Seriously Need Ph Answers

BaseballMom

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i have asked about this issue before but I’ve never felt satisfied with the answers so I’m asking again.

38 gallon 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite 40+nitrate probably actually over 80

From January until March I need water changes and vacuuming every week. Then spring rains came and the water in my tap fell to unusable PH except in small doses. 5 gallon bucket at a time like once a week. My tank is at 7.4-7.6 tap is most times below 6.6. So I now have a tank that hasn’t been properly cleaned or water changed in MONTHS.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when the tap water isn’t workable. I’ve bought and tested gallons of water from the store and they are just as low PH. Is it time to work with ph chemicals just to do my water changes?

Fish don’t seem unhappy. I mean I’ve lost a few fish since I started but only 1 since the water quality was suffering and he died the same way as the others. Not sure what happens to them but I don’t think it’s due to water quality.

I know have 5 neon tetras and 2 Corys. Had 8 tetras and 5 Corys but a few died like I said and I won’t add more when I can’t take care of the water changes.
 

Fisker

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Just change the water in small amounts daily to avoid large swings all at once. The fish can handle small swings, and by changing small amounts out daily, you'll be slowly lowering the PH to allow you to continue maintenance. The lower PH won't bother the fish as long as they're slowly brought down to that PH.

Stay away from ANY chemical that claims to alter your PH. They're more trouble than they're worth, almost every time.
 

PascalKrypt

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You can also toss in some dried leaves to lower your tank PH a bit to bring it closer to the tap water in addition to the small daily changes mentioned above.
 

Pat93

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My suggestions are as follows

-Mix your tap water with another water source to achieve the Ph that you want. This will get you your water for water changes without the need for messing around with
Lowering the alkalinity
move the ph
and then again raise alkalinity to ensure the ph you had moved the water to remains stable.

The tough part here is finding the water source.
If you are on city water, then ask friends with a well if you could test their water for potential use.(most people will let you because they will think it’s neat)
If you are on a well, ask friends with city water the same

-use the most natural methods you can find to alter your water chemistry
Don’t just go buy a bottle of “jumpin jacks magic ph chem”
Learn about ph, alkalinity,how they effect eachother, and why, perhaps you already know in which case you are more than halfway there.

I don’t really have many suggestions for raising ph because I myself have the opposite problem and I have to lower my ph.
I suggest crushed coral if your looking for something to hold your ph in place after you have adjusted it. But I have never personally used that either.

I haven’t manipulated the ph in many of my fishtanks either just for full disclosure, most of my knowledge of how to adjust ph comes from managing a pool at my workplace, that’s why I don’t have many suggestions for you because when I wanna restore the Alkalinity to the pool water I just dump in straight baking soda or “sodium bicarbonate” if you prefer. if I wanna lower the ph I dump in a dry acid, you can’t exactly do that in the fish keeping world, without great risk anyway. So it’s best since your dealing with living things if you change the water naturally.

Hope that’s at least a different answer then you’ve recieved before lol
 
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BaseballMom

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Just change the water in small amounts daily to avoid large swings all at once. The fish can handle small swings, and by changing small amounts out daily, you'll be slowly lowering the PH to allow you to continue maintenance. The lower PH won't bother the fish as long as they're slowly brought down to that PH.

Stay away from ANY chemical that claims to alter your PH. They're more trouble than they're worth, almost every time.
How much can I change at a time?

You can also toss in some dried leaves to lower your tank PH a bit to bring it closer to the tap water in addition to the small daily changes mentioned above.
What kind of dried leaves?
 

AvalancheDave

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Fish do have absolute pH limits. If pH gets too low, no matter how slowly, they will eventually die. A friend has soft water and his pH dropped to <4 within days of a water change. His fish were just laying on the bottom. After he raised pH to around 6, they resumed normal behavior surprisingly quickly.

Aquarium orthodoxy would tell you that a pH <4 would not have harmed them as the decline was gradual while the relatively quick increase to 6 would have. In reality, the opposite occurred.

If you have soft water like many others you'll have to add carbonate or bicarbonate in some form to maintain alkalinity and pH. It could be as simple as adding a bunch of crushed coral to the tank. I don't have any personal experience with that though. I bought a 25 lb bag of potassium bicarbonate years ago as a potassium supplement (for myself) so that's what I use.

Edit: of course there studies establishing this as well. I just thought it was interesting because it happened only a few days ago and surprised me.
 

