Low Ph And I Can’t Change It!

lauren42

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Hi everyone!
So I currently have a 29G tank which has been set up for 3 years with this filter.
My tap water PH reads at 7.6. However the tank reads at 6.
I’ve done a 50% change two days ago and a 30% change today and the water is still 6.
Other readings are
Ammonia- 0.25
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 10
The ammonia I am assuming is because of the low PH as it’s always reading at 0.25.
All the fish are healthy and well... (apart from Sebastian who has swim bladder from playing in the bubbles all the time )

What can I do to change this??
Thanks in advance
 

Ms rose

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you can add crushed coral, takes a while to stabilize but it does help. for an immediate fix i use baking soda
 

danhutchins

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lauren42 said:
Hi everyone!
So I currently have a 29G tank which has been set up for 3 years with this filter.
My tap water PH reads at 7.6. However the tank reads at 6.
I’ve done a 50% change two days ago and a 30% change today and the water is still 6.
Other readings are
Ammonia- 0.25
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 10
The ammonia I am assuming is because of the low PH as it’s always reading at 0.25.
All the fish are healthy and well... (apart from Sebastian who has swim bladder from playing in the bubbles all the time )

What can I do to change this??
Thanks in advance
I'm no expert but chasing ph numbers can cause more issues I wouldn't worry to much about ph fish will adjust to what your tank is. Fluctuations in ph is what causes stress and other problems in fish.
 

Ms rose

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i have a 20 gallon and use 5ml baking soda, disolve in a cup of tank water and add it. as long as you dont do more that should get you up to 7.0 ish. now danhutchins is correct that ph flux is not good, but because you are asking i assume you NEED higher ph? i have a snail tank which needs higher ph so this is something id do to get it to where it should be, but if all you have is fish, they will adjust and changing ph isnt a great idea
 

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While I agree you normally shouldn't chase PH, there is something that is causing a drastic reductiong in PH from the tap water.

OP what is your KH and GH? A drop in PH may indicate that you are lacking in one or the other.
 
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lauren42

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I’m not sure what would cause a low PH. I haven’t had drift wood for a long time. I’ve got ornaments and live plants, sand which I’ve had since starting the tank (PH always used to be 6.8). I currently have platies and neons and 3 baby fantail goldies! I just can’t get this PH right!
 

finnipper59

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lauren42 said:
Hi everyone!
So I currently have a 29G tank which has been set up for 3 years with this filter.
My tap water PH reads at 7.6. However the tank reads at 6.
I’ve done a 50% change two days ago and a 30% change today and the water is still 6.
Other readings are
Ammonia- 0.25
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 10
The ammonia I am assuming is because of the low PH as it’s always reading at 0.25.
All the fish are healthy and well... (apart from Sebastian who has swim bladder from playing in the bubbles all the time )

What can I do to change this??
Thanks in advance
For any change in pH, fish can only tolerate a change in 0.2 per 24 hours. For your size tank, it safe to use 1 exact tsp per day disolved in some aquarium water in a jar and pour it in the tank. But get some crushed coral and a brand new box of baking soda just for the fish tank. When you get through using it, store it in a cupboard in a Ziploc bag so it can't absorb chemicals from the air. Put about 3 tsp of crushed coral in your filter in a mesh bag or knee high nylon stocking first and tie it off or rubber band it. After the coral is placed in the filter, add the baking soda water. Test the water in 24 hours and don't be shocked if it still says 6.0. If you have the pH kit I'm thinking of, your pH may actually be in the 5's. Don't change any of your normal water changing routines, but on days you do water changes, add the dissolved baking soda after the water change. Add the baking soda every day until you get up to about 6.4 as this could mean the coral is finally beginning to work. Stop using the baking soda. Check the pH 24 hours after you stopped using the baking soda. If it hasn't dropped back down, then your done with the baking soda. Watch the pH for the next 3 days and see if it stays the same. If it has not risen, add a couple more tsps of crushed coral to your filter bag. Within 3 days, the pH should have climbed. Keep addind crushed coral every 3 days until you get between 6.8 and 7.2. These are the safest limits for most community tanks. At this point you will have found the proper amount of coral to buffer your water.
 

