Trying to figure out what's going on

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by omordn, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. omordn

    omordnValued MemberMember

    So today has been confirmed that something is going on with my 20g tank. I am trying to figure out the source that is causing my pH swing and other water levels. Here are my results from today:

    • pH - 6.6
    • nitrites - 0 ppm
    • nitrates - 0 ppm
    • ammonia - 0 ppm
    • temp: 81 F

    The last time I performed a water change was on 06/03. And my results from that day (before the water change) are below:

    • pH - 7.2
    • nitrites - 0 ppm
    • nitrates - 0 ~ 5 ppm
    • ammonia - 0 ~ 0.25 ppm
    • temp: 78 F

    I haven't done any water changes in between my readings (aside from that one I mentioned). I also haven't added any chemicals or replaced my filter/ cartridge whatsoever. I have also been feeding my fish once a day (definitely not overfeeding). However, one of my grapevine driftwood is going through a fungus phase (it's been this way for over a week now).

    Any help I can get in trying to figure out why the changes in my levels would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    What's your KH and GH?
  3. OP

    omordnValued MemberMember

    It was 2dKH (2 drops) for both KH and GH on the 06/03 results. I can test again if needed.


    * KH - 2dKH
    * GH - 3dKH

    I think I know what I need to do after doing a bit of research: get some crushed coral and put it in my filter. Is this correct? If so, how much of it do I need to use? I've also seen a Seachem product that supposedly adjusts your pH. I'm not sure what the reviews are for this.

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  4. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Yes, you need to increase your KH so your pH is constant. You can try 1/2 cup to start with and see where your KH is. If it's not enough, you can always add more.

    Seachem Equilibrium or Replenish will also work, but you need to re-add them with every water change and they're more expensive than the crushed coral route.

  5. OP

    omordnValued MemberMember

    Okay, I need to see if my LFS carries crushed coral. I also have to see if it will fit in my HOB filter. I currently own a Marineland Penguin 100B filter.
  6. Dondomingo

    DondomingoWell Known MemberMember

    Great thing about Crushed coral and Oyster shell is it's basically not wasted until the ph drops, the more acidic the water gets the more it releases to stabilize.
  7. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    It's usually in the same spot where they keep the various substrates, since it is used as a substrate for salt water tanks. But when I bought it, the smallest bag was 15 pounds, so I have a lifetime+ supply of it.

    If you do not have room in your filter, you could place some in a media bag and just put it in your tank, Or is you wanted, you could just sprinlkle around in your substrate.
  8. Sarah73

    Sarah73Fishlore VIPMember

    Your tank isn't cycled:( it hasn't even started yet:(. Your nitrates should be between 5-20 for your tank to be cycled. It's like it started to cycle, but then it stopped:/ did you take anything out of the tank?
  9. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Nitrates should be above 0 in a cycled tank. They can be lower than 5 or higher than 20.
  10. Sarah73

    Sarah73Fishlore VIPMember

    Yes but I am stating where is should be at once it's done cycled. You are talking about a spike.
  11. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I am not talking about a spike. When a tank is finished cycling, it can have a whole range of nitrates, as long as it's above zero. You can bring it to 5-20 ppm with water changes, and that level is ideal, but when a tank completes the cycle, it can have any level of nitrates.

    And OP is having trouble with a fluctuating pH.
  12. OP

    omordnValued MemberMember

    @Sarah73, my tank has been cycled. This is why I started this thread to figure out what is causing my water level changes. It could be that I just happen to have soft tap water. This is the only change I can think of because I just recently moved to a new apartment (May).

    I keep a log of my water tests, and dating back to when I first moved here, my levels have been stable with the exception of my KH and GH. This is what changed when I moved. Here are my suspicions:

    * I could have started a mini-cycle after the move since moving my tank and equipment... you'd hope everything was copacetic but let's face it... when you have to move a tank your margin of error is pretty small. However, because I moved in early May.. we are now in June and you'd think my cycle would establish itself by now. I have not replaced my cartridge at all so all the beneficial bacteria should be there.

    * I added driftwood and live plants in my tank. I'm still fairly new to having live plants, but aside from this addition, I have been adding Seachem Flourish with every water change. Could this have an impact of what I am currently experiencing? I'm not sure.

    * It could be that my KH is just screwing up my levels. I'm not sure.

    One thing I do know for certain is that both my ammonia and nitrite levels have been stable. My ammonia readings have not gone over 0.25 ppm and my nitrites have been stable at 0 ppm.

    Note: Before I moved, here are the water levels I got from testing...

    * ammonia - 1.0 ~ 2.0 ppm
    * nitrites - 0 ppm
    * nitrates - 5.0 ppm
    * pH - 7.4

    The KH and GH in my previous location were: 6dKH for KH and 5 dKH for GH.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016

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