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Old 01-18-2013, 07:18 PM   #1
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pH?

Finally got a liquid test for my PH now. (I'm becoming so official!)
Anyways - I always knew my water was acidicish because of the strips...just never had a true number. The true number was 6.0
I then tested my tap water and that came out a 6.8
Now I'm confused because why would my tank water be so much lower than my tap??
Is there any home remedies for raising it or is it okay for them to be in such a state? Also - when I do my next water change will it hurt them to be adding the higher ph water??
I mean I have been doing the pwcs all along without random deaths but is there something I SHOULD do?
Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:23 PM   #2
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The PH can differ what it is out of the tap once the water gasses off. For example, the PH out of my tap is 8.4, but it gasses off to 7.2 which is what my tank's PH is.

Try this just to confirm:
--re-test the tap PH out of the tap. Shake the PH bottle for a few seconds before you use it (I've gotten false readings when I didn't shake the bottles). Take the reading immediately (don't wait 5 mins like you do for the other tests if you're using the API kit)
--leave a glass of tap water out for 24 hours (stir it occasionally) then test the PH of the glass water and post both results here.

If your true (gassed-off) Ph is really 6 then you might want to add a natural buffer, like crushed coral or argonite, to your filter to help keep the PH around 7. This is more for the bacteria than anything, as the bacteria you want to grow in your filter to cycle the tank prefer a PH of at least 7; anything lower than that can cause them to die off.

Doing water changes with a PH difference shouldn't be a problem. I do fairly large water changes on my tanks without issue and the difference between my tank PH and tap PH is pretty significant.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:48 PM   #3
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Well I didn't shake it but I did flip it upside down several times like the instructions said. I also read it immediately and tested the tank twice.
However, I will try your method as well. Could this be why I still have ammonia present?
The other thing is that I have been able to buy the individual liquid test kits because really I don't want to spend $30 on the master kit. So I still need to buy a nitrate kit. Are there nitrite kits? I didn't see any at Petco. Also - is it important to he resting hardness and alkalinity and if so do these also come in a liquid test form?
I know my best bet is getting the master kit but I realized that it only has 4 tests in it....
I guess an easier way to ask this is:
What should I be testing and do they all come individually?
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:03 AM   #4
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I'd shake the actual bottles, not just the tube. It might not matter but if I haven't used the PH test in a while and then I use it without shaking the actual bottle I get an odd reading.

I think they all come individually but I think it would cost more that way. You can get the whole kit for cheaper online: BigAls has it for $16.99 on sale and Amazon sells it for a good price too. The API kit comes with everything you need: ammonia, PH, nitrate and nitrite.

As for GH/KH, most people don't test for it, I don't see it as that important. But yes it does come in liquid form too.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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To raise the PH put some crushed coral substrate in a filter media bag or a new nylon stocking and stick it in your filter.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:41 PM   #6
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What about alkalinity tests? My water is super soft and acidic.
But I guess that'd not necessarily a terrible thing. The test results were the same.
6.0 in tank
6.8 on tap
& still letting the other water sit.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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Ok, when you get the PH from the water sitting out let us know. That'll tell us if the PH in your tank (6) is your true PH or if there's something in the tank that's causing PH to fall. I suspect you'll need to get some crushed coral or argonite to help buffer the water though and try to keep PH at about 7 for the bacteria.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:28 PM   #8
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So my cat ended up knocking over the water before I could get home today to test. But today I did a 50% change because my ammonia remained at a .75 and I vacuumed the gravel and good lord all the dirt and nastiness from my piece of Mopani...so I took it out assuming that it might be keeping my Ph at such a low level. I added a teensy more BB with the Prime and dechlorinator. (I add both because I've got some serious chlorine in my water...I can taste it when it sits in a closed water bottle.)
Anyways...guess I will test the ph again tomorrow and see where we are. Hopefully my fish aren't feeling too stressed now.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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Okay so I did the ph test today and it looks even lower than before! Its like I did the big water change and I took out the Mopani wood and today my water looks even dirtier and has that dust look to it again....
Its greenish brownish dusty looking. The only other thing was that I took off the prefilter to wash it (as I do with all pwcs) and it was dirtier and nasturtium than I've ever seen it before so maybe I need to just keep it on there forever? I left it off for the night and the result was what I listed above. I would like to get rid of it but if its keeping my water that much cleaner maybe I shouldn't?
I want to add something to the inside of the filter to keep the water clearer. And I guess I'm gonna have to get the crushed coral because the ph was yellower than the 6.0!!!
Only good thing is ammonia is down to .25
Grumpy.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:16 AM   #10
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The natural inhabitants of your tank produce acids that lower the pH of your tank if you don't have any buffering capacity (low alkalinity, very low KH). Fish waste is acidic, driftwood leaches acids, plant waste is acidic, dead and decaying organic matter (plants, fish, food) is all acidic. It is important to maintain a certain level of buffering capacity in order to buffer against these natural acids.

