PH question

Rachaeljuno

Member
So I tested my tank water pH with the regular and the high range pH test (API master kit) and both read 7.4 but when I tested my tap water it read 8.2. Why is this? I don’t treat the water with anything to lower pH before it goes in the tank. I looked up what the pH is online in my city and it said between 8.5-9.2 O_O
 

LowConductivity

Member
Time.... your tap water values, are only real after that water has sat 24 hours.
 
  • Thread Starter

Rachaeljuno

Member
LowConductivity said:
Time.... your tap water values, are only real after that water has sat 24 hours.
So should I leave the tap water in the test tube for 24 hours before putting the test liquid in it?
 

MacZ

Member
Besides:
Nitrates in the tank are in an equilibrium of actual nitrates and nitric acid. Also when in contact with air the balance of KH, pH and CO2 may also lower pH slightly.
 
  • Thread Starter

Rachaeljuno

Member
MacZ said:
Besides:
Nitrates in the tank are in an equilibrium of actual nitrates and nitric acid. Also when in contact with air the balance of KH, pH and CO2 may also lower pH slightly.
I don’t inject co2 into the tank. But do I need to worry about how high this tap water is compared to the tank water since like water changes??
 

MacZ

Member
That has nothing to do with CO2-Injection. Air consists in large parts of CO2, the normal gas-exchange at the water surface facilitates a balance between KH, pH and CO2.

Rachaeljuno said:
But do I need to worry about how high this tap water is compared to the tank water since like water changes??
Usually not, no.
 
  • Thread Starter

Rachaeljuno

Member
MacZ said:
That has nothing to do with CO2-Injection. Air consists in large parts of CO2, the normal gas-exchange at the water surface facilitates a balance between KH, pH and CO2.



Usually not, no.
Ahh okay thanks so much. I got worried because when I saw the difference I was like uhhhh betta can't really do 8.2 lol
 

RayClem

Member
What are the GH and KH in the tank? What are the GH and KH in your tap water/

Usually, water that is high in pH is also high in dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron that contribute to the GH and also carbonate and bicarbonate ions that contribute to the KH. However, that may not always be the case.

How is your tap water treated? Some communities or homeowners try to soften hard water. I have an ion exchange water softener that exchanges calcium, magnesium and iron ions for sodium ions. That water is great for showering and washing clothes, but it is not particularly good for drinking or for fish tanks. Thus, I use RO water for drinking and cooking and I add minerals to RO water for use in my aquariums,.

Does you water supplier use chloramine to disinfect the water? Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. The ammonia is an alkali, so it will increase pH slightly in your tap water, but your beneficial bacteria will convert it to nitrites and nitrates in the aquarium, which will make it more acidic..

Typically, pH is buffered (stabilized) by carbonate, bicarbonate, phosphate and bi-phosphate ions in the water. If the concentration of these ions is rather low, the pH will be unstable and can change easily. This can be measured using the KH test. If your tap water starts out at high pH, but quickly drops in your aquarium, I suspect the KH may be low.

As MacZ has indicated, the water in your aquarium will constantly be trying to reach an equilibrium with the carbon dioxide content of the air as long as you have adequate water circulation. There is a relationship between the pH, KH and carbon dioxide concentration in your water.

In your aquarium, waste products are naturally acidic. Ammonia, which is alkaline, is converted to nitrites and then to nitrates. Thus, the nitrogen cycle tends to slowly make the water more acidic as nitrates are related to nitric acid. You minimize the change in pH by the addition of carbonates, bicarbonates and phosphates. This is typically accomplished by doing water changes, assuming your water contains these ions. If your water is low in KH, you might need to add some type of buffer to stabilize the pH. However, your current pH is 7.4 is suitable for most community tank fish. There are some fish that prefer acidic water (below 7 pH) and there are some fish that prefer alkaline water (over 8 pH), but most are quite happy with a pH between 7.0 and 8.0.
 

Smithette2011

Member
We are also having a PH problem so I am finding all the replies really helpful, once I can create my own post I will ask some questions about it
 

RayClem

Member
Smithette2011 said:
We are also having a PH problem so I am finding all the replies really helpful, once I can create my own post I will ask some questions about it
I would be glad to help.

I always try to be thorough in answering questions, perhaps, too thorough in some instances. Sometimes people do not know enough to ask all the right quesions. Thus, I try to address the specific question asked, but also to address related questions that might be of interest to the original poster, or to other like you who read the thread.
 