finnipper59

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Sorry...what I was referring to dissolving in the beginning was 1 tsp of baking soda.
finnipper59 said:
For any change in pH, fish can only tolerate a change in 0.2 per 24 hours. For your size tank, it safe to use 1 exact tsp per day disolved in some aquarium water in a jar and pour it in the tank. But get some crushed coral and a brand new box of baking soda just for the fish tank. When you get through using it, store it in a cupboard in a Ziploc bag so it can't absorb chemicals from the air. Put about 3 tsp of crushed coral in your filter in a mesh bag or knee high nylon stocking first and tie it off or rubber band it. After the coral is placed in the filter, add the baking soda water. Test the water in 24 hours and don't be shocked if it still says 6.0. If you have the pH kit I'm thinking of, your pH may actually be in the 5's. Don't change any of your normal water changing routines, but on days you do water changes, add the dissolved baking soda after the water change. Add the baking soda every day until you get up to about 6.4 as this could mean the coral is finally beginning to work. Stop using the baking soda. Check the pH 24 hours after you stopped using the baking soda. If it hasn't dropped back down, then your done with the baking soda. Watch the pH for the next 3 days and see if it stays the same. If it has not risen, add a couple more tsps of crushed coral to your filter bag. Within 3 days, the pH should have climbed. Keep addind crushed coral every 3 days until you get between 6.8 and 7.2. These are the safest limits for most community tanks. At this point you will have found the proper amount of coral to buffer your water.
 

Mazeus

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lauren42 said:
I’m not sure what would cause a low PH. I haven’t had drift wood for a long time. I’ve got ornaments and live plants, sand which I’ve had since starting the tank (PH always used to be 6.8). I currently have platies and neons and 3 baby fantail goldies! I just can’t get this PH right!
Do you know your KH and GH?
 

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Agree, KH is what affects ph. Crushed coral and baking soda raise KH. Knowing your baseline (tap) KH would help massively.
 

finnipper59

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Her baselines from the tap is 7.6 and yet after 2 massive water changes, she still gets a reading of 6.0. I think her water company is using sodium carbonate instead of calcium carbonate to adjust pH. It's cheaper...and unfortunately temporary.
-Mak- said:
Agree, KH is what affects ph. Crushed coral and baking soda raise KH. Knowing your baseline (tap) KH would help massively.
 

Mazeus

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finnipper59 said:
Her baselines from the tap is 7.6 and yet after 2 massive water changes, she still gets a reading of 6.0. I think her water company is using sodium carbonate instead of calcium carbonate to adjust pH. It's cheaper...and unfortunately temporary.
That is very interesting. I know you mentioned you are a retired chemist, so it is great to have your expertise on the forum.
 

finnipper59

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Mazeus said:
That is very interesting. I know you mentioned you are a retired chemist, so it is great to have your expertise on the forum.
Well...that's the biggest reason for the forum; to share knowledge, experience, successes, failures, and support. I not only share what I can, but I can't know everything about every fish, so I constantly learn new things. Even if the answer is not on the forum, it spurs me to do research and find answers. As a matter of fact I have to do some research on lighting with fish. I had a pair of angelfish that spawned last week. The mother ate all the healthy amber colored eggs and protected the white dead ones. I switched to a color enhancement tube before they spawned. I think the type of lighting confused her.
 

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finnipper59 said:
Her baselines from the tap is 7.6 and yet after 2 massive water changes, she still gets a reading of 6.0. I think her water company is using sodium carbonate instead of calcium carbonate to adjust pH. It's cheaper...and unfortunately temporary.
Bingo!

I do have to amend something. Fish can tolerate a one time ph swing very well. Otherwise plop and drop would kill any shipped fish that didnt go into a 6.4 ph tank would die. They dont like the rapid change, but it wont cause much if any long term damage.

