Simple Question: Testing Tap Water PH Method

Cjacksonlasd1

Hello, I just received from Amazon a PH Meter Electronic Stick, because I was tired of guessing the PH using the color codes, and I don't like guessing, I like to know.

I monitor my PH because the place I just moved to tap water was testing at 8.3 which is too high for my fish in all my tanks, so I always did a little mixing of distilled water to get the PH to 7.8. When I got the PH meter at first I thought it was broken telling my the distilled water was 5.5, later I read that is normal due to no buffers and it sucked in CO2 that lowers its PH.

My question Is when I started this hobby I remember you needed to leave an airstone in tap water to get its true PH level, I don't have a spare, does leaving the water out due the same de-gassing or should I spend $5 and get an airstone to know the taps water true PH. When I pour tap water it tests at 7.5 PH, when I leave it out over night it goes to 8.0. That is a large swing to use, and I might not even be at the final PH level yet. I just want to make sure I am testing it right to then judge how much, if any distilled water needed.

Thanks.
 

Cjacksonlasd1

Can someone also tell me if its normal for tank ph to change throughout the day. At 9am the tanks PH was at 7.73 and at 1pm the PH is at 8.04. Is this normal?

Does TDS matter? Should I get a TDS meter to check TDS levels? I have always wondered that.
 

MikeRad89

@l3uckethead
 

FishRI

I3uckethead
 

MarkN1990

@13uckethead


 

Geoffrey

What fish do you have?

Unless they're very sensitive, most can adapt to a wide range of pH. Keeping the pH stable is more important than getting that "perfect" pH. If you're confident you can mix the distilled and tap water consistently for each water change than you can continue doing so, for it's probably more work than necessary.

Leaving tap water out for 24 hours will give you a better reading since some of the CO2 will gas out of the water (CO2 makes the water more acidic). There's no need for an airstone, it just speeds up the process of gassing out the CO2.
 

I3uckethead

Yes, you should use an airstone. That said, leaving it sit will be close enough. No reason to spend more. Just stir it occasionally.
It's normal for some small Ph fluctuation. I go between 8.13 and 8.31.

TDS meters are great if you are modifying your water to ensure consistency easily.

All that said, 8.3 is perfectly fine for most fish. What are you keeping?

 

Cjacksonlasd1

Thanks for the responses. Now I have the PH meter, and its so easy to use, I am seeing how the PH is fluctuating which I have never noticed before. My PH at 9am was 7.78, at 1pm it was 8.03, and right now at 5pm its at 8.13.

In regards to my water changes I have been doing a 1:3 distilled to tap water ration every water change so its easy to monitor and really only takes an extra minute each water change and $0.89 for the distilled water gallon container. But if I3uckethead says that 8.3 is fine for water, then maybe I will stop the addition of distilled water. All the fish descriptions say to keep PH at max of 7.8 to keep them stress free, that's why I started to attempt to lower the PH. I also have 4 teaspoons of FLUVAL peat in a mesh bag in one filter to also help keep the water softer and PH down a tad. I change the peat once a month.

In regards to TDS, I will be purchasing a TDS meter since its only 10$ that's a drop in the bucket compared to all the other money I am spending on this hobby.

My tank info is below:

Tank: 20 Gallon Long
Fish: 7 Zebra Danio, 8 Neon Tetra, 4 Cory Cats, 1 Dwarf Gourami, 5 Amano Shrimp
Filter: Aquaclear 20 and Aquaclear 30
Plants: x2 Amazon Sword, x1 Rosette Sword, x2 Anubias Nana

Background: Tank was cycled, changed out gravel to a lighter color on Saturday so tank is minI cycling right now. Just tested with PH 8.0, Ammonia 0.50, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate 5.0. I except the ammonia because I am sure I lost a lot of BB with changing the old gravel, I did place some old gravel into mesh bag and its in the tank to hopefully help out. Doing a 25% water change later tonight to help lower ammonia a bit, and will most likely do another water change on Friday or Saturday to keep the water clean.
 

Geoffrey

The pH is fine. Don't use pH Down since it can causes the pH to swing too much and potentially kill your fish. Keeping the pH and other water parameters stable is best. Using the peat moss is fine.
Unless you plan to have very sensitive fish (like discus or certain shrimps), there's no need to get too hung up on pH. In terms of water chemistry GH and KH are more important, do you know what those values are?

Try to get the ammonia under 0.25ppm, so I'd do a 50% water change instead of 25%. You can also use the water conditioner Seachem Prime to help detoxify the ammonia for 24-48 hours. Dose for the volume of your tank.
 

I3uckethead

All of those fish will be fine at 8.3, just adjust slowly since they're now used to your lower range.

 

Cjacksonlasd1

Thanks again. I will slowly stop the usage of the distilled water, except for topping off my tanks. For the water change of 5 gallons I just finished, I always add prime to the new water to de-chlorinate the water. I have also read on other forums that 8.3 is fine so I will stop stressing about PH, yay one less thing to worry about. In regards to TDS I was told to get the GH/KH API test kit to just monitor the water hardness so I guess Ill order that on Amazon to ensure my water does not get too soft, since I know water hardness helps buffer and stabilize the PH.

PS. . . you guys are awesome, thanks again.
 

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