pH/alkalinity levels :(

Discussion in 'pH' started by Absoluteangel81, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Absoluteangel81New MemberMember

    Help, I can't seem to keep my pH and alkalinity levels down. Nitrates and nitrites and water softness are fine, but the pH and alkalinity just won't seem to go down let alone stay down. I've used tge Correct pH tabs from Jungle and Tetra's EasyBalance and I also use water conditioner when I add any water but U'm still having major problems. I've even restarted the tank and let is do a cycle before adding such luck. I was told I may have had too many fish at one time, but now that's can't be the reason. I only had 1 snail, 2 platy and 1 suckerfish at the time (i've since, in the past 2 days of owning these new babies, lost one of my platy) I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Any input would be helpful.
  2. NMfishmanWell Known MemberMember

    welcome to Fishlore :;hi1
    It says the tank has been up for 8 months, when did you start having problems? do you have any limestone, coral or anything else from the ocean? Are you using tap water, and what is the ph of the water you use before you put it in the tank? You might try using bottled water, I use natural spring bottled water.
  3. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    the first thing i would do is try to figure out why the PH is so high, did you test the PH of the water you are putting in the tank? what kind of substrate do you have in there? decorations?

    chemical PH adjusters are only temporary and the fluctuation of PH by using them is likely more harmful to the fish than just leaving it at a higher than normal level.

    *edit* ninja'd u guys are too fast =D
  4. brokenwingWell Known MemberMember

    from your information, it looks like your tank is not cycled. Do you know about the nitrogen cycle. Also if you test your tap water, what is the reading for ph. Alot of times when your tank is cycling you will go through a ph swing.

    correction i see your tank has been up for 8 months so i imagine you know about the nitrogen cycle.

    :animal0068:Hello. I've merged your posts since they were back to back.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2010
  5. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    First, I would test with a liquid test kit such as API. Test strips can be very inaccurate (assuming that's what the Quick Dip test kits are?)

    As suggested by others, I would test the tap water you're using. And then look at what's in the tank that might be increasing your pH (coral shells etc.)

    Next would be to test your KH levels (KH buffers pH and stabilises it, and will restore the pH at where it is locked in) I can explain more if you want/need it.

    I definitely wouldn't be using pH down chemicals as these can be a short term fix (i.e. 1 or 2 days, then your buffers will re-establish the pH), and chemicals can have a dramatic effect. You want to aim to reduce pH by no more than 0.1-0.2 per day (the pH scale is logarithmic not linear), thus any change is a "significant" change.

    Your best bet (assuming tap water is fine) is to change 25-50% water every day, adding nothing more than a dechlorinator, such as Prime (if you have ammonia), and only enough to treat the amount you are changing (not the entire tank).

    Overtime, you will find your levels begin to re-establish at a more 'acceptable' level, keeping in mind that pH stability is more important than the value itself.
  6. Absoluteangel81New MemberMember

    Thanks everyone, I never thought about testing the water that comes from the tap. I just assumes it was a problem that was occuring in the tank.

    When I first started this aquarium I seemed to have it down pat, had the same 5 tetra, 1 sucker fish, 1 dwarf frog and 1 small catfish for between 5 and 6 months. (well not the frog, he lasted about 2 months). Then all of a sudden two of the tetras died, replaced them with 2 platys that lasted maybe a couple of weeks, replaced them with 2 more platy, died within a week. That's when I finally decided to ignore prior pet store advice and started testing the water. The water was too hard, nitrates, nitrites, pH and alkalinity were all in the high danger zone. Did a complete clean of the tank (didn't know that was a bad idea at the time) and put the fish all back in the new tank (that's 3 tetra, 2 platy and the catfish by this point) The 2 platy didn't make it, but the ph was barely reading above neutral and the other levels were fine, so I figured it was just those fish and bought 2 mollys to replace them. WRONG! About and week and 1/2 things were fine, then all of a sudden the fish were sluggish and of course the pH and alkalinity were in the danger zone again. I tried to replace 1/2 the water and I tried the pH lowering treatments, no such luck, the levels wouldn't drop and I had a tank of dead fish. I recleaned the entire tank and let it cycle for a full week. This past Saturday I added the 3 fish (2 blue platy and 1 sucker fish) along with a snail, here it is monday and I have 1 dead platy the other two fish seem fine, but my water is testing high again (the pH and alkalinity may be the death of me). I'm clearly not doing so hot with this. :( very frusterating!

    The tank has a high power water pump along with two air stones, 1 stone "house", 1 rock (not from the ocean), 1 treasure chest deco, 1 small statue and 2 plastic plants, and a coral that is actually the 2nd airstone.

    If I use spring water, do I need to treat it also?
  7. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    How long ago was this? It's possible the tank isn't re-cycled yet.

    Is this a real coral, it'll definitely not be helping pH.

    BTW - when you say alkalinity, I assume you're referring to KH (carbonate hardness)? alkalinity is more of a reef/marine term.

    With high KH, it is nearly impossible to effectively alter pH. Check your tap water conditions first, if you're tap is ph 6.8-7.2 and KH is 0, then you can use this water for your water changes.

    Are you talking about using natural spring water? you would need to test this first before using it, spring waters are normally very rich in minerals and might make your problem worse.

    I would look at a water filtration system such as the one from API that de-ionises the water.
  8. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning and Welcome to Fish Lore!

    :animal0068:I've moved your thread to the Aquarium Water/pH section of the forum.

    I hope you enjoy the site!
  9. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    what are you using to test the ammonia/nitrite/nitrates with? While not optimal its possible to keep platies in 8.2 PH , If all the basic water parameters check out fine then I'd suspect the culprit being the PH fluctuation.
  10. AquaristFishlore LegendMember


    Above is a link you may find helpful concerning pH.

  11. Absoluteangel81New MemberMember

    Ryan, it's an articificial coral, the one's you can buy at the pet store that have an airstone in the and the air bubbles come up through holes in the coral.