Adjusting Ph

TombedOrchestra

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My pH is 8.3. I keep having fish die on me and I'm concerned it might POSSIBLY be my pH.

If I want to lower it, what's the best way to do it without it continuously fluctuating?

For example... Right now my water is 8.3. If I treat the whole tank, it will lower to 7.0. No problem. What about when I do a water change with new 8.3 water? How do I treat the tank then with a new water change? Or would I treat the water prior to adding it?

I usually do 6 separate 1 gallon jugs... so I'd add enough pH downer to lower each separate gallon prior to adding?

This sounds like a lot of work!

Also, if I treat the tank and lower it while there are fish in it... would that shock the fish? 8.3 down to 7?

Thanks
 

maggie thecat

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What sort of fish? Unless they are wild caught, most domestics sorts can adapt to a range of pHs. In fact, swinging your pH during water changes can cause more problems than it solves.

Can you post more about your tank: water parameters , length of time in operation, type of fish and loss history? It may help pin down the issue.
 

Fashooga

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You could try something like Seachem pH neutralizer. I believe that might take it down to neutral level.
 
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TombedOrchestra

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maggie thecat said:
What sort of fish? Unless they are wild caught, most domestics sorts can adapt to a range of pHs. In fact, swinging your pH during water changes can cause more problems than it solves.

Can you post more about your tank: water parameters , length of time in operation, type of fish and loss history? It may help pin down the issue.
I've made several posts over the month of so trying to figure out my fish death. pH was one POSSIBLE factor. It's very high.

A/Ni/Na - 0,0,20-40. 55 gal. 8.3 pH. In use since last November (But having fairly consistent fish deaths since then...)

Platties, Guppies, Mollies, Tetras, Snails, Pleco. I have to keep restocking my tank because it seems every 5-7 days another fish dies. Usually it's a very very random and quick death. (Alive and active at night, dead in the morning). I've had the occasional white poop (I treated with Herbtana parasite meds), I've had fish with swim bladder disease, popeye, some had frayed fins. Lots of different stuff.

Other members have suggested that it points to poor water quality... since these diseases are almost always present in all tanks, but when water quality decreases it makes them more susceptible to them.

I know pH isn't a HUGE deal for these fish... but their IDEAL pH is much lower (6.8-7.5) ... so, a higher pH isn't helping them at all.

I told other members that I had a REALLY dirty filter in the tank for about 5 months (didn't know you had to change it...) it was TERRIBLE. I thought that might have been contributing to the poor tank quality.

My plan was to wait out the tank now that I have new filters in and see if that helps. If not, try adding API General Cure.

Anyway... I figured lowering my pH wouldn't hurt anything since they prefer that level anyway... but wanted to make sure they would do OK if I switched it down.
 

maggie thecat

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My pH is in the same range as yours. I raise similar fish with no issue. Most domestically raised fish are accustomed to higher ph than their wild forebearers.

Your nitrates are edging towards the higher end of the acceptable range. You may want to consider improving your filtration or adding "nitrate sponge" plants like pothos to your tank.

Or reduce stocking. How many fish are in your tank? A few of this and six of that can add up in a hurry.

Finally, it's a sad fact that fish quality has declined in recent years. Mass produced fish are like every other mass produced product; a certain percentage of clinkers is set loose on the market. You may be experiencing a bit of that.

If I were in your shoes, I would take a hard look at my filtration and cleaning schedule. I would make sure I wasn't overstocked, and I would be sure to quarentine any new additions.

A course of General Cure isn't a bad idea. If there is an underlying parasite or bacteria issue, GC should knock it down.
 

GuppyGuy007

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My ph is also pretty high, at 8.2, and I am keeping tetras and guppies, and they are both fine. Maybe there is something else wrong with the water? I am not an expert on water quality, but I don't think the deaths would have been caused by a high PH.
 

oldsalt777

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TombedOrchestra said:
My pH is 8.3. I keep having fish die on me and I'm concerned it might POSSIBLY be my pH.

If I want to lower it, what's the best way to do it without it continuously fluctuating?

For example... Right now my water is 8.3. If I treat the whole tank, it will lower to 7.0. No problem. What about when I do a water change with new 8.3 water? How do I treat the tank then with a new water change? Or would I treat the water prior to adding it?

I usually do 6 separate 1 gallon jugs... so I'd add enough pH downer to lower each separate gallon prior to adding?

This sounds like a lot of work!

Also, if I treat the tank and lower it while there are fish in it... would that shock the fish? 8.3 down to 7?

Thanks
Hello Tom...

If you're keeping fish from the local pet store and not trying to keep and breed rare fish, you don't need to worry about the pH of your tap water. The local store is getting their water from the same place you do. Talk to them about their tank management. Once the tank is properly cycled, your's is right? All you need to do is change out most of the tank water weekly and make sure to treat the water with a product that removes chlorine and chloramine and detoxes nitrogen. The sound water change routine will steady the water chemistry and that's all the fish need.

Old
 
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TombedOrchestra

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maggie thecat said:
My pH is in the same range as yours. I raise similar fish with no issue. Most domestically raised fish are accustomed to higher ph than their wild forebearers.

