Plants dropping PH?

Hemikyle

I went to test my ph in my 125g with freshly added cichlids and it was at 8.4ph the only thing I did recently was add plants on the top of the tank. Its been a few days and I'm always checking parameters on this tank because everything has been cycled and the fish are added and this is all my first time doing this. But today I went to test everything which checked out perfectly but my ph dropped to 7.4ph? Any thoughts on would could be the issue? Could it be the plants?
 

FishGirl38

You have another post with dropping PH in a seperate tank too, huh?

Do you know what your GH and KH values are sitting at?

GH measures the overall dissolved solids in the aquarium. Thats straight calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc. KH measures the buffering capacity of your PH, OR how resistant it is to change.

If you didn't initially know this than my explanation probably was more confusing, GH+KH=PH. GH = minerals we normally know to affect PH (what most people assume PH is testing). KH = level of calcium carbonate in the aquarium. Carbonate = keyword.

The carbonate from KH binds with the heavy minerals in GH and keeps them 'neutral'. If too much acid starts to build up and outweigh the carbonate (and eat away at it) than the overall PH can drop. Its not necessarily a decrease in the heavy minerals, its a decrease in your buffer - the carbonate. At least this is how I understand PH. You can change how high or low your normal threshold is with your GH, but what determines whether or not is stays there is your KH.

SO....I would try to test your KH if you have a kit available. If your KH is low, than increasing that will help keep the overall PH more stable over time. You can add calcium carbonate or crushed coral in a filter bag inside the filter (or a crushed coral stone straight into the tank).

MAYBE you have high GH but low KH in your tap water? So...the PH is reading the GH and testing overall 'high' BUT you don't have much calcium carbonate present in the water, so the acids from ammonia and aminos and things are eating away at your KH at a faster rate?

Are you using any kind of PH lowing media? Drift wood, catappa leaves, peat?

Plants COULD account for a decrease in some of your GH values. but usually not enough to where it's a cause for concern...Just enough to where its replaced again with water changes.

Aquarium salt won't buffer aquarium water like how reef salt will, but they're still salts, and salts are heavy minerals...they wouldn't have decreased the PH...

My last idea is ammonia? But you mentioned you've been doing water changes so this likely isnt it, but ammonia is acidic too. but youd have to have ammonia in the tank for awhile..

As an Edit here, the reason plants CAN have an affect on your PH is because they require SOME intake of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc...these minerals are also 'included' into your overall PH count. If you have enough plants and you're not replenishing those minerals with plant fertilizers (or supplementing them I should say) than your mineral PH level could drop. But...those things I mentioned are micronutrients, and don't make up much of what plants need - so usually the effect goes unnoticed, esp if you're doing water changes per usual.

I would test the KH in your aquarium water, and then the KH in your source water. If they're both low than that 's probably the reason for the drop in PH that you were seeing. at least that's my best scientific guess.
 

Gel0city

My guess isn't as long as the previous post above (or near informative) but my guess is that your source of water suddenly dropped in pH. That has happened to me before, not pH but ammonia levels. Make sure your fish don't experience a pH swing.
 

Hemikyle

You have another post with dropping PH in a seperate tank too, huh?

Do you know what your GH and KH values are sitting at?

GH measures the overall dissolved solids in the aquarium. Thats straight calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc. KH measures the buffering capacity of your PH, OR how resistant it is to change.

If you didn't initially know this than my explanation probably was more confusing, GH+KH=PH. GH = minerals we normally know to affect PH (what most people assume PH is testing). KH = level of calcium carbonate in the aquarium. Carbonate = keyword.

The carbonate from KH binds with the heavy minerals in GH and keeps them 'neutral'. If too much acid starts to build up and outweigh the carbonate (and eat away at it) than the overall PH can drop. Its not necessarily a decrease in the heavy minerals, its a decrease in your buffer - the carbonate. At least this is how I understand PH. You can change how high or low your normal threshold is with your GH, but what determines whether or not is stays there is your KH.

