PH level in my fresh water tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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PH level in my fresh water tank

Hey guys,

Just wondering all about the PH levels in my fresh water 20 gallon tank. I noticed my guppies and platies acting weird and laying at the bottom of the tank, not moving much, I did a PH test and it turned orange/red. The chart reads that as 5.0, the only internet info I could find said it was too low.

I haven't done anything different, I add the same tap water which I tested to a 7.0.
No new fish, plants or accessories.
Filter is clean.
I did change the food but its tropical flakes and I add the appropriate amount they can eat in 1 min.

I noticed all my cherry shrimp have disappeared, I assume this is because of the PH? I had over 40+ and they were still multiplying.

I added 6L of fresh water and allowed to filter over night, when i rechecked it was 6-6.5 but I would still like it to be 7.0

Any suggestions as to what might have happened?

Thanks a bunch!
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 04:33 PM
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pH (dropping that low) seems to be symptom of something else..

Where did your shrimp go? If they rotted in the tank that def. can be a problem..
ammonia or Nitrite problems probably..
You need to test for them.


What do you have for decorations/soil/rocks ect?

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hi there,

The shrimp have definitely rotted, I cant find a single one and like I said there were a ton!

But I am assuming they died because of the problem not causing the problem, up until then my tank was happy and healthy.

For decorations, I have marbles, which were cleaned thoroughly. I have a real plant and its large, there are a couple of decorations in there that are prefab, from the pet store. All of this was in the tank prior to the problem occurring.

1 fish died, but I removed it right away as to not make the others sick and such.

I will test for ammonia and see what it comes out as and get back to everyone.

okay so the ammonia is reading at .5-1PPM
What do I use to correct this?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-17-2017 at 02:23 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:11 AM
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okay so the ammonia is reading at .5-1PPM

What do I use to correct this?


Water change and get rid of anything dead/rotting. Any left over food, dead leaves, etc. check your nitrates.


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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Water change and get rid of anything dead/rotting. Any left over food, dead leaves, etc. check your nitrates.


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How much of a water change? 1/4 tank or half?
thank you
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 12:28 AM
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50 I suggest (percent)
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 02:04 AM
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How much of a water change? 1/4 tank or half?

thank you


Yes agree do a 50%. Then wait an hour or so and test again. Should be down. Monitor closely and if needed keep doing 25% water changes every other day if needed to get it down.


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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 02:15 AM
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Please test your tap water. We need to know...

Ammonia
Nitrites
Nitrates

Ditto on tank stats.

Also.... how old is this tank? How long has it been set up for?


As for the shrimp... it's possible that the fish ate them. Even if the fish never bothered them before, a fish could suddenly decide to go after shrimp and decimate a colony. Or... they died from whatever is going wrong in your tank.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 03:48 AM
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Did you do the water change? Is your ammonia down?


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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Did you do the water change? Is your ammonia down?


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So i don't know what to do here, I have literally tried everything. I have changed the water by 50% two times now I have added a new filter just in case, i took out the ornaments and cleaned the bottom of tank again. I have used ammo lock 3 times now with no luck and the other day I went to the pet store and asked for some more suggestions. I added distilled water, 50% worth and I added another bubbler to increase the oxygen I even purchased a little tea bag like thing that you put into the filter and its also supposed to help remove the ammonia and fix PH. I can't remember the name of it sorry! I also added two more plants per the pet store suggestion for oxygen ect.

Nothing has changed, its still in the orange. I have done the PH an hour after the water changes and even a day after and two days after that.

Im getting super frustrated!!! Do these PH tests expire or something?
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fish_tank_lady View Post
So i don't know what to do here, I have literally tried everything. I have changed the water by 50% two times now I have added a new filter just in case, i took out the ornaments and cleaned the bottom of tank again. I have used ammo lock 3 times now with no luck and the other day I went to the pet store and asked for some more suggestions. I added distilled water, 50% worth and I added another bubbler to increase the oxygen I even purchased a little tea bag like thing that you put into the filter and its also supposed to help remove the ammonia and fix PH. I can't remember the name of it sorry! I also added two more plants per the pet store suggestion for oxygen ect.