Your nitrates are edging towards the higher end of the acceptable range. You may want to consider improving your filtration or adding "nitrate sponge" plants like pothos to your tank.

Or reduce stocking. How many fish are in your tank? A few of this and six of that can add up in a hurry.

Finally, it's a sad fact that fish quality has declined in recent years. Mass produced fish are like every other mass produced product; a certain percentage of clinkers is set loose on the market. You may be experiencing a bit of that.

If I were in your shoes, I would take a hard look at my filtration and cleaning schedule. I would make sure I wasn't overstocked, and I would be sure to quarentine any new additions.

A course of General Cure isn't a bad idea. If there is an underlying parasite or bacteria issue, GC should knock it down.
Hi, Maggie!!

I will look into getting Pothos... what else can I do to improve filtration? Would adding another Aqueon 55 help? Or just LOTS of plants that soak of nitrates (what are other ones that do this?)

THANKS!

oldsalt777 said:
Hello Tom...

If you're keeping fish from the local pet store and not trying to keep and breed rare fish, you don't need to worry about the pH of your tap water. The local store is getting their water from the same place you do. Talk to them about their tank management. Once the tank is properly cycled, your's is right? All you need to do is change out most of the tank water weekly and make sure to treat the water with a product that removes chlorine and chloramine and detoxes nitrogen. The sound water change routine will steady the water chemistry and that's all the fish need.

Old
Hi, Old!

I checked the water in the LFS store and it's 0,0,20 with pH of 7 (so definitely lower than mine). I get my water from a local spring since my water in my tap is very high in sulfur content which I heard is toxic to fish (also .. 0.25 ammonia comes right out of my tap!!!)

Thus, I do NOT add any water treatment before adding... since there is no city treatment in this water.

Yes, my tank is cycled.

Not overstocked. Right now (after some deaths )... I have 3 platties, 3 guppies, 4 tetras, 3 mollies, 1 pleco, 2 snails (plus about 20 baby snails ! )

55 gal. Plants are Amazon Sword, Anubias, and wisteria.
 

maggie thecat

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Okay, if it were me I would do the following:

Use water conditioner. Prime and its pals aren't just for chlorine and chloramines, they also mitigate heavy metals and similar fish toxins.

I would double up on filtration. Heck, most of my tanks are triple filtered, because I have a cat that likes to mess with my tanks, and I have terrible luck with filters randomly quitting (frequent brownouts). If she knocks a HOB offline, there's a sponge and a second HOB already in place to hold the line.

Pothos and lucky bamboo are readily available and look great growing out of your tank. There are others as well. A search for nitrate sponge plants here or on the wider web will give you loads of choices. Just wash the dirt off the roots, or start with cuttings. Since many houseplants have been treated with nicotine-based pesticides, wash them well and then hold them for a few weeks before adding to your tank to avoid inadvertently poisoning your tank. (Or look for plants that are nicotine free. )

Don't forget to do filter maintenance when cleaning your tank. Be sure to dig into the substrate when vacuuming too. In fact, most of your water change should focus on bottom cleaning.

When it doubt, add another mossball. Or hornwort or other floaters. They're also terrific at soaking up excess nutrients in the water.

Not a water chemist, but I suspect your losses are down to water quality, not pH. A few tweaks should set things right.
 
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TombedOrchestra

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maggie thecat said:
Okay, if it were me I would do the following:

Use water conditioner. Prime and its pals aren't just for chlorine and chloramines, they also mitigate heavy metals and similar fish toxins.

I would double up on filtration. Heck, most of my tanks are triple filtered, because I have a cat that likes to mess with my tanks, and I have terrible luck with filters randomly quitting (frequent brownouts). If she knocks a HOB offline, there's a sponge and a second HOB already in place to hold the line.

Pothos and lucky bamboo are readily available and look great growing out of your tank. There are others as well. A search for nitrate sponge plants here or on the wider web will give you loads of choices. Just wash the dirt off the roots, or start with cuttings. Since many houseplants have been treated with nicotine-based pesticides, wash them well and then hold them for a few weeks before adding to your tank to avoid inadvertently poisoning your tank. (Or look for plants that are nicotine free. )

Don't forget to do filter maintenance when cleaning your tank. Be sure to dig into the substrate when vacuuming too. In fact, most of your water change should focus on bottom cleaning.

When it doubt, add another mossball. Or hornwort or other floaters. They're also terrific at soaking up excess nutrients in the water.

Not a water chemist, but I suspect your losses are down to water quality, not pH. A few tweaks should set things right.
Thanks, Maggie

I will definitely pick up a seachem prime today and add that tonight. I'm also going to buy lots of the nitrate soaking plants and add them after a water change tonight as well as do a deep cleaning of my current HOB filter (I changed the filters but I have never cleaned the actual inside of the filter). I'll wait and see how that goes for a few days and if I still see fish deaths, I'll do an API Gen Cure and add another HOB filter.

Sound like a decent plan of action?
 

maggie thecat

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It does. Just don't get so enthusiastic with your cleaning you decycle your tank. Be sure to keep your filters in some tank water and don't scrub all the BB out of HOB!
 
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