In your case, I highly recommend getting KH & GH test kits. You may have very little buffering capacity/low alkalinity/very low KH. You want a KH of at least 4, but 7 will give you good stability. GH also plays a role in your pH, indirectly. In order to have a stable pH, your GH needs to be higher than your KH. Test your GH, your KH, and see what the issue is.

In order to increase your KH, add 1/4 tsp of BAKING SODA (sodium bicarbonate) to your tank (directly in the HOB is fine) per every 5 gallons of water to increase your KH by about 1.5 degrees. As your KH rises, your pH will follow. Only dose your tank once per day at 1/4 tsp per 5 gallons. This will only result in small pH shifts and will not harm the fish. After you reach your desired KH, you can stop adding the baking soda, but continue testing teh KH for the next week to ensure everything has balanced out. Once everything is balanced, you do not need to add any more baking soda to your tank, just be sure to buffer your tap water (add baking soda) so it matches the KH & pH of the water you are replacing.

If you have very low GH, where your GH is currently lower than your KH or will be lower than your GH once your increase your KH you need to re-mineralize your water. There are many products that do this well. Seachem's equilibrium, as well as any "cichlid salts" that are sold. follow the directions on the bottle to increase your GH to your desired level.

If you don't want to buy anything, you can use Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) add 1/2 tsp of epsom salt per 5 gallons of water to increase your GH by about 1.5 degrees. You need to dissolve the epsom salt in water before you add it to your tank.

You might want to aim for a KH of 6 and a GH of 8.

If you don't have a planted tank and don't have high-intensity lights or prolonged lighting times you want to first try add Seachem Neutral Regulator. It will buffer your tank to 7.0 and help maintain it there, but it is phosphate based, so it can lead to increased algae growth in the right circumstances.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:57 AM   #11
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Wow thanks for the detailed info! I will def buy the liquid version of the GH/KH test. I can tell you that on the strips the GH was ALWAYS "Very Soft"...I believe it was a 0.
So because of that I imagine the KH will be similar....no?
Also, is this all bad news for a brackish tank I want to build in the near future??
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepho725 View Post
Wow thanks for the detailed info! I will def buy the liquid version of the GH/KH test. I can tell you that on the strips the GH was ALWAYS "Very Soft"...I believe it was a 0.
So because of that I imagine the KH will be similar....no?
Also, is this all bad news for a brackish tank I want to build in the near future??
Its not bad news at all. it is much easier to start with very soft (almost "pure" water) and add minerals (reconstitute) the water than to soften water. In your case you can create whatever water conditions you need without buying RO water.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:39 PM   #13
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Oh...cool! So maybe even if I ever go full marine it will be helpful? That's very cool...although idk if I will be staying in this area by that time...but that's a whole other story and website altogether LOL.
Thanks again for your help. Heading out shortly to grab the test and maybe the seachem stuff you mentioned.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:43 PM   #14
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Oh wait...just realized...is the Regulator stuff snail friendly? And I'm assuming Epsom salt is not huh??
Ut-oh!
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:53 PM   #15
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It is all snail friendly. It is minerals, not chemicals.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
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It is all snail friendly. It is minerals, not chemicals.
But I thought that snails cannot have any salt in the tank?
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:25 AM   #17
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But I thought that snails cannot have any salt in the tank?
a small amount of sodium ions (salt) is ok for snails. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, it is nothing like sodium chloride.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:22 PM   #18
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Okay - was waiting for your response before I went ahead and got anything because I forgot to mention my snails before.
I already killed a shrimp ::cries:: so I don't want to kill more inverts with my ignorance!
Thanks again!
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:14 PM   #19
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So I went to my local Petco to grab the test kit but alas they did not have them. I grabbed some of the strips because I figured better than nothing. The results were my water is VERY SOFT and alkalinity barely registered on the strip.
So today I did my first dose of the baking soda and Epsom salt.
Fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong here!! Eeeeek!
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #20
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Okay! So I did 1.5 tsp of baking soda and .75 tsp of epsom salt (half dose because i was still nervous about it.) and my PH has spiked! Its up to 7.3 now!! The fish don't seem stressed at all and I am planning on doing a large water change (50%) tonight.
My ammonia remains between. 25 & .5 though but I am at a point where I need a water change so we will see what happens after the water change I guess.
I do have a question though...
I have a foam pre-filter on my intake valve because I had an unfortunate event with my snail (he didn't make it after the second time). Anyways - I imagine that this thing is accumulating beneficial bacteria and maybe even ammonia because it gets ALOT of crud stuck to it.
Id like to take it off because of this and am wondering if there is anything anyone else knows about that I can use? I'm thinking maybe netting of some sort? But how will I get it to stay in place? I imagine I can't use crazy glue...right?
Thanks for any help you can give.
Oh also I'm gonna take the ammonia remover media out of my filter and replace with carbon for a few days to see if it clears my water a bit and then replace the carbon with a new sponge. But can I wash out my original sponge? I know its pretty nasty and I really want to clear up my water. I do have the biomax ceramic beads so....do you all think I will throw myself into a cycle if I do wash out the sponge?
Thanks my fish people!
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