55 Gallon Tank Confused about my pH how do fix it!

inari

Hey Guys,

I feel like I have been coming back with question after question and problem after problem. So again I return with a problem. For those of you who have not seen my previous posts, I am setting up a 55-gallon freshwater tank. I would like to have 1BN, 2 Angels, at least 6 Cories (species doesn't matter), about 6 Rainbows as well some live plants.

The pH coming out of my tap is 7.2 to 7.5 (on a good or bad depending on how you look at it) my tank is uncycled and there are no fish or plants in it, as I am decorating then cycling. The first thing is decorations, I have three bubblers one is a baby Groot with the ball airstone the other two are bubble walls. I am going to get a gang valve to adjust the bubble walls as they are uneven (drives me nuts). I am still waiting on a new heater the one I have has maxed out at 75 degrees, I don't know if the old one will be supplemental or I keep it until it quits. I have a 60-90 gallon bio-wheel as well. The O2 in my tank should be pretty decent.

I have had it set up for about a month and running empty so I can test and rearrange it as needed. My concern (right now anyway) is that my KH is 15+ and my pH sits in the 8.2 range no significant water change has been done since I set it up. I am wondering if this is going to create an issue for the fish I would like to have. I want a heater that will bring the water up to about 82 at most (just in case I need it to). I am thinking about adding some driftwood to the tank because I like the more natural look. My question is this, with such hard water, will the driftwood actually help? it will be a larger piece of wood obviously with a 55 tank. I have at least 3 places (not including adding to the gravel) to add things like crushed coral if need be, the question is should I?

I know pH isn't THE most important but I had a tank wipe after a pH and KH spike years ago. If I properly acclimate my fish (not just temperature, but in a 5-gallon bucket with tank water, put them in for temp, then empty some of the bag water and add tank water at 25%, 50%, and 75% would you think the fish would have an issue with these specs. Obviously, this is post cycle timing.

If I need to bring my pH down how would one go about that with insanely hard water, I think the plants will be pretty happy with it overall, but I am concerned about the fish.

Thoughts and advice?

Thanks!
 

carsonsgjs

The driftwood wont help lower ph with a kh that high unfortunately, and with water that hard you dont need to be adding crushed coral either.

how have you tested your tap water to get a ph in the 7s, when your tank is testing at 8.2? Are you leaving your tap water to gas off for a bit or testing it straight away?
 
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MasterPython

Hard high PH water is fine for most fish, and better for live-bearers and many invertebrates.
 
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inari

The driftwood wont help lower ph with a kh that high, unfortunately, and with water that hard you dont need to be adding crushed coral either.

how have you tested your tap water to get a ph in the 7s, when your tank is testing at 8.2? Are you leaving your tap water to gas off for a bit or testing it straight away?

I have been testing right away. The hardness is 15+ for both. I have extremely hard water with heavy amounts of Iron in it. I have a water softener that removes a lot of that. (I'd be afraid to see what the water is coming into the house before it goes through the softener) my softener removes iron as well as other stuff.

I am not leaving it to off-gas, I'm suspecting that it might jump up now that I think about it. I will test that and get back to you!
Hard high PH water is fine for most fish, and better for live-bearers and many invertebrates.

Is the high GH/KH likely to be a problem for the fish listed? I know pH is something to consider but not be overly worried about as long as it is stable...I just don't want to see huge spikes before and after a water change once I add fish -_-
 
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MasterPython

Those should be fine.

If your local stores use tap water in thier tanks you don't need to do a long acclimation or anything.
 
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JettsPapa

I have a wide variety of fish and invertebrates doing just fine in my 8.2 pH water. I wouldn't mess with it.
 
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RayClem

There is a relationship between pH, KH and CO2 concentration. Since you are not adding CO2 to your tank, it is not surprising that you have a pH of 8.2 with a KH of 15. If tap water straight out of the tap is lower than 8.2, it is because it has dissolved CO2 that is lowering the pH. When the CO2 escapes, the pH goes up.

You mentioned that you have a water softener. If this is a sodium ion exchange system, the resin bed removes calcium, magnesium, and iron ions from the water and replaces them with two sodium ions. Although brackish and saltwater fish love sodium ions, freshwater fish may not. Sodium ions are especially harmful to live plants because it makes it difficult for the plants to absorb similarly charged potassium ions that the plants need.

