Low Alkalinity?

Photobelle

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I got 2 platies from Petco (gift card). One died overnight so I took it back with a water sample for them to test. I also tested my water as I just cycled a few days ago and the levels were ammonia 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates 10-20. I use the app freshwater test kit. They used strips there a d said everything looks good except my alkalinity is low. They said that shouldn't effect the fish and will jist cause my ph to change so I may need a pH stabilizer. However I test my pH often (not today) and it is always 7.8 so I told them my pH doesn't jump around. Any thoughts on all this and if I should do something about this ? It is not something I test for as it isn't in the kit.
 

CraniumRex

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Hi - I’m not an expert in this but have done some research.

Alkalinity can act as a pH buffer - high alkalinity generally means stable pH but low (under 3 or 4 KH) can cause pH swings. Did they give you an actual KH or carbonate hardness reading? Test your pH first thing in the am or later at night as it can shift through the day.

There are things you can add to up your KH - crushed coral, a cuttlebone (check out the bird department - much cheaper) or baking soda. Proportions I’m not sure about and it would be better to understand what your actual KH (and GH or general hardness) are. I have moderately hard water so have never had to do this - hopefully someone with more experience will weigh in.
 
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Photobelle

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CraniumRex said:
Hi - I’m not an expert in this but have done some research.

Alkalinity can act as a pH buffer - high alkalinity generally means stable pH but low (under 3 or 4 KH) can cause pH swings. Did they give you an actual KH or carbonate hardness reading? Test your pH first thing in the am or later at night as it can shift through the day.

There are things you can add to up your KH - crushed coral, a cuttlebone (check out the bird department - much cheaper) or baking soda. Proportions I’m not sure about and it would be better to understand what your actual KH (and GH or general hardness) are. I have moderately hard water so have never had to do this - hopefully someone with more experience will weigh in.
They didn't tell me the number just it was low. They did say we have hard water in our area so it was weird that I would have such low alkalinity.
 

Nicole B

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Did you acclimate them? Maybe just shock from being in a new tank. I wouldn’t really trust what petco says. That’s just my 2 cents. Lol.
 
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Photobelle

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Yes the other one is fine. Only 1 of the 2 died. I agree lol that's why I asked on here as I don't want to add stuff to the tank if it isn't really needed.
 
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Photobelle

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So both new fish and the pregnant one are fine! It was prolly that one fish. I did test my water and the pH is 7.8 where it always is so maybe their test strips we're wrong or the alkalinity really isn't effecting my pH. Ammonia was 0, nitrite 0 and nitrates about 10. So I am still cycled!
 

aniroc

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There is no reason for the pH to go up and down unless you have live plants and/or inject CO2. Naturally, the pH goes down as nitrification is an acidifying process. Regular, weekly water changes will add KH, remove nitrate buildup and prevent pH crash.

I also noticed a very low KH during cycling. It is possible that bacteria are using carbonate to extract Carbon to grow. Algae and certain plants are doing it, too
 
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Photobelle

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Ok so I shouldn't use anything? Petco told me I should use a pH stabilizer since my alkalinity is low but all my numbers are great and the 2 new fish are doing great. I don't like adding things to the tank.
 

aniroc

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Petco is there to sell you something. They already told you that alkalinity has no direct impact on fish, which is true.
 
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Photobelle

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Perfect. That's what I thought I just wanted to make sure I was right .
 

edevingo

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aniroc said:
There is no reason for the pH to go up and down unless you have live plants and/or inject CO2. Naturally, the pH goes down as nitrification is an acidifying process. Regular, weekly water changes will add KH, remove nitrate buildup and prevent pH crash.

I also noticed a very low KH during cycling. It is possible that bacteria are using carbonate to extract Carbon to grow. Algae and certain plants are doing it, too
Ph will also drop if your kh is to low for your aquariums bioload. My tap water has a high GH but low KH. (Simply put my town puts allot of stuff in our water that isn't naturally there.) Combined with a high bioload creates an ever dropping Ph. I'd say the OP bioload is not that large and whatever kh reading they got whether low or not, is still adequate for her tank.
I purchased a used tank once, apparently the woman couldn't keep anything alive. She gave me all her supplies with it and she had every Ph up Ph down you name it. I told her after seeing all of it that the recommendations from the store is most likely what kept killing your fish. Whatever stores she went to obviously had her swinging her ph up and down constantly. Poor fish!
 
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