Over-boiled My Driftwood?

jsheehan

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Been having problems with high ph, so I added 3 small pieces of driftwood 8 days ago. So far no change, ph staying at 8.2, same as my tap water.
My wife and I boiled it for about 7 hrs. total, trying to get the water to remain clear. Did we ruin the beneficial properties of the wood? Has anyone else done the extreme boiling method?
I have heard of using distilled white vinegar to lower ph, anyone tried that? Sorry I put 2 topics in the same post.
 

Heron

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Using an acid to lower pH will only give a temporary fix. PH up/ down solutions are ok if you want to match water for the purpose of gradual acclimatisation to new water conditions but are not a solution to a long term problem. Driftwood or peat in a filter will slowly leach acids and provide a longer term solution. It is possible you have removed alot of the acids from the Driftwood with boiling, but don't expect instant results, it may take a while for the Driftwood to do its thing. Adding peat to your filter may have quicker results.
 

Momgoose56

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Been having problems with high ph, so I added 3 small pieces of driftwood 8 days ago. So far no change, ph staying at 8.2, same as my tap water.
My wife and I boiled it for about 7 hrs. total, trying to get the water to remain clear. Did we ruin the beneficial properties of the wood? Has anyone else done the extreme boiling method?
I have heard of using distilled white vinegar to lower ph, anyone tried that? Sorry I put 2 topics in the same post.
A pH of 8.2 is fine for most tropical fish. Is there a particular reason your trying to lower it? What substrate are you using? Any carbonate rock, shells or coral in the tank? As @Heron said, vinegar is a temporary fix. If you are planning on having fish that require a pH of much less than 8 and sphagnum peat moss doesn't help, you may want to look into getting an RO/DI system and going that route. My water is very hard and alkaline (7.8-8.4) so what I do is just get fish that like that water!
 
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jsheehan

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Using an acid to lower pH will only give a temporary fix. PH up/ down solutions are ok if you want to match water for the purpose of gradual acclimatisation to new water conditions but are not a solution to a long term problem. Driftwood or peat in a filter will slowly leach acids and provide a longer term solution. It is possible you have removed alot of the acids from the Driftwood with boiling, but don't expect instant results, it may take a while for the Driftwood to do its thing. Adding peat to your filter may have quicker results.
Thanks Heron. I think I will go with the peat. I really didn't want to go the chemical route. Will keep testing every few days.

A pH of 8.2 is fine for most tropical fish. Is there a particular reason your trying to lower it? What substrate are you using? Any carbonate rock, shells or coral in the tank?
Momgoose56, thanks for the reply. My substrate is just small rocks. Don't know if it is carbonate. Just looks like small stones with subtle color variations. No shells or coral.
I plan to add 7-8 cardinal tetras and I believe they need ph of 7 to 6.5ish. Think they would thrive at a ph of 8.2?
 
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Heron

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As momgoose56 said certain types of substrate and/or rocks and decor could be raising the pH. A simple test to see if this is the case is to take a piece of the material and add a few drops of vinegar, if you see any signs of reaction then they are not suitable. I have the opposite problem to you, my water is too soft and low pH so I add carbonate sand to raise mine
 
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jsheehan

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Thank you for the substrate test idea. I'm going to try that today.

Grabbed some gravel, dried it and tested with vinegar and there was no reaction. Good news there. Peat moss will be next. Thanks all.
 
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Momgoose56

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Cardinal Tetras do prefer lower pH but if you buy them locally, they are probably used to the water in your area. Depending on where they are bred and raised, they can thrive in water with a pH as high as 7.8.
 
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jsheehan

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Cardinal Tetras do prefer lower pH but if you buy them locally, they are probably used to the water in your area. Depending on where they are bred and raised, they can thrive in water with a pH as high as 7.8.
Thanks, Momgoose, looks like I'm almost there. If I get the ph down to 7.8 or lower I think I will go ahead and get my Cardinals.
 

Heron

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Good luck, I hope you can get your pH down and stable. Remember a stable pH is more important than the correct pH. If you go down the peat route give it a couple of weeks to check it's stable before adding more fish.
 
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jsheehan

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Good luck, I hope you can get your pH down and stable. Remember a stable pH is more important than the correct pH. If you go down the peat route give it a couple of weeks to check it's stable before adding more fish.
Thank you, will do.
 

DoubleDutch

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Uhhh trying to understand the issue here.
You have added driftwood trying to lower the Ph by the tannins it will release ?
But you've boiled it for 7 hrs to prevent these tannins to be released ?

Isn't this a Contradiction in terms ?
 

CindyVBPets

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I'd wait on that peat.

I have tap ph of 8.4. You don't REALLY want to lower it intentionally because water changes become a nightmare. You'll end up having to use bottled spring water to offset that high ph. But one way, legit, that I found is just use Fluval Stratum substrate. That stuff renders EVERY TANK 6.6. Ask me how I know LOL.:banghead:

Crystal Geyser (avail at Walmart or Amazon) is 6.7-9 ish. When I'm not in the mood for PH drama with my tap, I just use this for a small partial change.