Nothing has changed, its still in the orange. I have done the PH an hour after the water changes and even a day after and two days after that.

Im getting super frustrated!!! Do these PH tests expire or something?

Yes, although test strips are more likely to be inaccurate than liquid test kits. Liquid test kits, although more accurate, do expire after a time. If you are using strips, then change to liquid kits. API is a good basic test kit, although if you want something broader and easier to read, then go with either Sera or Nutrafin test kits. You could also look into a pH test pin, although it will need to be calibrated to make sure your results are accurate.


Please test your tap water. We need to know...

Ammonia
Nitrites
Nitrates

Ditto on tank stats.

Also.... how old is this tank? How long has it been set up for?
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 07:57 PM
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I am thinking your test strips must be bad. Definitely get the API water test kit. I think you will find your water is good after all but no way to know unless you get another test kit to compare against. Not sure what chemical filtration you are using but I highly recommend Seachem Purigen.


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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 08:15 PM
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If you have used aquasoil amazon or something similar as a subtrate, it spikes amonia etc and goes nuts for a few weeks but its said to happen to help plants establish if its heavy planted. I use a pond compost and tropica subtrate mix then zambezi gravel to layer it to seal and stop it leaking out. Another trick i heard was to soak news paper in your tank for an hour or 2. The toxins are said to absorb into the paper and there is something that acts as a leveler. Tried it a few times when doing a new scape from scratch in this order.
Subtrate, gravel, hardscape, water up to gravel level, plants, news paper, then fill tank. Paper floats up to surface. Leave for an hour or so, remove paper. Not all gravel comes washed and bagged so i rinse mine now before it goes in. Wish i was a chemist. Still learning about water issues lol. Good luck

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
I am thinking your test strips must be bad. Definitely get the API water test kit. I think you will find your water is good after all but no way to know unless you get another test kit to compare against. Not sure what chemical filtration you are using but I highly recommend Seachem Purigen.


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okay I will get a new one, i tested the tap water to see and it went green, so I don't know.
thanks for the advice!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Wrexham View Post
If you have used aquasoil amazon or something similar as a subtrate, it spikes amonia etc and goes nuts for a few weeks but its said to happen to help plants establish if its heavy planted. I use a pond compost and tropica subtrate mix then zambezi gravel to layer it to seal and stop it leaking out. Another trick i heard was to soak news paper in your tank for an hour or 2. The toxins are said to absorb into the paper and there is something that acts as a leveler. Tried it a few times when doing a new scape from scratch in this order.
Subtrate, gravel, hardscape, water up to gravel level, plants, news paper, then fill tank. Paper floats up to surface. Leave for an hour or so, remove paper. Not all gravel comes washed and bagged so i rinse mine now before it goes in. Wish i was a chemist. Still learning about water issues lol. Good luck

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Hi Colin, I don't use any type of soil or Gravel. I have been using marbles for the last year with out any problems.

I don't know about adding the news paper to my ank at this point, I would be afraid the ink would leak into the water and cause further problems. I'm going to try new test strips and hope for the best. Other then that I fear I am going to have to strip my tank and scrub everything. I will have to make a small set up on the side for the fish until I can regulate the other tank and use some Cycle to speed up the process.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, although test strips are more likely to be inaccurate than liquid test kits. Liquid test kits, although more accurate, do expire after a time. If you are using strips, then change to liquid kits. API is a good basic test kit, although if you want something broader and easier to read, then go with either Sera or Nutrafin test kits. You could also look into a pH test pin, although it will need to be calibrated to make sure your results are accurate.


Please test your tap water. We need to know...

Ammonia
Nitrites
Nitrates

Ditto on tank stats.

Also.... how old is this tank? How long has it been set up for?
Okay so the new plan is to get test strips. Mine are old, however when I test the tap water it is 7 and green. When i test the tank, from which I added distilled water it is 5 and orange.

The ammonia is sitting at 5-6 PPM. Like I said i used distilled water from the grocery store and not tap water. I don't have a test kit for the nitrates/nitrites. I will get one tomorrow.

My tank is around 3-4 years old and this is the first time I have experienced any trouble with it at all.

How long after a 1/2 tank water change should this go back to normal? I had said before I have done pretty much everything anyone suggested.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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