  • Thread Starter

Rachaeljuno

Member
RayClem said:
What are the GH and KH in the tank? What are the GH and KH in your tap water/

Usually, water that is high in pH is also high in dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron that contribute to the GH and also carbonate and bicarbonate ions that contribute to the KH. However, that may not always be the case.

How is your tap water treated? Some communities or homeowners try to soften hard water. I have an ion exchange water softener that exchanges calcium, magnesium and iron ions for sodium ions. That water is great for showering and washing clothes, but it is not particularly good for drinking or for fish tanks. Thus, I use RO water for drinking and cooking and I add minerals to RO water for use in my aquariums,.

Does you water supplier use chloramine to disinfect the water? Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. The ammonia is an alkali, so it will increase pH slightly in your tap water, but your beneficial bacteria will convert it to nitrites and nitrates in the aquarium, which will make it more acidic..

Typically, pH is buffered (stabilized) by carbonate, bicarbonate, phosphate and bi-phosphate ions in the water. If the concentration of these ions is rather low, the pH will be unstable and can change easily. This can be measured using the KH test. If your tap water starts out at high pH, but quickly drops in your aquarium, I suspect the KH may be low.

As MacZ has indicated, the water in your aquarium will constantly be trying to reach an equilibrium with the carbon dioxide content of the air as long as you have adequate water circulation. There is a relationship between the pH, KH and carbon dioxide concentration in your water.

In your aquarium, waste products are naturally acidic. Ammonia, which is alkaline, is converted to nitrites and then to nitrates. Thus, the nitrogen cycle tends to slowly make the water more acidic as nitrates are related to nitric acid. You minimize the change in pH by the addition of carbonates, bicarbonates and phosphates. This is typically accomplished by doing water changes, assuming your water contains these ions. If your water is low in KH, you might need to add some type of buffer to stabilize the pH. However, your current pH is 7.4 is suitable for most community tank fish. There are some fish that prefer acidic water (below 7 pH) and there are some fish that prefer alkaline water (over 8 pH), but most are quite happy with a pH between 7.0 and 8.0.
Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you!

I don't have liquid tests for GH and KH, I only have the API 5-in-1 test strips so it's not so accurate I don't think, but here are the results:
GH: about 120ppm
KH: between 40ppm and 80ppm

I treat my tap water with Seachem Prime, nothing else. I looked up our water supplier and it said they use fluoride and chloramine, and it specifically says "Note that unlike chlorine, chloramine cannot be removed by letting water set for a few days (as aquarists do before adding fish). In our service area, aquarium water must be treated to remove chloramine.".

I tested my tap water and Ammonia was fairly high, around .50ppm, pH was around 8.2, and Nitrate and Nitrite were both 0.
 

RayClem

Member
Rachaeljuno said:
Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you!

I don't have liquid tests for GH and KH, I only have the API 5-in-1 test strips so it's not so accurate I don't think, but here are the results:
GH: about 120ppm
KH: between 40ppm and 80ppm

I treat my tap water with Seachem Prime, nothing else. I looked up our water supplier and it said they use fluoride and chloramine, and it specifically says "Note that unlike chlorine, chloramine cannot be removed by letting water set for a few days (as aquarists do before adding fish). In our service area, aquarium water must be treated to remove chloramine.".

I tested my tap water and Ammonia was fairly high, around .50ppm, pH was around 8.2, and Nitrate and Nitrite were both 0.
A GH of 120 ppm is considered slightly hard. Below 100 ppm is normally considered soft. In comparison, my tap water is super hard up around 450-550 ppm.

A KH between 40-80 is somewhere between 2-4 dKH. That is reasonably consistent with your tank pH if it is still holding around 7.4.

Seachem Prime should break the chloramine bond and detoxify the chlorine in your tap water. It is supposed to detoxify the ammonia as well, but beneficial bacteria in the tank will have to convert it from ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate. I suspect the chloramine in your tap water is the reason the pH is rather high. Ammonia disolved in water forms ammonim hydroxide which is an alkali. Once converted to nitrates, however, it will be more acidic.

One thing you might consider doing using zeolites to try to remove some of the ammonia before you add the tap water to your aquarium. However, you have to treat the chloramine with a water conditioner to break the bond between the chlorine and ammonia before the zeolites will be effective. I have chloramines in my water supply along with the super hard water. Thus, I decided the simplest route for me was to install an RO water purifier, but for some people that might not be feasible.
 

