Help--weird pH changes going on in brand new 55 g tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Help--weird pH changes going on in brand new 55 g tank

A local aquarium gave me some filter sludge to help cycle my tank. I got my tank set up last night (levelled!) and arranged rocks, driftwood, plants etc. I filled it most of the way last night and finished it this morning.

I just did some water testing and was really surprised that the pH of the new 55 gallon tank tested at 7.6???

Unfortunately I then tested the 55 gallon about 20 minutes later and it's now testing at 8.6 pH. Could it possibly be the rocks I have in my tank? I washed and scrubbed them in water only and then put a small amount of white vinegar on each one to test for acidity.

I then tested the 10 gallon just wondering if the sludge had a positive affect and it came out 6.8-7.0. Obviously that is not bad, but still higher than it was on July 10th when it was 6.2. That's just 7 days ago. Do you think the sludge could have that much of an effect?

By the way, this is an API Master Freshwater test kit.


I cannot figure out what is going on! Any ideas?

I tested the tank again this morning with the same result: pH 8.6

Thanks,

Nanci

Nanci Byers
Ogden, UT


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 08:05 PM
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I suggest a calm approach! There is something not explained but it really isn't a big problem other than the worry. It can't be the rocks. To change the PH that far in twenty minutes, they would qualify as rocket fuel!

Two things that might come to mind. Was there a cleaner of some type involved or in the tank when you got it? Something close to lye involved? Maybe there had been a bag of chemicals stored in the tank at the store? Is there a difference in the lighting or something else about the test which might throw you off?

Meanwhile you likely have a couple weeks or more before the tank is fully ready for fish. In the mean time, the PH will settle at some point and then you will have a better idea of what, if anything is throwing it that high. I once bought a tank which had been cleaned with an acid to remove water stains but those are more often acidic than highly alkaline. I like to run all my equipment through a bleach soak just so I start with a clean slate. It removes many of the doubts that can come up when we don't know what we have.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 01:30 AM
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Run some tap water into a glass and test it right out of the tap, then set the glass aside and test it 24 hours later, then 48 hours later.

Do a second glass or bowl at the same time and put in one of the questionable rocks. Same testing procedure: 24 hours, 48 hours, then several days later.

Test for pH, GH and KH. TDS, if you have a meter.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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Based on some advice from another forum, I got a stronger acid (stronger than white vinegar) muriatic acid (aka hydrochloric acid) to test the rocks.

6 of the 13 pieces of rock tested positive. So it ended up being the rocks.

At least I know now. It's a real bummer.

Here is one picture that shows how pretty the rocks looked:
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Nanci Byers
Ogden, UT


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