Low pH

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Zenial

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I thought this would be an easy fix, the first thing I would have done without needed fishlore to hold my hand. I was wrong. I'm out of ideas. Help please!

I need to increase my pH a fair bit, it's a bright yellow 6.2 at the moment.

Day 1: scrubbed down my driftwood and pruned back all dying plant matter and flushed out my filters. 20% water change.
Day 2: 20% water change, this time with 1 x 10% including a dusted fingerprint's worth of bi-carb soda 1 x 10% plain water.
Later that day, another 10% including a fingerprint of bi-carb soda. This time one platy stayed near the surface breathing at the top. Turned on air pump and left it on for the rest of the day. pH increased to 6.4
Day 3: pH back to 6.2 and stayed there. 2 x 15% plain water changes. Tested leftover water in the bucket: 7pH.

I have no idea why it won't increase. Suggestions?
 

Nutter

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Which tank is this for? What is the current KH in the tank? Are you injecting co2 gas? Is the water from the tap PH 7.0 like the leftovers in the bucket? Do you have any ammonia present at all?

I know. Lots of question. Lots of questions can lead to answers though.
 

Aquarist

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Hello Zenial,

pH naturally drops over time. The best way to maintain a certain pH level is via frequent water changes (if your tap is higher than what is currently in your tank). To get a true pH level from your tap, fill a bucket and let it set over night. Add an air stone to create circulation and test 24 to 48 hours later.

I've never tried adding the bicarb soda.

Here is a link on pH that you may find helpful. It lists ways to increase your pH levels naturally. Please avoid using any chemicals that claim to raise your pH as they are very unstable and can lead to a pH crash resulting in fish loss.
What I've seen most recommended is to add crushed coral into a mesh bag and place it in your tank.
Properly Maintaining the pH in a Freshwater Aquarium - Rate My Fish Tank

The driftwood in your tank will reduce pH levels due to the tannins that it leaks into the tank. Many people add driftwood specifically for this issue. (ph being too high) You may want to consider removing it should you not be able to get the pH raised. Maybe you can find a balance between adding the crushed coral and keeping the driftwood in the tank too.

Best of luck!
Ken
 
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Zenial

Zenial

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Which tank is this for? What is the current KH in the tank? Are you injecting co2 gas? Is the water from the tap PH 7.0 like the leftovers in the bucket? Do you have any ammonia present at all?

I know. Lots of question. Lots of questions can lead to answers though.
Ah, I missed some important points, huh? I'm referring to tank #1. I've never been able to get my hands on a hardness test, it would be very helpful but the LFS isn't. I can only imagine it's very soft. I'm not injecting CO2. Yes, tap and bucket are the same. Ammonia: 0

aquarist48 said:
pH naturally drops over time. The best way to maintain a certain pH level is via frequent water changes (if your tap is higher than what is currently in your tank). To get a true pH level from your tap, fill a bucket and let it set over night. Add an air stone to create circulation and test 24 to 48 hours later.

I've never tried adding the bicarb soda.

Here is a link on pH that you may find helpful. It lists ways to increase your pH levels naturally. Please avoid using any chemicals that claim to raise your pH as they are very unstable and can lead to a pH crash resulting in fish loss.
What I've seen most recommended is to add crushed coral into a mesh bag and place it in your tank.
Properly Maintaining the pH in a Freshwater Aquarium - Rate My Fish Tank

The driftwood in your tank will reduce pH levels due to the tannins that it leaks into the tank. Many people add driftwood specifically for this issue. (ph being too high) You may want to consider removing it should you not be able to get the pH raised. Maybe you can find a balance between adding the crushed coral and keeping the driftwood in the tank too.
I've left the water to sit. It remains 7, which is great. I didn't try it with an airstone. Will do.

Bi Carb soda is meant to do two things: increase pH and increase water hardness. I don't wish to try it again. In your link I found it's meant to be continuously added over a long period (and in far higher amounts than I did), given my platy's reaction it's not my best option.

That was a great link, very useful information. Bookmarked.

I've had that driftwood a long time now, about one year. I thought it would have been releasing very little tannins by now but I'll remove my driftwood, it can't be helping. Oh, and I have eggshell in my filter, I'm surprised that hasn't put a dent in my pH.

x Nutter and Ken. Off to the LFS tomorrow to attempt to get crushed coral and a water hardness(GH & KH) test. Wish me luck!
 

