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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have had my 40gal tank set up for about a year now, and as long as I have had it I have had high PH. It is heavily planted with two small pieces of driftwood, and eco-complete and sand for substrate. (See avatar)

When I first set it up the ph was about 8.0. It stayed that way for a while. I check it about once a month (more now) but it has always fluctuated between 7.8 and 8.0. I just tested it again yesterday and it was at 8.2. I have no clue why it is so high, or fluctuating; I'm not adding any chemicals or anything...

Should I worry about it? Is it a problem? All the fish and plants I have and read about all say neutral (7.0) is preferable... I would like my tank to be at 7.0... ?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

TIA, Cari
 

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Never assume on things like this.

If your tap is 8.0 why would you expect the tank to be less? Do you top off with tap water? If so this will raise the pH.

Also you need to understand water chemistry. You can lower the pH by a couple of methods. Only one of which I would use. But none of these methods will lower the TDS (total dissolved solids). In fact some of them will raise them.

To lower TDS, pH, KH and GH you will need to invest in an RO/DI unit. But if your plants and fish are doing fine I would highly suggest you not do so.

The method you can use to lower pH is CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's good to know. I thought that the PH WOULD affect the plants as I have heard that most plants like it soft and somewhat more acidic... And the fish are fine... so.... I guess I shouldn't worry about it... ?

My light is two curly compact fluorescent 26w bulbs, I run them from 9 am to 11pm with no siesta. I do use flourish and flourish potassium, and just bought flourish iron yesterday... and I have eco complete as substrate...


If PH isn't a big deal, then how high is too high? I wasn't really to worried until it hit 8.2. Should I invest in a GH and KH tester?

TIA, Cari
 

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Well I say assume because I've heard water that comes from your faucet will change to its real PH after sitting for a while...
Then fill a couple of bowls with water. Test one immediately for PH. Test another 24 hours later. Test another 24 hours after adding any of the normal stuff you add to your water (Amque/Novaqua, ferts your normally use).

I second the CO2. Even DIY CO2 will see a decrease in PH, and it'll help your plant growth anyway.

EDIT: Yeah, 7.0 would be ideal...but if the water in your area just isn't going to work with you then there is nothing wrong with tailoring your tank inhabitants to work with the water you have. And yes, a GH/KH testing kit is a good investment.
 

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Alright. Your lighting is very low. nominally you have 52 watts over 40 gallons. In truth you have more like 26 watts actually getting into the tank. That's 0.65 watts per gallon.

You are adding no macros at all and have not for a year. Your photo period is too long. You have no CO2.

Take a few minutes and read my Guide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Surprise surprise, the water directly out of the faucet, right away has a PH of 7.0. I didn't expect that at all! :confused: I will test the bowl again tomorrow and see what its at... and my other bowl of 'prepped' water.

I read your guide and there is some very useful information in there!!! :D

It said for the photoperiod to have your light on 10-12 hours a day, so I changed my timer to come on at 10 and go off at 10.

And for the lighting, what is the cheapest way to increase it? I went to the LFS and he wanted to sell me a 'compact fluorescent' strip that has two (I believe) 15 watt bulbs, one white at 10k kelvins and the other was a blue not sure on the kelvins for that. He said it would be perfect light for growing plants in my tank. But it was about 120 bucks... that's a lot.

As far as all the macro nutrients I don't really understand them, maybe I'll try reading it again... I have eco complete and use flourish, flourish iron, and flourish potassium.

As for the Co2, I went looking at petsmart and they sell two complete kits, (the ones with yeast and sugar), one was $39.99 and the other was $49.99. They contained the bottle, all the hosing, the regulator, and the yeast, (ready to set up into the tank) and you could buy packet yeast replacements... The cheaper one was for a smaller tank and was supposed to last only a month. The more expensive one was for my size tank and was supposed to last up to three months. Is this a good buy, or can I find it on the net somewhere cheaper?

Tested the tank again this morning and its at... exactly 7.8. This fluctuating is weird... I am going to go the LFS right now and see if they sell GH and KH tests...
 

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So I measured the PH again in that bowl of water I set out this morning from the tap, (was 7.0) and its now 7.8!!! Weird, wonder what it will be tomorrow?...
Hi PSC

Tap water contains gases (like CO2) that effects the pH when you first measure it. After you let it sit out for a period of this, the gases get a chance to go into the atmosphere. When you measure the pH again, later on, it is higher.

CO2 in water is a weak acid and it lowers the pH.

Is this clear as mud now?:icon_bigg
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LoL, yes!

6:20 and no bubbles yet...

I'm just trying to get everything and everyone healthy and happy in my tank, but 'on the cheap'. :icon_mrgr

I know my lighting isn't sufficient for my tank but I am SO confused on all the different types; incandescent, fluorescent, curly compact fluorescent, regular compact fluorescent, T5's, halogen, metal halide... They are confusing and expensive... plus the watts are confusing because on my 'curly compact fluorescents' it says 26 watts but equal to 100... ??? I just want something in the middle for wpg and cheap! LoL...
 
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