Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 03-07-2016, 11:24 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
low pH problem

I set up a freshwater tank about 9 weeks ago. The pH at setup was about 6.6 to 6.8, and was stable during cycling. However, in the past week I just noticed that the pH has dropped to 6.0.

Setup: 5 gallon, 1 betta, 2 nerite snails
Substrate: gravel and glass marbles
Filters: 1 HOB (Marina S10), and 1 sponge filter
No live plants
Parameters: 0 to 0.25 NH3/0 NO2/5 to 7 nitrates
I don't have a GH/KH test kit (currently on order); when I first set up the tank, however, I used some test strips that told me there was low alkalinity.
Tap water: 0.5NH3/0 NO2/0 nitrates/pH 7.6

Partial water changes do not seem to change the pH of the tank at all. I have resisted trying to fiddle with pH, as most seem to advise against this. However, I am concerned that the pH is so unstable and will not be compatible with life for my betta and snails. I am thinking of adding a small amount of crushed coral to the filter.

Any advice on
1) what type of monitoring equipment is best for adjusting pH?
2) how much crushed coral to add/ schedule for adding the coral and subsequent testing?

Thanks.
__________________

__________________
Adobe1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 08:36 AM   #2
AA Member
Community Moderator
 
Delapool's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 16,145
I use a ph and kh test kit for tracking ph. At a guess, try a tablespoon of coral. You will need to dial it in and may get a quick ph increase and then it will slow down.
__________________

__________________
Delapool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 09:32 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 34
Just get a pH balancer at your lfs there's a billion products

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
__________________
tlonghorn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 09:49 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
What are some examples of pH balancers? Do you mean something like Seachem Neutral Regulator? Or using Seachem Alkaline and Acid Buffers together?
__________________
Adobe1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 10:57 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Caliban07's Avatar


 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 5,650
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adobe1234 View Post
What are some examples of pH balancers? Do you mean something like Seachem Neutral Regulator? Or using Seachem Alkaline and Acid Buffers together?

They only work temporarily and can cause unnecessary fluctuations so I am led to believe. Crushed coral in a bag in your filter will naturally raise ph and keep it there.


Sent from my iPhone using Aquarium Advice
__________________
Caliban07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 02:30 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
OK, I think I will start with a small amount of crushed coral.

One other thought--last week during a water change I used API StressCoat b/c of a tear in one of my betta's fins. Could StressCoat lower the pH?
I already tested tap water treated with Prime after sitting overnight (ph 7.6 right out of tap vs 7.4 after sitting overnight with Prime) I am thinking of rerunning the experiment with StressCoat instead.
__________________
Adobe1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 11:13 PM   #7
AA Member
Community Moderator
 
Delapool's Avatar



POTM Champion
Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 16,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adobe1234 View Post
OK, I think I will start with a small amount of crushed coral.

One other thought--last week during a water change I used API StressCoat b/c of a tear in one of my betta's fins. Could StressCoat lower the pH?
I already tested tap water treated with Prime after sitting overnight (ph 7.6 right out of tap vs 7.4 after sitting overnight with Prime) I am thinking of rerunning the experiment with StressCoat instead.

I would of thought stress coat would be similar to other water conditioners if it did.

Ph between water straight from tap and left to stand will change naturally as it degasses noted just in case. Would be interested in what you get.
__________________
Delapool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2016, 11:51 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Fresh2o's Avatar



Tank of the Month Award
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 12,863
I'm thinking something in the tank is bringing down the pH.
You could set aside three small glasses/cups of treated tap water, add some gravel from the tank to one glass, add some marbles to another (those these really should be inert), and leave the third alone (just water). Take a baseline of the pH. Let it sit for a day and retest. If there is a drop in the glass with the gravel, marbles, or both, then you have found the culprit.


Sent from my iPhone using Aquarium Advice
__________________
I am an ALGAE farmer.
Terms of Service | Community Rules | FresH2O's Planted Tank | Fresh2o's Shrimp Tank
Fresh2o is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2016, 10:31 AM   #9
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
Thanks for the good ideas -- will need to run some tests.

Another potential issue: I figured my tank was not completely cycled (because NH3 readings still at 0.25 most days with API kit)-- although at such a low pH it is probably mostly ammonium and not being consumed by the beneficial bacteria.

Anyhow, because I was hoping to buildup my biological filter some more, I haven't rinsed out any of my media. The downside: a build up of waste in the filter media could be another culprit for lower pH. Filtration includes: 1) sponge filter 2) HOB filled with matrix, Biomax, 2 sponges. Should I try rinsing some of the sponges in dirty tank water? How often do you do sponge maintenance?
__________________
Adobe1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2016, 10:52 AM   #10
AA Team Emeritus
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Whitby, Ont,Canada
Posts: 2,764
Keeping solid material out of the filters goes a long way to maintaining their efficiency. As well, removing solid material before it breaks down, slows the rise of nitrates. When you say partial water change, how much are you changing? The betta won't mind that pH, although the snails might. Seems odd that the pH is dropping that much. Most tap water is purposely kept alkaline to reduce damage to delivery pipes and to allow the chlorine to do it's job.
__________________
Join a fish club. Don't have one in your area? Start one.
BillD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2016, 10:49 AM   #11
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 17
Here's an update.

Yesterday, I replicated the water I had prepared for my last water change (0.6 gallons) right before I noticed the pH drop to 6 about a week ago:
Tapwater only: baseline 7.8/after 12 hrs pH 7.6
Tapwater treated with Prime and StressCoat: Baseline ph 7.8/12 hrs later ph 7.6
Tapwater treated with Prime and StressCoat + gravel: baseline pH 7.6/12 hrs ph7.6
Tapwater trewated with Prime and StressCoat + marbles: baseline pH 7.6/12 hrs ph 7.6

Will test again after 24 hrs, but so far no big differences seem to be associated with StressCoat or substrate.

I went back to my records from when I first set up the tank (marbles/2 decorations/1 betta) and pH was 6.6 at baseline (day 1) -- I didn't test the tapwater at baseline for comparison. But don't know why my tapwater at least right now is so much higher.

As for the tank, I added about 1/2 tsp. crushed coral to the filter 2 days ago with no pH change detected.

Also, last night did some tank maintenance:
1) rinsed out the sponge filter in dirty tank water
2) added 1.0 mL Stability (I'm paranoid about losing my beneficial bacteria)
3) added a handful of gravel (gravel was getting low in spots; last time I added a layer of gravel to the whole tank pH increased by 0.2 but then went back down then next day). 4) 1 gallon water change with gravel vac in a small area (20%).

This morning ph was up to 6.5. Other water parameters are holding steady (0.25 NH3/0NO2/5 NO3). This morning I turkey basted the gunk from the bottom of the filter box. I plan to do some more HOB maintenance next.

Questions:
-How long should I wait between rinsing out each filter component?
-How often should I clean each filter component? (sponge filter, HOB with Biomax/Matrix/Sponges)
__________________

__________________
Adobe1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
low ph, problem

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Possible Hydro Sponge Filter Problem? Big Problem or Little Problem? Frank15 Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 7 03-05-2010 01:47 AM
10 gallon low light (15W), low tech planted tank filter? TomK2 Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks 7 03-16-2005 10:55 AM
Flow rate...How low is too low?? billy302 Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 1 02-28-2005 01:20 PM
Add ins for low light low planted tank? Deitta Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks 9 05-05-2004 02:15 PM
low gH and low kH kagentx Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks 10 03-25-2004 11:09 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.