SO....I would try to test your KH if you have a kit available. If your KH is low, than increasing that will help keep the overall PH more stable over time. You can add calcium carbonate or crushed coral in a filter bag inside the filter (or a crushed coral stone straight into the tank).

MAYBE you have high GH but low KH in your tap water? So...the PH is reading the GH and testing overall 'high' BUT you don't have much calcium carbonate present in the water, so the acids from ammonia and aminos and things are eating away at your KH at a faster rate?

Are you using any kind of PH lowing media? Drift wood, catappa leaves, peat?

Plants COULD account for a decrease in some of your GH values. but usually not enough to where it's a cause for concern...Just enough to where its replaced again with water changes.

Aquarium salt won't buffer aquarium water like how reef salt will, but they're still salts, and salts are heavy minerals...they wouldn't have decreased the PH...

My last idea is ammonia? But you mentioned you've been doing water changes so this likely isnt it, but ammonia is acidic too. but youd have to have ammonia in the tank for awhile..

As an Edit here, the reason plants CAN have an affect on your PH is because they require SOME intake of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc...these minerals are also 'included' into your overall PH count. If you have enough plants and you're not replenishing those minerals with plant fertilizers (or supplementing them I should say) than your mineral PH level could drop. But...those things I mentioned are micronutrients, and don't make up much of what plants need - so usually the effect goes unnoticed, esp if you're doing water changes per usual.

I would test the KH in your aquarium water, and then the KH in your source water. If they're both low than that 's probably the reason for the drop in PH that you were seeing. at least that's my best scientific guess.
Yes my QT tank was dropping.

Don't know what my GH and KH values are at.
Where can I pick up the test for it?

The only thing I have in the tank are Coral Based rocks and Holy Rock? I think is how it's spelled? And sand plus the plants I put on the top of the tank.

Will my fish be okay? They seem okay but that was a big change from 8.4 to 7.4 and same goes with the qt tank being 6.0ph to 6.4ph after water change.

Should I remove the plants for now or leave them?
 

FishGirl38

I would recommend just going on amazon and ordering them online. I personally like API brand, but it's personal preference. but....

If you have coral based rocks in your aquarium....Like, Dried, Whole, Coral Stones? Thats basically what crushed coral IS, so that blows my whole idea out of the pond.

If you already have those in the tank, then you should also have regularly replenishing KH too. Knowing where the GH and KH is in your aquarium and tap water might give you better direction as to what you should do to fix it. but I'm now stumped on the cause.

What Kind of plants do you have floating? Are they heavy root plants or pond plants like water lettuce? I don't THINK the plants are to blame, If you have another place to put them, you might want to remove them to 'test' and see if the plants aren't related to the changing PH.

Last thing, generally a change in PH of just .2 is enough to stress fish. The initial change might've weighed on them, but if it was gradual enough, and you're not already seeing many adverse affects, then I wouldn't worry too much about the PH and your fish. It's hard to say whether or not they'll be fine. But I'm leaning towards the idea that they will be.
 

Hemikyle

I would recommend just going on amazon and ordering them online. I personally like API brand, but it's personal preference. but....

If you have coral based rocks in your aquarium....Like, Dried, Whole, Coral Stones? Thats basically what crushed coral IS, so that blows my whole idea out of the pond.

If you already have those in the tank, then you should also have regularly replenishing KH too. Knowing where the GH and KH is in your aquarium and tap water might give you better direction as to what you should do to fix it. but I'm now stumped on the cause.

What Kind of plants do you have floating? Are they heavy root plants or pond plants like water lettuce? I don't THINK the plants are to blame, If you have another place to put them, you might want to remove them to 'test' and see if the plants aren't related to the changing PH.

Last thing, generally a change in PH of just .2 is enough to stress fish. The initial change might've weighed on them, but if it was gradual enough, and you're not already seeing many adverse affects, then I wouldn't worry too much about the PH and your fish. It's hard to say whether or not they'll be fine. But I'm leaning towards the idea that they will be.
Okay ill get a test and test both the tap and aquarium water.

I'll have to ask what plant it was.

Do you think I should remove the plant? I don't want another ph swing that big on these guys :/
 

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