Ph Reading Accuracy

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Louise782, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Louise782

    Louise782New MemberMember

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    I'm new here and would first like to say Hi to everyone :)
    I have 2 goldfish in a 160L tank, they recently became unwell. The older one more so. I have tried various things which I will post about tomorrow for advice as it will be an essay :((

    Long story short, the water treatment I used recently seems to have done bizarre things to the tank water and the older of the 2 fish has now lost the gold colour from its scales on both sides of her back which looks sore and a little frayed ;(

    I got some new test strips from Interpet, everything is 0 :( but what I would like to ask specifically about is if routine water treatments such as interpet 'Tap safe' to remove chlorine etc and 'fast filter' can alter the pH?

    It was showing as 6.4 but may be less as that's the lowest reading it gives. I do have soft water and recently took out the driftwood and added some sea shells. I'm thinking this may be why the poor girl has lost the colour from her scales if it's acidic?

    I set up a quarantine tank with bottled water with a pH of 7.8 (and adding pH up daily to the main tank with the smaller fish that seems fine) but when I tested it prior to putting the fish in after adding the above 2 things, the test strip read 6.4 again.
    I don't know if I just have a bad batch of strips or ?
    She does seem more active in the quarantine tank but still isn't for feeding much. I am starting to think that her eyesight has been affected too. I don't want to hold her to try feeding incase it hurts her back, but she does nibble a bit at a piece of banana and peas if I syringe it out near her mouth. Everything seems to have gone downhill since I bought a new double air pump and 2 new airstones last month.
    Any advice appreciated with thanks in advance.
     
  2. Feohw

    FeohwWell Known MemberMember

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    First of all, hello and welcome!

    How long have you had the fish and tank? So the ph is 6.4 now, what was it prior? Is 7.8 the usual ph? Is the tank cycled? Do you know the kh of the tank? Low kh can lead to a ph crash. Could you tell me how you keep your tank, what temperature, water change schedule, what you feed the goldfish? Are they lethargic at all, any other symptoms that could be linked to disease?

    As far as I know, those products don't affect ph. Sea shells can increase ph, especially if they are crushed shells.

    Sometimes tap water can have chemicals that cause the ph to be high, but when left for a certain amount of time, the chemicals can fade and the ph would fall down. Try leaving out tap water or whatever water you use in a container for 24 hours and test to see if the ph has fallen. If that's the case you should leave your fresh water out for 24 hours before adding it to your tank to ensure the ph is the same.

    Test strips are less accurate than liquid tests. Granted liquid tests can be expensive, so if you don't want to buy one, you could take your tank water to your LFS and ask them to test it for you.

    I've heard of some people keeping goldfish at 6.4, they would prefer higher, but ph fluctuations can be much more traumatic than a low ph. That's why using chemicals to alter ph can be risky.
     
  3. Islandvic

    IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

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    Welcome to the forum @Louise782 .

    Looks like your tap water has lower pH than your bottled water. Could be the bottle water came from a different water source.

    It appears you've been trying hard to get your tank and goldfish all back into a healthy direction. It van be very frustrating!

    As for water conditioners to remove chlorine and chloramines from municipal treated water sources, they shouldn't alter pH, unless it's some type of producted that is marketed to do so.

    As for the "fast filter" product you mentioned, is that a type of cycle booster, to jump start the nitrogen cycle?

    You also mentioned adding a product to increase the pH.

    I won't comment on how well they work or dont work, but trying to adjust pH through chemical products is a never ending battle.

    You will be always buying more product, after water changes and always chasing the pH levels around.

    The biggest concern with pH and fish are large swings in pH difference. If the fish are in a tank with a certain pH, and then you do a large water change and the pH changes drastically, or you put a fish in a quarantine/hospital tank with a pH that is a lot different, the drastic and quick pH differential us what causes the stress.

    Most fish will adapt overtime to whatever the source water pH is that you do your water changes from.

    Keeping the pH around a general constant is a better goal, by just leaving it alone. That way when water changes are made, the new water will be about the same pH as the tank water.

    Adding a bag of crushed coral to the substrate is a natural way to increase pH over time and wont cause drastic shifts

    Most times when fish start to not act like there usual selves, a series of large water changes spaced out every few days along with thorough cleaning of the substrate with a gravel siphon vac is called for.

