Very high pH problem

lisa987

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HI everyone,

I posted regarding this problem on the betta board but it probably fits better here. Here's my deal:

Tap water: 7.2-7.4
Tap water + conditioner: 7.4
Tap water + conditioner + using plastic pitcher I have been using (which was in the dishwasher some time ago): 7.4
Tank water: 8.2

I'm in the ammonia phase of my cycle, with low ammonia (0.25-0.50ppm by AP master test kit). Do you guys notice high pH readings when you have ammonia in the tank? Someone suggested to pour vinegar over my gravel to test see if it bubbled, and it did not so I've ruled that out as the cause of my high pH. I feel like the idea that not being cycled causes high pH could make sense since NH3 (ammonia) buffers H+ by becoming NH4+, effectively lowering [H+] and resulting in a high pH. My ammonia readings are low, but I guess that would be the case if it was being converted to ammonium.

Anyway, that's my theory but I don't know if that's how it works in practice. Do other people have high pH when there's ammonia in the tank? I ask because I have a betta with finrot and some members suggested that the very high pH could be stressing him.
 

Isabella

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As Orangeson asked, what size is your tank and do you have any fish in it?

I don't know if the cycle has any influence on pH. I suppose you should just wait until your tank is cycled, and see for yourself. Once your tank is cycled, continue with regular weekly water changes. With regular weekly water changes you should normally have a stable pH that is similar to your tap pH. If you do not change water for a long time, and a lot of fish wastes have accumulated, the pH tends to go down. This is because as nitrate (coming from fish wastes) increases, the pH decreases.

My Angelfish tank was overstocked for a while, and the pH could go significantly lower in that tank than the pH of my tap water. My other tank that is lightly stocked, usually has a pH that is the same or very similar to my tap pH. I also think that if your tank is lightly stocked, has no plants in it, and you don't perform water changes for a while (without a large increase in nitrate), the pH can actually go up. I've had that happen in my lightly stocked tank.
 
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lisa987

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It's a 5 gallon with one betta. He's been in it for about a month. Unfortunately I didn't get to cycle fishless because I originally had him in a larger community tank but there was some aggression against the platys so I had to buy the 5 gallon at the spur of the moment. I am considering getting Bio-spira if I find out that having a cycled tank does keep the pH down. The ammonia is 0.25-0.50 ppm right now and I'll be doing a water change tonight. Does the ammonia have to spike at a high level like 4ppm in order for the nitrifying bacteria to establish themselves? Because if that's the case then I definitely would want the Bio-spira since that's too much ammonia to expose my fish to. It just seems like after 4 weeks I should be getting nitrites and I'm still at nitrite = 0.
 

ewolfe315

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Lisa,

To tell ya the truth,it's harder to keep water parameters where they belong in a smaller tank then it does in a larger one. They can be good one day and bad the next. I find it so hard to feed 1 fish more then it is to feed 20. I had so many frye die in a smaller tank til I was doing 75% water changes daily and thus learned from bad expieriences. Now I have 14 swordtails that are as big as their father.

As for the Ammonia with high PH,mine was totally opposite and this was after it cycled.. Whenever my Ph went down my Ammonia went up. But your still in the cycling stage so I would just wait it out.
 

tan.b

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my tanks are both cycling, and my pH is ALWAYS 7.2. that's also what comes out of the tap. my ammonia has gone as high as 1.0 and nitrite as high as 0.5 and nitrate as high as 10. none of these readings ever had any effect on my pH. my pH just never changes (which don't get me wrong....its great....but after reading your first post it does seem a little odd as your theory makes sense on paper!!). sorry to put a spanner in the works!!! that's just my tanks!!!! they don't conform at the best of times though!!! who gets nitrate then ammonia then nitrite when cycling!!! and as the nitrite goes up, so does the ammonia?!!! ??? my tanks are possessed!!!! I think gremlins come in the night and put varying amounts of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate in there to keep me puzzled!!!!!!!!!! ???
ok, this cycling lark is finally sending me loopy!!!! lol!
Tan
 
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lisa987

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Thanks for the responses Well, there goes my potential award-winning thesis about high pH and ammonia. I've finally decided to shell out the extra $$ for the Bio-spira and hopefully things settle to a reasonable level or else I'll have to do more detective work because something is messing that pH up.

Tan.b, your tank does sound a little crazy! You might be onto something with the gremlins
 

tan.b

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lol! good luck with your mystery! my test tubes are very pretty at the moment with all the colours i'm getting!

not intending to hyjack the thread but anyone know if and where you can get bio-spira in the uk? it sounds fab!
 

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