Does ammonia, nitrite and nitrate affect PH at all?

  • #1
HI all, me again, I'm not having any PH issues. I just want to learn more about PH, I know about the scale and 8.0 is 'hard' - 6.0 is 'soft'. I (think) know that PH is directly related (porportional) to Corbonate and general hardness?

When cycling a tank, PH is determined by the tap water added to the tank. What happens thereafter?

Does ammonia, nitrite and nitrate affect PH at all? (I wouldn't think so but..??)

I used to have 1 established tank with a PH of 6.0 and another right next to it with a PH of 8.0. Both used water from the same sink/tap. The 6.0 PH tank was community with 3 large goldfish (high ammonia). The 8.0 tank was a community planted tank, with flourite red gravel and dosing flourish excel. I didn't do anything in either tank to attempt to buffer the PH. Both tanks had mopanI wood in them (1 larger piece each) That's like, an impossible riddle but, I'm just curious how PH would establish itself and why it was so different between 2 tanks that were set up similar minus plant ferts and flourite gravel (did those two things really make my PH 8.0?)

When and why do PH fluctuations occur? Are they more likely to occur in an older tank? Are PH stabilizer blocks ever useful? I consider myself to have a basic understanding of PH, but when a customer looks to alter their PH, I'm unsure of how to guide them. A better understanding might help.

Sorry if this is annoying, ignore it if so, I'm just looking to pick brains.
  • #2
Great questions, I too would like to know the answers too.

The PH from my tap seems to fluctuate seasonally (summer to winter) even though it’s the same water source.

I’ll be standing by for some answers from the experts.
  • #3
I'll share my thoughts. Actively growing bacteria will consume more carbon and will slowly drop the PH of the water, this is why PH will generally drop while cycling a tank.
Live plants in a tank will consume CO2 and generate oxygen. This will have a tendency to increase PH depending on level of plants, fertilizer, lighting, etc.
Driftwood will lower PH by introducing tannins, but this affect will diminish over time as the wood leeches less and less tannins as it ages. This will obviously vary from piece to piece.
As I understand, a high bioload will also cause the PH to drop due to acids/respiration of the fish, waste and CO2 creation. This may be related to high bacteria activity as well on the high bioloads.
Your tap water probably didn't have much buffering capacity, so on the one tank, it easily went up, and on the other tank, it easily went down (goldfish).
Buffer solution - Wikipedia
  • #4
Hard and soft water aren't directly pH. Generally harder water will have a higher pH, but hardness is the amount of minerals in the water, which will create calcium deposits around a faucet. pH is a logarithmic scale of the acidity of the water. In a perfect world, we would all have a pH of 7, but I don't know about water hardness. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what I was taught! Great question.
  • #5
I have read the amount of GH and KH will buffer PH swings. Low GH/KH will allow PH to swing easier.

TG, thanks for the refresher.
  • #6
This has some more chemistry details..
but, specifically,
"Some times KH is confused with GH which is General Hardness. KH and GH are different and KH is not part of any GH measurement. Therefore, KH and GH can be higher or lower than one another and provide no real indication of each other." .... "It is not uncommon for people to use KH and acid buffers together to increase KH without increasing pH. Always take care to make changes slowly and not stress fish."
They have a cool device for $150 that tracks/logs Ph,temp and ammonia. I was thinking of building my own real-time Ph monitor for significantly cheaper...
  • #7

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