Help pH issues

Heather M

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All my water parameters are normal except the pH. It is so acidic that it doesn't show up as anything that matches the color scale card on the API Master Test Kit. From what I can tell, it is quite a bit more acidic than 6. What should I do? I've heard that it is not good to use things like pH Up by API, so I'm not sure what to do. Thanks!
 

midthought

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Is this for your 10g betta tank or another tank?

If you need to increase pH, you can
- step up your water changes
- add crushed coral
- add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) *but there are issues doing this, and every time I've tried it, no matter how little I put in, the water wants to jump right to 8.4. I wouldn't want to subject a fish to that kind of swing.*

Water changes might be the way to go, assuming that your tap water is higher than 6. And if this is for your betta tank, if he's used to the low pH water, it's probably just fine. A consistent pH is better than one in the fish's recommended range. Most fish can adapt.
 

Furallicah

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Midthought is right. But for your ph to be so acidic there has to be something wrong which is why I asked about the tap before suggesting any form of treatment. The easiest thing to do is the water changes and crushed coral/adding a few sea shells into the tank. I do that keeps the ph right around 7.6. But I have to respectfully dissagree on the baking soda approach. Baking soda is a alkaline substance and it will cause your ph to jump off the charts like you have seen Midthought. I wouldnt want that to happen because a sudden jump like that could wipe out your entire tank seeing were talking about a ph that is at least 6 or lower going to an 8. But yes most fish can adapt to any ph unless were talking likeph of 4 and a ph of 5 isnt good.
 
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midthought

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Yeah, I wasn't suggesting the baking soda in a real way and I tried to warn away from it. It does have the property of raising pH, but no fish is going to deal well with a 30x jump like that.

Part of me does want to know what would happen if I were to dilute the baking soda in water, then use PART of that water in my water change. My question is if the water still jump straight to 8+. But it's not something I'd want to test when there's fish in the water.

In nature, water gets a low pH when there's a lot of decaying plant material. It doesn't sound like a planted tank though.
 

Furallicah

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Hmmm...that would be something interesting to see. I might go do that and test it with my API test kit. But it still wouldnt surprise me if it went up high anyways. Most cleaners like Baking Soda and Detergents are pretty alkaline....makes you wonder why you add baking soad in baked goods, but thats mostly for the reaction it gives off when mixed with water to make things "fluffy." But your right you usually dont see ph that off the charts randomly. My question is when was your last water change, is it planted, and what is the tap ph.
 
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Heather M

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Sorry for taking so long. I've been very busy. So, water straight out of the tap is 7.6, but I think you're supposed to age it first, and I didn't. My tank is planted with water sptite and penny wort. I do 25-50% water changes about every 2 weeks. My last water change was monday 26, and I changed about 50%. Right now, the pH shows up as a yellow-green color with the API test kit, which doesn't mathch anything. I think it is between 6 and 6.4, but I can't be sure. I added 2 sea shells after I tested the pH today, so I'll have to wait and see if they raise the pH
 

uprightandlocked

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Hi Heather:

I would recommend performing a water change every week, instead of every two weeks. This is beneficial to your betta because it improves the water quality in many ways, and not just with the pH.

-Tony
 

bass master

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I noticed you use prime water conditioner, I remember fura explained that prime acts as an H+ donater to push NH3 (ammonia) into a less toxic NH4+ (ammonium) ion. perhaps if you are using an excess of your water conditioner it could force your pH to drop, this is all speculation, however, Ive never actually heard of this happening.

Sea shells can take a while to raise the pH, just give it some time if you dont get immediate results, I agree that steady pH is more important than an exact pH for your specific species of fish so if you can get your pH in the 6.4-6.5 range just with the shells that should be fine

Do you use CO2 for your plants ever? this can also lower pH a good bit especially in a betta tank with little water movement.
 
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Heather M

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I noticed you use prime water conditioner, I remember fura explained that prime acts as an H+ donater to push NH3 (ammonia) into a less toxic NH4+ (ammonium) ion. perhaps if you are using an excess of your water conditioner it could force your pH to drop, this is all speculation, however, Ive never actually heard of this happening.

Sea shells can take a while to raise the pH, just give it some time if you dont get immediate results, I agree that steady pH is more important than an exact pH for your specific species of fish so if you can get your pH in the 6.4-6.5 range just with the shells that should be fine

Do you use CO2 for your plants ever? this can also lower pH a good bit especially in a betta tank with little water movement.
I don't use CO2 and I don't use an excess of water conditioner. Maybe it was the decaying plant material. I'd never thought about that causing a problem. When I did water changes and cleaned the gravel in the past, I had avoided the plants to keep from damaging them. After I found that decaying plant matter could lower the pH, I uprooted the plants and cleaned around them. It was filthy! I don't know why I've never thought of that causing the pH to drop...must have been one of those common sense things I tend to overlook.
 

Tigerfishy

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Hey, don't worry about it. I had a mini cycle prob earlier in the year, partly caused by some random change in my water supply, and the tank that had it worst, had a plant that was a little past its best. Did I think that I could remove some of the ammonia problem by just removing the dying plant, noooo. Simple fix, but not so simple to think of it at the time!!

Once it was removed, the ammonia level dropped, but did not go away completely until a while later when all my tanks finished their random mini cycles!
 

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Good morning,

So sorry to hear that you're dealing with pH issues. I also recommend more frequent water changes to help maintain a pH over 7.0 since your tap water is over 7.0.

To get a more accurate reading of your tap water pH, fill a bucket, add an air stone and let it set for 24 hours, then test. Wait another 24 hours and test again to see if there are any changes. At this point you should have a true pH reading.

When your pH drops below 6.0 your pH is crashing and the good bacteria begin to die off. This could result in fish loss. Also keep in mind that any ammonia in the tank turns to ammonium (less toxic than ammonia) once it starts dropping below 7.0. So if you have any ammonia in your tank at all, which is now ammonium being your pH is below 7.0, as your pH rises the ammonium will turn back to ammonia and be more toxic to your fish.

I do not recommend chemicals to adjust your pH levels as they are unstable and can lead to a pH crash. I would avoid the baking soda too.

Here is a link on pH that you may find helpful:
http://www.ratemyfishtank.com/articles/107

Best of luck!
Ken
 
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