Problem with Rising pH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Problem with Rising pH

I have two tanks, a 30g and a 10g for quarantine. Both have Eco-Complete capped with CaribSea Peace River gravel and plants. The 30g also has Mopani driftwood and rocks.

Water was a mix of tap and RO. It started out neutral pH with a hardness of about 6.

Over time the pH climed to about 7.5. I brought it down with API pH Down and water changes. It seemed good for awhile and I introduced four Otocinclus Catfish, and four False Julii Cory Cats directly into the 30g on Friday Aug. 28.

By Sunday two of the Corys had died so I checked the pH to find it back up to 7.5. The 10g was also up to 7.5.

Since the substrate and plants are the only things the two tanks have in common, I'm guessing that the pH change is due to something in the one of the substrates.

I had some extra Peace River so I put some in a jar with RO water and periodically watched the pH. No chnage. So, I'm guessing it is the Eco that is causing the pH to climb.

Unfortunately, I just got a notice from LiveAquaria.com that they have shipped some black angelfish that had been backordered. I was too late to stop the shipment.

I'm thinking I need to take all the substrate out of the 10g aquarium and put fresh water in for tomorrow's arrival of the angelfish. However, that wont solve my long-term problem with the 30g.

Any help, thoughts, or suggestions would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 03:09 AM
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Argus,
whenever I get new fish (OR plants, shrimp etc) I ALWAYS keep them in quarantine for up to 3 weeks, if necessary. This has often prevented me from facing disaster.
It is also a good idea to keep your quarantine tank as lean as possible (no substrate etc. and only use water from your established tank) so you don't have to second guess yourself when something goes wrong. And more often than not SOMETHING does go wrong!!!

So in your case, how do you know your livestock had no problems?

Usually, fish can easily cope with pH changes of +/- 1. (typically, tanks with diffused CO2 shift from pH 7.5 to pH 6.5 within a very short period. So I doubt that your fish died because of pH change from a new substrate. (It is however possible that your substrate released ammonia which is very toxic to fish. Then your fish will develop blood-shot gills, which indicates an emergency. Immediate removal from the water would then be necessary).

When you get your angelfish keep them under lean conditions, don't overfeed them, and watch how they behave. If everything looks good, transfer the fish to your aquarium, after you have waited a minimum of 3-5 days.

Best of luck with your angels.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by g4search View Post
Argus,
whenever I get new fish (OR plants, shrimp etc) I ALWAYS keep them in quarantine for up to 3 weeks, if necessary. This has often prevented me from facing disaster.
It is also a good idea to keep your quarantine tank as lean as possible (no substrate etc. and only use water from your established tank) so you don't have to second guess yourself when something goes wrong. And more often than not SOMETHING does go wrong!!!

So in your case, how do you know your livestock had no problems?
I don't know. However, these corys like pH 5.8-7.0 so 7.5 is pretty far out of their range. I expect it stressed them if not being the sole cause of their demise.

Quote:
Usually, fish can easily cope with pH changes of +/- 1. (typically, tanks with diffused CO2 shift from pH 7.5 to pH 6.5 within a very short period. So I doubt that your fish died because of pH change from a new substrate. (It is however possible that your substrate released ammonia which is very toxic to fish. Then your fish will develop blood-shot gills, which indicates an emergency. Immediate removal from the water would then be necessary).
I regularly checked for amonia and it was always zero. I cycled these tanks sometime ago with the amonia method and Tetra SafeStart.

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When you get your angelfish keep them under lean conditions, don't overfeed them, and watch how they behave. If everything looks good, transfer the fish to your aquarium, after you have waited a minimum of 3-5 days.

Best of luck with your angels.
Thanks. You think angels will survive in a pH 7.5 environment?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 05:31 AM
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PH is the most over worried about water parameter there is. I have many Corys living happily in 8.5 PH water. The GH and KH are far more important however even those are not a problem if you keep them stable.

Many times people mix their own tap water with RO and there is nothing wrong with that unless they do not mix it to specific levels of GH and KH. If you mix too much RO then the essential minerals and electrolytes are no longer present in the water.

