pH of 6? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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pH of 6?

Hi:

My tank's pH is consistently 6.5-7.

Today I tested it and it was 6?

The only thing I did yesterday was put in some water lettuce and also some lemon bacopa (bacopa caroliniana).

What the heck? Also, my water is turning a light shade of green now. Is that green water?

Thanks. And how did that happen just since I added the lemon bacopa and water lettuce? I mean it happened the same day. Like the same hour.

dbw
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 05:10 AM
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What's the pH of your tapwater? (Test now and also leave a glass to sit for 24 hours and test again.)

What kind of substrate are you using?

What else is in the tank (bioload, decor, etc)?

It's very possible that you disturbed some nutrients in your substrate when you added the new plants. You probably already had an algae bloom starting, and stirring up the substrate made it worse.

How much of what kind of light are you running over what size tank?





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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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ID:	329706Hi:

I re-tested my water using the API kit instead of the strips after the strips started giving me a reading below 6. Both me and my housemate looked at it and with the API kit, the pH reading was 6.8.

This is my parameters:

pH of tapwater = 7

Substrate = Black Sand from PetSmart (National Geographic)

Flora:
Water Lettuce, Water Wisteria, S. Repens, Java Moss, 2 Unknown Bulb Pack Plants, Anubias, Moss Ball, Anachuris/Elodea, Taiwan Moss I am trying to grow out, a Couple of Strands of Hornwort (I stupidly threw most of it out because it was getting on my nerves), Lemon Bacopa

Fauna:
2 African Dwarf Frogs
4 Black Skirt Tetras
2 Julii Corys
3 Rummy Nose Tetras (These were my suicide fish I tested the tank with after my initial cycling and they didn't die - oh well).
2 Assassin Snails

Filter = Aqueon Quiet Flow 30 (I think this is actually too much flow as it blows my unknown plant)

According to Aqadvisor my stocking is at 74%. I am also below schooling levels. I meant to increase the black skirt tetra, but those rummynoses didn't die and so I keep meaning to give those back to the pet store but now I am used to them.

I have a 15.8 gallon tank. I would like a carpet and I also would like to have so many plants that I can barely see the fish.

Decor = small driftwood that is shaped like a bridge; this has java moss attached to it - which is currently bubbling and I have no idea why. It is very strange.
= small driftwood on which I am trying to grow Taiwan Moss
= 3 small really smooth stones (for the little frogs and their sensitive skin) against which S. Repens is growing
= a Small piece of slate that a piece of driftwood is resting on
= one of those mini terra cotta pots for the frogs to hide in (Cory cats go in there too)

I am trying to use minimal decoration and mostly use plants.

I am very unhappy about this. I believe I just need to get some hornwort and suck up stuff.

I think I also have a nutrient deficiency for the wisteria due to the paling of some leaves in the past couple of days and need some root tabs. (?)

I am using the light that came with the tank (36 LEDs in the aquarium hood). I am trying to run a low tech set up. I feed fish every night and feed the frogs their little bloodworms every other night. Whatever the frogs don't get, the Julii cory cats surely do. (This is actually the reason I got the cory cats - before I found myself sucking up non-eaten bloodworms at times).

Thanks!

I still don't know why the moss is suddenly bubbling.

I may need a UV sterilizer yes?

I do not dose at all, or add anything except the food already mentioned. Since this is a new tank, I test levels about every day. General hardness is particularly hard today, while carbonate hardness is way down.

The picture is what the tank looked like before i added plants. It was taken Friday. And actually the wisteria is even bigger now. Geesh. I had crystal clear water. Yesterday, added plants because I was testing a "1" for nitrite and now I have a mess.

I do 15-20% water changes about every other day to two days. I think I am ... too into it. I just get worried if I test for any ammonia (0.25) or nitrite at all. There is considerable ammonia in my tapwater, so I am actually wondering if I am doing more harm than good with water changes (I use Prime).

dbw

Last edited by dbw27; 06-04-2014 at 06:38 AM. Reason: clarification
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 03:19 PM
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What Laura was getting at is that if your tap water is 7.0 and your tank is consistently 6.5 then there is something in your tank that must be reducing the PH.

I would suggest first that you pick up a PH test kit as those strips are notorious for inaccuracy.

You can test the items in your tank by putting them in tap water for 24 hours in separate containers and see what may be causing the problem.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 04:25 PM
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When did you add the driftwood? It can lower your PH and make the water more acidic. Adding some crushed coral to your substrate will help buffer the PH.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbw27 View Post
Attachment 329706Hi:

I re-tested my water using the API kit instead of the strips after the strips started giving me a reading below 6. Both me and my housemate looked at it and with the API kit, the pH reading was 6.8.