StarGirl

Member
My pH in tank is 8.2 0/0/10-20
tap is 7.6 , 0/0/0
I dont know the ppms --drops API
My GH is 15/16
KH is 8/9
My fish seem to be fine. Is my water bad? I have always heard to not mess with it. My lfs 's water is 8.0 also. I check the bags when I bring them home.
 
  • Thread Starter

Rachaeljuno

Member
RayClem said:
A GH of 120 ppm is considered slightly hard. Below 100 ppm is normally considered soft. In comparison, my tap water is super hard up around 450-550 ppm.

A KH between 40-80 is somewhere between 2-4 dKH. That is reasonably consistent with your tank pH if it is still holding around 7.4.

Seachem Prime should break the chloramine bond and detoxify the chlorine in your tap water. It is supposed to detoxify the ammonia as well, but beneficial bacteria in the tank will have to convert it from ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate. I suspect the chloramine in your tap water is the reason the pH is rather high. Ammonia disolved in water forms ammonim hydroxide which is an alkali. Once converted to nitrates, however, it will be more acidic.

One thing you might consider doing using zeolites to try to remove some of the ammonia before you add the tap water to your aquarium. However, you have to treat the chloramine with a water conditioner to break the bond between the chlorine and ammonia before the zeolites will be effective. I have chloramines in my water supply along with the super hard water. Thus, I decided the simplest route for me was to install an RO water purifier, but for some people that might not be feasible.
I'm not sure the zeolites would make much difference because I've been testing my water frequently (every other day) and the ammonia has been at 0 every time.
 

RayClem

Member
Rachaeljuno said:
I'm not sure the zeolites would make much difference because I've been testing my water frequently (every other day) and the ammonia has been at 0 every time.
If your beneficial bacteria are handling the ammonia, then all is well. With water that is disinfected with chloramine, it is better to do more frequent smaller water changes (10-20%) rather than large ones (50%). The smaller changes will reduce the risk of ammonia spikes.
 

Nopsu

Member
OP is using Prime to treat the tap water. This acts as dechlorifier and bonds chloramine and ammonia that are present in the tap water and the beneficial bacteria in tank will break them and pH should not raise to the lvl of tap water. I believe everything should be absolutely fine.

And maybe changing less than 50% is ok also if the tank is well filtered, not very tiny and the pH stays stable on the tank.
 

RayClem

Member
Nopsu said:
OP is using Prime to treat the tap water. This acts as dechlorifier and bonds chloramine and ammonia that are present in the tap water and the beneficial bacteria in tank will break them and pH should not raise to the lvl of tap water. I believe everything should be absolutely fine.

And maybe changing less than 50% is ok also if the tank is well filtered, not very tiny and the pH stays stable on the tank.
I have kept aquariums for 60 years and I have never done a 50% water change on any tank larger than 5 gallons (about 20 liters). I currently have tanks ranging in size from 10 gallons (40 liters) to 55 gallons (200 liters) and do 10-20% water changes weekly with an occasional extra water change if needed. However, my tanks always have plenty of filtration. That system works for me.

Of course some people do 50% water changes weekly. That is fine as well. However, if the water is treated with chloramine, I believe it would be better to do more frequent, smaller water changes to minimize swings in the ammonia level of the tank, even if the ammonia has been detoxified with Prime. Otherwise, the chemical concentrations will follow a sawtooth pattern every time you do a large water change.
 

Nopsu

Member
I personally do 15-20% weekly on almost 50g but OP has 5.5g so maybe he/she is used to doing bigger ones as it's a small tank. I don't own such a small tank so I don't know how dirty they get really
 
  • Thread Starter

Rachaeljuno

Member
Im responding to everyone instead of quoting every post lol:

It is a 5.5g, and I almost always depend on my test kit to determine whether I need to do a water change. If all of the levels are good, (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, >10 nitrate, and ~7.4pH) I don't do a water change. However, once it's been a full week I just change the water no matter what, or if I see that my fish is breathing a little heavier than normal. I've been doing 20% every 2-4 days, but I may be able to make it a week now since my parameter tests have been good in both tanks for multiple days in a row (One just finished cycling, the other had a nitrate spike so I did daily 20% for I think 2 days and now we're good again)
 

Latest threads

Top Bottom