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Old 02-07-2009, 10:46 AM   #1
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Do I have a problem with ph?

Hi guys,

Okay so I got my new test kit, (API liquid) and tested my two tanks. My 55 gallon that has been running for 7 years which holds 2 tin foil barbs, 2 irredesent sharks, and 3 cory cats are as follows:

PH- 6.6
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrates- Can't really tell if it's 40 or 80 because the colors on the card are almost identical.


My 10 gallon which has been running for 3 weeks that hold 3 mollies are as follows:

PH- 7.2
Ammonia .25
Nitrite- Was blue, but not the same blue as the card, so I'm guessing somewhere between 0 and .25?
Nitrates- Same as the other tank, can't tell if 40 or 80 or somewhere in between because the colors are so similar on the card.


So my question is this, I want to add my Mollies to the large tank but I don't know how to keep my PH up to at least 7 so the Mollies don't get stressed. My ph from the tap is 7.6. The guy at the fish store told me to add more aeration which would cause the ph to rise, is this true? For some reason I though it would be the opposite and cause it to get lower. Or should I just change the water more often to offset for the low ph?

Oh btw, I know I need to get my nitrates down some, would it be bad to change the water twice a week instead of my once a week that I'm currently doing? Or is there something else I'm missing to keep this down?

Thanks again for all your help.

Mary
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
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Mary, don't worry about your pH... 6.6 is fine. The important thing is that it is stable. If you start messing with it, trying to raise and lower it, it will be far more stressful to your fish.

Looks like the 10 Gal is not quite done cycling, but it should be there soon. You can do multiple PWCs per week to get your Nitrates down to a lower level if you wish. In fact, on the 10 gal, this would be a good thing to do anyway until the cycle is complete. Once you get them to around 20 or so, you should be good. You should not have to continue doing multiple PWCs each week to keep the nitrate there...

Any pics of your tanks?
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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lol, my tanks are probably really ugly compared to most on here, you would probably laugh... My 10 gallon is actually just a temperary tank because I thought one of my Molly's had some sort of disease and they are new from the store. But I really want to get them into the big tank, as long as the lower ph isn't going to make them unhappy. I read Mollys and livebearers like a ph of like 7.5 or something. So that's why I wanted to ask on here if they can handle the lower ph of my big tank. I did a water change yesterday, should I do another today or wait till tomorrow?

Thanks so much!
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:57 AM   #4
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You could do another today with no problem... especially if you are doing only 20% or so.

I have a couple live bearers in my tank... and the pH stays below 6.6. They seem to be doing great.
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadylady23 View Post
Nitrates- Can't really tell if it's 40 or 80 because the colors on the card are almost identical.
Mary, aren't you more concerned about your nitrates? I've always held the the belief that you should try to keep these under 20ppm, and anything 40-50ppm or more is too stressful for your fish.

What's in your tank besides the fish you listed, and how big are the fish?

I have mollies, platies and guppies in my 55 and I'm doing 10% every other day. I'm running into a pH issue myself so I've been doing some research on it. Here's a few questions

Do you have live plants, and if so, do you supplement with CO2
Do you have any airstones
What filtration method (UGF, canister, HOB)
What substrate
Decorations
Home heating method
What area of the country are you in
What's your tap pH

The tap pH will be low at first and should rise as the O2 content rises. Ours here in Des Moines is off the scale - 8.8+ - straight out of the tap, yet my tank pH is 7 or less. I run a UGF with power heads, no airstones, and with plants, but I connected the air tube to the power head to infuse some O2 and try to get the pH up a bit.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo View Post
Mary, aren't you more concerned about your nitrates? I've always held the the belief that you should try to keep these under 20ppm, and anything 40-50ppm or more is too stressful for your fish.

What's in your tank besides the fish you listed, and how big are the fish?

