PH rising and I can't figure out why

heatherbeehappy

I'm stumped. I have a 6 gallon tank that has been cycled for several months (since July). The pH was steady at 7.4-7.5 for the first couple of months. I tested it today and it was 8.3. I did double check it. Here are some factors that may come into play:
1) I use the API test and double check with both the regular and high-range solutions since the result was normally close to the cut off. They are not expired.
2) I do have one rock in it that I vinegar tested before putting in- and it's been in there the whole time. No other changes have been made to the decor except the addition of guppy grass.
3) This tank formerly housed a betta but I moved him out to a different tank about 4 weeks ago and put 15 cherry shrimp in. Since that time, I have reduced water changes down to basically just replenishing evaporated water every other day or so. There is no lid, so there's a fair amount of evaporation. I'm doing it that way because the research I did indicated that shrimp don't like big water changes and as long as ammonia/nitrite/nitrate are within range there's no need to upset the apple cart. (I'm at 0/0/5)
4) This is a planted tank with a fairly big hunk of guppy grass and some java moss. I use API Leaf Zone weekly (I only put 2 or 2.5ml in).
5) The water that I add to the tank (and how the water started out) is a combo of RO and tap water (2/3 RO, 1/3 tap) and is conditioned with Prime. Its pH reads 7.4.
6) GH is 9, KH is 7 currently. On September 4 GH and KH were both at 7.
7) The shrimp seem to be fine. I haven't seen any die off, they come running to eat, they seem to be molting fine, and I've seen females with eggs.
8) Filtration: I have a small HOB that's been there the whole time but added a sponge filter shortly after I got the shrimp. I'm only keeping the HOB running until the sponge filter gets cycled.

Do I need to worry about this? I don't want to chase my pH around. I just don't understand why it has started rising all of a sudden? Any ideas?
 

coralbandit

As water evaporates it leaves behind solids [hardness] .
Topping off with tap [ or your mix ] will increase hardness every time .
I would top off with 100% RO and do water changes [ how ever shrimp people do richiep ] like you were with your mix ..
I don't do shrimp but understand water chemistry ...
 

heatherbeehappy

As water evaporates it leaves behind solids [hardness] .
Topping off with tap [ or your mix ] will increase hardness every time .
I would top off with 100% RO and do water changes [ how ever shrimp people do richiep ] like you were with your mix ..
I don't do shrimp but understand water chemistry ...
Oh my gosh that makes sense! Thank you so much.
 

richiep

As coralbandit as mentioned I always top up mid week with pure ro water and then a 15% change weekly which I reminerilse
If you have a tds meter this is where it comes into its own and use it as a guide
You may want to think about using ro water all the time and use minerals this way you'll have full control over your tank
 

heatherbeehappy

As coralbandit as mentioned I always top up mid week with pure ro water and then a 15% change weekly which I reminerilse
If you have a tds meter this is where it comes into its own and use it as a guide
You may want to think about using ro water all the time and use minerals this way you'll have full control over your tank
Thank you. I do have a TDS meter and may go toward doing it that way. It just feels like so much effort to demineralize only to add minerals back in, but I get it.
 

MasterPython

What is your tap water PH after it has been sitting out overnight? That can actually change with the seasons based on rain and snow levels.
 

heatherbeehappy

What is your tap water PH after it has been sitting out overnight? That can actually change with the seasons based on rain and snow levels.
My tap water is 8.2 stabilized.
 

MasterPython

My tap water is 8.2 stabilized.

That is fine for most freshwater fish. Actually great for African cichlids, live-bearers, neocaridina shrimp and some other things. It is probably lower in the Spring and goes up as things dry out. Or the acid buffering of your substrate crapped out.

If you plan on ordering wild caught stuff, breeding or growing demanding plants then you get an RODI unit and navigate that minefield.
 

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