PascalKrypt

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What kind of dried leaves?
If you're willing to buy them, most people get indian almond/catappa leaves from aquarist stores or order them online.
If you want to collect them yourself, it is best to google local trees to see if people recommend them for aquarium use (some are toxic, though most are fine). Anything from the alder, oak or beech families is safe. Make sure to us fully dried leaves though (you can put them in a dry/light spot in your home for a week to make sure) otherwise they might rot in your aquarium and cause water quality issues. I sounds scary but I do it a lot and it's never caused me any issues. You should stuff quite a few handfuls in a 38, because the natural process by which the PH is lowered this way is slow, you don't risk PH swings that could be dangerous to your fish. Note that it will discolour your water a little (making it appear somewhat yellowish), this is natural.
Do note that doing this will also soften your water, so if it is already very low you might not want to use this method.
 
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BaseballMom

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If you're willing to buy them, most people get indian almond/catappa leaves from aquarist stores or order them online.
If you want to collect them yourself, it is best to google local trees to see if people recommend them for aquarium use (some are toxic, though most are fine). Anything from the alder, oak or beech families is safe. Make sure to us fully dried leaves though (you can put them in a dry/light spot in your home for a week to make sure) otherwise they might rot in your aquarium and cause water quality issues. I sounds scary but I do it a lot and it's never caused me any issues. You should stuff quite a few handfuls in a 38, because the natural process by which the PH is lowered this way is slow, you don't risk PH swings that could be dangerous to your fish. Note that it will discolour your water a little (making it appear somewhat yellowish), this is natural.
Do note that doing this will also soften your water, so if it is already very low you might not want to use this method.
Ahhh thanks for the soft warning! I cannot allow softer water. I already had to add aragonite to the gravel to keep the ph from crashing to below 6. Thanks though!!
 

Mr. Kgnao

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I wouldn't be the least bit concerned about pH in this situtation, cories and neons will be more than happy in the mid sixes. I would only worry about the water being annoyingly soft, but if you're already adding aragonite, you should be fine.
 

gmwJOY

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baseballmom hmm here easy solutions
as pascalkrypt said use indian almond leaves...
we all use stone and drift wood as decoration and for hiding places
but rocks increase oh of water nas driftwood decrease ph of water
so put one or more wood to you aquarium.and when you change your water according to your water volume ass indian almond leaved and a little pinch of epsom salt,
for best result you can make the water one or 2 day before, and keep is ready
pascal brother only indian almond leaves are aquarium safe, i mean indian origin species of almond tree leaves are safe.. there is no other indian almond leaves are toxic, there is so many almond trees in india but they are not originate in india or not indian species.
 

coralbandit

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This on that ..Ph is only one number ..
What is GH/KH/ and TDS ???
I am not trying to sound rough or like Captain Hindsight but if you just did weekly water changes with no regard to your source water the fish would be used to it and your numbers would be what most say are ok ..Your nitrates are an issue.
So to save them now they need to get used to it faster ??? I would just start changing water like someone with too high nitrate [which you have also ]..
25% today.25% tomorrow or day after . 50% after that and weekly ...
You have allowed the argonite or whatever in your tank to get so far ahead of your source water you are scared now ...
That is why they are so different ..
Is your source only acceptable in the winter ??? I have heard of and dealt with seasonal fluctuations ...3 months of good water ain't going to cut it ..You got to roll with what you have ..
You might consider buffing in a container ahead of time ..I use Brute 32 g garbage cans to make water ..That way you can add water that matches your tank ?
 

PascalKrypt

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Tbh I keep my fish in very soft water because that is all I have access to (GH ~3-3.5) and aside from shrimp it hasn't caused any issues. Try putting some chalk- or limestone pebbles or chips in your tank, I got a handful from the yard and they raised GH in my shrimp tanks to a stable 5-6.

pascal brother only indian almond leaves are aquarium safe, i mean indian origin species of almond tree leaves are safe.. there is no other indian almond leaves are toxic, there is so many almond trees in india but they are not originate in india or not indian species.
Nope, many tree leaves are actually aquarium safe. Which makes a lot of sense, because otherwise every pond or lake that had leaves drop into it would be unable to host fish. Most trees from the Beech family (which includes not only beech trees but also Quercus, oak species and chestnuts, though I've never seen the latter demonstrated) are perfectly fine. I use them a lot, and so have many others, without any ill effects. The story of Indian Almond Leaves being the only safe ones is just commercial hogwash to sell you products. I'm not even sure they provide any specific benefit over other types of leaves.
 

gmwJOY

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Nope, many tree leaves are actually aquarium safe. Which makes a lot of sense, because otherwise every pond or lake that had leaves drop into it would be unable to host fish. Most trees from the Beech family (which includes not only beech trees but also Quercus, oak species and chestnuts, though I've never seen the latter demonstrated) are perfectly fine. I use them a lot, and so have many others, without any ill effects. The story of Indian Almond Leaves being the only safe ones is just commercial hogwash to sell you products. I'm not even sure they provide any specific benefit over other types of leaves.
brother, i am only talking about almond leaves, not each and every tree , mangifera indica leaves are safe, but this is other tree not an almond tree, i only talking about difference between indian almond tree and forgaien almond tree, which is safe which is not
 

Fisker

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Fish do have absolute pH limits. If pH gets too low, no matter how slowly, they will eventually die. A friend has soft water and his pH dropped to <4 within days of a water change. His fish were just laying on the bottom. After he raised pH to around 6, they resumed normal behavior surprisingly quickly.