I would add aragonite or oyster grit to the filter or a high flow area of the tank, then add the suggested tiny amount of baking soda to get you gradually to 7.0 ph. After time, the aragonite or oyster grit should stabilize. We do have a member that couldn't keep ph up while cycling and was forced to water change every few days and add baking soda, but that resolved itself after cycle completion. The crushed coral couldnt keep up with the cycling startup but was enough to stabilize the tank once the bb colony was stable.
 

Wraithen

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finnipper59 said:
Her baselines from the tap is 7.6 and yet after 2 massive water changes, she still gets a reading of 6.0. I think her water company is using sodium carbonate instead of calcium carbonate to adjust pH. It's cheaper...and unfortunately temporary.
Bingo!

I do have to amend something. Fish can tolerate a one time ph swing very well. Otherwise plop and drop would kill any shipped fish that didnt go into a 6.4 ph tank would die. They dont like the rapid change, but it wont cause much if any long term damage.

I would add aragonite or oyster grit to the filter or a high flow area of the tank, then add the suggested tiny amount of baking soda to get you gradually to 7.0 ph. After time, the aragonite or oyster grit should stabilize. We do have a member that couldn't keep ph up while cycling and was forced to water change every few days and add baking soda, but that resolved itself after cycle completion. The crushed coral couldnt keep up with the cycling startup but was enough to stabilize the tank once the bb colony was stable.
 

finnipper59

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Wraithen said:
Bingo!

I do have to amend something. Fish can tolerate a one time ph swing very well. Otherwise plop and drop would kill any shipped fish that didnt go into a 6.4 ph tank would die. They dont like the rapid change, but it wont cause much if any long term damage.

I would add aragonite or oyster grit to the filter or a high flow area of the tank, then add the suggested tiny amount of baking soda to get you gradually to 7.0 ph. After time, the aragonite or oyster grit should stabilize. We do have a member that couldn't keep ph up while cycling and was forced to water change every few days and add baking soda, but that resolved itself after cycle completion. The crushed coral couldnt keep up with the cycling startup but was enough to stabilize the tank once the bb colony was stable.
Of course oyster grit would work but I didn't know it was available commercially...I just got used to recommending crushed coral and using the baking soda to give it a head start. Thanks for sharing the information. I remember setting up tanks in laboratories with oyster grit and sea salt to ionize distilled water for experiments with Mollygups.
 

Wraithen

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finnipper59 said:
Of course oyster grit would work but I didn't know it was available commercially...I just got used to recommending crushed coral and using the baking soda to give it a head start. Thanks for sharing the information. I remember setting up tanks in laboratories with oyster grit and sea salt to ionize distilled water for experiments with Mollygups.
I wasnt going against your advice here so I hope you didnt take it that way. I just hate crushed coral as it doesnt seem to work as quickly /as well. I blame the size of the pieces.

I didnt even know what oyster grit was until an aussie member here explained it to me. The secret to finding it usually involves a farm store as the aquarium hobby hasnt caught on quite as quickly to its beneficial properties.
 
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lauren42

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Wraithen said:
Bingo!

I do have to amend something. Fish can tolerate a one time ph swing very well. Otherwise plop and drop would kill any shipped fish that didnt go into a 6.4 ph tank would die. They dont like the rapid change, but it wont cause much if any long term damage.

I would add aragonite or oyster grit to the filter or a high flow area of the tank, then add the suggested tiny amount of baking soda to get you gradually to 7.0 ph. After time, the aragonite or oyster grit should stabilize. We do have a member that couldn't keep ph up while cycling and was forced to water change every few days and add baking soda, but that resolved itself after cycle completion. The crushed coral couldnt keep up with the cycling startup but was enough to stabilize the tank once the bb colony was stable.
Since the tank is fully cycled I’m assuming it would be okay. Where is the best place to buy crushed coral or oyster? I can’t find it in any LFS! Shall I try eBay?
 
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