First Tank Setup, And A Question On Ph

  1. Rover Initiate Member


    My first tank and only tank is a 25 gallon long. I have a Topfin 40 filter (at max setting), as well as a 200 Watt heater. These are oversized because at the time I was buying them I had been informed the tank I salvaged was a 30 gallon long. It was not!

    The tank was encrusted and forgotten in a rotten garage at a property where a tenant was evicted. I salvaged it and all that it came with. A variety of decorations, an old beat up hood, and a scummy filter. That filter was broken (Some Aqueon kind or other) and got trashed.

    I decided that I was going to get it working again. I cleaned it with a large amount of elbow grease, warm water, and plain white vinegar. Filled it up and left it overnight, and she held water just fine. I had to do some electrical work on the ballast inside the hood, but the light came to life after and I didn't even need to replace the bulb.

    And then youtube. So much youtube. I've realistically probably watched 30+ hours of fish care videos and aquariums being shown off since I fixed the tank and put water in it!

    That was a week ago. Fastforwards to today...


    Well, earlier today. I have since added more water to raise the waterline above the hood because the topfin filter was waterfalling and it was PUMMELING the poor fish that was in there. So resolved that. The ducttape is because the hood-flap is from a much smaller tank, so I needed to rig up something to hold it in place. Not pretty, but it works.

    All decorations are brand new and were washed/boiled.

    A fish friend of mine with the same brand filter gave me an old scummy filter as well as a tupperware container of fish poop. So considerate. I put that in to quickstart my cycle, and started testing the water daily.

    As soon as the Ammonia died, it was fish time. My girlfriend fell in love with a Betta and named him before we even bought him *sigh* so that was the first fish. Fish Friend was also kind enough to loan me two of her zebra danios so that there would be more of a bio-load on the tank.

    I have been continually monitoring the water metrics. Fish have been in the tank for about 3 days.
    I tested my tap water to see what it was like. It was low pH, and low nitrates.
    My Ammonia is very low, so close to yellow but probably above zero on the API master test.
    My nitrites have been zero every day since fish were added.
    My nitrates are above the tap water amount, so I know the bacteria is growing and doing work.
    My temperature is right around 26 C.

    My only concern with my setup is the pH. The pH out of my tap was right around 7, though I intend to retest it.

    However, my tank has consistently been 7.8 to 8.0 on the API test kit (liquid). I'm not sure what would be causing this, and in my many hours of watching youtube channels to learn about the nitrogen cycle and the fish tank itself, I've come up blank on why it would be high... Unless the store-bought brand new decorations were doing it...?

    Thoughts? Is it a concern, or should I just not shock the tank by changing it? Some people suggest the fish will adjust, others say its not a good idea to leave it.
  2. RyanLewis Member Member

    The gravel could possibly be responsible for raising the ph...

  3. KimberlyG Fishlore VIP Member

    Nope, you have nothing in there that would raise the pH.
  4. sfsamm Well Known Member Member

    7.8-8.0 is fine especially for your stock. Stable pH is much better than a perfect pH. It maybe worth looking into your kH and gH levels.

  5. Rover Initiate Member

    Thanks for the advice so far!

    I intend to place Cory Catfish and Neon Tetras into the tank down the road, with potentially a pleco as well. I made sure using a calculator at to not go over 80% of projected load. I don't think my test kit does kH or gH levels, is that available at usual pet stores?
  6. stella1979 Well Known Member Member

    Congrats and welcome! :D

    Testing pH straight out of the tap can sometimes be inaccurate. Oxygen exchange needs to occur for you to find your true pH. This happens naturally through surface agitation in your tank. If you were to put your tap water in a bucket with a pump or air stone, anything to cause surface agitation, you may find that your true pH is actually closer to that of your tank.

    I definitely wouldn't try to modify your pH, fish will adjust if acclimated properly. Also, it is likely that your LFS's water is much the same as your own so your fish may not have a whole lot of adjusting to do.
  7. MelloYello Member Member

    Hm, I dont know I do agree that the ph levels are fine, for whatever reason 3 out of the 4 of my tanks have settled in this range and the last settled in 7... I still have no idea as to why my tanks stay at this level...

    But I think I herd that adding drift wood can help.

  8. stella1979 Well Known Member Member

  9. Rover Initiate Member

    Thank you for that! Definitely worth reading. I've not looked too deeply into the Kh or Gh so far, but worth looking into. I'll add it to the log I've been keeping
  10. stella1979 Well Known Member Member

    The bucket with surface agitation test is something worth trying. If you find that your pH swings drastically from straight out of the tap to what it's stable level actually is, it may be a good idea to let replacement water for your water changes age a bit before doing the actual change. This is as simple as collecting the water before hand and either allow it to sit for 24-48 hours, or agitate it to encourage gas exchange. Agitation would stabilize the pH much quicker, probably an hour or so.

    Of course, none of this may be necessary but it's worth knowing in case your water is like mine. :)