Dumb question # 134...PH and Alkalinity

Yodi

I use test strips to test my water. It shows that the PH Is low and also the Alkalinity Is low. I think the PH Is water hardness right? I did a water change but It didn't make a difference. I've lost several fish already. These are my first fish, I had goldfish In the tank for months before I took them out and thouroughly cleaned the tank and then added ALL my fish at one time(probably a bad thing huh?) I have tiger barbs that are thriving, algae eaters are thriving, but I've lost some red bellied tetras and some Micky Mouse Platties. ( Is It because of the PH and Alkalinity, and how do I fix that? Or did I get too many fish at one time? The temp of my tank Is between 75 and 78 degrees. As always I appreciate your help!!

Yodi
 

Guzalot

PH is a measure of water acidity. A PH of 7.0 is neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. Alkalinity is a measure of "buffering capacity", ie how resistant the water is to a change in PH. Low alkalinity can cause your PH to change drastically in a short period of time. Test strips aren't terribly accurate though, you're better off using a chemical test kit or taking a sample of your water to your LFS. Hope this helps.
 

Yodi

Thanks for the response. How do I fix this problem?

Yodi
 

Guzalot

Many posters here will advise against it, but I use , which adjusts PH to 7.0. I add it twice a month, and it eventually raised the buffering capacity of my water so I haven't had a problem with PH swings. Also I use it instead of water conditioner to remove chlorine during water changes. I use 1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons during water changes because my tap water is extremely acidic (<6.0). It's been a great solution for me.
 

sgould

Also, have you tested ammonia and nitrites to be sure they are not your problem?
 

Guzalot

Also, have you tested ammonia and nitrites to be sure they are not your problem?
Good advice. If possible, take a sample of your water to your LFS and see if they will test it for you.
 

tan.b

your pH and alkalinity isn't the likely culprit of your fish deaths. firstly have you read the fishlore for beginners. I know there's a lot to read, but the time taken to read it will save you time and deaths in the future! secondly, adding a lot of fish at once will send your ammonia levels up, then your nitrite levels up. (read the nitrogen cycle if you've no idea what i'm on about!! ) thirdly, once you've understood why you add only a few fish at once, you'll also see you must acclimate your fish very slowly. tetras in particular are senstive to new tanks. not only the water temp do they need to get used to (by floating the bag), but also your water chemistry. your pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, water hardness, oxygen content etc etc is likely to be very different to the pet shops. so you need to add about a cupful of your tank water to the bag of new fish every half hour or so until the bag is full and THEN release your fish. by now they've had a taster of what your tank water is! armadillo did a fab post on beginners mistakes, its' stickied at the top of this beginners board and is well worth a read.
so, i've covered a few options. some you may already of known (but I thought them worth mentioning anyway in case you didnt!) and maybe a few you didnt know you can bear in mind for nxt time. do not buy any more fish though until you've got these settled in and your water chemistry settles, as its will have a few peaks while these settle in. also it may be worth doing some 50% water changes every other day or so until you get some accurate readings. most people on here (incl me) recommend the API freshwater test kit. its very easy to use, cheap (per test...wil last you for ages unlike the strips which are notoriously inaccurate), and its available in most countries and most shops, both real and online!!
any other questions....do ask! no question is a dumb one!!! the only dumb ones are the people that don't ask!!! we will always help! - but some readings would be fab!!! can tell a lot about a tank from the readings, plus tank size and what's in it! more info the better for us to diagnose!
 

Yodi

Thank you very much for the excellent Info!! I figured since I had the goldfish In the tank before the tropical fish that the tank would be ready for several fish. I have a 30 gal. tank. I'm going out to buy a PH buffer to bring up my PH and Alkalinity, the rest of the readings were just fine. But this time I'll wait before I start adding more fish to my tank again. And should I also add water to the bag of the mollies I plan to add to my tank along with the tetras to let them get used to the PH? You guys are great!

Yodi
 

Butterfly

Most fish will adjust to the Ph of your water if acclimated slowly. if the fish you are buying are bought locally they are most likely used to the Ph anyway. frequently adjusting the Ph can cause it to fluctuate and this is very stressful for your fish and stress will make them sick and die. a stable Ph is much better than a fluctuating one. I don't think the Ph is your problem.
You said you had goldfish in the tank then took them out and cleaned the tank. How aggressively did you clean the tan? Sounds to me like the beneficial bacteria was destroyed and the tank is going through a cycle again. ammonia and Nitrite spikes will kill fish very swiftly.
Carol
 

Yodi

My Nitrates, Nitrites and water hardness were all at safe levels. It Is the PH and Alkalinity that are very low, and the Instructions on the test bottle says to add PH plus. Are you saying adding the PH plus Is a bad Idea?

Yodi
 

Butterfly

Yes in my opinion adding anything to change your naturally occurring Ph is a bad idea. Ph adjustors usually cause the Ph to fluctuate and fluctuations in your Ph can cause fish deaths.
the only time Ph adjustors are practical and safe is if you are raising very sensitive and rare fish that need a certain Ph to survive. Then the Ph has to be checked and adjusted every day to keep it from fluctuating.
Carol
 

Guzalot

Yes in my opinion adding anything to change your naturally occurring Ph is a bad idea. Ph adjustors usually cause the Ph to fluctuate and fluctuations in your Ph can cause fish deaths.
the only time Ph adjustors are practical and safe is if you are raising very sensitive and rare fish that need a certain Ph to survive. Then the Ph has to be checked and adjusted every day to keep it from fluctuating.
Carol
I have to respectfully disagree here. The PH regulator I use has gradually raised my Alkalinity (buffering) and I don't experience PH swings at all. My tap water is PH 6.0, but my tank has remained at a steady 7.0 for the past 6+ months. Of course, I add the PH regulator to the tap water before I put it in my tank in lieu of water conditioner since it also neutralizes chlorine.
 

