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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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major pH drop?

my pH significantly dropped to about a 4.5 now!

20g high tank.
ammonia - 0
nitrate - 0
nitrite - 0
pH - 4.5
temp - 79 F

it has a sand substrate with some driftwood, that i dont know the name of, and thats it.

theres a pleco, 3 discus, and a black veil angel in there, but they are all going away to my friend. i was trying to start off fresh with a planted tank, but i cant figure why my pH went so low. i wouldnt be surprised if it was the wood, but is there anyway to raise it up? i tried buffers, coral sand, everything but its stuck at 4. id rather not take out the driftwood because i like it. i cleaned my filter too btw.

i dont necessarily "water change", i just add water when it evaporates and condition and bacterialize(if thats word) it. my fish are comfortable though, they still eat agressively and swim around with no problem, but i just want to raise my pH back to a 6.5. Im planning on putting a couple juvenile discus' in there, so i want it perfect before they come in which would be in about a week or two.

sorry for the long read but to some it up.

"how can i raise the pH in my tank back to a 6.5?"
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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oh and my pH from tap is about 8.8 in San Francisco
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:55 AM
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How long has this tank been established? I know once you start using a ph buffer to raise it or lower it you have to keep doing it until you change what is causing it in the first place. so if you forget to do it.. it will fall again quickly. I am fairly new to this hobby.. so I would wait until some more seasoned members can help you out. If I am wrong someone will point it out! lol

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 11:38 AM
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First off, why are your nitrates bottomed out??? Is that tank cycled? It better be if your going to add in Discus or that could be a costly ending.

Are you injecting CO2? Whats you kH? If your kH is really low, the buffering capacity of the water may be volatile, so the slightest natural buffer could be bottoming out you pH (which is what I am suspecting). You say pH is 8.8 out of the tap??? Check that again.


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 12:50 PM
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How are you measuring the pH?


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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 06:39 PM
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What products have you been putting in your water?

That's the most common way to end up with completely unstable water parameters- add chemicals. Did you neglect PWC (partial water changes) for a long period of time?

I'd get your LFS to verify your test results first.

IMO I'd do lots of small PWC. Say daily 25% for several weeks. If your tap pH truly is 8.8 and your tank pH 4.5 that's going to be the safest way to slowly bring your pH back up. Go quickly and you'll kill your fish.





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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:12 PM
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I agree with Naja002, there might be some problem with you measuring your pH (i.e. perhaps you are using test strips, which are notoriously inaccurate). I find it unusual that your tap water has a pH of 8.8, but your aquarium water has a pH of 4.5.

Also, please do tell us how long your tank has been established. You say that you don't do water changes, and top off whenever the water gets too low. That may also be another problem, as DOCs will eventually build up and can potentially lower your pH.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torpedobarb View Post
How long has this tank been established? I know once you start using a ph buffer to raise it or lower it you have to keep doing it until you change what is causing it in the first place. so if you forget to do it.. it will fall again quickly. I am fairly new to this hobby.. so I would wait until some more seasoned members can help you out. If I am wrong someone will point it out! lol
the tank has been established for about 4 months. i used to have gravel as a substrate, but this problem occured before. i took the tank out to keep it sterile, but my LFS told me that that was bad because bacteria lives basically in the substrate etc etc. i recently, about last week, put in prewashed sand from my LFS, which drastically improved my fish, they started to eat again etc etc. so it was a good step.

i tried the buffer like for a bit. about 1 small package with 2 packets that was to treat for a 10g each packet. i put it in, went to 6.5, for about an hour, and dropped back down. my fish were fine with it, but it was a waste of 2 dollars , so yeah im done with buffers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmccreedy View Post
First off, why are your nitrates bottomed out??? Is that tank cycled? It better be if your going to add in Discus or that could be a costly ending.

Are you injecting CO2? Whats you kH? If your kH is really low, the buffering capacity of the water may be volatile, so the slightest natural buffer could be bottoming out you pH (which is what I am suspecting). You say pH is 8.8 out of the tap??? Check that again.
i sorta answered that question with the substrate, the establishment of the sand and everything could be messing up the cycle. like i said, my discus are perfectly fine, eating and all, aggressively too.

im not injecting CO2

i dont have a KH testing kit. any good kH testers that i should invest in?

i just checked my pH out of my tap. if you wanna get technical, its 8.69 - 8.72

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
How are you measuring the pH?
HM Digital pH Meter, PH-200

its accurate, thats forsure. my dad uses the same meter for his carwash business. if it wasnt accurate in telling the pH of the soap and water etc etc, we would be out of business, so id trust this over some API kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
What products have you been putting in your water?

That's the most common way to end up with completely unstable water parameters- add chemicals. Did you neglect PWC (partial water changes) for a long period of time?

I'd get your LFS to verify your test results first.

