High pH (8.0-8.2)

Discussion in 'pH' started by pkrath84, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. pkrath84New MemberMember

    Hi all,

    Here are my current water parameters:

    pH: 8.0-8.2
    Ammonia: seems just below .25 ppm
    Nitrite: 0 pp,
    Nitrate: 40 ppm

    These water parameters are for a 45 hex tank that houses:
    2 dwarf angels
    2 chinese algae eaters
    1 balloon molly
    2 pink tetras - I recently learned these are artificially colored and dont plan on getting more
    3 platys
    2 dwarf gouramis
    6 neon tetras (just added)

    These parameters were just taken (sunday night) and I usually do my water changes on Mondays after I get in from school. The tap water at my home seems to be the problem for me and I just added some driftwood to my tank a few days ago. (how long does driftwood take to affect pH anyway? A while from what I gather?) Also, I don't tend to get huge fluctuations in my parameter from change to change.

    Based on my reading, I just started using driftwood as indicated above and am debating on doing my next water change with r/o water from my LFS. I've also read about peat moss which I'm also considering if I can find some. (I'm in Brea, CA) I typically change the water every week, about 20-25% worth.

    I have a pretty bad history with gouramis and bolivian rams and I've narrowed my failure to the pH of my water as I feel I keep it pretty clean. Since I'd like to put some bolivian rams back into the tank and keep my gouramis alive, I thought I'd bring my pH down to ~7-7.5 from where it stands currently.

    Do any experienced owners have any advice for me aside to what I've already considered? What seems to work best for those that share my tap water woes? I've been at this for about 6 months now and looking for what I can do more.

    Oh, I also keep a mix of live and artificial plants in my tank, and the bottom is gravel substrate.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2012
  2. EchostaticWell Known MemberMember

    Hello, welcome to FishLore!

    I'm not so sure high PH is a major issue here. Fish are pretty good at adapting to PH if they are slowly acclimated when introducing them to the tank. Consistent PH levels are what's important. The ammonia isn't normal, a fully cycled, healthy tank should show zero ammonia and nitrites. How long has it been reading above zero? I would also strongly encourage you to rehouse or return the chinese algae eaters. That tank won't be large enough for even one adult, plus they can injure other fish as they grow. Please see this caresheet. https://www.fishlore.com/profile-chinesealgaeeater.htm

    Also, how are you testing? Liquid test kit or paper strips? The paper strips are notoriously inaccurate.

  3. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.

    Instead of focusing on your pH, concentrate on stabilizing your tank. It is not cycled or is going through a mini cycle and you just added more fish to a taxed tank. It is expected for the ph to bounce around. I would not mess with the pH for now. Instead I recommend increasing your water changes. Daily 25% for a week or until you have no measurable ammonia or nitrite. Then continue with 40-50% weekly water changes.

    I also suggest you reevaluate your stocking choices. Your tank is a bit overstocked which is making it difficult to cycle and stabilize. Here's some info on your existing fish:


    :;fIf you wouldn't mind, please provide complete Aquarium Profile Information. This information will help the members to gain an understanding of your tank. Just click the My Settings button at the top of this page; scroll down about half way and select Edit Profile in the left hand column. Complete the information on your aquarium, including tank size, filtration, stocking, lighting, water parameters, etc. And save your changes. Then you won't be inundated with answering questions about your tank.

  4. pkrath84New MemberMember

    Thanks for the reply Echostatic.

    I'm testing with a liquid test kit, the master kit from API that I got from my LFS. I guess I overlooked the details on those chinese algae eaters, as I just took the word of one of the employees at my LFS. Now that I know I'll be removing them. Seems like they sucked a hole into my last gourami! (it all makes sens now, hah)

    The ammonia hasnt been like that for long, a few days tops. This tank has been in action for several months now.


    Thanks for the useful info. I've gone and updated my profile with all of the useful information outlined. As mentioned above, I plan on ridding myself of the algae eaters. Hopefully my LFS will be kind enough to allow some sort of exchange... I will definitely keep all of this info in mind when making future changes.

    Lastly, understanding the guidelines in the profiles for the fish I'm keeping, how much leeway do you typically have? As far as the existing stock, all things considered everyone seems to be doing fine with good color/behavior with what's in there now. I don't feel that there's much of a negative impact of my current stock to prompt removing any particular species save for decreasing the overall # of fish. Please pardon my ignorance.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  5. EchostaticWell Known MemberMember

    There's a common mistake, taking advice from a LFS employee :) You would think they would be the people to ask, but it's usually the opposite. There's some good stores out there, but most are filled with people who are either uninformed or tell you what you want to hear if it means you'll spend money. This forum has been a tremendous help for me so far, I'm sure you'll look back and count your lucky stars for finding this place too! One thing I would also recommend doing is getting some seachem prime (or amquel plus, though I had a bad experience with it, maybe just a fluke) and dosing it every 24 hours to render the ammonia harmless.