    This will remove any ammonia spikes, and remove a lot of the biological matter that may have accumulated in the substrate.

    Goldfish are know to have a large bioload.

    What type of water change schedule do you have and how much do you change out at a time?

    Another point, as @Feohw pointed out, try to obtain a test kit that uses the liquid testing agents.

    I'm not sure where you're located, but in the States the API Freshwater Master Test Kit is practically the standard for home testing of pH/ammonia/nitrites/nitrates.

    One of those kits will do 800 tests total, or over 100 tests for each type of parameter.

    Here they can be found for $15-$20 online. I'm not sure how much they are where you're at, but I would wager they are still more economical that a 10 or 20 pack of the test strips, and more accurate as well.

    If the API brand is not available, certainly the equivalent is available from another brand.

    These types of kits can be invaluable in troubleshooting problems and gauging the health of the tank.

    Finally, how does your filtration situation look?
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Louise782

    Louise782New MemberMember

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    Hello and thank yo so much for your help.

    I have had it for 1yr since I found out the fair won goldfish by my daughter needs 30 gallons minimum plus 12 for company. It used to be around 7.3-7.6. It is cycled. The KH is now 0 :(
    It has an interpret c3 filter and 2 airstones, 160 L. 1 goldfish is 4yrs old and the 2nd 5 months.
    I change 25% water twice a fortnight and remove food debris daily.
    Recently I've been doing 3x 30% to 50 % water changes to try and give them a better environment but I'm fairly new to this so have gone off what I've read online.
    The water temp is between 18.9 and 20.5 depending on room temp.
    I feed flakes in the morning and a small amount of peas or brocolli and 1cm slice of banana with flakes in the evening then remove what's left shortly after.
    First the larger fish got a sort of milky coating on her head and body so I went to the local aquatic shop and was told to remove the carbon filter and treat with parasite water treatment. This then went downhill.
    I did that for 2 days then noticed slight cotton wool type growth, I was then told to put the carbon filter in for 6 hrs and change 50% of the tank water. Then add fungus and fin rot water treatment every 24 hrs. I did that. After 48 hrs the smaller fish was fine but i woke to find that the larger fish had lost scales and looked dull, ragged and wasn't interested in feeding much.
    Everything I'm told to do seems to make the lovely girl worse and I feel so bad for her that I can't sleep properly.
    She's now in 20L quatantine, doesn't swim much, has a filter and 1 air stone. But she seems better in some ways. The milky coating is gone as are the patches of cotton wool growth.
    The pH tends to be low and not high as per the advice to keep the water for 24 hrs.
    Thank you, I will get some liquid tests. I've spent £550+ so far purely because I want to do my best for her despite being past skint because she is a life and it's not her fault she was valued at 50p; she's lovely :)
    I only tried to increase the pH slowly because I thought it is probably responsible for the damage to her coat that looks painful.
    She was ok despite it until today when I decided to move her to try and sooth her coat if the water was below 6.4. My logic was. If it's below 6.4 and that is what hurt her then get her out asap and give her time to heal. As I said, I'm fairly new to this but everything I'm told to do to help seems to make her worse :(
     
  5. Feohw

    FeohwWell Known MemberMember

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    The low kh can lead to a ph crash. Usually when ph drops below 6 (which as you said it might have) the beneficial bacteria stops working as effectively. If it goes too low it will stop working altogether. I'd advise you to keep regular watch on the ammonia/nitrites to ensure you don't have a spike. You can add crushed coral to try to deal with the ph/kh problem.

    The infection could have either been caused by water quality or the introduction of the 5 month old goldfish. It could have come with the disease and passed it on. Make sure to keep on top of the water quality.

    I'm not an expert on goldfish, but I've read that their immune system will be stronger at about 24 degrees (although I'd appreciate it if somebody with more experience with goldfish could confirm this.)

    The hobby can indeed be expensive and there are many factors that could go wrong that a beginner will struggle to deal with. We've all been there, I hope we can help your fish out. A liquid test kit will go a long way.
     
  6. Islandvic

    IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

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    You might try to take some pics of the I'll goldfish and post it in a new thread to help get it diagnosed and get a recommended course of action to take that will hopefully work better.

    Also, you may want to try testing your pH straight out the sink faucet. They would be interesting to know.
     
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