pH concern - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-30-2014, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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pH concern

I'm worried that I (or rather my fish) might be in for some trouble because my pH straight from the tap is very high; it's even off the scale of the API "high range" test.

Before my CO2 turns on, my tank pH is about 7.2. (It drops to about 6.6 while the CO2 is running; but from what I've read in other posts, this swing caused by CO2 shouldn't be a problem.) But what about my weekly 50% water change? Since I do the wc in the morning before CO2, I'm exchanging half of my 7.2 pH tank water with 8.8 (or higher) tap water. Should I be concerned? If so, what precautions do you recommend?

For the record, my KH averages around 4d.

55g: Finnex Planted+ and MonsterRay, Pressurized CO2 w/ Atomic inline diffuser, Eheim 2217, Eco-Complete, EI ferts. Lemon, Glowlight, and Black Neon Tetras; Harlequin Rasboras; Otos. Staurogyne repens, Hygrophila corymbosa, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia glandulosa, Red Melon Sword, Wisteria, Water Sprite.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-30-2014, 02:40 PM
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So what is the ph of your tank? How is your tap 8.8 but tank is 7.2? Have you tested your tap after the water has sat out for about 24hrs?

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-30-2014, 04:31 PM
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One thing I've noticed with testing my water is that when you get close to the extremes, the test isn't all that accurate. My regular API pH test will show that I'm clearly 7.6 or higher. And my high pH test will show that I'm surely below 7.4.

You may need to get a ph meter to pin it down. Another possibility is to find a different pH indicator if you want to do drops. Not a lot of options in this range, although thymol blue may be able to tell you whether it's a high 8 vs a low 8 (which is probably what you're interested in).
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-30-2014, 05:47 PM
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That does sound like a more extreme swing than is tolerated by the fish.

Here are some things I would try:

1) Call the water company and ask what they are adding to the water. See if there is something they recommend to neutralize it, or remove it from the water.

2) Run some water into a bucket and add a pump (water or air) and circulate the water for 24-48 hours.

3) Run some water into a bucket and add whatever you normally add (dechlor, plant fertilizer, other) and circulate that for 24-48 hours.

4) Find some filter media/insert that you can treat the water with. (see item 1).
If you have any of these on hand, then try adding some to the bucket of tap water you are aerating. Just test one material at a time. Of course you can set up several buckets with one material in each bucket, and leave one bucket with no additives. For this test I think it is OK if you just dump some of these into the bucket, or toss in a media bag of the material. If you get any positive result you can refine the process and force the water to flow through the material by using something like an Aquaclear filter The large open space for media would be filled with whichever of these does the trick.
Peat moss
Purigen
Activated Carbon
Zeolite
Any of the 'pillows' sold for aquariums such as 'Phos-Zorb', 'Cupri-Zorb' and similar names. These products might also be incorporated into a mat of fiber that can be cut to fit in most filters.
... and here is the wierd one...
Oil Dri, Safe-T-Sorb, Turface, other montmorillonite clay. These materials have a high cationic exchange capacity, and MIGHT remove whatever the water company is adding. It is worth a try!

If you find something that seems to work, you would then need to test the water to be sure it has not removed something else. For example montmorillonite clay removes carbonates, so you would have to add back something like potassium bicarbonate to restore the KH.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrman83 View Post
So what is the ph of your tank? How is your tap 8.8 but tank is 7.2? Have you tested your tap after the water has sat out for about 24hrs?
As I said, the pH of my tank goes from about 6.6 while CO2 runs to about 7.2 when CO2 is off. I assumed the tank pH is lower than the tap pH because of plants & CO2. No, I haven't tried testing the tap water after aging it 24 hours. I will try that. The truth is, I haven't been paying much attention to pH for the past couple years because I never had any problems. I only noticed the high pH tap water recently because, in the course of setting up my new tank, I've been doing a lot of testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
That does sound like a more extreme swing than is tolerated by the fish.

Here are some things I would try:

1) Call the water company and ask what they are adding to the water. See if there is something they recommend to neutralize it, or remove it from the water.

2) Run some water into a bucket and add a pump (water or air) and circulate the water for 24-48 hours.

3) Run some water into a bucket and add whatever you normally add (dechlor, plant fertilizer, other) and circulate that for 24-48 hours.

4) Find some filter media/insert that you can treat the water with. (see item 1).
If you have any of these on hand, then try adding some to the bucket of tap water you are aerating. Just test one material at a time. Of course you can set up several buckets with one material in each bucket, and leave one bucket with no additives. For this test I think it is OK if you just dump some of these into the bucket, or toss in a media bag of the material. If you get any positive result you can refine the process and force the water to flow through the material by using something like an Aquaclear filter The large open space for media would be filled with whichever of these does the trick.
Peat moss
Purigen
Activated Carbon
Zeolite
Any of the 'pillows' sold for aquariums such as 'Phos-Zorb', 'Cupri-Zorb' and similar names. These products might also be incorporated into a mat of fiber that can be cut to fit in most filters.
... and here is the wierd one...
Oil Dri, Safe-T-Sorb, Turface, other montmorillonite clay. These materials have a high cationic exchange capacity, and MIGHT remove whatever the water company is adding. It is worth a try!

If you find something that seems to work, you would then need to test the water to be sure it has not removed something else. For example montmorillonite clay removes carbonates, so you would have to add back something like potassium bicarbonate to restore the KH.
Thanks for the info, Diana. I'll start with options 1 and 2, since they are the easiest, and then I'll go from there. As I mentioned above, I've been doing water changes with this tap water for a couple years without any problems, so maybe I'm making something out of nothing.

55g: Finnex Planted+ and MonsterRay, Pressurized CO2 w/ Atomic inline diffuser, Eheim 2217, Eco-Complete, EI ferts. Lemon, Glowlight, and Black Neon Tetras; Harlequin Rasboras; Otos. Staurogyne repens, Hygrophila corymbosa, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia glandulosa, Red Melon Sword, Wisteria, Water Sprite.

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