    I also noticed you have only listed an aquaclear 50 as your filtration. This could very well be part of your problem too, the tank is overstocked and underfiltered. When using hang on back filters, you want filtration that can provide a water turnover rate of 8-10x the tank volume every hour. For your 45 gallon tank, you would need at least 360-450gph in filtration and currently have 200gph according to their listed rating, which is usually even lower in reality. I bet your tank would really benefit from a second aquaclear 50 or a filter with similar gph.

    Also, something you should know... We really like pictures. Hows about sharing some photos of the aquarium? :D
  6. pkrath84New MemberMember

    I think I'll look into adding a second filter or swapping to another all together. At one point I tried upgrading to an Aqueon 55/75 but the design of the tank kept me from doing so. I guess I really need to consider modifying the tank itself but I was hesitant at the time because I took over this setup from an uncle that passed. I'll take some pictures so I can show you all what I mean.

    Thanks for taking me in! haha.

    Here's a link to an album I just made for my tank:  

    Here's some photo's of what kept me from upgrading my filter and a few of the many shots I just took:

    In this photo you can see what I'm talking about. The access point is too small overall, and also has too much distance from the back wall.



    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  7. toosieWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to FishLore!

    If your tank isn't very HOB filter friendly, you might want to consider upgrading to a canister filter because just the hoses need to go into the tank. With a canister filter they hold more filter media and you only have to have 5 gph as opposed to the 8 to 10 recommended for HOB type filters. A lot of people prefer canister filters over HOB because of those features but also because you can have the intake hose at one end of the tank and the output hose at the opposite end of the tank, providing better water circulation than HOBs.
  8. EchostaticWell Known MemberMember

    Ah, yeah I see your filter problem. Looks like a great candidate for a canister filter to me!
  9. pkrath84New MemberMember

    Looks like I know what I'll be doing this week! My fiance is shaking her head at me from across the table... I think I have an addiction :-/ lol.
  10. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    You're going to fit i quite nicely! We are all a bunch of addicts:;laughing
  11. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    lol welcome to the party, glad to see your getting some great advice on your tank.

    It is a very addictive hobby and im sure within a short period of time you will get another tank or two or three....Its called MTS and there is no known cure.
  12. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to FishLore :)

    Great advice from everyone! If I could add something else...I also have high pH (8-8.2) and thought adding driftwood would be a nice natural solution. I did see it drop slightly, but something I hadn't considered: if the pH of your tap is 8-8.2, sure the driftwood will lower it a bit, but every time you remove water and put in fresh tapwater, you'll just be replacing the tank water with water that has the same higher pH (that was very awkwardly worded, sorry). Point being, driftwood is not a permanent solution, but as others have stated you don't really need one :) My fish (not that I have very many yet) have adapted to the high pH just fine. I would maybe acclimate new fish for a little longer / a little more carefully than others may need to, but since you seem to have plenty of fish, I'm assuming you won't be buying more any time soon ;)

    Good luck with the new canister filter! I wish I could get one, but they're so darn expensive. :(
  13. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    Great info there. Canisters are great and simple. Really good for all types of filtration.


    :;fim You're forgetting that none of us mention addiction!... It's only addiction if you wanna stop ;D;D;D
  14. pkrath84New MemberMember

    So, today I ended up picking up a Rena xP2 canister filter which has a flow rate of 300 gph... I LOVE IT! Its so dang quiet. I'm currently running it with the single outlet aimed into and across one of the walls of the tank to dampen the current. I tried using what I'll call the "multi-port wand" attachment but it just wont work out, even after cutting it to size due to the hex shape of my tank. I might consider modifying the wand further this weekend though, cutting it even shorter and drilling in a second row of ports for increased flow. I kept all of the filtration elements from my old filter in addition to the new components too so I don't have to worry about re-cycling my tank. Lastly, I performed a water change and replaced a bunch of it with R/O water... although when I tested the R/O water itself, the pH was still pretty high.

    I also brought back my 2 Chinese algae eaters for a few dollars credit so that worked out pretty well. I'm eager to see how the water parameters settle out over the next few days. I'll be back in a little bit to update my parameters a few hours post-upgrades.
  15. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    glad to hear all is going well :):)

    Keep up the enthusiasm! ;D
  16. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!!!

    I agree!!!! If your tap is high, you will want to do more frequent smaller water changes. Even if you are in a mini cycle or a full blown cycle. Testing your tap, and letting the fish adapt to that range, is much easier.

    Love the tank though!!!! I think these are my favorite style. Good Luck!

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