Sky high ph - Why?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2020, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Sky high ph - Why??

I just bought 4 red rili shrimp, 2 are berried and they’re doing well, still berried 3 days after purchase and moving around. But my ph is 8.4, why could this be? It’s coming out of tap at 6.4. Other parameters are nitrate - 10ppm, nitrite - 0ppm, ammonia 0-0.5ppm (lost the card and have to use online so it’s hard to tell if there’s a slight green tint or not), kh- 6, gh- 4 (plan on raising to about 7 slowly using Shrimp GH), and TDS - 153. Any ideas what could’ve caused this ph spike and how to correct it while not risking the shrimp or the babies? Dosing api leaf zone once a week after weekly 20% water change, flourish advance daily, and medicating zero planaria (all the parasites are dead but I have one more treatment this week to ensure they’re gone) Any advice will be taken, thanks!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2020, 04:56 PM
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Is your tank heavily planted and growing vigorously? During photosynthesis, plants uptake CO2 which can drive the pH up during daylight hours.

Measure pH first thing in the morning (before the lights come on) to see if this is the case.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-16-2020, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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They’re definitely growing like crazy. I will do that tomorrow.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Is your tank heavily planted and growing vigorously? During photosynthesis, plants uptake CO2 which can drive the pH up during daylight hours.

Measure pH first thing in the morning (before the lights come on) to see if this is the case.
So I tested it this morning before lights and it was indeed down to around 7.6. That is still quite a bit higher then I’d like. What would be the best ways to lower this and keep it low? And are those ph swings during the day bad for the shrimp?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 04:42 PM
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So I tested it this morning before lights and it was indeed down to around 7.6. That is still quite a bit higher then Id like. What would be the best ways to lower this and keep it low? And are those ph swings during the day bad for the shrimp?
With a KH of 6, a pH of 7.6 is about as low as you can get with just atmospheric CO2. Really, the best way to lower your pH (and keep it low) is to inject CO2.

If you do not wish to go that route, then perhaps you can increase your water flow/surface agitation which would help prevent you pH from getting so high during the day. A simple airstone would help, as would directing the outflow from your filter return to create more surface water flow.

I can't address your shrimp question because I don't keep shrimp.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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So I tested it this morning before lights and it was indeed down to around 7.6. That is still quite a bit higher then I’d like. What would be the best ways to lower this and keep it low? And are those ph swings during the day bad for the shrimp?
With a KH of 6, a pH of 7.6 is about as low as you can get with just atmospheric CO2. Really, the best way to lower your pH (and keep it low) is to inject CO2.

If you do not wish to go that route, then perhaps you can increase your water flow/surface agitation which would help prevent you pH from getting so high during the day. A simple airstone would help, as would directing the outflow from your filter return to create more surface water flow.

I can't address your shrimp question because I don't keep shrimp.
If I drop the KH will the ph drop?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:09 PM
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If I drop the KH will the ph drop?
Yes. You can refer to this chart to see how much it will change at various KH levels with atmospheric CO2 ~ 2 mg/liter. For example, at KH 1, your pH would be about 7.2
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Is my ph fluctuating like this bad for the shrimp. I bought them 4 days ago and one just died. He has been perfectly healthy and eating and randomly spotted him dead. All parameters seem in check. Could this fluctuating ph be the cause of the death? If so how can I fix it asap because I have 2 berried shrimp
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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It doesn’t make sense to me because he was just eating 20 min ago and then I spot him belly up in the back dead. Only thing I can think of is the ph fluctuations or slight ammonia which is around .25 as of 2 days ago. Thoughts? I’d really like to buy some more to get a whole colony and was planning on going to LFS in 3 days but need to figure out why it died before I add more.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 11:36 PM
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It's odd that you have any ammonia. I'm guessing your tank isn't fully cycled and it's not an easy task to keep shrimp alive in a tank that isn't established with biofilm and algae.


If you have berried shrimp, no need for a trip to the LFS. You'll have 40-100 shrimp there in a few weeks, but the babies will have hard time surviving so I'd probably wait out any additions to the colony.

Water fluctuations definitely aren't good for shrimp. Ammonia is very bad. And if it's a new tank, then you have another uphill battle.
If copper is part of the planaria medication, that will likely kill them as well.

So, you have quite a lot going on.

