Sudden drop in pH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 35
Sudden drop in pH

I have a 90 gallon planted tank that has been running for a few months without any problems. Before it was a planted tank it was just a normal freshwater tank that had been running for 5 years. I emptied the gravel and replaced it with fluorite. The plants are growing very well and quickly. I have less than an adequate amount of CO2 in my tank (I have a DIY CO2 rig that is more suitable for 55 gallons), but that doesn't seem to be a problem. Three days ago I tested the water and it was about 6.8-7.0, which is what it has been for the entirety of the tank. I did a 15% what change and add Prime as a de-chlorinator. Within 30 minutes of the water change my blue ram started breathing heavily (the female is seems to be okay) and died 10 hours later and right now I am watching a 2 year old angelfish (one I had in another tank) on the verge of death (breathing heavily the day after the water change and now laying sideways barely breathing). I just tested my water and now it is done to about 6.2 (my KH has also dropped from 9 ppm to about 5 ppm). Should this sudden drop be cause for concern? My other fish (Rainbows, tetras, killifish, loaches, one ram, gouramis) are behaving as they usually do. Also, I had a minor ich problem that started two days ago on a couple of my fish (not the ram or the angel) so I have been treating it with Rid Ich by Kordon (I was careful not to overdose). The water that comes out of the tap is really hard with a pH around 7.5, but I have a large amount of driftwood that has kept my pH around 6.8. Both fish were fine before the change and had been for months. What do you think killed them? And what could cause this sudden drop?
davercomeau is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 08:15 PM
Algae Grower
 
markalot's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 102
Ich doesn't just start, so what new did you add to the tank? My guess is that you introduced something nasty, possibly the ich, possibly something worse, that killed the fish.

How often do you change the water?
What are your readings for Ammonia, NitrItes, and Nitrates.
markalot is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 35
I added some von rio tetras recently that might have come with some ich. I do a 15-20% every 3 to 4 weeks. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are showing up as 0 ppm.
davercomeau is offline  
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:00 PM
Algae Grower
 
markalot's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 102
Something is wrong with your test kits then unless it's normal for you to run 0 nitrates, which is pretty rare. Are you using test tubes and liquids to test?
markalot is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 35
Yeah. The one that comes with a 5 mL vile and little bottles with solution.
davercomeau is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 09:32 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
jaidexl's Avatar
 
PTrader: (42/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 33919
Posts: 3,500
Did the KH drop happen right after the WC? If so, your tap has less buffering capacity (KH) than it used to and the WC diluted the tank's KH and caused a downward pH swing.

If that's the case, this is what I would do:

Put the fish in a small container, like a 5gl bucket half filled with tank water.

Fill a separate container with the same amount of water and add baking soda to get the KH back to 9.

Add the re-buffered water to the fish container slowly, like a glass every ten minutes, occasionally remove a glass or so of water from the fish container to keep the water level the same. Do this over the course of an hour or so and the fish container will eventually be 9dKH as well. The longer you take, the safer the parameter change for the fish, true they are dying, but too rapid of a change will be excessive stress. Fish generally acclimate faster than inverts who breath through their skin and only an hour or two is usually sufficient for inverts.

In the meantime, you need to bump the tank back to 9dKH with baking soda. Be careful with your baking soda additions so as to not bump the tank up too far, if you go too far, add tap to bring it back down. It would help to treat all of your fish as stated above, so that you can bump the tank immediately without issue. Generally, I would say just leave all the fish in the tank and bump it up slowly, but it's a large tank, and precise buffering over time will be easier in a small container and likely require a few less KH tests on your part (Otherwise, if you already know how much baking soda it takes to bump your tank's KH to a few tenths of a degree (6.4 to 6.6) then you could just leave all teh fish and buffer the tank back up over the course of a few hours). Once you have the KH of both the fish container and the tank back at 9dKH, it's safe to put the fish back in the tank and depending how far gone they are, they may start acting normal pretty quickly.

In the future, you'll have to be on top of your change water's KH and make sure it always matches your target of 9 before it goes into the tank.

Hope that helps, pulling for the fish!
jaidexl is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 35
Thanks a lot. That is great advice. I'm going to give it a try. My tap water KH and GH is about 4, which is much lower than it was when I started the tank.
davercomeau is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 03:26 AM
Fresh Fish Freak
 
lauraleellbp's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 24,403
IMO I would try to slowly match up your tank parameters with your tap water; I personally prefer just doing enough PWC (over how ever long it takes to make that happen) over using baking soda, but that's just my preference. (Partially cuz doing the math gives me a headache LOL)

You said you just started using Prime? Did you treat the tank or the water before you added the new water to the tank? I know Seachem says it's OK to dose the tank, but IMO I will never, ever add untreated water to a tank.

Did the ich outbreak occur after the PWC? If so, I would guess that you might have added some significantly cooler water during the PWC; that actually would explain a lot. Adding water of a different temp, pH and hardness is more than enough to shock fish and also trigger an ich outbreak.





To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
lauraleellbp is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 10:22 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
jaidexl's Avatar
 
PTrader: (42/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 33919
Posts: 3,500
That's another way I would personally do it, I suppose I'd have to gauge it on how many and which fish are affected, and how bad off they seem to be adjusting.

Usually, though, If it's something I catch fast then I re-acclimate them back over to their normal range right away, then do the buffering down or whatever desired tank adjustments over time after they're acting healthy again. Most of the time I've had luck (with a few tetra and cory species) bringing them back to their normal parameters right way, curing the 'floating in one spot' and heavy breathing, whereas I use to believe that would be one more unnecessary fluctuation to induce. Nowadays I like to think I'm on top of avoiding these mishaps, though.

Depends on my moods and the situation I suppose, and species etc. At least you know now that your tap isn't consistent, that's pretty typical around here, unfortunately.
jaidexl is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 35
Thanks a lot. I will now treat the water before I add it. Since I only take out about 10 to 12 gallons each change I didn't think that it would make much of a difference, but apparently it does and did. Thanks again!
davercomeau is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome