Im Puzzled

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Rj Forster, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. Rj ForsterValued MemberMember

    I have a 5 gal tank with one betta. It is lightly planted with a big piece of driftwood. The tank has been running for 3 months now. Fully cycled and ready to go. I had a very weak light and upgraded to a 12 inch Finnex planted plus. I have green algae growing in the tank as well as the filter (its a top pour over filter). About 2 weeks ago i had really high nitrate so i did a 50% water change. A week ago i checked it and did another 25%. Everything seemed ok.

    Today i do a full parameter check. I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 0 nitrate. What happened to the nitrate? Also the ph sky rocketed to 8.4? I have no clue whats going on. Plants seem ok. My betta doesnt look sick and is acting normal. Its like somehow i lost my cycle. My tap water has a ph of 7.6. That combined with the driftwood i would assume it would never get to 8.4.

    If anyone has any ideas id really appreciate it. Thanks!! 1493241250004.jpg

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  2. _IceFyre_Well Known MemberMember

    Pretty strange.
    What tests do you use? Have you added any decorations to the tank recently? You may want to test your tap water to determine if the sudden change in the PH is from the tank or the tap.

  3. SuperKWell Known MemberMember

    I want to say please edit your post OP as you've used an abbreviation of a swear word, this is against the rules. I would hate to see you get told off. It's the sentence "Wt... happened to the nitrate?"

    It sounds like some kind of tank crash, I'm not sure exactly what however. I agree that you should test your tap water. It is possible you somehow lost your cycle, although it's odd that you suddenly would.

  4. ChaoryValued MemberMember

    Sometimes you get a zero reading for nitrates, especially if just right after a water change.
  5. Rj ForsterValued MemberMember

    I use the api liquid kit. I havent added any decorations. I did a full tank over haul about a month ago. New substrate, plants, and driftwood. I would have thought i would have seen the signs of that when i did the change, not a month later. I just tested the tap and got 8.0 for ph. They just upgraded the meters. I wonder if that had somethi g to do with it. However i dont know why it would keep increaseimg
  6. SuperKWell Known MemberMember

    They said that was a week ago though, I'd imagine there'd be some increase, especially since there was such a high one for no reason.
  7. _IceFyre_Well Known MemberMember

    Are you shaking the nitrate bottle like crazy? Sometimes the test kit can give false readings if you don't shake the bottle enough.
  8. Rj ForsterValued MemberMember

    Yes it was a week ago. I edited the sentence. Thank you.
    Thats what has me puzzled. I have no readings at all. 0 across the board with a rising ph
  9. Rj ForsterValued MemberMember

    Yes. I have another tank and it tested normal. I did the tests back to back and then retested just to make sure
  10. ChaoryValued MemberMember

    Live plants, low stocking, and feeding will give you lower readings. All my tanks currently doesn't ever go pass 5 ppm after a week after a water change.
  11. NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    I wouldn't think that little amount of plants would be consuming all the nitrates either...

    Would it be possible?
  12. SuperKWell Known MemberMember

    But then where would that spike come from? It's very odd.
  13. _IceFyre_Well Known MemberMember

    I've heard of something called the airstone test where you put an airstone in some tap water, leave it for an hour or so, take the airstone out, and then retest the PH. Supposedly it gives you a more similar reading to what the tap water actually reads as once you add it to your tank. It might be worth a shot if you have an airstone.
  14. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    I see a couple of possibilities.
    I have a ten year old 120 gallon, all original plants, substrate etc. I don't own an API test kit, but I borrowed one two years ago to test for sources of Cyanobacteria. I was told I had signs of a nitrogen shortage. I tested, and I did. Consistent zeroes. The plants and a consistent water change routine were sucking the nutrients out. I had to add nitrogen to get my water on track for my plants.
    That seemed counterintuitive, but it was consistent.
    If I tested my water today, I would expect the same results. I have 120 tds, pH 6.8 water.
    Your very high pH may be simply seasonal. It's Spring. Water moves in a lot of places, if you are in a snow zone. pH can change from mineral uptake, or dilution. Have you tested the tap water pH?
  15. ChaoryValued MemberMember

    I don't know about the pH. May be some kind of chemical in the water.
  16. Rj ForsterValued MemberMember

    The tap water is 8.0. It used to be 7.6. They just installed new meters so i wonder if that is having an affect. I still would assume it would lower with the driftwood. I have read that plants can cause ph to increase. Im more worried about the lack of BB
  17. Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    @CindiL I think has explained about off gassing of CO2 can cause pH to rise. But I do t recall the details so I will let her explain.
  18. NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Carbon dioxide reacts with water as is shown in the following equation:

    CO2+ H2O <---------> H+ + HCO-3

    This means that the more CO2 present in the water the more H+ is formed and the pH will decrease. Higher CO2 levels are found in pressurized, cold water. I know this from experience as my tap water comes out almost milky white due to tiny microscopic CO2 bubbles. As the CO2 is released when resting and exposed to oxygen the pH starts to return to what the actual pH of the water alone is truly.

    In other words, the higher the carbon dioxide level, the lower the pH, but as this CO2 is release from off-gassing in an open air environment the water will rise in pH.

    *Edit - sorry to get all scientific but it was always my strong suit
  19. endiglowgurlNew MemberMember

    I have planted tanks, and only have to do PWC every two to three weeks because my nitrates stay so low and even at zero for a few weeks sometimes. Plants will gobble up nitrates pretty good. As for your pH spike, have u added any new decorations? Sea shells, rocks, or corals? Certain things can raise pH in your tank, also there are things that can lower it too. Peat moss, driftwood, Indian almond leaf. Just keep an eye on it and see if it stays stable or not.
  20. Steven DonnisonNew MemberMember

    What kind of biology do you have? How many fish ?
    Looking at the tank on my phone, it looks like your substrate could contribute to the high pH. Is there a rock in there as well? If so, then thats another possibility.
    I read that you had changed your tank around a month ago? That and a low bioload would mean your tank needs to cycle again. The high pH will also make it harder for the bacteria to thrive and grow. The ideal pH when cycling is around 7.
    I prefer to fishless cycle myself, and I have done so in all of my tanks, except the first one as I was new to all of this and I let an lfs give me bad advice which resulted in a lot of stress.

    As mentioned previously, fill a clean container with fresh water and let it sit for at least 24 hours, then test the parameters. You'll get a more accurate reading that way.
    Check the age of the test kit as they can give dodgy readings if too old.
    I'd say cycle your tank properly, then you should be right. If you just have one Beta, then the bioload is way too low to cycle the tank. It's true wood will help lower pH, but the substrate and any rocks will push it up. If you can't change it for an inert substrate, then add peat moss, which will help lower it, but first make sure the test kit is ok.
    Co2 is excellent for plants, and yes, it will lower the pH during the day time which is when it should be running, but it should be on a timer so it can turn off at night, or when the lights are off. When the Co2 is off, the pH will climb again. Tanks with Co2 have a fluctuating pH level, but it should be ok.

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