In short, I doubt that the substrate is causing your ph to change. One problem you may be having is that RO does not have any GH or KH and KH is what prevents ph from being influenced by things in the tank. Your rocks may be leaching a little and raising the ph. The bottom line is that you need to test for GH and KH if you are going to mix your own water. I would bet that your tap water is probably fine as is. Not many places have water that is not suitable for most fish the hobbyist is likely to keep until they get into more exotic fish. You just need to drip acclimate them slower.

get your water tested and tell us what it says. Good luck with the Angels. And don't bother with PH down. It is a terrible product that is only temporary and the up/down rollercoaster is dangerous.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by keymastr View Post
PH is the most over worried about water parameter there is. I have many Corys living happily in 8.5 PH water. The GH and KH are far more important however even those are not a problem if you keep them stable.

Many times people mix their own tap water with RO and there is nothing wrong with that unless they do not mix it to specific levels of GH and KH. If you mix too much RO then the essential minerals and electrolytes are no longer present in the water.

In short, I doubt that the substrate is causing your ph to change. One problem you may be having is that RO does not have any GH or KH and KH is what prevents ph from being influenced by things in the tank. Your rocks may be leaching a little and raising the ph. The bottom line is that you need to test for GH and KH if you are going to mix your own water. I would bet that your tap water is probably fine as is. Not many places have water that is not suitable for most fish the hobbyist is likely to keep until they get into more exotic fish. You just need to drip acclimate them slower.

get your water tested and tell us what it says. Good luck with the Angels. And don't bother with PH down. It is a terrible product that is only temporary and the up/down rollercoaster is dangerous.
Thanks. When mixed about half/half RO to Tap the KH and GH are around 6 or 7. Tap water here is so hard it is measured on the Mohs scale.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus View Post
I don't know. However, these corys like pH 5.8-7.0 so 7.5 is pretty far out of their range. I expect it stressed them if not being the sole cause of their demise.
What stresses them is sudden shifts in pH which, when you use products like pH up or pH down, is exactly what happens. Most people use those products without understanding exactly what it takes to change the pH value, I use to. The pH value of water is the resulting factor of the relationship between gH and kH, and could be seen as such; gH+kH=pH, though that isn't entirely accurate. The kH has more influence on pH than anything.

Of the aquarium fishes we keep in this hobby most, not all, but most of them are tank raised and can handle the higher pH ranges typically found in our tanks. Most likely the fish you buy around you can from tanks in your state, as I believe the two largest distributors of ornamental aquarium fish here in the U.S are in California and Florida.

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I regularly checked for amonia and it was always zero. I cycled these tanks sometime ago with the amonia method and Tetra SafeStart.
But unless you've kept the bio filter alive some how AFTER you cycled the tank, all of the bacteria die off if they have nothing to eat.

When ever I increase to bio-load on a tank I always use the safe start for a few days to a week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus View Post
Thanks. You think angels will survive in a pH 7.5 environment?
Angles can, unless your dealing with Discus and shrimp most other fish will fair just fine in a wide variety of pH ranges. When you start importing wild caught fish it's a different ball game.

Now that I've responded to all of that.... My last order from LA was 3 False Julies (which were labeled wrong) and 4 otos, EVERY FISH died, EVERY ONE. Of the 16 fish I've purchased from them over the last year only 5 are still alive. Their fish just don't do well for me at a 75% mortality rate I think I'll buy fish from somewhere else


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 02:15 PM
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+1 to all of the responses that you have received. you shouldn't have any substrate in a QT tank - it's not really needed but I can see how you would want it for the corys.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Removed all substrate from the 10g. KH = 5, GH = 8. Angelfish arrived and their bag is floating for temp acclimation (15 min.). Next will be water acclimation according to LA's instructions.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 10:24 PM
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You think angels will survive in a pH 7.5 environment?
Will not only survive but will also constantly breed - given everything else will be fine. They really don't care much.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 01:26 PM
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Test the GH and KH in the bag. TDS too, if you have a meter.

Make the water in the Q-tank match the water the fish are currently in.

If this is different from the display tank that is OK. While the fish are in quarantine do water changes that will gradually make their water more like the display tank. It is just fine if it takes a month.

Since you have removed the substrate, test a sample to see if that was causing problems.

Test the water the way you make it up for the tanks:
GH, KH, pH freshly mixed, then at 24 and 48 hours.
Another jar will have water + substrate.
GH, KH, pH when you first set it up, then at 24 and 48 hours. If something is changing, then I would run this test longer and see where it ends up.
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