If your medication is in fact shrimp safe, I'd be replacing 10% of the water twice/day with RO or DI water. Make sure it's the same temperature as the tank when going in. It's possible, and perhaps arguably necessary to do a bigger water change if you have ammonia, but with your medication and the changing of the water quality it becomes hard to have an opinion on the best course.


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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It's odd that you have any ammonia. I'm guessing your tank isn't fully cycled and it's not an easy task to keep shrimp alive in a tank that isn't established with biofilm and algae.


If you have berried shrimp, no need for a trip to the LFS. You'll have 40-100 shrimp there in a few weeks, but the babies will have hard time surviving so I'd probably wait out any additions to the colony.

Water fluctuations definitely aren't good for shrimp. Ammonia is very bad. And if it's a new tank, then you have another uphill battle.
If copper is part of the planaria medication, that will likely kill them as well.

So, you have quite a lot going on.

If your medication is in fact shrimp safe, I'd be replacing 10% of the water twice/day with RO or DI water. Make sure it's the same temperature as the tank when going in. It's possible, and perhaps arguably necessary to do a bigger water change if you have ammonia, but with your medication and the changing of the water quality it becomes hard to have an opinion on the best course.
I suppose it might not be cycled but I let it cycle for 2 weeks heavily planted and more then sufficient place for bacteria to grow in the HOB filter and sponge filter. API liquid tests showed zero ammonia for a week so I assumed it was cycled. The medication is supposed to be shrimp safe and ive assured no copper is getting in the tank by using an api liquid test for copper as well. Would 10% water changes with RO water daily not screw up the mineral levels and possibly stress the shrimp out?
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 04:39 AM
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pH swing should not be a problem for shrimp. Lots of us pump CO2 into the tank and have daily +/- 1.0 pH swings, and have plenty of shrimp. I have a big planted tank (with other issues) but the last six+ months, pH swings from 9.0-8.0 every day, and I have many neos, several amanos, and 3 bamboo shrimp. Yours will do fine. If they die quickly it's because of toxins (like ammonia).
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:20 PM
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I suppose it might not be cycled but I let it cycle for 2 weeks heavily planted and more then sufficient place for bacteria to grow in the HOB filter and sponge filter. API liquid tests showed zero ammonia for a week so I assumed it was cycled. The medication is supposed to be shrimp safe and ive assured no copper is getting in the tank by using an api liquid test for copper as well. Would 10% water changes with RO water daily not screw up the mineral levels and possibly stress the shrimp out?
Were you adding anything with ammonia to the tank during that time?
2 weeks would be a pretty short cycle, but if you weren't adding anything with ammonia that your cycle would have never started and you would read 0 ammonia because you never had any in the first place.

If you still have ammonia happening, that will be worse for your fish than a small change in minerals from a 10% water change. But, you could add minerals to the RO water to keep it more consistent. There are specific shrimp mineral products that are likely ideal. If I had any ammonia I'd probably be mineralizing water and doing at least 30% water changes knowing that I'm taking a risk one way or another (ammonia vs. variable water quality). I'd also throw some really fast growing plants in there like hornwort or guppy grass which will consume some of the toxins in the water and make it a little nicer.

Good luck.


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:09 PM
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I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the easiest way to reliably get the lower ph you’re looking for, and that’s to use 100% R/O water with an additive like Salty Shrimp KH/GH+. You can follow the directions to get exactly the hardness you’re looking for. Depending on the shrimp species, a lot of them prefer a KH of 0-2 and a GH of 4ish. If you’re trying to raise soft, acidic water shrimp in hard, alkaline water, then it’s no surprise that you’re struggling.

Edit: I just re-read your post, and see you have Red Rili shrimp. They should be fine in harder, more alkaline water. The rest of my post holds true though, that the easiest way to control your water parameters is to use RO water.

If you ever think you're too small to make a difference, spend a couple of nights sleeping with a mosquito.

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Last edited by jellopuddinpop; 11-18-2020 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Reread OP
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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So after reading all of these and talking to some other people in other forums i have came to the conclusion that my tank never truly started the cycle. The zero planaria killed the bigger pond snails which caused an ammonia spike to start the cycle which would explain why Im just now seeing nitrites for the first time (had a reading of .5 today) for now I will stop feeding, dosing prime every 48 hrs, adding stability, RO top offs, and hoping for the best for my remaining shrimp plus the eggs.
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