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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I spent about a month cycling my tank. For about 3 weeks straight, it was 0, 0, 0 ~7.0-7.4 PH.

I cleaned my filter two days ago. There were a lot of tannins due to my driftwood while cycling (which I know lowers PH).

I cleaned the filter in old tank water during a water change. LOTS of tannins came out of the pre-filter.

Now two days later, I test my PH and it's literally sky rocketed to 8.0. Is this because I cleaned my filter? Should I buy a chemical buffer to lower it?

Any advice?
 

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It could be. How much did you clean it? like all the way, scrub and all? This is where most of your Beneficial Bacteria will live. These will process your ammonia and nitrites to Nitrates. I believe that BB also will reduce your pH. so on my tanks with HOB filters I do a water change and don't touch the filter. If I clean the filter I don't clean it all or I try to just change out the sponges. On my larger tanks I will do full canister clean every 2nd or 3rd time and at least wait a couple days to do a water change.

My guess is your Beneficial Bacteria needs to build back up. with more substrate and plants and driftwood this should become less of an issue down the road.

If I change anything in my filters I try to leave at least one section untouched. I have dunked some biomedia into my water changed water before to clean out some of the larger particles when cleaning the whole canister but wanting to leave biomedia "untouched" but still drained of larger particles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It could be. How much did you clean it? like all the way, scrub and all? This is where most of your Beneficial Bacteria will live. These will process your ammonia and nitrites to Nitrates. I believe that BB also will reduce your pH. so on my tanks with HOB filters I do a water change and don't touch the filter. If I clean the filter I don't clean it all or I try to just change out the sponges. On my larger tanks I will do full canister clean every 2nd or 3rd time and at least wait a couple days to do a water change.

My guess is your Beneficial Bacteria needs to build back up. with more substrate and plants and driftwood this should become less of an issue down the road.

If I change anything in my filters I try to leave at least one section untouched. I have dunked some biomedia into my water changed water before to clean out some of the larger particles when cleaning the whole canister but wanting to leave biomedia "untouched" but still drained of larger particles.
I barely cleaned it, I took out the sponges and pre-filter and basically just gave them one squeeze in the old water and put it back. For the bio media, I just basically ran it through the old tank water and then reseated it.

I have a tiny hair algae issue on my carpeting plants, so I recently started dosing Excel this past weekend. I'm wondering if the reaction with the algae could cause a spike in PH?
 

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Do not use chemicals to lower ph. You are more likely to kill fish doing this than leaving it alone. The real question is what is your tap water parameters after it degassed? If it's 8 well thar you go. Be aware that city tap water can change with the seasons as well. Mine goes from 7 to 8.2 depending on the time of the year.
 

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+1 on not using chemicals to lower ph!

It would help a lot to know kh of your tank.

And how are you testing pH? Both type of test and when/ how often?

pH can and does fluctuate, especially in planted tanks. Although without co2 usually not to that degree, lol!

Knowing your kh will help determine if your ph result(s) is a one off or the norm.

Edit and just saw you mentioned carpeting plants. Any co2 in the mix?

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Do not use chemicals to lower ph. You are more likely to kill fish doing this than leaving it alone. The real question is what is your tap water parameters after it degassed? If it's 8 well thar you go. Be aware that city tap water can change with the seasons as well. Mine goes from 7 to 8.2 depending on the time of the year.
I've read everywhere not to use chemicals to mess with PH so I definitely won't. It just makes me wonder because my PH has been a steady 7.1-7.4 for about 2 months and for whatever reason I checked it today (last check it maybe 4 days ago) and it was at 8.0?? Just came out of nowhere. My tank is SLOWLY getting more hair algae every time I really inspect it.

My plan of action: Water change. Dim the lighting, lower the amount of time the light is on and raise the temperature from 76 to 80. I recently started dosing Flourish and Excel. I was trying to get rid of my algae, but I think the additives along with increased algae growth might be why I'm getting a PH rise.
 

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I've read everywhere not to use chemicals to mess with PH so I definitely won't. It just makes me wonder because my PH has been a steady 7.1-7.4 for about 2 months and for whatever reason I checked it today (last check it maybe 4 days ago) and it was at 8.0?? Just came out of nowhere. My tank is SLOWLY getting more hair algae every time I really inspect it.

My plan of action: Water change. Dim the lighting, lower the amount of time the light is on and raise the temperature from 76 to 80. I recently started dosing Flourish and Excel. I was trying to get rid of my algae, but I think the additives along with increased algae growth might be why I'm getting a PH rise.
Neither flourish or excel (or both together) will raise your ph. I'd test your tap water and see what that says.
 

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I've read everywhere not to use chemicals to mess with PH so I definitely won't. It just makes me wonder because my PH has been a steady 7.1-7.4 for about 2 months and for whatever reason I checked it today (last check it maybe 4 days ago) and it was at 8.0?? Just came out of nowhere. My tank is SLOWLY getting more hair algae every time I really inspect it.

