Causes of pH increase? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Causes of pH increase?

I feel like I'm the Lemony Snicket with fish tanks. Could be because this tank has only been set up for two months, but I don't know.

Anyway! You know the drill, it's a 55 gallon tank with a medium number of plants and a medium bioload. My pH in my tanks have always sat around 7.2-7.5 with the water being straight from the tap 7.4. Well, I just got my liquid pH tester today and my 55 gal says it has a pH of 8.0. So I tested my tap water. Still 7.4.

Substrate and Decorations:
One-third is medium grade river stone aquarium gravel (something I got at PetCo)
Two-thirds is AquaQuartz pool filter sand
Pieces of driftwood that have been sitting outside for years, were soaked and cured before being put into the tank
Lots of Anubias plants, a sword, a Val, wisteria, Asian fern, and some crypts

Equipment:
Eheim 2217 canister filter
Marina heater (temp at 79F)
T5 bulb on 4hr, off 6hr, on 2hr, off 12hr

Livestock:
A dozen fancy guppies
Eight red phantom tetras
Two candy cane platies

So...anybody got any ideas? 😆

-Empress Akitla
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:16 PM
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More than likely your tap water has dissolved co2 in it.

Let a cup of tap water sit out for 48 hours. If the ph is higher after sitting out, your tap water contains co2.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
More than likely your tap water has dissolved co2 in it.

Let a cup of tap water sit out for 48 hours. If the ph is higher after sitting out, your tap water contains co2.
Okay, it will try that!

-Empress Akitla

Bump: Edit: I just went around my house and tested all my tanks. Every. Single. Tank. Is sitting at 8.2. It's just weird. My betta tanks usually sat at 7.2, but now...my fish aren't having any problems like I think would be present with a wild, sudden pH swing. So it's been gradual enough to not harm the fish.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:52 PM
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There is no more CO2 in the water than is in the air. There is very little effect on pH.

I would buy another pH test kit to see if your old one is shot. You should do weekly water changes to keep parameters stable.
My guess is its the rocks.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 10:58 PM
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There is no more CO2 in the water than is in the air. There is very little effect on pH.
CO2 has a direct effect on PH, lowering the PH as CO2 concentration increases.

And my own tap water comes out at about 6.85ph, and de-gasses overnight to about 8.0.

That's not to say it can't be the rocks, but it certainly also could be dissolved CO2 in the tap water. I can say so from personal experience.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:03 PM
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And my own tap water comes out at about 6.85ph, and de-gasses overnight to about 8.0.
I doubt you have 30+ppm of CO2 in your tap. It must be some chemical your water company adds.

*Where would that amount of CO2 come from? Your water company hook up a giant CO2 tank? Think about it.


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Last edited by mistergreen; 07-27-2016 at 11:07 PM. Reason: +
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
There is no more CO2 in the water than is in the air. There is very little effect on pH.

I would buy another pH test kit to see if your old one is shot. You should do weekly water changes to keep parameters stable.
My guess is its the rocks.
I just got these pH testers. I have a mid range pH tester and a high range pH tester, both new bottles. And all my tanks, all different kinds of substrate and decor, are testing around 8.0-8.2.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:20 PM
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I doubt you have 30+ppm of CO2 in your tap. It must be some chemical your water company adds.

*Where would that amount of CO2 come from? Your water company hook up a giant CO2 tank? Think about it.
Actually my tap is well water, which is well known for high concentrations of co2 (my own is easily 30+ppm).

As for city water, take a second and google co2 in tap water, and you will see it is pretty common in many areas.

Once again, I only suggested this as a possibility. Part of the process of elimination. It's easy to test. If a glass of tap water de-gasses overnight (I use 48 hours) and the ph rises, I would be pretty certain that the water started with dissolved co2 in it.

Not saying it is true, but saying it could be true. Just like the rocks.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:41 PM
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*Where would that amount of CO2 come from? Your water company hook up a giant CO2 tank? Think about it.
We think and have thought about it. Tap water is often supersaturated with gasses, including CO2 because the water is in a closed system under pressure. It is this pressure and the time spent in the system which makes it easier for CO2 to dissolve inside your pipelines than in your tank. Think of your tap as a less powerful version of a soda can without the sugar. The liquid there is also saturated and kept at high pressure.