This is my parameters:

pH of tapwater = 7
Those parameters sound pretty good. And as cjstl just mentioned, your driftwood can bring down the pH. Wood tends to release tannic acid (tannis).

You water change schedule sounds good. Just keep those up to help make sure that your tank parameters don't shift too far away from your tap parameters. And make sure those ammonia and nitrites stay under 0.25. If they already stay really low even with the bioload you have in there, your tank should be *close* to stabilizing.

I wouldn't add any more fish, though, unless you remove some first.





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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-04-2014, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Hi:

I added new driftwood this weekend. A big piece that had been powerwashed and boiled.

It did not turn the water any colors when I added it.

I never thought of taking things out and testing one item at a time. I bet it is that driftwood.

Today's tank parameters were not that great(?) This is before turning the light on:

According to my API freshwater master test kit, they are
Nitrates: 5.0 ppm
Nitrites: ~1 ppm
pH: 6.6-6.8
Ammonia: 0.25

I am thinking of switching completely to RO water with seachem equilibrium. I am not sure about that though.

Thanks everyone.

dbw
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 07:28 AM
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Yikes!

Since you have fish in this tank, you need to change LOTS of water to bring those nitrites down ASAP. You need to maintain both ammonia and nitrites under 0.25 pm until the tank finishes cycling and they bottom out.





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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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The tank was finished cycling, this is why I am confused.

Right now I am doing about a 20% water change every other day.

dbw
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 06:30 PM
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It's easy to overwhelm the cycle on a smaller tank. Every time you add fish, you have to give TIME to the bacteria colony to reproduce to the point that they can handle the additional waste production.


A 20% water change on a tank with 1.0 ppm nitrite will only lower the level to 0.8 ppm. That probably is not even keeping up with the waste production of the fish, which means that level will continue to rise.

Nitrite is EXTREMELY toxic to fish.

You need to do LARGE water changes to get and keep that level below 0.25 ppm till the cycle can catch back up.





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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 08:46 PM
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The plants look healthy. Allow them some time to grow. Wisteria gets going fairly fast but some plants take up to three weeks to actually show good growth when moved to a new location. Once plant growth becomes better it will help on those nitrates.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 10:13 PM
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I wouldn't worry about a bit of a pH drop, that's to be expected as a tank gets established. The driftwood will leach some tannins and humic acids that will contribute to lowering the pH, as well as humic acids produced from decomposing organics from fish waste, uneaten food, and plant debris.

But, yeah, I'd do a couple water changes to try and knockdown the ammonia and nitrites. Maybe stick in some floaters or something to help absorb some ammonia while your cycle kicks in.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks very much. Okay I plan to do 50% water changes. The lfs today told me to excel my plants and decrease my photo period to 8 hours (was doing 10 - mainly because I like looking at the tank while i work on my graduate thesis).

I plan to chill out then about the pH change, but work on the nitrite thing. Strangely, the lfs today (not petsmart/petco/big box chain) told me not to worry about 1 ppm of nitrite.

As for floaters, I have water lettuce and am planning to pick up some salvinia and hornwort from members on here.

Thanks!

dbw

Last edited by dbw27; 06-05-2014 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Added Info
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 05:10 PM
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That pH should be fine.
I've had my pH around 6 before with no ill effects, both with plants and fish.

Fish tend to adapt, to a point, as long as it's done gradually.
Obviously, if your pH drops from 6.8 or 7 down to 6.0 in one night, that may stress and kill them.
It if goes from 6.8 to 6.0 gradually over a week, it should be ok.
Just test your tapwater so you get an idea of how water changes will affect the pH.

If the tapwater is a lot different in ph, I would recommend only doing small water changes, or find a way to buffer your tank's ph a little higher.
There are plenty of KH (buffering capacity) and GH (hardness) chemicals out there.
To keep the ph from widely fluctuating, you'll want to increase the KH.

I believe Epsom salt is one way this can be done.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 05:13 PM
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The fish will be fine in that pH. My old tank dropped into the 5's sometimes due to the manzanita I had in it coupled with injecting co2. Snails didn't do well, but the fish were completely fine. My tap was neutral at 7 also and I did 50% water changes right from the tap with a python. Everything thrived, fish and plants.

In short, worry more about the nitrites and nitrates and less about the pH.
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