My plan of action: Water change. Dim the lighting, lower the amount of time the light is on and raise the temperature from 76 to 80. I recently started dosing Flourish and Excel. I was trying to get rid of my algae, but I think the additives along with increased algae growth might be why I'm getting a PH rise.
And raising temp?

You lower temps. 80 is just going to stress your plants.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And raising temp?

You lower temps. 80 is just going to stress your plants.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
I've heard raising water temp lowers PH, also isn't 76-80 typically normal temp?

Neither flourish or excel (or both together) will raise your ph. I'd test your tap water and see what that says.
Yeah for sure, I know they will not raise PH. What I meant was, I think the way those chemicals are affecting the algae is raising the PH. I could be totally wrong though. Has tap water been known to change PH over a period of time? Because it has been a 7.1 - 7.4 for literally two months straight. Now its 8, I'll test tap when I get home.
 

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I've heard raising water temp lowers PH, also isn't 76-80 typically normal temp?



Yeah for sure, I know they will not raise PH. What I meant was, I think the way those chemicals are affecting the algae is raising the PH. I could be totally wrong though. Has tap water been known to change PH over a period of time? Because it has been a 7.1 - 7.4 for literally two months straight. Now its 8, I'll test tap when I get home.
Algae also does not raise ph. Generally speaking the only things that raise ph in our aquariums is hardscape dissolving, chemicals, and water changes with higher ph water. If you were using a buffering substrate and your water has always been higher then 7, then you could simply have reached the end of the buffering capacity of the substrate and are now seeing the actual ph of your water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Algae also does not raise ph. Generally speaking the only things that raise ph in our aquariums is hardscape dissolving, chemicals, and water changes with higher ph water. If you were using a buffering substrate and your water has always been higher then 7, then you could simply have reached the end of the buffering capacity of the substrate and are now seeing the actual ph of your water.
I have a dirt tank with a black flourite sand cap. I have a large piece of Driftwood and two very small pieces of dragon stone in my tank as well. My tank is excessively planted.

I don't add any chemicals other than Flourish, Excel and Prime. Perhaps the driftwood has stopped leaching tannins finally? When I cleaned the prefilter it had a MASSIVE amount of tannins in it. I'm starting to think that perhaps all those tannins in the prefilter were buffering PH and maybe my tap water is actually high PH.

From what I've read a PH of 8.0 is not ideal for a bettafish (Mine is a 10g solo betta). BUT I've read many posts where people have happy bubble nesting betta's with 8.0 PH as well.

IF I wanted to buffer the PH, could I go to the grocery store and buy Spring Water to add?
 

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I have a dirt tank with a black flourite sand cap. I have a large piece of Driftwood and two very small pieces of dragon stone in my tank as well. My tank is excessively planted.

I don't add any chemicals other than Flourish, Excel and Prime. Perhaps the driftwood has stopped leaching tannins finally? When I cleaned the prefilter it had a MASSIVE amount of tannins in it. I'm starting to think that perhaps all those tannins in the prefilter were buffering PH and maybe my tap water is actually high PH.

From what I've read a PH of 8.0 is not ideal for a bettafish (Mine is a 10g solo betta). BUT I've read many posts where people have happy bubble nesting betta's with 8.0 PH as well.

IF I wanted to buffer the PH, could I go to the grocery store and buy Spring Water to add?
You could use distilled water or RO water if you use something to remineralize it (like salty shrimp or seachem equilibrium). Either way you need to be able to test for ph and (in the case of remineralizing water) tds, gh/kh. It sounds like you don't have a test kit so the first thing I would do if I were you is buy a test kit. API Master Test kit covers most of the important things. You can add the gh/kh kit and buy a TDS pen at the same time. All are available from amazon. Your local fish store will probably sell the liquid test kits, not sure about the tds pen.

Anyway buying gallons of distilled or RO water for weekly water changes is not very fun so if you really decide you need to lower your tap water ph you should think about investing in a RODI system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You could use distilled water or RO water if you use something to remineralize it (like salty shrimp or seachem equilibrium). Either way you need to be able to test for ph and (in the case of remineralizing water) tds, gh/kh. It sounds like you don't have a test kit so the first thing I would do if I were you is buy a test kit. API Master Test kit covers most of the important things. You can add the gh/kh kit and buy a TDS pen at the same time. All are available from amazon. Your local fish store will probably sell the liquid test kits, not sure about the tds pen.

Anyway buying gallons of distilled or RO water for weekly water changes is not very fun so if you really decide you need to lower your tap water ph you should think about investing in a RODI system.
Just ordered the gh/kh kit and the TDS pen. I don't really have an option of installing an RO/DI system in my house. I live in a 1/1 condo and there's no room for it. Unless there's a portable system.

You could use distilled water or RO water if you use something to remineralize it (like salty shrimp or seachem equilibrium). Either way you need to be able to test for ph and (in the case of remineralizing water) tds, gh/kh. It sounds like you don't have a test kit so the first thing I would do if I were you is buy a test kit. API Master Test kit covers most of the important things. You can add the gh/kh kit and buy a TDS pen at the same time. All are available from amazon. Your local fish store will probably sell the liquid test kits, not sure about the tds pen.