Crystal Spring (avail here in FL at Publix) is 6.0. I mix this in with my tap. The ratio is about 1.5 gal bottled to .5 - 1 gal tap. For MY water.

THEN you have the fun of having to make sure your temp matches your tank's temp. So that takes some hot water from your tap...which takes more acid water from your hot/cold bottles...etc etc etc.

As mentioned upthread, just get fish who like high PH and buy locally, they're likely in local water BUT my Petsmart, Petco and LFS? NO, their PH is 7 on the nose. So it's not guaranteed so you have to acclimate them carefully. Get tough fish at first!

I also tried crushed coral...nothing happened. Stratum doesn't play. So if you LOVE the look of it, use that. NOT Eco Complete, that RAISES PH. Again ask me how I know.

:banghead::arghh:

You can use an inert substrate that won't bounce you all over the place, and just use your tap water and start out with something more predictable and pleasurable.

If I didn't have so much invested in this 20L and my juvenile Betta acclimated, I'd be switching to something inert. That type of project would be a whole day affair and my fish couldn't just be switched quickly so he'd have to get used to a whole new ph over time by living in another tank.

If you want live plants, that's another project with a learning curve but they are great for aquariums and fish. Now PLANTING them in certain substrates (lookin' at YOU , Stratum) can be another pain so you can just even float them free at first at the top or attach them to a rock/stone (only certain ones which do NOT impact PH) with fishing line, string or superglue. Couple of mine are that way. I just put another slate with a Buce attached to it on the lower left where you see the white wool that came in the cup LOL

So I'd consider everything before making a commitment. You're already going to have to be testing alot and doing large weekly water changes indefinitely.

This is an early stage Blackwater tank that I keep light for now and it's pink-ish from using a florescent plant bulb. I removed most of the botanicals for now, too (but it made zero difference in my PH LOL)

You probably could try using some Stratum in a bag in the tank or under some of your existing substrate. I have a 5G with very little on the bottom and the PH is around a 7.4. So you can do all kinds of tests in a bucket if you want to try that route.

. 20L-July21.jpg
 
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jsheehan

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Since the water still turned a little brown in the pot at the last boil, I thought it would still work.
 

Momgoose56

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Since the water still turned a little brown in the pot at the last boil, I thought it would still work.
It will still release tannins. I've got wood that's been boiled to death, spent 6 years in this harsh outdoor desert weather and sun between tanks, was actually in my 150 gallon tank for 7 straight years and still turns the water Chamomile yellow!
 
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jsheehan

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That's reassuring, Momgoose, thanks.

Thanks for the info, CindyVB.
I'm going to look into that For me lutratum

Darn phone! I'm going to look into Fluval stratum!
 
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tjander

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Why not just mix your tap water with distilled water or get RO from your lfs. As mentioned above. Just mix it in a bucket and test before you add to the tank. I would not recommend chemicals to try and lower your ph. Either use RO and dilute your tap or go all RO and mix to the proper PH. Do t forget about your GH and KH values as well. RO or distilled will have no or very little in it. Good luck
 

saltwater60

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Why not just mix your tap water with distilled water or get RO from your lfs. As mentioned above. Just mix it in a bucket and test before you add to the tank. I would not recommend chemicals to try and lower your ph. Either use RO and dilute your tap or go all RO and mix to the proper PH. Do t forget about your GH and KH values as well. RO or distilled will have no or very little in it. Good luck
Also could set up a bucket or water change tank and add peat to that. Just a simple filter or powerhead with peat should help your ph of tank and water change water equalize out.
 

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Other people have mentioned this.....

Rotting organics like driftwood and peat are VERY slow to lower pH.... slow meaning months - not days....

I would increase the frequency of water changes somewhat.

I would also consider using an aquarium pH buffer product to get the pH back into your preferred range.... My general rule is to start slowly... 1/4 or 1/8 tsp of buffer a day till the pH comes back in range - then you can add more to hold the pH.
 
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jsheehan

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Other people have mentioned this.....

Rotting organics like driftwood and peat are VERY slow to lower pH.... slow meaning months - not days....

I would increase the frequency of water changes somewhat.

I would also consider using an aquarium pH buffer product to get the pH back into your preferred range.... My general rule is to start slowly... 1/4 or 1/8 tsp of buffer a day till the pH comes back in range - then you can add more to hold the pH.
Thanks for the advice Saltwater60 and Truckjohn. I now have the pH under control, I apologize for not updating the thread. When I do a 50% water change now, I'll use mostly ro water and a gallon or two of tap water. pH has been at 7.2- 7.4 for a while now (50% wc is 10gals.).
I ended up NOT getting cardinal tetras, though I tried. Bought 6 and they all died. Lfs replaced them and when those perished I bought neons.
Lfs tested my water and it was perfectly fine for Cardinals and told me most of their batch had also died.
The neons are doing great and the tank is now complete, except for needing more plants.
Thank you guys for your input, any knowledge I gain is always a good thing.
 
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