The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have consistently low PH in my aquariums and I can't seem to get it above 6-6.5. I'm looking for some small fish that do well in these conditions. The tank has been up about a year and tests for amm/nit/nitrate consistently come back good but I'm losing fish constantly. Every time I add fish, within a few hours one is dead, overnight I'll lose another one or two, by day three there all gone.

Some info on the tank:
5 Gallon chi
AC20
2 Sponge filters
Filter media is all sponge and bio media, about 50/50
Lights:
EcoPico with 3 strips.

I tried some cobra endlers, rcs, ghost shrimp, and guppies. All have failed to last. Help!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,095 Posts
What are your actual parameters?

KH
GH
Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate
Temperature

That way it's easier to rule out problems.

Some fish, like tiny Rasboras, can do really well in pH as low as 5. But hardness tends to be way more important.

Many fish would do well in 6-6.5 pH and that leads me to believe there's something else going on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What are your actual parameters?

KH
GH
Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate
Temperature

That way it's easier to rule out problems.

Some fish, like tiny Rasboras, can do really well in pH as low as 5. But hardness tends to be way more important.

Many fish would do well in 6-6.5 pH and that leads me to believe there's something else going on.
PH: 6.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~20
KH:1 drop
GH:16 drops
Temp:74

The only thing I've successfully kept in the tank is a couple dwarf frogs, of course I sold those on the SnS to get something more fun and interesting.. it hasn't worked out :(

A little more info about the tank, it's a moss tank so the only thing in there is a massive amount of subwassertang and some guppy grass that I've decided to stop fighting. There's a moss covered mopani driftwood (which I know isn't helping the ph) and a small (about the size of a softball but only 1.5 inches thick) rock, not sure what the name is but I believe it's limestone.

Thanks for the help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
The limestone should be helping. What does your water test at straight out of the tap? I keep all sorts of things in tanks at ~6.5 with no problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,721 Posts
Endlers and Guppies are not soft water fish.

Many species that really are soft water fish will have no problems with your water.
Look into Tetras, Rasboras, Barbs and other fish that come from rain forest streams. The GH and KH in these streams is often under 2 degrees, and sometimes almost unreadable, even with the lab quality testing equipment.
pH will be determined by how much organic matter there is in these waters. It can be as low as 5, and certain fish are just fine. It could be anywhere in the 6s and a lot more fish are just fine.

Yes, lets see the test results that include GH, KH and TDS (if you have a meter).

Here are some other things you can experiment with:

Run some tap water in a few jars.

Add baking soda to the jars at different rates. See what it does to the KH and pH, and how long it lasts.
1 teaspoon of baking soda added to 30 gallons of water will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness. In my tanks this raised the pH from 'bottom of the chart low' to 6.2
For smaller amounts of water:
1/8 teaspoon per gallon will raise the KH by 8 degrees. Even this may be too much.
Make 1 gallon with 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, then fill your jars with a blend of this water + tap water.
1/8 cup hard water + 7/8 cup tap water. (should raise the KH by only 1 degree)
1/4 cup hard water + 3/4 cup tap water. (Should raise the KH by 2 degrees)
Run these tests out several days.

Next, add a handful of whatever substrate you are using to the jars. Now how long does the KH and pH stay in the right range?

Try other materials that add carbonate to the water:
Oyster shell grit, Coral sand, limestone gravel and related materials will also add calcium and magnesium to the water. When you test these also test the GH.
I add these to the filter in nylon bags. They react slower, so will probably not be useful for setting up new water for water changes. They can be added to the substrate (a one-way event: there is no removing it if you add too much!) or added to the filter.

If you find any of these work, here is how to avoid the pH swings:
Prepare the new water for water changes 24 hours ahead. Add whatever minerals you have figured out and circulate the water. For large tanks, or several you might use a garbage can. For smaller tanks a 5 gallon bucket. To circulate the water I use a fountain pump in a garbage can. An air bubbler is fine for a 5 gallon bucket. I use baking soda because it dissolves fast. I also add Seachem Equilibrium for GH because that is what I need. This does not dissolve so easily. When the water is ready it may have the right GH and KH to match the tank, or it may have slightly higher GH and KH to correct the drop that happened through the week. The key is SLIGHT. Do not raise the GH and KH by more than 15% with any one water change.

Add one of these: Oyster shell grit, Coral sand, limestone gravel, to the filter to stabilize the mineral levels between water changes. You could also add carbonates (baking soda or potassium bicarbonate) or GH Booster when you add fertilizer, between water changes. This would sort of even out the drop, making the water more stable through the week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I tested my tap water for PH (didn't have time for the other tests but I plan to do them later). Results were >7.6. It maxed the regular PH test and was difficult to determine the reading on the high range PH test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
293 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I just picked up some crushed coral online pretty cheap. what's everyone think? Is this enough to balance my tank or will I still be missing some key parameter even if the PH is up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,721 Posts
KH:1 drop
GH:16 drops
Perhaps I missed this earlier.
This is odd water, and I would try to fix it.

Fish usually prefer water that is the right GH first.
Your high GH (16 drops) suggests the water is hard, and well suited to live bearers.
But usually water with this high GH also has high KH and pH, so I think there is something wrong.

Is the GH test kit old? It will stop turning color as it ages, and this is the test kit the quits soonest. Maybe the GH is really lower, but the kit is getting old?

If the GH really is this high I would add baking soda until the KH and pH come up into the range that is more commonly found in the wild, and keep fish that are suited to that water.

Are you buying fish locally that are kept in the same water? Or are you or the fish stores doing different things to the tap water so your tank does not match the water in the store? That would sure kill the fish within a few hours to a day or so as you are describing.
Test the water in the bag, and ask at the store where you buy the fish.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top