Anyway buying gallons of distilled or RO water for weekly water changes is not very fun so if you really decide you need to lower your tap water ph you should think about investing in a RODI system.
OK wow holy cow, my tap water is coming out at 8.4PH - I'm clueless as to how this went unnoticed before. When I started my cycle, I immediately checked my water and it was 7.1-7.4 - Not a clue how it's shot up to 8.4 coming from the tap.

What do I do about this?
 

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I've heard raising water temp lowers PH, also isn't 76-80 typically normal temp?
Most fish sure, algae yes, plants not really. Sure plants can tolerate upper 70's but since you said you were battling algae ideally you should be providing the best environment for them to outcompete algae for available nutrients. That's lower mid 70's. Not 80 :)

I'll be very curious to see what the kh is when you get that test kit in.

As to your tap water. It might be good to check your water companies water report online. Many put additives into the water to artificially raise ph so pipes don't corrode. Look for soda ash being added. Maybe orthophosphates. Just a thought. That report should also show you the range of kh/Gh/pH which would give you an idea of how much it will fluctuate over time.

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My tap water changes dramatically depending on the season. I think it has something to do with how they process it since it comes from reservoirs. anyway there's really nothing you can do to it if you have high pH water without buying an RODI system. You definitely can install them in your condo if you want it's not that hard, so that might still be your best option. That said for my own purposes I just ignore it. I keep a beta as well as other fish that supposedly tolerate lower pH levels. But no delicate fish like discus. I just keep good water quality with large frequent water changes and everything seems to go pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My tap water changes dramatically depending on the season. I think it has something to do with how they process it since it comes from reservoirs. anyway there's really nothing you can do to it if you have high pH water without buying an RODI system. You definitely can install them in your condo if you want it's not that hard, so that might still be your best option. That said for my own purposes I just ignore it. I keep a beta as well as other fish that supposedly tolerate lower pH levels. But no delicate fish like discus. I just keep good water quality with large frequent water changes and everything seems to go pretty well.
Where is a reasonable RODI system that I could install under my sink?

I kinda have no idea what I'm looking for
 

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Before adding an RO unit (the DI component would not be necessary and would add to cost and size), I would try to determine what is going on.

We still haven’t heard what your tap pH is, so report that when you get your KH reading. Make sure that you let a sample of the tap water sit out overnight, before testing, to degas the CO2.

If CO2 is not involved (such as by pressurized injection), your pH will rise as a function of carbonates in the water. This is measured by KH. So, if your tap water starts at a lower pH, something in your tank is leaching carbonates, assuming that you are not adding carbonates unintentionally. If your tap is actually at the high end of your pH readings, it’s possible that something in your substrate or decorations was either absorbing the carbonates or releasing acids for a while and then reached an equilibrium point, allowing your pH to rise to the tap water levels with each water change.

I would test your dirt, Fluorite (even though it should neutral), and any decorations (not the driftwood) for leaching of carbonates. You can do this by placing each one in it’s own separate container of RO water, add enough lemon juice to lower pH below 6.0 and then monitor dKH and pH for changes over a day or two. Also, if you do this testing, test the dGH readings, as you may find that your GH changes as well from one of these things.
 

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Before adding an RO unit (the DI component would not be necessary and would add to cost and size), I would try to determine what is going on.

We still haven’t heard what your tap pH is, so report that when you get your KH reading. Make sure that you let a sample of the tap water sit out overnight, before testing, to degas the CO2.

If CO2 is not involved (such as by pressurized injection), your pH will rise as a function of carbonates in the water. This is measured by KH. So, if your tap water starts at a lower pH, something in your tank is leaching carbonates, assuming that you are not adding carbonates unintentionally. If your tap is actually at the high end of your pH readings, it’s possible that something in your substrate or decorations was either absorbing the carbonates or releasing acids for a while and then reached an equilibrium point, allowing your pH to rise to the tap water levels with each water change.

I would test your dirt, Fluorite (even though it should neutral), and any decorations (not the driftwood) for leaching of carbonates. You can do this by placing each one in it’s own separate container of RO water, add enough lemon juice to lower pH below 6.0 and then monitor dKH and pH for changes over a day or two. Also, if you do this testing, test the dGH readings, as you may find that your GH changes as well from one of these things.
OP a couple of posts back mentioned their tap ph is now 8.4 which explains the whole thing.

There are RO systems you can buy that are pretty small (50 gallons a day). Some are designed to lead to an extra spigot on your kitchen sink. Or just fill a container under the sink you could then use a pump to refill a small tank. Obviously you need at least a 10 gallon container so you could do a full complete water change of your 10 gallon tank if needed. What you get will be determined by how much space you have to work with and also whether you own this condo or are renting. If it were me and I owned it I would be tempted to spring for the larger system that would hook to it's own spigot on the sink if possible. If renting I'd go smaller so I could more easily remove it when I was going to move.
 
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