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Molly 08-02-2003 04:15 AM

:roll: I am still trying to get my planted tank up to snuff, 3rd time on cycling now, main problem is my ph drops off the chart after a few days. I have 100% Flowrite substrate. I have done experiments in separate water samples, one with just tap water, one with tap water + the chlorine /chloramine remover/ and one with the chlorine / chloramine remover + ACE to remove chloramine ammonia. Stayed at around 7.2, in the cups. But in the tank with no fish and few plants it just drops off. KH is 3.0 GH is 2.0 is there a problem with buffering capacity of the water? If so what can I do, I've tried PH levelers. Should I use purified water? If anyone can help I would appreciate it. thanks

Rex Grigg 08-02-2003 04:42 AM

Stay away from any pH adjuster products. Are you using any CO2 injection? Your gH is a bit low.

Guttboy 08-02-2003 02:11 PM


I am using my first planted tank here but....

I have kept marine tanks for many many years....

"If so what can I do, I've tried PH levelers. "

AVOID pH levelers and adjusters...I have found that they are more trouble than they are worth.

Agree wholeheartedly with Rex on this pt.

Mike :D

Molly 08-02-2003 05:03 PM

:roll: Hi Rex & Guttboy:

I'm not using C02 injection, and have also come to the conclusion that the ph adjusters are a waste of time.

I suspect my problem is that the water has very little buffering capacity. I've read that crushed coral or a piece of limestone might help. What would be your best suggestion?

I really appreeciate your help!


Guttboy 08-02-2003 05:52 PM


Now we are in my realm....CORAL!!!...heheh seriously though crushed coral has a decent buffering capacity. I used coral sand in ALL but one of my reef tanks with tremendous success. I have never tried limestone though.

What are your water parameters out of the tap???

The reason I ask is that your water parameters might change when they are in your tank...not sure what you are adding.

By knowing your TAP water (aka water you are adding straight to the tank) you can use that as a basis for starting to adjust the levels (pH, KH, GH).

Mike :D

Molly 08-02-2003 06:01 PM

Hi Mike:

Out of the tap the ph is 7.2, kh 3 and gh 2, I use start right to remove chlorine and cloramine and ACE to remove ammonia thats in the tap water and stress zyme to add the little bio germy guys.



Guttboy 08-02-2003 06:08 PM


Ok if you say that your pH "drops off the chart" are you saying that it is getting lower as in more acidic?

I would think that the plants would be using up the CO2 and thus causing your pH to rise slightly...just a guess.

What is in your tank exactly???? Have you put any driftwood in there that might be leaching tannic acid into the water??? Any rocks that might not be "benign" so to speak...aka not leaching anything into the tank.

With all things being equal....your pH should not be dropping off the chart like that unless there is a patient we will be able to figure it out.

In your next very specific as to what is in the tank. How big? What plants? (size, number and health) Lighting? pH at night and in day? Same for GH and KH of tank. Type of substrate? how much? Any inhabitants (fish, frog, hippo...LOL)? Driftwood? Rocks?

This way the others can really help on whats going on. Rex is really good at this stuff by the way.

Mike :D

Molly 08-02-2003 06:19 PM


Hi Mike:

It's just a 10 gallon tank. I hope to have a bigger one, but am gun shy for now because I don't want the same problem, just to a magnified proportion :-). For now since I am cycling again, not much in the way of plants, a few bulbs is all. I do have a piece of driftwood in the tank, and tried removing it, with no help. Even tried putting it in a separate tub of water and tested everyday, it didn't seem to affect the ph. The substrate is flourite, and I have a few I think they are called egg rocks (white and rounded looking). The light is a regular grow light. For now there are no fish, but I would like to have Neons. I haven't tried testing both morning and evening, just in the evenings, I can if would be of some help.

I sure appreciate your taking time to help me figure this out!


Guttboy 08-02-2003 06:27 PM

No worries molly... much does the pH swing...? you stated it went low? could it be the test was wrong? Were you using a high range pH test and it just dropped a bit below the bottom limit? My high range goes from 7.4 to 8.8...I have another that is 6.0 to 7.6....Just a thought.

Mike :D

Molly 08-02-2003 06:30 PM

Hi Mike:

I've been using the one that goes from 6.0-7.6, it drops to 6.0 or could be lower test won't go any further down.

Guttboy 08-02-2003 06:35 PM

Well we eliminated that theory! :bounce:

Now then...There HAS to be something in the tank that is causing the water pH to change. How long from the time you put the water in on a change does the pH drop?

I dont think the start rite would be affecting the pH but try a sample with a cup and see once you have put all the additives in it as it would be right before you add it to the tank? Monitor it....this will ensure that those chemicals are not the culprit.

Right now I think it might be that your water has a poor buffering capability but that is just a guess.

I am going over to Roger Miller's house in a couple of hours. Hes a moderator on another board and a hydrogeologist. i will have him take a look at this and see what he thinks as well!!! :D


Momotaro 08-02-2003 10:22 PM

Are you saying the pH of the water out of your tap is 7.2 and after it is in your aquarium it drops to below 6.0?


Guttboy 08-02-2003 11:41 PM

Mike thats what she's indicating.

Molly...just got back from Roger Miller's house..he has awesome tanks! What he stated is that there is SOMETHING in your tank that is causing this pH drop.

1) Could be that you are feeding the tank too much and something with the nitrogen cycle could be causing this.....oops read down no fish so I think you are not feeding it...

2) Is there any decay in the water from plants etc...?

3) Substrate?

But what he stated is that your pH wont just drop like that.

Will keep researching....

Mike :D

Momotaro 08-03-2003 01:29 AM

Too strange! Something has to be super acidic to cause that to happen.
Molly, tell us everything you have in the aquarium. Everything.

Rex Grigg 08-03-2003 04:05 AM

There has to be something in the tank causing this. Peat or something like that. Even though the water is soft it would take a lot to crash the pH that far. I doubt it would be the rocks. There are a few minerals that could leach acids but I doubt anything as strong as it would take to crash the pH that far.

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