My tap water is very hard. The GH ranges between 20-29 degrees depending upon the rainfall. I have a water softener to produce water for washing, showering, laundry, flushing toilets, etc. However, due to the high sodium content, I do to use tap water for cooking, drinking or aquarium water. I use a reverse osmosis system to purify water for these purposes.

RO water is very low in mineral content, both GH and KH. That is great for topping off water lost due to evaporation. However, for water changes, it is not suitable. I have to add minerals to the RO water. I use Seachem Equilibrium to provide the minerals that comprise GH. I then add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to raise the pH and KH to my desired level. There are other products you can use as well,

I have several aquariums, so having my own RO system is convenient and cost effective. However, many pet shops and grocery stores have RO system and sell RO water in 5 gallon jugs. If you have only one tank, this might be a viable option for you.
 
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inari

There is a relationship between pH, KH and CO2 concentration. Since you are not adding CO2 to your tank, it is not surprising that you have a pH of 8.2 with a KH of 15. If tap water straight out of the tap is lower than 8.2, it is because it has dissolved CO2 that is lowering the pH. When the CO2 escapes, the pH goes up.

You mentioned that you have a water softener. If this is a sodium ion exchange system, the resin bed removes calcium, magnesium, and iron ions from the water and replaces them with two sodium ions. Although brackish and saltwater fish love sodium ions, freshwater fish may not. Sodium ions are especially harmful to live plants because it makes it difficult for the plants to absorb similarly charged potassium ions that the plants need.

My tap water is very hard. The GH ranges between 20-29 degrees depending upon the rainfall. I have a water softener to produce water for washing, showering, laundry, flushing toilets, etc. However, due to the high sodium content, I do to use tap water for cooking, drinking or aquarium water. I use a reverse osmosis system to purify water for these purposes.

RO water is very low in mineral content, both GH and KH. That is great for topping off water lost due to evaporation. However, for water changes, it is not suitable. I have to add minerals to the RO water. I use Seachem Equilibrium to provide the minerals that comprise GH. I then add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to raise the pH and KH to my desired level. There are other products you can use as well,

I have several aquariums, so having my own RO system is convenient and cost effective. However, many pet shops and grocery stores have RO system and sell RO water in 5 gallon jugs. If you have only one tank, this might be a viable option for you.


I'd prefer not to be buying water all the time -_-, I am curious how to tell if it adds sodium the water softener system came with the house so it is kind of tough to just google the brand to see how it works LOL. Or are you speaking that most water softeners do this?
 
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RayClem

I'd prefer not to be buying water all the time -_-, I am curious how to tell if it adds sodium the water softener system came with the house so it is kind of tough to just google the brand to see how it works LOL. Or are you speaking that most water softeners do this?

Most water softeners use salt to provide a source of sodium for ion exchange. If you have an ion exchange water softener, you have to dump bags of salt into a hopper every few weeks to provide the sodium. If your softener is designed to use salt, but you are not replenishing it, then the softener is not working as it was designed and it may not be doing any good. Find the make and model of your softener and figure out how it operates.
 
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inari

Most water softeners use salt to provide a source of sodium for ion exchange. If you have an ion exchange water softener, you have to dump bags of salt into a hopper every few weeks to provide the sodium. If your softener is designed to use salt, but you are not replenishing it, then the softener is not working as it was designed and it may not be doing any good. Find the make and model of your softener and figure out how it operates.


Well ! That might be what's going on then. I have to dump bags of salt into my hopper about once every 4 weeks or so....dang. Maybe I should invest in an RO/DI system for my aquarium. If the NA+ is going to be an issue I need to find a way to reduce it. I doubt something as simple as activated carbon would do me any good
 
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RayClem

Well ! That might be what's going on then. I have to dump bags of salt into my hopper about once every 4 weeks or so....dang. Maybe I should invest in an RO/DI system for my aquarium. If the NA+ is going to be an issue I need to find a way to reduce it. I doubt something as simple as activated carbon would do me any good

No activated carbon absorbs organic compounds, but it is useless for reducing ions such as sodium.
 
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inari

No activated carbon absorbs organic compounds, but it is useless for reducing ions such as sodium.
That's what I suspected.
 
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