Highly corrected pH bad for fish? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question Highly corrected pH bad for fish?

Is there a difference between water that is around 7.0 pH and pure (RO/distilled), and water that has been pH adjusted to 7.0 from a very low or high pH (from 4 to 7 or from 10 to 7 for example) , with respect to the health of the fish? Im not talking about KH or the water's ability to buffer, I realize the latter would be a lot more stable once the fish start producing ammonia, but in general, and ignoring any long term pH changes - are the leftover chemicals that were the result of neutralized acidity (or alkalinity) actually bad for the fish?

If so, at what point would this occur? For example, could one hypothetically use pH adjuster to make hydrochloric acid (37% HCl) or 25% aqueous NaOH safe for fish?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 01:59 PM
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In short, to answer the "are the leftover chemicals that were the result of neutralized acidity (or alkalinity) actually bad for the fish?", I think the answer is no. You're either adding (bi)carbonates to buffer the acidity, or using something that, if I'm not mistaken, will bind the (bi)carbonates to lower pH. RODI is, I believe, the EASIER way to go about this. Start with zeros across the board and simply add what you want.

If you're asking about putting fish in pure, un-remineralized RODI water...they will die. No osmotic regulation, potential for wild pH swings, zero water stability.

In regards to the hypothetical question, I have no idea. Yes, you can absolutely neutralize the acid by simply adding baking soda or another carbonate source. There will be a reaction, however, and I'm not sure what the leftovers will consist of. Call me crazy, but I don't think I'd put fish in it! lol
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 02:17 PM
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No idea on the theoretical part of the question as one will not find natural tap water having anywhere near 4 or 10. But from a general idea, I would never recommend using the PH correction chemicals as they just have too many faults. Fish do far better in stable water as the can adapt to less than preferred PH but they cannot make that transition if the target keeps changing. And it is certain to change every time one tests and adjusts the PH, so that leaves the fish constantly stressed and will never prosper as well as if they were in a somewhat "off" water that stays the same.
I breed African cichlids which most sources state "require" hard alkaline water. But when using CO2 I find they are able to adapt and continue to breed when I very gradually move the PH down from my tap of 7.8 to about 6.8. But I also find there is a definite limit to how much and how quickly they can adapt as the female do fine when I move them to normal tap when they are holding but the fry often die if I move them immediately to the normal. The females are also very stressed when I move them back from the tap of 7.8 to the main tank with the 6.8.
Given time, they adapt but not like it would be when changing the PH weekly, etc with PH correction. Constant stress leads to sick fish!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 02:43 PM
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A ph change through co2 does not change the alkalinity and is fundamentally different from a ph change through a strong acid like hydrochloric or nitric acid. Your african cichlid water is still "hard"/alkaline, just with more free hydrogen ions in it. It's actually quite normal for ph swings exceeding 1 ph in a day in natural bodies of water in the summer (through photosynthesis/life breathing, basically just from co2).
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Our well water comes out of the tap at 4.4 pH, 80-100 TDS, 1 degree hardness despite being loaded with minerals; so not actually a theoretical question. It takes a lot of chemical to get it up to neutral, but once it is there it holds pretty stable with a phosphate buffer.

While most species do fine, some of the more sensitive ones such as neon tetras do not do well. No idea why.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 07:52 PM
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Ignoring the theoretical discussion on pH, if you are concerned about fish adapting to your water conditions, put your focus upon GH. It is far more important than pH.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cds333 View Post
Our well water comes out of the tap at 4.4 pH, 80-100 TDS, 1 degree hardness despite being loaded with minerals; so not actually a theoretical question. It takes a lot of chemical to get it up to neutral, but once it is there it holds pretty stable with a phosphate buffer.

While most species do fine, some of the more sensitive ones such as neon tetras do not do well. No idea why.
Where are you located? I'd like to do some digging and see if I can figure out the mineral that's causing such a buildup without doing much to GH or TDS.
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