Question About High Ph And Water Changes Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by TheSaraBree, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. TheSaraBreeNew MemberMember

    Did a pwc on my daughters betta tank today since ammonia was showing up slightly green. I also tested the pH and it was 8.2 which is where is was duing cycling. When I did a 80-90% water change before we added him last week it lowered it considerably to about 7.4 since our tap water is 7.0 and I figured the pH would regulate itself and stay around the mid 7s.

    So today when I saw the pH was back to 8.2 I was kind of surprised. I did about a 20-30% water change and it lowered the pH to about 7.6 and that got me thinking that that wide swing of pH might not be good for him. Is there anything I should do in the future? Or is it ok to continue to do water changes like that?

    So grateful for this forum and all the knowledge and help I've received thus far!
  2. Zigi ZigWell Known MemberMember

    The pH of your tank water is a measure of the alkalinity or acidity and it is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. A neutral pH is measured at 7.0. Any measurement below 7.0 is said to be acidic while pH values above 7.0 are alkaline. So PH swing is not healthy for fish it has to be maintain steady is possible. There are a number of factors that contribute to the pH level in your tank including the trace mineral content, the type of   you use, and the chemical concentration in your tank water. If any of these things changes, it could lead to a change in the pH value of your tank water. Other things that might cause a change in pH include the use of certain medications, the failure of your filtration system, or even certain objects or decorations in your tank (like driftwood). The key to dealing with changes in pH is to identify the cause. So we need more info about your tank..

  3. TheSaraBreeNew MemberMember

    The tank is a 6.7 gallon tank with gravel substrate with 2 java ferns, a marimo moss ball, a cave structure, a heater, an aqueon 10 filter (just bought new today with the old cycled filter media from the old crappy filter that came with the tank), an airstone, and 3 silk plants. The parameters before the water change were ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 5-10, pH 8.2.

    After the water change the parameters were ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5. pH 7.6. The temperature is 80 degrees F.

    Is there anything else you need to know?

  4. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    It is totally possible that the water source starts out with a more neutral pH and as it off gases the pH increases. To test this, take a sample container of tap water and test the beginning pH. Then aerate it for at least 24 hours using an airstone and then test the pH again.

  5. TheSaraBreeNew MemberMember

    Ok I will try that. If that is the case, what will I have to do moving forward in regards to water changes?
  6. Addie42Well Known MemberMember

    you can get Indian almond leaves (on amazon) which naturally lower the pH and are overall beneficial to the betta
    I'm not sure what's causing your pH swings though... Hold old is the tank?

    I do about 30% to 50% water changes on my 5.5 g Betta tank once or twice a week in a small bucket with airline tubing so the whole process is super slow
  7. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    If you notice your fish acting stressed during your usual water change, just do smaller water changes more frequently if required. Typically this type of pH shift doesn't really seem to affect fish the same because it is caused by a gas (CO2) as opposed to an actual decline of water chemistry that affects the buffering system (KH) which in turn affects pH. The presence of a gas vs. bicarbonate concentrations.

    Edit: @TheSaraBree ... you can also try just adding the new water more slowly to allow the shift to happen more slowly, and let it splash into the tank from higher up, which will help it off gas some.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  8. TheSaraBreeNew MemberMember

    I was think about ordering some IAL anyway so I think I will go ahead and do that. The tank is pretty new. I set up at the beginning of Feb and started cycling it. It finished cycling last week so we went and bought the fish and put him in on Saturday. All through the cycling process I would measure the pH every few days and it started at 7.0 (same as tap) and every time I tested it it would creep up higher and higher until it stopped and leveled off around 8.2.

    Thank you. I will also try doing smaller but more frequent water changes. Do you think by doing that the pH will become lower over time or will it stay closer to that 8.2 mark?
  9. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    It will always want to stabilize at 8.2ish if that is what the natural pH of your water is, after releasing trapped gas, and it equalizes with the gases that are present in the air of your home.
  10. Zigi ZigWell Known MemberMember

    Unfortunately 8.2 is not natural pH of water unless you have specific fish species they do require higher alkaline water.. Most do not understand the importance of maintaining stable pH levels in their aquarium. pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity in the water. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being "neutral for most tropical fish for example Angelfish 6.5 - 7.0,   5.8 - 6.2,Goldfish 7.0 - 7.5 " (the point at which water is neither acidic nor alkaline). As the scale goes down, the water becomes more acidic; as the pH goes up, the water gets more alkaline. So the important thing to know about the pH scale is that it is logarithmic. For example, a pH level of 5 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 6, and a pH of 4 is 100 times more acidic than a pH of 6. So if your fish thrives in a pH of 7 but the water in your aquarium measures 8, your water is 10 times more alkaline than what it should be. If the pH is 9, then your fish are living in water 100 times more alkaline than recommended for optimal health. So it is easy to see why even a small change in required pH can be stressful - and potentially fatal - to your fish.
    Expecting a fish that requires a pH of 8 to share the same water with a fish that requires a pH of 6 is not sensible because one or both will always be under a great deal of stress. These examples emphasize the importance in matching your fish closely to the expected pH level of your water and then closely monitoring the pH.
    Maintain the Right pH Level for Your Tank
    There are several different ways to influence your water's pH. There are chemical additives you can add directly to the water which will either raise or lower the pH. Natural agents can also be used to alter water pH as well. Adding peat in the tank or filter will acidify the water. Mineral salts like   (found in limestone or in some shells) will increase the alkalinity and pH.
    Any time you attempt to change pH levels in your aquarium, remember that fish are very sensitive to pH changes and if it's done too rapidly, it can cause extreme stress or even death. Fish should not be exposed to a change in pH greater than 0.3 in a 24-hour period.

    I keep my PH Level 7.4-7.6 what is suitable for all my tropical type fish range from 7.0-7.8
  11. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    Natural pH of the OP's water is whatever the water's tendancy is to go to and remain at, without manipulation with pH altering chemicals. Not to be confused with a neutral water source. We aren't talking about fish needs... just what the pH of the water sits at, all by itself.
  12. TheSaraBreeNew MemberMember

    Thank you for taking time to reply, but I understand what pH is and why it is not good to have big swings in pH. This is exactly why I posted my question because I precisely understand why my water could be harmful to the fish. Do you have any suggestions for me?
  13. toosieFishlore VIPMember

    You know... because it's a small tank, you could fill a pail with water and leave it "air" for the week between water changes. That way you'd always have water ready and available, other than a warm up, which can be accomplished quite easily by placing the pail in a sink of hot water...swishing it around a few times to mix it, (cold water tends to stay on the bottom) and watching the temp until it is ready. It doesn't take that long...I've done it many times. It was more common practice years ago before the popularity of water changers like pythons came about. So... you'd use the water for a water change and then refill the pail so that it will be ready for the next time. Then your pH will be the same (or close to) from pail to tank, eliminating the swings. That's providing the tap water is solely responsible for the pH shifts, which your 24 hour test will help determine. If you do the test and it's not quite as high as you've been experiencing, just give it more time to see if it is done changing.