COBettaCouple

- This is the testing kit that we use and recommend. It's easy to use and will give you accurate results.

When we started out we spent plenty of money and tried all kinds of things to get the magical 7.0 pH but after a lot of research and watching how fish from the LPS did without pH tampering, I determined the way to go on pH is to keep things stable. Our tap water is 7.8 consistently and we just treat it with Prime water conditioner before adding it to the tank. The fish are happy even if the pH is "high" - they do get used to the local water and we don't even test for pH anymore.. just Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates to be sure our tanks are staying cycled.
 

Butterfly

Yes in my opinion adding anything to change your naturally occurring Ph is a bad idea. Ph adjustors usually cause the Ph to fluctuate and fluctuations in your Ph can cause fish deaths.
the only time Ph adjustors are practical and safe is if you are raising very sensitive and rare fish that need a certain Ph to survive. Then the Ph has to be checked and adjusted every day to keep it from fluctuating.
Carol
I have to respectfully disagree here. The PH regulator I use has gradually raised my Alkalinity (buffering) and I don't experience PH swings at all. My tap water is PH 6.0, but my tank has remained at a steady 7.0 for the past 6+ months. Of course, I add the PH regulator to the tap water before I put it in my tank in lieu of water conditioner since it also neutralizes chlorine.
As I stated it is my opinion and I will add my experience that this is so. I will also say disagreeing is ok this how we share our experiences and learn from each other
Carol
 

Kevin

dont get Ph buffer that will lower your Ph, get the opposite of that, whatever it is...if u do buy a "ph up" get the seachem brand...its the best out there
 

Guzalot

I will also say disagreeing is ok this how we share our experiences and learn from each other
Carol
Absolutely. That's what makes this site great!
 

COBettaCouple

I will also say disagreeing is ok this how we share our experiences and learn from each other
Carol
Absolutely. That's what makes this site great!

well then I disagree! .. jk! :;jk ..it is nice here at fishlore that we can share different opinions without everyone getting mega-wedgies.
 

Butterfly

share different opinions without everyone getting mega-wedgies.
ouch!!!
 

Dino

Though not as percise as chemicals, I prefer using crushed coral/limestone to raise pH/alkalinity, and driftwood/peat moss to lower it.

ANY change is PH/hardness, should be gradual.
 

COBettaCouple

Though not as percise as chemicals, I prefer using crushed coral/limestone to raise pH/alkalinity, and driftwood/peat moss to lower it.

ANY change is PH/hardness, should be gradual.

that would be the best way.. more natural, easier on the fish.. anytime you can avoid chemicals is good.
 

vak68

also don't forget adjusting the ph will also affect the ammonia,nitrite,nitrate levels.best if ph is left alone for now ,fish adjust to the ph of the tank anyways so that is not ur issue at hand.
 

tan.b

if the fish you are buying are bought locally they are most likely used to the Ph anyway.
sometimes it can be. if you have one building using a bore hole and the other using mains it may be different, or crossing the line where dif reservoirs are used the pH can vary.

I also agree with you that pH adjusters are more trouble than they're worth. my pH is a little high, but i'm the time, cost and stress (to me and the fish !) wouldnt be worth it!

when you get your mollies Yodi, i'd float the bag for 20min or so, then add about a cupful of water to the bag, and keep doing this every 20mins or so until the bag is full. the slower you acclimate them the better (within reason.....taking a whole day over it will result in ammonia build up in the bag!!). I use this method with any fish I buy and they've done well except when my sis tipped my guppies in after about 20mins floating the bag :.....no adding of water or anything!!

good luck with your fishes and your tank!
 

Yodi

HI everyone! I appreciate everyone helping me out!! About half of you said leave the PH alone and the other half said to add chemicals to fix It, so I basically tossed a coin(so to speak) and decided to leave It. I did a water change and then a couple days later I cleaned the gravel and the PH actually came up a little. But right now the fish I do have In my tank seem to be doing pretty well, which Is why I decided to leave the PH alone. And I'll definitely remember the next time I add new fish to add some tank water to the bag while It's floating so they can get used to the new water before I put them In It. Thanks for always doing what you can to help me out, I know my tank Is as successful as It Is because of you! And It sure Is nice to have someone there to ask If there's a problem!

Yodi
 

Butterfly

Anytime Yodi, You know we like to help all we can
Carol
 

armadillo

HI Yodi. Sorry the answers are sometimes a little mitigated. But if it comforts you in your decision, am a 8.0 woman and I never touch the pH (pH out of the tap). I figure better stable and high than erratic and higher maintenance. 's a bit worrying for my new betta though, but hey, in the end I think it's better for him to have stable water conditions.
 

COBettaCouple

aww.. laure (is that better than arma ) - your hubby wouldn't say you're 8.0 woman, he'd say you're a 10!

fish love stability and hate change Yodi.. I guess they have that in common with a lot of us.. it's amazing what they can adapt to as long as they have it stable and consistent.
 

armadillo

aww.. laure (is that better than arma ) - your hubby wouldn't say you're 8.0 woman, he'd say you're a 10!
Waaaarf!
 

tan.b

also remembered this article someone posted on FL a while ago which I saved to my favourties which is certainly worth a read regarding pH amongst other things

hope the tank is doing well yodi!
EDIT: another interesting article about pH worth reading:
 

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