started doing around the time of the pH declines was to start adding some aquarium salt to the water I use for water changes, and to start using Marinelab Biosafe (sodium hydroxymethane sulfinic acid) for dechlorination instead of Aquarium Pharmacueticals stress coat water conditioner (which doesn't list what is in it on the label.) I have heard that the pH would drop a bit in established tanks? Or could this be related to the switch of dechlorinator? I see no reason for it to be related to the pinches of aquarium salt I have been adding. What do you think? Is it just time or is it the dechlorinator?


Edit no 2 : Arrgghhh. just read the dechlor bottle more carefully, I actually have been over dosing (double) due to a math error. And figuring that the aeration has probably taken care of the chlorine anyway....?
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Old 02-20-2005, 12:53 AM   #2
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The new conditioner might do it (it is an acid after all, esp. if double dosed.). Salt might do it too ... depending on how much. 0.9% salt solution has a pH of 5.5 .... but I doubt your level is that high (that is SW level )!

But I bring up the salt because of salt creep .... if you add salt to change water to make up for both removed & evaporated water, your salt level will creep up (as evaporated water has no salt) ... but that will take some time ... prob. not in 2 weeks.

If you have been doing your regular water change, I don't think it is from your tank being established. In the case of Old tank syndrome, the pH drops (or crashes) because the buffers are used up (fish poop, decaying matter, etc. all produce acids & consume buffers). But if you are doing regular water changes, the buffers should be well replenished & should not give you pH problems.
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:08 AM   #3
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Good point about the salt creep. I am slightly underdosing the salt, and the tank started out with no salt at all. So it would take a while to bring the tank up to the target dose, let alone exceed it. I thought that just adding salt to the water changes was a nice way to gradually introduce it. However, I think that I will do a water change every now and then without the salt to prevent it from getting to high.

When I originally made the post, I had thought that I was underdosing the dechlorinator, and thought it funny that I would see a pH change. When I was trying to find out more info on the Biosafe contents I discovered my dosing error. And it says right on the bottle "DO NOT OVERDOSE!"

Duh.

I will watch the pH after a few water changes without the dechlorinator (will aerate and heat for 48 hrs) and see if it reverses.
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Old 02-23-2005, 04:30 PM   #4
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well, 3 days and two 20% water changes without the dechlorinator overdose and the pH is back up to 7.8, like before. KH(alkalinity) is down by one degree, 5 degrees instead of the basleline of 6, but I suspect that that will return to baseline with a few more water changes. The moral of the story: read the directions, double check your math (and maybe not in your head while you are distracted), and do it all again to be sure!
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