I have mollies, platies and guppies in my 55 and I'm doing 10% every other day. I'm running into a pH issue myself so I've been doing some research on it. Here's a few questions

Do you have live plants, and if so, do you supplement with CO2
Do you have any airstones
What filtration method (UGF, canister, HOB)
What substrate
Decorations
Home heating method
What area of the country are you in
What's your tap pH

The tap pH will be low at first and should rise as the O2 content rises. Ours here in Des Moines is off the scale - 8.8+ - straight out of the tap, yet my tank pH is 7 or less. I run a UGF with power heads, no airstones, and with plants, but I connected the air tube to the power head to infuse some O2 and try to get the pH up a bit.
I'll do my best to answer your questions, but I'm sorry because I don't really know alot of the terminology you are referring to.

As I said, I do know I need to get my nitrates lower, but I know how to do that. I don't however really know how to raise my ph, which maybe isn't such a problem after all. Does aeration cause it to raise like the guy at the fish store said? I think since I'm going to be doing more frequent water changes than the ph will naturally rise since my tap is 7.6 anyways.

To answer your questions:

My fish in my 55 gallon (listed above) are about 6-7 inches a piece, the cory cats are about an inch and a half to 2 inches. I do use a bubbler stick thing if that's considered an "airstone" I'm not sure, is there is an advantage to one or the other? For filtration, (again, not sure of the terms you used as I'm a newbie) but I have an aquatech 30-60 and also an aquatech 20-40 that was purchased at walmart that uses filter cartridges. I have gravel and some plastic plants, I did recently add a few java ferns and one anubias plant. PH from tap is 7.6.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:20 PM   #7
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oh, also, I do not add anything to the water other than the conditioner when I do a water change. Nothing for the plants either.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:21 PM   #8
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And I live in Massachusetts.
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Old 02-07-2009, 03:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by shadylady23 View Post
Does aeration cause it to raise like the guy at the fish store said? I think since I'm going to be doing more frequent water changes than the ph will naturally rise since my tap is 7.6 anyways.
Yeah, basically that's what I understand. Any air-diffusing device will work, it doesn't have to be an actual airstone, but the finer the bubbles the more effect it should have on pH. At least that's the theory.

A newbie with a 7-yr old 55g tank? I think you've probably got a little experience, don't sell yourself short!! I'm kind of in the same boat, used to keep cichlids a while back, took a 7 or 8 year break, back into it now and learning more this time - isn't the internet great!?

Here's some terms I've recently learned to use that make me appear much more astute than I am:

HOB = hang on back - also HOT hang on tank - I think this is what you have
Canister = sealed system under or inside tank, like Fluval, Magnum, etc
UGF = undergravel filter
LFS = local fish store
Substrate = gravel, sand, etc. The stuff at the bottom.

I think I agree I would worry less about the pH. It's really not a problem unless it gets too high and you have an ammonia spike, because you will have more free ammonia.

I found this page helpful:

Aquaworld Aquarium - The Ammonia and pH Relationship

More frequent water changes should fix the pH and Nitrates.

I also read that if you live in a closed-up house in the winter, you end up with lower O2 and higher CO2 in the air, which can lower your pH also. I would think this would be harder to fix unless you open a window and let some fresh air in every once in a while. But then there goes your heating bill.

Also check to see what pH your fish like, keep them happy is #1

Hope this helps!!!
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:53 PM   #10
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ShadyLady, you said you were having trouble getting the nitrates down but that shouldn't be hard. If your chemistry is out of whack, do a 50% water change and the water will much better resemble tap water than before the change. If you have high nitrates in the tap water, don't even try to get below the tap water number. Nitrates are used to indicate how much the water has degraded over time but the real limits for most fish are much higher than we usually allow. I have seen various research that found values as high as 400 ppm to be OK although I would not allow that in my tank. If you have a tap water with 30 ppm of nitrates, not unheard of where I live, just try to keep your tank from rising more than 20 ppm above that value. That way all the things we don't usually measure will stay OK. It is a fairly standard approach to base the ultimate nitrate limit on tap water difference because the build up of nitrates depends mostly on what is being put into the tank over time. By keeping it at a rise of 20 ppm, you are keeping the build up low.
My experience with mollies tells me that they can be a bit sensitive to low water hardness although they don't seem to care much about pH. My own tap water is quite hard so they do very well in my tanks right now. In former times, I kept mollies in places with softer water and they did not do as well at all.
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