Aquarium orthodoxy would tell you that a pH <4 would not have harmed them as the decline was gradual while the relatively quick increase to 6 would have. In reality, the opposite occurred.

If you have soft water like many others you'll have to add carbonate or bicarbonate in some form to maintain alkalinity and pH. It could be as simple as adding a bunch of crushed coral to the tank. I don't have any personal experience with that though. I bought a 25 lb bag of potassium bicarbonate years ago as a potassium supplement (for myself) so that's what I use.

Edit: of course there studies establishing this as well. I just thought it was interesting because it happened only a few days ago and surprised me.
That's very true - but we're talking about a PH in the mid sixes, not in the fours. Much below 5, and even our BB can't live, so it's not surprising that your friend's fish were struggling.

I'd do 10% daily until you get it close to your target. Consider adding a small amount of crushed coral (very small) to your filter in a media bag, to keep your PH from plummeting again.
 

wintermute

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I think if you already have aragonite (It's like having crushed coral in your filter no?) Then you probably don't have anything to worry about if you do more frequent smaller water changes (say 20% two to three times a week) You could start off with 10% each time and make sure it doesn't stress your fish, and if all is well, up it to 20% and see how they go.

I'd be very surprised if your ph drops below about 7.2 long term even with 6.6 tap water. If you only have the aragonite in the substrate it might be worth trying putting a bit in the filter as water flow through it will I believe enhance the buffering effect.

Tony.
 

Indiansfan

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I had a problem with low ph. I’m not sure how low, because it was off the chart with my test kit. I added crushed coral in a bag to the back of my tank behind a rock. And put a small amount in a little bag and shoved it behind the filter. It did wonders. And now my ph is right where I want it
 

mattgirl

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I remember the problems you had while trying to cycle this tank. Now that the cycle is complete and hopefully stable it would be time to remove the aragonite (finely crushed coral). You can start lowering the PH in the tank with small daily water changes. 10% today, 15% tomorrow, 20% the next day. Keep going up 5% daily until you are up to a 50% water change.

This will both equalize the PH and get those nitrates back down.

If you find your PH going lower in the tank than your source water add some of the crushed coral back in. Start with just a little bit and adjust the amount as needed. Go at least 3 days between additions of additional CC to give it time to raise the PH.

Once balanced it should take nothing but weekly water changes to keep it balanced.
 

Somthingfishy01

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i have asked about this issue before but I’ve never felt satisfied with the answers so I’m asking again.

38 gallon 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite 40+nitrate probably actually over 80

From January until March I need water changes and vacuuming every week. Then spring rains came and the water in my tap fell to unusable PH except in small doses. 5 gallon bucket at a time like once a week. My tank is at 7.4-7.6 tap is most times below 6.6. So I now have a tank that hasn’t been properly cleaned or water changed in MONTHS.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when the tap water isn’t workable. I’ve bought and tested gallons of water from the store and they are just as low PH. Is it time to work with ph chemicals just to do my water changes?

Fish don’t seem unhappy. I mean I’ve lost a few fish since I started but only 1 since the water quality was suffering and he died the same way as the others. Not sure what happens to them but I don’t think it’s due to water quality.

I know have 5 neon tetras and 2 Corys. Had 8 tetras and 5 Corys but a few died like I said and I won’t add more when I can’t take care of the water changes.
I would just use API ph down or ph up, its better than getting mad scientist and obsessing but better to make the change very gradually as others have said
 

Craig_84

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I constantly keep lumps of White Sea rock in my tank which keeps my ph higher. Used cc but a bag of crushed coral looked terrible

858AA90D-0774-4DE0-8D83-35E741E829BA.jpeg
I just used them as my scape
 

Ronniethewitch

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My water ph is quite low, so every water change I add a small amount of bicarbonate of soda- the pure one with no caking agent...- have it in the house anyway and it's no different to adding water conditioner. Doing it in very small amounts regularly means no swings in ph for my fishies, it's steady away stable.
 
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