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Sounds good. Keep us posted

I have egg shell in my Goldfish tank to give my snails additional calcium. I've never had any issues with 1 shell decreasing my pH levels.

Something else you may want to consider is using Nova Aqua +. I actually use it to add body slime to my fish but it also states that it helps to maintain a steady pH. I can't vouch for this but my pH remains 7.8 to 8.0 all the time and I do water changes every 5 days.

Ken
 

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Hey zenial,
What water are you using (country/well(aka bore) water, city?)
Also what type of test kit are you using? (the test strips can be very inaccurate)
I find it a little odd that tap water and tank would vary so much (unless adding something to the tank) - just my opinion.
Do you have any rocks/crushed corals etc in the tank? If so, do you know what sort? (some of these will raise pH, but I'm sure there are others that might lower)
What media do you have in your filter? i.e. is there any peat moss, or hardness softening pillows?

Just a couple of questions, and I'm just exploring all possibilities.

And a last question, how old is the test kit? (if it's an API test kit, the last 4 digits of the lot# indicate month/year of manufacture, and they are good for about 3yrs after that)
 

Nate McFin

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Eggshell would likely not affect KH or GH but if it did it would raise not lower Ph. I have very soft water and add a small amount of crushed coral to a media bag that I put in the filter. I started with a very small amount and increased until things were stable. I did this over the course of a month so the fish weren't shocked by the changes.
You said you had some dead plant material in the tank? Did you happen to test Nitrites and Ammonia at that point before removal? If there was enough of it you may have had a build up of Nitric or Nitrous acid both of which will lower the PH. (ALOT when you have soft water) Even though the cleanup was done and the filters were cleaned up the low ph may have killed off some of your beneficial bacteria. I would stay on top of the cleanup every week and prune dead leaves during the week as well. Keep an eye on your nitrates, ammonia and nitrites for awhile as well as like I said there may have been losses to the bacteria. With regular maintenance it should straighten up on its own. If you have soft water a little crushed coral will really help maintain things. You can also use Seachems Equilibrium during water changes instead...this is calcium and magnesium as well as smaller amounts of iron and phosphate. Start with smaller amounts and work up to desired Kh and GH reading though!
 
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Thanks for the link claudicles. I may yet use it, went to the LFS today asked for the hardness test and crushed coral. She said she'd have to ask someone else about it. Waiting for a phone call *fingers crossed*

ryan I'm using water from my rain water tank.
The pH test is a Vitapet liquid pH test. It seems to work well - it picked up a 0.1ppm change when I used the bi carb soda both times. I don't see a date on the kit, but I bought it late last year, so ~should~ be good.
I had a large larva plume rock I removed when the pH first started going up. It was in the tank a while before that, so I don't think that was it. And just a couple river pebbles in there now. No coral as of yet.
Fluvel 4 Plus filter contains sponge, filter wool, egg shell and carbon. Aquaclear 700 contains sponge, filter wool and carbon. I have Peat Moss, but not in use...

nate No, I believe my plants are struggling due to my mere 30w lighting. Ammonia and Nitrites stay a firm 0. Thank you for the added information, I was wondering how much coral to put in! And yes, will keep maintaining/pruning!
 
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Zenial

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Woohoo!

Well I wasn't able to get my KH & GH test or crushed coral locally. Going to order test from the link given above.

I have got my pH up to 7 now! Using limestone/quartz white gravel added by the handful. That'll do!

Thanks guys!
 

ryanr

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Hey zenial,
Sorry I must have missed your 28/4 post

Great to hear things are 'normal'

Just keep an eye on things to make sure you haven't overdone it on the limestone, and that it stays stable.

Once you get your GH/KH kit, report back your findings.

Just a quick thought on the rain water tank, you need to be a little careful if the tank is metal/iron etc as metals can leech into your water and create a problem, particularly if the tank has any iron or copper in it's construction. There's no need to panic if it is a 'metal' tank, you may find you need to get hold of a de-ionising kit.... that's a separate topic.

Again, great job correcting your problem naturally .... many would have just added a pH Up type chemical.
 

Nutter

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Good to see that you seem to be getting things under control the natural way Zenial. Good tips on the rainwater tank above from Ryan.
 
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