I need a good smack upside the head. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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I got my tank set up last weekend, and started going on my fishless cycle. While doing that, I'm keeping a close eye on all of the parameters, and I've been boggled by my ridiculously high pH! It was at 8.2-8.4, whereas my tap water was reading 7.4. The tap water level would be okay for most of the fish I want, if not ideal... but 8.2?!

So I researched and researched and researched. What could be causing this? Is Flourite known to raise the pH? What about play sand? I have both... I wasn't adding anything other than the ammonia to get the cycling going, but even that shouldn't be raising my pH to what it is.

And for whatever reason, I kept forgetting about my rocks. I wanted to go for a river-bed looking set-up, with some sand for my eventual corys to be able to dig around in. I also got pond rocks when I picked up the play sand. $5 for a huuuge bag of rocks? Heck, yes! And they look really awesome in my tank... it looks very natural, and will look even better when the plants start growing in.

But today, it hit me. Those rocks might be responsible.

Soooo, today will be pulling out the rocks & testing them, then deciding if I want to keep the ones that are NOT limestone. Hopefully they'll be enough of them to do something with.

Or maybe once I pull them all out, I'll be so annoyed that I'll just leave them out. But then my tank will look so bland and empty. :/

I just can't believe I was so gung-ho and silly that I didn't even think about the rocks before I bought them (at least they were only $5!) and that I didn't consider them while being baffled about my pH.

Well, here goes. My tank is going to be such a mess after this...

And, somewhat related, I hope my crypts can handle this okay. Two of the three really just started taking off the past day or two, melting their old emersed leaves and growing new ones. Now I'm going to be doing a 90% WC and probably adding more substrate, as I had some rocks in the substrate as a wall to separate the sand from the flourite.

At least I know my nanas will take it well. They don't seem to care about anything. They started growing the first day.

Starting fresh and unlearning lots of bad habits.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-31-2014 at 03:57 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 12:33 AM
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You could try posting some pics of the rocks. Not always, but once in a while someone can make a pretty good ID of a rock based on a pic.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 03:14 AM
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If it is the rocks that is raising the PH and you want to keep then you can counter balance the PH by adding some driftwood. There are also a couple things you can do to help lower the PH.

You can add direct co2 injection, that will lower you PH by 1 degree at least.

Add Indian almond leaves.

Add peat moss, you can put the peat moss in your substrate layer, or you can see it into a media bag and put it into your filter.

If you have some extra cash, you can buy a RO or RO/DI filter, this will probably be the best route, not only will it balance out your PH it will give you really low TDS water.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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So, after ripping out all my old rocks, adding some new ones, and talking to folks in my local club, it sounds like my area just has that high of pH normally. Most folks said theirs comes out of the tap at ~7.6 and after 24 hours is at around ~8+. It may go down some once my tank cycles, and I could add peat moss or driftwood if I really wanted to, but apparently this is just part of fish-keeping in this area, and even fish like tetras who prefer more acidic water are able to adapt to the levels in our water.

Of course, I found this out after I ripped my tank apart and did a 90% water change. Ah, well. :P It looks nicer now anyway, I think. I tested some of the rocks with vinegar and so far none of them seem to be base... so I'll hold on to them for another project at some point.

As for IDing them, thanks for the suggestion! However, I have about 25 rocks that I pulled out of my tank. They're "Pond Stones" and all of different types and not very large. Thank you, though!

Starting fresh and unlearning lots of bad habits.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 01:43 PM
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When a tank is going through a cycle the parameters tend to be all over the place, for all we know your ph might drop where you want it when the tank cycles. I wouldn't worry about your ph for another 5 or 6 weeks. Besides ph doesn't matter as much.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 02:01 PM
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Test the GH and KH of the tap water.
Some water tends to hold extra CO2 while it is confined in the pipes, then releases the CO2 when it is exposed to air. That will show a lower pH when it is first run from the tap, then the pH rises over 24-48 hours.
Set a glass of water on the countertop overnight and test it for pH.

To alter the pH you will probably need to drop the KH, and fish that are usually thought of as low pH fish are really soft water fish. They want lower GH. pH is secondary, there is usually a very wide range that is OK. However, pH over 8 for most soft water fish is a bit much.
To lower the GH and KH you will be blending your tap water with distilled or reverse osmosis water. This will allow the pH to drop. You can now add driftwood, peat moss or CO2 to drop the pH.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:21 AM
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I wasn't adding anything other than the ammonia to get the cycling going
It's quite possible to be the ammonia mate, It raises the Ph during fishless cycle. I had the same shock when I did my first fishless cycle. Once you are done and do the final water change after cycling it will be back down.

Also, when testing the tap water in case you haven't properly, put some in a glass of water to stay overnight, then test as settled tap water can be different than one coming straight out the tap due to trapped gasses in the tap and possible other additives.

The rocks of course is another reason but I hardly doubt it they can raise the ph that fast.
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being stupid, high ph, rocks, substrate

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