pH is out of control it seems like... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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pH is out of control it seems like...

i've got a 55-gallon, non-planted tank. I used tap water to fill it, and have a basic back-mounted filter setup. I also have 3 tiger barbs, 3 glo-lite tetras, and a gold gourahmi in the tank and they seem to be doing okay, but not perfect... once I had the tank set up and cycled, everything was fine. I added the fish and checked the pH a few days later... ta-DA! the pH shot up... way up, and now i can't seem to keep it in control. I added some Correct pH 7.0 Tabs and they seem to help it stay at 7.0 for a couple days or so, but it never stays down... any ideas? i've never had a pH problem before and the fish are starting to freak out every once in a while... I don't want to add any more fish or start on a planted tank until i can figure out what is causing my problems here...

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, i also have a few plastic "plants" and a couple other decorations, but nothing out of the ordinary that would make me think they would be the cause.

thanks!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 12:32 PM
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any limerock or coral in the substrate?
something is disolving into the water raising the KH which raises the pH.
your tank water is rebounding after the chemical adjustment is exhausted so I would STOP using those chemical tabs.


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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yeah... i'm not using the tabs any more. The only substrate I have in there is the aquarium rock from petsmart... i know, i know... i should get slapped for using it. lol. My daughter was getting pretty anxious to get it all set up and get a couple fish, so I just got it up and running while I am stocking up on the other goodies to convert it to a planted tank (power head, filter, etc.)

If you guys are thinking it is something that could be leaching into the water, i have a feeling it is coming from the 2 decorations from the previous owner... they had quite a bit of mineral build up on them when i first got them, but i brushed it all and rinsed them off well before I put them in... should I just do some water changes, or scrap the tank and start fresh with all new substrate, water, etc.?

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 01:04 PM
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How high is the pH? Are you raising anything that needs that specific of a pH? If not, you're better off letting it stabilize at whatever it gets it and leave it there. Most fish are fine in between 6-8pH unless you have something that has very specific needs.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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as of right now, no. just those 7 fish. I was going to try getting a few more to build up the schools, but i feel bad putting more fish in there if they are only going to be uncomfortable.

as far as how high it is exactly, my drop checker only goes up to 7.6, but I will add an entire bottle of pH Down, and it won't even affect the color. if I had to guess, it's got to be pushing 8, if not higher.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 01:38 PM
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Get a high range pH test kit, they're fairly inexpensive.

How long has the tank been setup?

Also, high pH isn't a horrible thing, all the fish you listed should be fine with a pH of 8.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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it's been set up now for about 3 weeks.

as far as my real concern with the situation - i'm not worried about the pH as long as the fish are comfortable... I'm more worried about learning how to control/alter it if need be. I don't want to dump/"invest" a bunch of cash into my setup if it's just going to get overrun with parasites and the plants all die.

i think i will be doing a good water change this weekend and see how that helps... maybe get a couple plecos to start cleaning up the bottom and pull out the decorations that might be causing my problems...

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 01:59 PM
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First, forget about controlling the pH, it's a futile and fairly useless endeavor. Next, 3 weeks is not a long time for tank to be setup and I seriously doubt that is fully cycled and stable.

I would seriously wait on plecos or any algae eaters if you don't have any algae for them to feed on. If the bottom of the tank is dirty with food, you're overfeeding.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 02:26 PM
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Whatever you do, don't use chemicals to try and lower pH. They never, ever work. Ever. Stop. Don't pass go.

Seriously, Stop.
  1. WHAT is your tank pH, now?
  2. What is your tap pH straight from tap?
  3. What is your tap pH after sitting in a glass of water after 24 hours?

Test all 3 and report back.

What substrate do you have? Rocks? What kind of test kit?

My guess is the best solution is to leave it alone.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 02:29 PM
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STOP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aczeller View Post
as of right now, no. just those 7 fish. I was going to try getting a few more to build up the schools, but i feel bad putting more fish in there if they are only going to be uncomfortable.

as far as how high it is exactly, my drop checker only goes up to 7.6, but I will add an entire bottle of pH Down, and it won't even affect the color. if I had to guess, it's got to be pushing 8, if not higher.
DO NOT ADD PH DOWN. STOP. If you are relying on a DC to test the pH of your water, STOP.

Just back away from everything and leave it alone. It will be much better for your fish.


The drop checker is used to measure co2 in solution. The reason it works is because that little drop checker already has a known set of values for ph/kh. The drop checker does not measure your TANK PH. It takes the co2 and uses it to change a known standard.

It has basically nothing to do with your tank pH. Quit trying to kill your fish with chemicals you do not need. I'd do a 50% or larger water change and watch ammonia levels(nothing else for now).
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverStocked View Post
STOP!



DO NOT ADD PH DOWN. STOP. If you are relying on a DC to test the pH of your water, STOP.

Just back away from everything and leave it alone. It will be much better for your fish.


The drop checker is used to measure co2 in solution. The reason it works is because that little drop checker already has a known set of values for ph/kh. The drop checker does not measure your TANK PH. It takes the co2 and uses it to change a known standard.

It has basically nothing to do with your tank pH. Quit trying to kill your fish with chemicals you do not need. I'd do a 50% or larger water change and watch ammonia levels(nothing else for now).
sorry... maybe my verbage is wrong. this is what I have been using to check it:

http://www.petco.com/product/8236/AP...-Test-Kit.aspx

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 02:44 PM
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None the less, stop. Do the 3 things I asked above, and answer the other questions. There is absolutely no good way you can ADD things into your tank to lower the pH safely. They are usually just weak acids and they will not work long term. More often than not, you can just leave it alone or mix your water with RO water to get what you need.

Just leave it alone for now. I promise, your fish will be happier while you take time to learn about them and their home.

Stop putting things in your water other than water conditioner(dechlor) and ferts if you use them.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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will do. thanks for the tips... I will get the wide-band pH kit and answer the questions over the weekend.

thanks again!

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
any limerock or coral in the substrate?
something is disolving into the water raising the KH which raises the pH.
your tank water is rebounding after the chemical adjustment is exhausted so I would STOP using those chemical tabs.
That was the first reply in this thread to the OP.


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