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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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pH questions.

So I'm in my 3rd year in the hobby. After loosing my first tank to what I thought was my well water I started doing water changes with Poland springs gallon jugs. I'm at the point now that I think it was not the well water that caused me to lose the first tank but my inexperience.

Well on to my questions. The spring water is killing me $$ wise so I'm looking to get back to using my tap/well if possible. Checked the pH of my aquarium today and its 8.0 or maybe even higher. I have never lost a fish since I started using the Poland springs. I tested my tap water an hour ago and it was at 6.0. And then an hour later still 6.0 so its not changing as it sits like some peoples do. I plan on checking it again in another hour to be sure.

The tank I'm currently running is a 20 gallon cherry shrimp breeding tank. Petco black sand substrate, some dwarf hairgrass, and a couple of swords. Got a cool manzinita branch I'm putting in this week with some Christmas moss on it as well.

I have co2 injection set up but not running yet and Im using seachems root tabs under the plants.

Should I try to get the pH up on the tap water to use it, and should I test it for anything else? Ammonia nitrite or nitrate?

Also if it matters I'm using a home made hamburg mat filter for my only filtration.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 04:52 PM
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Check it after 24 hours

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 05:05 PM
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Is a big difference between your tank waters pH of 8.0 and tapwater with pH 6.0.
Wonder what it is in the tank that is buffering the water to see the pH of 8.0 ?
Does the spring water test this high? If not ,,then something is raising GH and consequently the pH.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 05:30 PM
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I'm curious as to what the Spring water is testing at as well. Also I'm wondering what the Petco sand is made of. Your fish can adapt to the lower pH if you reduce it gradually.

I'm also wondering how C02 injection will go once you start using it, because you'll be driving your pH lower than 6. But in that case its easier to add GH provided it isnt your substrate thats causing the high pH.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrill View Post
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Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Is a big difference between your tank waters pH of 8.0 and tapwater with pH 6.0.
Wonder what it is in the tank that is buffering the water to see the pH of 8.0 ?
Does the spring water test this high? If not ,,then something is raising GH and consequently the pH.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasa73 View Post
I'm curious as to what the Spring water is testing at as well. Also I'm wondering what the Petco sand is made of. Your fish can adapt to the lower pH if you reduce it gradually.

I'm also wondering how C02 injection will go once you start using it, because you'll be driving your pH lower than 6. But in that case its easier to add GH provided it isnt your substrate thats causing the high pH.
Good call, tested the spring water I had still in a jug, and its very close to my water. Tap water is on the left, and spring water from the jug on the right. the lighter is the regular ph test and the darker is the high range. Also tested for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and got 0 across the board with the tap water.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure what else there is to test for, but im thinking that I can just start using the tap water for my water changes, if the addition of the lower pH spring water didnt hurt them then I guess the taps safe being so close?

ill test it again tomorrow after it sits out to make sure its still the same.

I think my initial failure three years ago was due to over feeding, and not enough water changes. I had zero experience in the hobby at the time.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 01:38 AM
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What species of fish do you have and what are their requirements? I would test your Gh & Kh tested before you do anything. 6-8 is a big difference. You should probably add some buffers to your tap water while changing but see what the Gh, Kh are first.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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What species of fish do you have and what are their requirements? I would test your Gh & Kh tested before you do anything. 6-8 is a big difference. You should probably add some buffers to your tap water while changing but see what the Gh, Kh are first.
Im setting it up to be a RCS breeding tank. It has a home made hamburg mat filter so the baby shrimp dont get sucked up.

Im very unsure of what to do next. the pic below is of my tap water fresh of the tap on the right and after 24 hours on the left. The right one in each pair is the normal pH test the left is the high pH test.

Do I need to get an RO system to get this in the area i need it? Also I thought I had read that RCS need to be under 7.5 or something to breed. Im lost. How do I test Gh and Kh? didnt get those in the master test kit.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Ordered a GH and kh test kit to add to the master kit. I'll know Thursday when they come what the levels are.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 08:33 PM
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If your tap water really does have a pH of 6.0 your copper plumbing is being slowly eroded away. Whoever supplies your tap water should be adjusting the pH to above 7.0. When letting the water sit in the open air for 24 hours causes the pH to rise to about 7.0 or higher, your tap water can be assumed to have lots of dissolved CO2 in it. That isn't good for the plumbing.

GH has no effect on pH. KH does affect pH if there is any CO2 in the water, and there almost always is. High KH = high pH.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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If your tap water really does have a pH of 6.0 your copper plumbing is being slowly eroded away. Whoever supplies your tap water should be adjusting the pH to above 7.0. When letting the water sit in the open air for 24 hours causes the pH to rise to about 7.0 or higher, your tap water can be assumed to have lots of dissolved CO2 in it. That isn't good for the plumbing.

GH has no effect on pH. KH does affect pH if there is any CO2 in the water, and there almost always is. High KH = high pH.
Its a well.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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If I start runningmy co2 injection and throw a couple small chunks of malasian drifwood behind my mat filter that should start lowering my pH correct?

I'll start slow and monitor it if I do it.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 01:39 AM
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Here is how I would handle this:

1) Research the species. Find out what is the optimum conditions, and what range they can handle. GH is the most important for fish (not sure about shrimp).

2) Set the GH at the target. If your tap water is so acidic it might (or might not) be low in many different minerals, including Ca and Mg. The GH test will show these minerals. Add Seachem Equilibrium to raise the GH.
3) Set the KH pretty close to the GH. See if either of these are preferred for shrimp: Potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
4) That ought to bring the pH into the right range. Since you will be using CO2 and adding driftwood I think I would err on the side of slightly harder (carbonate hardness) water. Then the CO2 can drop the pH without it dropping too low.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Both GH and kh show to beabout 8 drops, which my kit says is 143.2 or in that area. I'm thinking with the cholla wood and the manzanita branch I put in it will keep the pH a bit lower. Going to keep an eye on it this week as I just put the wood in a few days ago. If it does go lower I'll know that the tap water will work for water changes and I can stop paying $30 every 2 weeks for two tanks
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