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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, I am cycling a new 120 and researching fish. This will be a well stocked tank in terms of both fish and plants. I read often that the fish I'm looking at are sensitive to pH swings and other parameter disturbances. I have a Python to do changes. We use tap water: its pristine well water with a softener system. Nitrates are zero in my tap water: GH is 6; KH is 10.

My pH has me baffled. I have had a low_tech Walsted dirt 36 planted tank for 3 years, and pH starts at 7 from the tap and goes up into mid 8's w/o weekly changes. I figured it was the dirt, so in the new 120, I've decided to go high tech, hi lights and pressured CO2, with ferts, and I chose an inert substrate this time: Black Diamond blasting sand.

1) Been cycling about a week (no CO2 or ferts yet, andabout 1/5 planted) and testing daily, and pH is again climbs to low 8's between water changes. I even have driftwood in the tank! ??? Anyone have any ideas why my pH spikes?

2) And, also, how am I supposed to do the suggested EI water changes (weekly 50%) without major pH swings that may kill fish?
 

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Rocks?

The idea is that being doing frequent large water changes the pH shouldn't change much at all.

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So, I am cycling a new 120 and researching fish. This will be a well stocked tank in terms of both fish and plants. I read often that the fish I'm looking at are sensitive to pH swings and other parameter disturbances. I have a Python to do changes. We use tap water: its pristine well water with a softener system. Nitrates are zero in my tap water: GH is 6; KH is 10.

My pH has me baffled. I have had a low_tech Wyman dirt 36 planted tank for 3 years, and pH starts at 7 from the tap and goes up into mid 8's w/o weekly changes. I figured it was the dirt, so in the new 120, I've decided to go high tech, hi lights and pressured CO2, with ferts, and I chose an inert substrate this time: Black Diamond blasting sand.

1) Been cycling about a week (no CO2 or ferts yet, andabout 1/5 planted) and testing daily, and pH is again climbs to low 8's between water changes. I even have driftwood in the tank! ??? Anyone have any ideas why my pH spikes?

2) And, also, how am I supposed to do the suggested EI water changes (weekly 50%) without major pH swings that may kill fish?
You probably have a considerable amount of co2 coming from the tap. Do this, test the ph out of straight out of the tap then leave a cup of water out for 24 hours and retest. My tap well water comes out at a ph of 6 but degased it climbs to 6.8.

Your ph will swing regardless due to running co2 as it causes the ph to drop.

What fish are you looking into?
 

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I don't understand the science, and when I try to it makes my head hurt, but it from what I've read on here the PH swing from CO2 is different then your normal changing PH and is not a concern for fish. Hopefully some more informed, or chemist types will chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You probably have a considerable amount of co2 coming from the tap. Do this, test the ph out of straight out of the tap then leave a cup of water out for 24 hours and retest. My tap well water comes out at a ph of 6 but degased it climbs to 6.8.
5t
Your ph will swing regardless due to running co2 as it causes the ph to drop.

What fish are you looking into?
Ah ha! Thanks for that reply. It gives me the first clue for what's been going on. I am looking at getting Denison Barbs, rainbowfish, and an angelfish or two. Also a gourami. And then I will have snails, and some Cory cats. As I've been researching I've been only looking at fish that will work with my somewhat basic and somewhat hard water out of the tap. These seemed like good candidates, but I kept reading about the dangers of pH swings.

Does anyone think that those kinds of fish are over-sensitive to pH swings, especially if I've got to do weekly 50% water changes due to EI dosing?
 

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If the pH swings are from co2 and degassing then it is nothing to worry about

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Discussion Starter #9
And the second question: do water softening systems (ours uses a product called Solar Salt) put chlorine into the tap water? Should I be treating new tap water with dechlorinator?

Bump:
Your water isn't very good for keeping more sensitive, low gH, pH fish. Keep that in mind.
Thanks! I am clear on that, hence my fish list. The only fish that I know of on my list that even approaches that category is the angelfish. I am planning on getting said angelfish from an outfit in TN that raises theirs in pH is of 8.0 and above. And I'm planning on my Cory cats to be ones that tend toward that higher range as well (Sterba).
 

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I have terrible water. Ph out of tap is 9.6, and ammonia is 1.0. When I started EI dosing I lost half of my neon tetras after my first water change, which is what led me to investigate the PH. I now age the water for all my tanks. I have two shelves in my kitchen filled with 3 and 1 gallon jugs for the smaller tanks, and a 44 gallon Brute trashcan that I use for water changes on my 90 (with a pump).
PH after aging stabilizes at 7.4, mid range 6 on my tank with Co2. The difference between that and the 9.6 out of tap is just too big for me to feel comfortable with, but just a point or so difference shouldn't bother most fish. It is possible to age and store for changes if you really need to though. It's just a huge pain!

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