What to do with a very low pH? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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What to do with a very low pH?

Hi everyone,

I have a 20 gallon long shrimp tank that's been up for about a month and a half. It's heavily planted with 48 watts of 6500k lighting, pressurized CO2, and ADA aquasoil.

Problem is, with the aquasoil and CO2, my pH is 6.0 or lower It could be off the charts.

I added about 30 cherry shrimp a couple days ago and have lost two so far - one during acclimation and the second I found dead.

I know the optimal pH for these animals is around 7.5 in order for prolific breeding and good shell health...is there anything I can do to raise my pH?

If anything I want to make sure it's in a readable range, 6.0 or lower is scaring me as the water out of my tap is around 7.8.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:25 AM
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Lots of products out there to buffer your tank to whatever PH you want. Cheapest way is adding baking soda. However, since you need to raise it quite a bit, not just add some buffering capability, you'll probably want to buy something from your LFS. If you have a LFS nearby that deals primarily in salt water, they'd probably be the best place to go to get pointed in the right direction.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:20 PM
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It's not the ph killing your shrimp, probably the co2.

I keep cherries in ph 5 water with no problem
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:31 PM
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I use baking soda with my weekly wc.............about 2 tsp for a 55g tank.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:35 PM
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Baking Soda based on using leveled spoon measurements.
To increase KH
1/8 TSP : 6.6 gallons = 1dKH
1/4 TSP : 13.2gallons = 1dKH
1/2 TSP : 26.4 gallons = 1dKH

works fine for KH


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:36 PM
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Problem with baking soda is that it raises Gh, kh ph and adds salt to your water column. Not good things
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordalphus View Post
It's not the ph killing your shrimp, probably the co2.

I keep cherries in ph 5 water with no problem

^^^this! Listen to this man, he speaks truth.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordalphus View Post
Problem with baking soda is that it raises Gh, kh ph and adds salt to your water column. Not good things
The sodium added is so small it doesn't effect a thing by any report I've ever seen and has caused no problem in any of my systems in almost 3 years that I can see. Plants grow, fish breed. GLA booster, A&H baking soda and 100% RO. The point of adding it is to raise KH and the resulting pH reading so I see those as a good thing.

only posting it works in my tanks


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:51 PM
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Baking soda is almost half sodium, but regardless, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I say the more crap you add to your water to try to make the parameters an exact level, the more complicated your problems get. A ph of 5 won't kill a cherry shrimp.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:02 PM
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My ph goes to about 5.6 if i want to get the drop checkers nice a yellowish with good pearling around the tank. However, when I get to around 5.7 I see the inhabitants start to suffer.

First the shrimp get sluggish and hang around the top, then the snails go up and start dying off. Finally my beloved chili rasboras start clustering at the top and eventually dying. The neon tetras and kuhli loaches seem unaffected!

I have learned a lot by reading the forum and I understand how the ph drop caused by CO2 isn't exactly the same as an ordinary ph drop. Also, I understand about how the presence of so much CO2 could be causing the fish to have respiration problems and it's basically a lack of O2 available to the fish that causes the issues.

But, what to do about this? My tank runs hot in the summer (around 82 sometimes) which further reduces the amount of available oxygen, although with this much pearling there has to be some O2 recovered that way!

I am learning about the physics, but I still can't get my CO2 levels high enough to combat algae without killing fish



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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordalphus View Post
Baking soda is almost half sodium, but regardless, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I say the more crap you add to your water to try to make the parameters an exact level, the more complicated your problems get. A ph of 5 won't kill a cherry shrimp.
+1
Trying to battle your aquasoil isn't fun, and we all love co2.
Besides this is artificial selection, don't adapt to the shrimp make them adapt to you!
If you have 10 cherrys die and the rest start breeding, in a couple generations your RC's will be all offspring that can handle the low ph.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chlorophile View Post
If you have 10 cherrys die and the rest start breeding, in a couple generations your RC's will be all offspring that can handle the low ph.
Is this true? My neocardina population was dwindled over time, despite the fact that they were repopulating constantly. They seem less healthy then they used to be, and it correlates to increased CO2. I moved them to my Ebi (no CO2) and they brightened right up!



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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
Is this true? My neocardina population was dwindled over time, despite the fact that they were repopulating constantly. They seem less healthy then they used to be, and it correlates to increased CO2. I moved them to my Ebi (no CO2) and they brightened right up!
Don't quote me on this but I would think it was the CO2 that was stressing them, not the pH. I'm not sure they would adapt to too much CO2 although the stronger ones that could handle it would be the only ones left to breed so the offspring would also be hardier. But I could be and often am completely wrong .
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 11:51 PM
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Ok, fair enough.
But, what to do about it?

After a 70% water change I'm at 6.4 ph, so I can't really get good CO2 levels without driving down the ph. Regardless of the specific case, I am having a hard time pushing enough CO2 without killing off the livestock!!



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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 12:10 AM
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I can't comment on how low of a pH your plants will handles, but my mosses and crypts handle a ph of 5 readily. So if your shrimp and plants handle ph of 5, what's the problem? Just the number?
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