pH Levels

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simpleton

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I'd like to get some feedback on pH Levels. My tank is 2 years old and very well established. Since day-one, my pH levels have been high(off the charts high) due to the water in my area. All of the LFS' as well as Petsmart and Petco are aware of the issue and have high pH levels in their tanks as well. I have hearty fish that have obviously adjusted to the high pH. I've even used a pH test kit by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that still reads beyond the 7.6 maximum pH reading on the chart. The test strips by Mardel (I know they're not that accurate) show a red color that seems to be higher than the 8.4 max level on their chart. Early on, I tried using chemicals to lower the pH with no success...not to mention that I do not like using chemicals in my tank. I know I have an option at one LFS to purchase aquarium water but that seem expensive (long term) and difficult to transport...Especially if you doing water changes bi-weekly in the neighborhood of 10-15 gallons. I'd love to hear what some of you have to say. I'm open to any and all feedback. Thanks for letting me bend your ear.

Bruce
 

Gunnie

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If your fish are doing well in the higher ph water, and it's the same water they've been used to all their lives, there's no need to alter the ph. You are just causing yourself problems doing that. The only fish that might night a specific ph are wild caught fish, and breeding fish like discus. Otherwise, just leave it as it is. Trying to adjust ph everytime you do a water change can do more harm than good. Ph swings can actually kill your fish. A stable ph is much more important than a perfect ph.
 

susitna-flower

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If you want subtle 'organic' ph lowering effect two things help. #1 peat crumbles as one of the filter media in a canaster filter. This adjusts down, but un- scientific and would fluctuate every time you add new water. Stressing your fish, unless you do something to also lower the new water change. #2 Driftwood lowers ph slightly, also not significantly, and not controlable as far as how much or how it would go up and down with water changes.

The only thing you can feasibly do, that IS reliable, "Organic", and cost effective, is to purchase a RO filter to filter all water you put in your aquarium. Reverse Osmosis systems are used especially in very sensitive fish like discus where breeders are trying to replicate the very soft, pure Amazon River parameters with low ph, Then if you have to buffer this somewhat you can use coral sand, or shells to bring the ph up again. The problem with this is that if all fish you ever purchase are from those stores that have already acclimated the fish to a much higher ph, then you REALLY stress them again trying to put them in your tank.

There are some fish that you may just never be able to raise however with your high ph. If you really want these fish, and buy on line from someone who keeps them at their proper ph, then an RO system might be just the thing. You can get them from almost any on line store. They range from $250 up.

Fish in the Frozen North 8)
 
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simpleton

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Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. I've recently added a piece of driftwood which I read might help with the pH. As for RO, I have one installed in my home put the output is far too small to try and use for 10-15 gallon water changes. I guess I'll need to stay away from fish that would be considered "high maintenance" and really need that lower pH essential for survival. I'll be sure to check in if I have any other questions or concerns regarding pH.
 
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