low PH

Discussion in 'pH' started by billy247, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. billy247

    billy247New MemberMember

    Hey guys I need your help again I have low ph levels in my tank my readings are PH 6.0, Ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 20 my tank is finally cycled :) so now how do I raise the PH level? Thanks guys
  2. e_watson09

    e_watson09Well Known MemberMember

    I usually leave my pH alone. A stable pH is super important. All of my tanks have a higher pH. I've heard driftwood is a natural way to raise your pH, I have drift wood in all of my tanks so I'm assuming that's why my pH is how it is.

    Basically I'm saying that if you are going to alter your pH do it a more natural way versus the pH powders and such you can buy.
  3. toosie

    toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Test the pH of your tap water. Run an airstone in a sample of tap water for 24 hours and then test the pH. This helps to release gases that are trapped in the tap water that affect pH and helps you determine your true pH. If your tap water tests higher than 6.0 raising the pH in your tank could be as simple as doing a few water changes in your tank now that your cycle is complete.

    If your tap water tests 6.0 using a tablespoon of crushed coral or crushed oyster shells and placing it in a media bag and inserting it into your filter will help to raise your pH naturally without using any unstable pH chemicals. If after several days the pH hasn't increased or hasn't increased enough, add a little more to the media bag. It's not an exact science so telling you how much to use for sure is difficult. Argonite, a type of substrate often used in cichlid tanks can also be used in the same fashion. Over time it will be necessary to add or replace the contents in the media bag but it will last for quite a while but be sure to monitor your pH so you can determine when this may be necessary.

    pH chemicals raise pH rapidly and for a short term causing bounces that are hard on the occupants of the tank. The above methods increase pH more gradually and keeps it stable preventing the bouncing action that is caused with chemicals.

    A pH of 6.0 is not always problematic however a lot of pH test kits only test down to 6.0 and so there is a potential that pH could actually be even lower. This is a cause for concern because beneficial bacteria will quit functioning when pH becomes too low and can cause a tanks cycle to crash, so because of this it would be good to have a stable pH that reads above 6.0
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  4. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Your profile indicates your tank is planted. What ferts do you use? Plants can deplete carbonate and magnesium, the primary hardness compounds.

    @e_watson. Driftwood is known to lower pH. The tannins help to soften water, but do not last long term.
  5. e_watson09

    e_watson09Well Known MemberMember

    Whoops my bad, I knew it did something to the pH.... :;smack
  6. OP

    billy247New MemberMember

    I don't use any ferts do you recamend me use them
  7. toosie

    toosieFishlore VIPMember

    3 live plants are unlikely to cause a whole lot of trouble with KH. What type of plants are they? How much light and what type of light do you use on the tank?
  8. OP

    billy247New MemberMember

    I forgot what kind they are I give it usually 6 hours of light and I use a florence light it came with the starter kit
  9. toosie

    toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Do they look healthy? Any marks on them that shouldn't be there of any kind? Are they brittle, have pin holes or anything like that? Are they a good shade of green or are they pale or too dark of a green for the type of plant they are?

    You could give them a dose of a well balanced fertilizer once a week after a water change such as Seachem Flourish Comprehensive or another balanced fertilizer but if the plants are doing well and growing even slowly it is sometimes better to not dose a fert because the plants may be getting all the nutrients they need from the minerals in your water, the fish food and the nitrates in the water. Sometimes adding a fertilizer when the plants are really doing well will help to promote algae growth, so you can try dosing as per the intructions on the bottle if you feel the plants could use a little help and cut back on the amount you dose each week if algae becomes a problem but the plants seem to still be doing well to see if it helps. The trick is to get a good balance of things in the tank so that the plants do well, and algae doesn't.

    Some plants are more prone to using the carbonates in KH than others too but if you just have things like Java Fern and Anubias they aren't near as likely to, but some of the faster growing plants can affect things more. This is why I was curious what kind of plants you had but I suspect you have low light slow growing plants, but I have definitely been wrong before so if you can figure out what they are or would like to post a pic to see if somebody can identify them, you are more than welcome to and we can better judge the likely hood of them causing problems with your KH and pH.
  10. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

  11. OP

    billy247New MemberMember

    Sure ill post a pic and not often like once every 2 weeks or so I try to leave it alone I only add water and I change it when I get a chance and about 25%
  12. OP

    billy247New MemberMember

    They dont seem to be growing at all and when they have marks on them like brown leaves I cut them off and the color of them looks good its not too green and not to light green
  13. OP

    billy247New MemberMember

    here's the pic

    Attached Files:

  14. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Foreward: I generally agree, a stable pH is the more important than chasing a number.

    That said:
    Just a note on KH and pH - there is a direct relationship between KH and pH. The lower the pH, generally, the lower the KH. KH buffers your pH level as well, and helps to maintain pH levels - there's plenty of science to read if you want to (and threads about this topic on FL)

    Pure water, at a pH of 6.8/7 has a KH of (pretty much) 0. I would has it a guess that your KH is down.

    As an example, my tap water is 6.8 at a KH of 0. By buffering my water with a KH powder (NOT pH Up), to a KH of 3dKH, my pH sits at 7.4ish.

    As inidcated - using crushed coral and the like will increase the pH of your water, and will also increase your KH, crushed coral (due to the high Calcium content) acts similarly to KH powders.

    Your solution may be as simple as gradually increasing your KH (and possibly GH). Your plants will also love you for it.

    Also - test your tap water hardness as well as pH.

    Another aspect - could be aeration/gas exchange. But let's start with GH/KH.

    edit: Here's a couple of links worth reading about pH/GH/KH relationship
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  15. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Hello and :sign0016: to FishLore!

    Just checking in on your water change frequency. We generally recommend more frequent water changes than "once every two weeks." Fish need fresh water.

    You say your tank is finally cycled (YEAH!). When a tank is going through the cycling process, its pH will fluctuate (as I've learned recently). Keep an eye on your water parameters of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in addition to pH. Now that your tank has cycled, the pH may stabilize.

    You're getting some great advice from the pros already. Hope this little bit helps some more. Keep us posted!
  16. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I have moved your thread from Freshwater Beginners to Aquarium Water/pH section of the forum.


  17. toosie

    toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Which plants are the live plants? Just the ones in the center of the pic? I'm not entirely sure what those are but catsma is better at identifying plants than I am so hopefully she can tell. The pic is a little small for me too but again, it may be fine for her or for somebody else viewing this thread.
  18. OP

    billy247New MemberMember

    Correct just the ones in the center
  19. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    The center plant may be a melon sword. Very hard to tell with such a small picture. It this is what it is the plant should not be yellow.