pH too low and how to raise it - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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pH too low and how to raise it

Hello everyone!

I'm new to the forum, and sorta new to fish keeping! So here's the issue, around 3 months or so I decided to get a 16Gallon tank for my office hoping to set it up as a crystal shrimp tank or for other shrimp. I bought ADA Amazonia for the substrate knowing that it will help keep the low pH that CRS need. I cycled the tank but half way I decided to lower my fish load at home by bringing some of them to this tank. Once they tank was cycled I brought a betta, 4 neon tetras, 2 platies, and 4 red cherry shrimp from home. By then the water pH was at a steady 6.4-6.6. Recently I measured my parameters and found that the pH is too low and I'm afraid it could be harmful for the fish.

Here are my notes:
pH-5.9-6.0
TDS 208
Temp 78
Kh 1-2
GH 8-9
Ammonia is 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0 (all of these Zero's worry me a bit)

It should be noted that I use RO water only for this tank which I supplement with Bee Shrimp GH+. There are also some mineral rock in the tank.

Do you guys think that the pH is too low for the fish? if so how can I raise the pH naturally? Any tips are greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:08 PM
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pH 5.9 isn't too low. Do you inject co2 ? Try removing any recently added objects.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Abraham Vivian View Post
pH 5.9 isn't too low. Do you inject co2 ? Try removing any recently added objects.

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No C02, and I haven't added/changed anything since the very first set up of the tank. I'm trying to add a picture of it but for some reason it is not taking at all.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:19 PM
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Actually your tank is NOT having any problem. Why are you bothered in those decimals 5.9 6.4 etc. 5.9 means 6 only in aquarium hobby. Do some water change then at least your mind will be relaxed.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I finally figured out the pictures. Here's how it looks.....

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Vivian View Post
Actually your tank is NOT having any problem. Why are you bothered in those decimals 5.9 6.4 etc. 5.9 means 6 only in aquarium hobby. Do some water change then at least your mind will be relaxed.

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I just want to make sure that the fish will not be harmed by the acidity of the water. Thanks!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 08:28 PM
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Your tetras will be happy with acidic water, that's natural to them. I assume the mollies (i think that's what i see) will acclimate and be ok.

Also, don't trust those test kits, they are always a bit off.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsantucci View Post
Your tetras will be happy with acidic water, that's natural to them. I assume the mollies (i think that's what i see) will acclimate and be ok.

Also, don't trust those test kits, they are always a bit off.

Thank you!
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 11:59 PM
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You should be just fine, Monica, with pH around 6.0 with the fish you have.
And since you're using RO water, and assuming you're also doing regular water changes, it wouldn't be unusual to have nitrates @ '0'.

If it would make you feel a better you could slowly, naturally, and safely raise the pH somewhat by adding a small bag of (calcium-based) shell/coral fragments (available @ most LFS) to your tank. Remove it when the pH rises to the level you wish.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 03:37 AM
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don't worry about pH
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 04:04 AM
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^^^^^^^^^^^
What he said. You just want to make sure it somewhat consistent and there are no huge swings in the ph for any reason.

Just a noob


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 01:07 PM
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Your platties, being liverbearers, probably won't love the low pH. The others will be fine. Generally most livebearers want higher pH, higher hardness water. Your hardness isn't too bad, but they'd likely do better in a separate tank.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
You should be just fine, Monica, with pH around 6.0 with the fish you have.
And since you're using RO water, and assuming you're also doing regular water changes, it wouldn't be unusual to have nitrates @ '0'.

If it would make you feel a better you could slowly, naturally, and safely raise the pH somewhat by adding a small bag of (calcium-based) shell/coral fragments (available @ most LFS) to your tank. Remove it when the pH rises to the level you wish.
Thank you I will look into this!

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Originally Posted by AdamTill View Post
Your platties, being liverbearers, probably won't love the low pH. The others will be fine. Generally most livebearers want higher pH, higher hardness water. Your hardness isn't too bad, but they'd likely do better in a separate tank.

I unfortunately can't take them home since my 20 is stock full of guppies and guppy babies. I don't think there is room for them there. I will look into increasing the pH with the shells as mentioned above.

Thank you everyone!
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica Lopez View Post
I unfortunately can't take them home since my 20 is stock full of guppies and guppy babies. I don't think there is room for them there. I will look into increasing the pH with the shells as mentioned above.
The downside is that the other fish WANT the softer water, lower pH. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of situation.

PS - BTW, as an FYI, if your pH is at 6, your tank isn't showing nitrates because your filter bacteria are either starving or not there. You can't MAKE nitrates at 6.0

When the pH is that low, the ammonia produced by the tank is actually ammonium. The ammonia converting bacteria (that convert to nitrite) can't process that.

As such, if you go and raise the pH right now, you'll likely kill or hurt your fish since it'll be a situation where you have no filter bacteria. You'd be highly advised to treat this like a fish-in cycle situation, or go and get a precycled filter from your other tank etc.

At very low pH ammonium acts like nitrate at high pH...it's only harmful in high concentrations.

At 6, there is no cycle...the bacteria can't operate that low, and will starve off or not grow. You handle ammonium build up with water changes and plants.

PPS - that's why you generally want your pH above 6.4 at all times, to keep filters working. Keep it below 6 and understand the risks and benefits, or above 6.4 at all times.

Last edited by AdamTill; 09-23-2016 at 06:33 PM. Reason: PPS
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 06:38 PM
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I was surprised to see any reading that low but then saw the RO. How about letting tit drift higher by just using some tap water. Austin tap is very hard /alkaline and if it is done slowly with normal water changes, you can achieve both higher as well as cheaper and easier. If you want a slow release hard item, I would think it logical to piece a limestone rock off one of the trails.
But the tapwater will have it already dissolved in it.
But for long term, I find that most plants/fish are not nearly as fussy as we might read.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-23-2016, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I was surprised to see any reading that low but then saw the RO. How about letting tit drift higher by just using some tap water. Austin tap is very hard /alkaline and if it is done slowly with normal water changes, you can achieve both higher as well as cheaper and easier. If you want a slow release hard item, I would think it logical to piece a limestone rock off one of the trails.
But the tapwater will have it already dissolved in it.
But for long term, I find that most plants/fish are not nearly as fussy as we might read.
Welcome to the forum!
Thank you! This would definitely be the easier option. Since somebody commented above about being careful on bringing up the pH because most likely there are no bacteria in my tank how should I go about doing that? Should I buy some of the bottled bacteria found in pet stores every water change? or let it grow naturally?

I'm currently doing 30% water changes every 2-3 weeks.
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