IMO I'd do lots of small PWC. Say daily 25% for several weeks. If your tap pH truly is 8.8 and your tank pH 4.5 that's going to be the safest way to slowly bring your pH back up. Go quickly and you'll kill your fish.
besides the one time buffer thing, i havent put anything in my tank.
BUT i have been putting "Special Blend" in my tank. its bacteria in a bottle. it starts up the cycle etc etc. ive been putting 20 drops, 1 drop per gallon, everyday for 2 weeks. today is day 6? the owner of OCEAN AQUARIUM in san francisco prescribed it to me. he does the same thing, and his tanks are amazing, so i trust him.


even with small WC's it wont change at all. i tried that before for everyday for weeks straight. the owner that has been helping me is one who told me not to do actual "water changes" but to just add water. his reason was that after 9/11, the government stopped putting bacteria in water that would make it aquarium safe. he even showed me the newspaper article about this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
I agree with Naja002, there might be some problem with you measuring your pH (i.e. perhaps you are using test strips, which are notoriously inaccurate). I find it unusual that your tap water has a pH of 8.8, but your aquarium water has a pH of 4.5.

Also, please do tell us how long your tank has been established. You say that you don't do water changes, and top off whenever the water gets too low. That may also be another problem, as DOCs will eventually build up and can potentially lower your pH.
no test strips, a digital monitor. my other tank that just has sand in it, is at a perfect 7 - 7.2. theres no driftwood in there, so i HIGHLY SUSPECT THAT MY DRIFTWOOD HAS TO DO WITH MY pH DROP!

every so often, i siphon a section of the gravel. that is my small water change. i would not do the whole tank because it would just get rid of all the bacteria? i just do sections and sections.


thanks for all the quick replies. i hope my responses help.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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i just tested my nitrate with the API test kit. it came out to a solid yellow. 0 ppm (mg/L). is it because my cycle hasn't established yet? is there anyway to increase this process?

also. i called my LFS and talked to them. they recommended neutral regulator (half teaspoon) and baking soda (half a teaspoon.)

also. i just did a pH check and its at 5.5 now. i think i mistyped the 4.5 because that was what it was a week ago. so JUST TO CLARIFY, its a 5.5 now, not 4.5. i messed up. my bad.

now with the pH being 5.5. is that a suitable condition to breed discus in? or is it too acidic? i mean, in theory. amazon water has a low pH. around 4.5 - 6 ish area? correct me if im wrong.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnywhoop! View Post
so yeah im done with buffers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnywhoop! View Post
also. i called my LFS and talked to them. they recommended neutral regulator (half teaspoon) and baking soda (half a teaspoon.)
Your LFS is recommending more buffers.....which just add a ton of TDSs to your water.....


TDS is much more important to breeding discus and the eggs than pH.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnywhoop! View Post
i just checked my pH out of my tap. if you wanna get technical, its 8.69 - 8.72

I would say that your tap water is way too high in TDSs already to ever be concerned with breeding discus in it, or getting the eggs to hatch.

If breeding discus is your goal--you may want to talk with the folks at:

SimplyDiscus.com

or

DAAH.com


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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 04:27 AM
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Johnny- how long has it been since your digital pH meter was calibrated?

Driftwood will lower pH, but that's still pretty low.

I agree, hardness is really what you need to be looking at, and discus prefer soft acidic water. I agree with Naja- if your goal is to breed discus then you don't want to be adding baking soda or "neutral regulator" I'd personally start doing lots of PWC with RO water to try and get out most of the chemicals you've added to date. You need to do at least 50% weekly PWC anyways to breed.

You don't want any nitrAtes in your discus water if you want to breed, so 0ppm is good. Did you test ammonia or nitrItes?

Naja linked you to some good sites. Sounds to me like you've got some more researching to do?





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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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yeah im learning as i go along. i was just concerned about my pH being at a 5.5. my LFS told me that it should be okay, and that natural waters are pretty low. if the fish seem fine then the parameters shouldnt matter? better just let it be instead of making it a rollercoaster.

the ammonia is 0
nitrites is 0

isnt "RO" an expensive method to WC? can someone enlighten me on the subject.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 12:17 PM
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Actually sound advice from your LFS. Trying to alter the pH with buffers is just that--a rollercoaster ride.....


If you want to understand the reality of pH in the aquarium and the myth that the pH crash is--take a read through these threads:

Low or no KH and low PH without a "crash"??

Low KH and pH crash

pH = 5.5, what now?

Theory is Great, but reality is what matters......


RO isn't expensive really to run over the long haul, but it can be a hassle. It can be pretty expensive to set up (~$300 maybe more, maybe less--depends). You said that your dad has a carwash--if it offers the spot-free rinse--then you have all the RO or RODI that you'll ever need. You'll just have to transport it. Agian, to me--that would be a hassle-factor.....


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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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300 maybe more?

ill read those threads when i have time today. thanks for that.

im not as worried about the pH as much as before. my fish are perfectly fine, eating and what not. i might just leave it alone. itll be more stable that way? ill just try to help the nitrate cycle move along until i get a good cycled tank.

that is my current plan at the moment

btw what does RO mean, maybe thats the part thats confusing me
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnywhoop! View Post
im not as worried about the pH as much as before. my fish are perfectly fine, eating and what not. i might just leave it alone. itll be more stable that way?
Having a stable pH is much more important than having the 'proper' pH anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnywhoop! View Post
btw what does RO mean, maybe thats the part thats confusing me
Reverse osmosis. The principle is that water normally flows from a region of low osmolarity to one of higher osmolarity. However, this naturally occurring process can be reversed (reverse osmosis) when pressure is applied.

Anthony


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