PH levels - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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PH levels

My water is really hard. 8.2 or something 8.4. Most of my fish are doing fine, but I'm having a hard time keeping simese algea fish alive. I aclimate for about an hour. One died, ones doing well, and one is looking very sluggish and relaxing on the gravel but is eating.

I've read not to touch my PH, most fish will adjust. I was thinking about getting drift wood to lower the PH over time, but as soon as I do a water change it's going to raise the PH again.

So I'm not sure what I should do.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 09:19 PM
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PH is not as important as it once was thought to be. As long as it does not change rapidly most fish will adapt. How long has the tank been running? Do you know the readings for other water tests like KH, GH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? You should be able to get most of those tested at your local fish store if you take a water sample in.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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My tank is a 90 gallon dirted, heavily planted tank. It's been running for a couple weeks. My ammonia, nitrite is 0, my nitrate is low was around 10 or something. I don't know my kh or anything other than ph. I only have the master kit. Do you think I should get another couple kits to test for those?

The sluggish one that was eating is now swimming around and doing better. I'm wondering if the one that died, died from something else. I'm still leading more towards my water quality.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 12:02 AM
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Tank parameters such as KH, co2, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, gh and any others you can think of would help. I can't claim that pH is not a major factor. I have not heard that before so I would stick with the recommended pH which would be in about the 6.8 to the 7.4 range. I keep mine at 7 and have had no issues. Also a picture of the tank might help. Also if you use any type of chemicals please let us know.

Last edited by goatnad; 08-16-2015 at 12:03 AM. Reason: typo
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Dont mind the colour of the water. I had some floating plants I had to stick back into the dirt and it leaches some into the tank. Just waiting on my carpet to grow some it looks crappy right now.

As for chemicals, I only use a dechlorinator, which takes out chlorine, chlorimine and heavy metals. I do at some point plan to dose iron for some of my plants.

My biggest issue with ph is that it comes out of the tap high. If I'm going to drop it to 7, then do a water change, it's just going to jump back up and shock my first. So is it really important.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
Dont mind the colour of the water. I had some floating plants I had to stick back into the dirt and it leaches some into the tank. Just waiting on my carpet to grow some it looks crappy right now.

As for chemicals, I only use a dechlorinator, which takes out chlorine, chlorimine and heavy metals. I do at some point plan to dose iron for some of my plants.

My biggest issue with ph is that it comes out of the tap high. If I'm going to drop it to 7, then do a water change, it's just going to jump back up and shock my first. So is it really important.
TThree suggestions.
Stop the bubble stone. Just use water pumps.
Your plants look like they are still bundle as they are in the store. Each stem should be planted individually or they will likely some or all die.
Your tank is not heavily planted, much of the substrate is bare. When you first plant you have to imagine what the tank will look like when it matures. Your tank will resemble this. not this


You make no mention if you are injecting CO2. If not, then peruse the Low Tech tank sub-forum. My tank is low tech; the exception to that is I inject CO2 to keep the Ph level slightly below 7.

P.S. With so few plants don't be surprised if you have a war with algae.

Last edited by Steve001; 08-16-2015 at 02:08 AM. Reason: x
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 02:09 AM
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I agree on stopping the stone. It is probably pulling Alot of co2 out of the water allowing for a higher ph. You could use a few pieces of driftwood to drop ph but not sure if it will drop it that much. You can try a ph down solution on your next water change but don't use it as permanent fix. There are natural solutions to high ph. Co2 injection will help to reduce it. Also Steve is right. Algae all the way. Do a 40 to 50% water change (new ph water) and add more plants. Very green water.

Last edited by goatnad; 08-16-2015 at 02:44 AM. Reason: update
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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I went and got the airstone because the fish were gasping for air in the morning. This was after testing my water quality and making sure it wasn't my doing. I realized there wasn't enough oxygen.

The plants all came I bigger bunches, I ended up splitting them to 3 smaller bunches and planted those.

That alone is 200 + dollars in plants. Canada is hella expensive. So I don't want to lose them. So if I need to replant them I will.

As this is my first tank, I can't envision how be plants will grow so that's a difficult aspect for me. Im kinda strapped for cash at the moment, as I spent my budget on plants lol, so there is no CO2 at this time. There will be in the future, but not now.

I do plant to put some drift wood in at some point in the middle, that's why I've left it open. But I need to let the tannins leach out and properly prepare it, which is going to take time.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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I guess I should tell you my stock.

2 purple passion danios
2 SAE's
6 zebra danios
6 emerald eye rasboras
6 blue line rasboras
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 02:54 AM
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Google do it yourself co2 system. They are very effective and cheap only issue is you usually cannot control the output very well. For a 90 gallon tank I would set up 2 do it yourself systems and go from there. If you can get your co2 setup properly your plants will begin to do a thing called pearling which is where they take in co2 and put off oxygen which will help to reduce your need of an air stone. If you would like to extend your plants you can trim some of your plants down and replant the trimmings to make more plants. You really need to clean the water though so it is more clear and more light reaches your plants for healthier growth. I also only really see a powerhead in that tank do you have any type of system that has a waterfall effect that is putting extra oxygen into the water?
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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No waterfall type effect no. I have a fluval 406, but the jet is bellow the surface and really only circulates the water. I have the circ pump aimed up at the top of the water for extra agitation. But it's not enough.

What if I only run the airstone at night. That's the only time I seen them gasping for air as I believe the plants are taking up all the oxygen at night.

As for the DIY CO2, how do I regulate it? won't it cause huge swings in PH, especially if I don't run it at night?
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 03:12 AM
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I bought a premade do it yourself system minus the bottles off ebay and have used it and leave it running even at night and had no issues with pH changes. It does have a control valve to stop flow into the tank but then you deal with the issue of pressure building up inside the bottles and then possibly exploding. If you're worried about pH changes Run 1 do it yourself co2 system and monitor pH.I have a hob though that puts in oxygen. Does your Fluval I have an input for an airline?


You could try the airline only at night.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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No, I have a air pump as well.

The plants don't need the C02 at night, but the fish need the oxygen, so if I only run the airstone at night, will that be satisfactory?

I'll look into the C02 DIY and keep a close eye on my PH.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 03:31 AM
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Yes it will keep the fish alive by adding more oxygen but that in turn could plummet co2 thus increasing ph. Best way to figure it out is by testing ph with and without the air stone at night. The plants reverse their role at night and actually take in oxygen and put of co2.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-16-2015, 04:02 AM
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No, I have a air pump as well.

The plants don't need the C02 at night, but the fish need the oxygen, so if I only run the airstone at night, will that be satisfactory?

I'll look into the C02 DIY and keep a close eye on my PH.
Many of the questions you've asked have been answered numerous times before. You're not the first. As I suggested read the Low Tech tank forum.
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