This is one reason why plants seem to pearl more after a water change with tap water. Part of it is the extra CO2, part of it is that the water is already saturated with gasses. Sometimes you can see bubbles forming on clean glass...

Has been tested in many aquarists' tap water. Don't trust it ? Test it ... you just need 2 pH readings. Better observed in low KH water.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 03:50 AM
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We think and have thought about it. Tap water is often supersaturated with gasses, including CO2 because the water is in a closed system under pressure. It is this pressure and the time spent in the system which makes it easier for CO2 to dissolve inside your pipelines than in your tank. Think of your tap as a less powerful version of a soda can without the sugar. The liquid there is also saturated and kept at high pressure.

This is one reason why plants seem to pearl more after a water change with tap water. Part of it is the extra CO2, part of it is that the water is already saturated with gasses. Sometimes you can see bubbles forming on clean glass...

Has been tested in many aquarists' tap water. Don't trust it ? Test it ... you just need 2 pH readings. Better observed in low KH water.
I stuck a co2 sensor in tap water. It was no higher than air and can't get higher unless you add additional co2. Sorry to burst your co2 bubble. The pearling you see is from other gases.


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Actually my tap is well water, which is well known for high concentrations of co2 (my own is easily 30+ppm).
.
Yeah, well water is another story. You're getting co2 from bacteria action down there.


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-28-2016 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 11:18 AM
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I stuck a co2 sensor in tap water. It was no higher than air and can't get higher unless you add additional co2. Sorry to burst your co2 bubble. The pearling you see is from other gases.


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Bravo, your own tap water has no co2 so you now have proven that no tap water anywhere has co2 in it. Nice work. You should write a paper on how you proved your thesis.

The city of Bloomington and Praxair must not have seen your study.

http://www.wateronline.com/doc/co-fo...treatment-0001


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Last edited by Greggz; 07-28-2016 at 12:39 PM. Reason: typo
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 12:19 PM
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To try explain in another way. If you captured a bubble of air under a bowl on top of water and you push the bowl deeper under water, the gasses will start to dissipate into the water. CO2 mixes with water far more readily than O2. So under pressure the amount of CO2 in the bubble will reduce faster than the O2, leaving the water being that little bit more carbonated. At least that's my understanding.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 06:14 PM
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I stuck a co2 sensor in tap water. It was no higher than air and can't get higher unless you add additional co2. Sorry to burst your co2 bubble. The pearling you see is from other gases.
Bubble … I get it… crickets…

Let me return your rhetoric . I see we agree that there are gasses in the tapwater that are dissolved under pressure in high enough amounts to supersaturate it and to create bubbles in the aquarium/ false pearling. What makes you believe that while other gases are present in such high amounts, CO2 is the exception.

Besides chlorine (around 0.3-0.5ppm free chlorine), the gases probably come from the atmosphere and are not specifically added. Does your water company remove CO2 while adding gas X from your tap ? Think about it.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 07:09 PM
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Back to the OP question: I might suspect your water supplier (city) has changed something they do to the water. Additives are used to prevent corrosion (see Flint, MI for problems when additives aren't used) but they can raise the pH. Adding compounds to raise the pH also helps with corrosion issues. Call and ask.

If you are on a well, then I'd look for changes in the area around you. New farm? New farming practices? New subdivision nearby? Did you put in a new well?

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72g bowfront planted, CO2, 4x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, 2 angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, betta, albino bristlenose pleco, albino cories. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias, java moss and fern, anubias

2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Back to the OP question: I might suspect your water supplier (city) has changed something they do to the water. Additives are used to prevent corrosion (see Flint, MI for problems when additives aren't used) but they can raise the pH. Adding compounds to raise the pH also helps with corrosion issues. Call and ask.

If you are on a well, then I'd look for changes in the area around you. New farm? New farming practices? New subdivision nearby? Did you put in a new well?
I think the city must've added something into it. Our tap water has been bubbly for the past few months.

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