Water pH problems

wsp

I have a 55 gal tank started it on Dec 29....I am trying to follow the rules...I have had 6 fish for 3 weeks now, they seem happy and healthy. Today I thought lets buy a coulpe more fish..Took a sample of water to P-Smart and they tested it everything was great except the pH was greater than 8.4....Why would the pH be so high? They told me to get Neutral Regulator. I did but the label dosen't say when I should test the pH again. Does it work right away? Did I waste my money? I am glad I found this site. Any other suggestions on anything would be helpful. Thanks a million--Wendy
 

Isabella

HI Wendy. A pH of 8.4 is indeed very high as for a freshwater tank. You should test your water supply (the water which you use to make partial water changes). If you're using tap water, maybe your tap water is very high in pH. First of all, where do you take the water from? Wherever it comes from, measure its parameters before adding it to the tank.

There are commercial products that can lower or increase your pH. But it's not good to use them because once you start using them, you'll have to be using them always. This will result in constant pH swings that will greatly stress your fish. Providing a stable pH is more important than trying to get a pH exactly at the level particular fish naturally have. However 8.4 is indeed high and in this case I wouldn't want to provide some misleading advice. Maybe Gunnie or Butterfly will be able to help you - they know a great deal.

Besides, you're not using any rocks or substrates that increase the pH, right?
 

Isabella

P.S. A natural way to lower pH is putting aquarium-safe driftwood in your tank (that is soaked and boiled well before using it) or filtering the water through peat. But you'll have to be using peat on a regular basis too once you start. So as I said, avoid pH swings.
 

wsp

Lets see I get my water from the kitchen sink (city water). I just tested it and the pH was almost 7.8. I am not using any rocks or substrates. Would I be smart to buy water at the groc. store rather than use city water? The water also reads as very hard, in the tank and in the tap. Thanks for the info. trust me I need all I can get......thanks again-Wendy
 

newbie101

just wondering....you dechlor it, right?
 

wsp

Good Morning--Yes I declor my water and let it set 24 hours before my water change. I did a 25 % water change one week ago on the advice of the pet store.
 

Gunnie

WSP,
Welcome to FishLore! It's great to have you with us! Isabella has taken you under her wing, so you are in good hands now! We are so glad you decided to join us! That is weird about your ph going up after adding it to your tank. Can you tell us a little more about your tank? How big is it? What fish do you have in it? What are your ammonia and nitrite readings? What decorations do you have in the tank? Do you understand the cycling process? Also, it is highly recommended that you get your own test kits. My recommendation is an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit which will contain all the tests you need to keep your tank healthy. Petsmart actually has them on sale online! If you copy the page with the sale price, you may be able to take it in to your local store and purchase it there at that price!
 

wsp

Its great to be here...there are so many with such good advice. I have a 55 gal tank, 8 artificial grasses some very tall some medium tall and some low. The main center piece is what looks like two broken pots (its cool) I have put an air stone in the bottome of the pot to give more O2 in the water. My filter is a Whisper Advanced Power filter (double), and a Whisper submersible heater. I did buy a test kit yesterday and tested it a few minutes ago nitrate-0, ammonia-0, total hardness-hard-very hard, alkalinity-120, pH-7.8 (better than yesterday). I have 4 tiger barbs and 2 pearl danio's and they look great just hanging around and having fun. Thanks for all the great info. Please advise on good fish to add or anything else you can think of.--Wendy
 

Gunnie

Very good. What about your nitrites? Are they above zero?
 

wsp

Nitrites are not 0 but not quite 20.
 

Gunnie

I think you tested nitrates. Nitrites above 2 would probably kill all your fish.
 

Isabella

HI Wsp. Gunnie is right - you must have tested for nitrate. Nitrite, even when very low, can kill your fish. Nitrate, however, can go up even to 40 and you fish may be ok. But it's not good if nitrate is this high anyway - so it's best to keep it way below 40, of course zero would be perfect.

You asked if you should buy bottled water in a grocery store for water changes. Well, when I had only a 10 gallon tank - that's where I was taking my water from. The fish did very well in that water. And pH was neutral all the time. However, we're not talking about 10 gallons but 55 gallons here! If you would have no problem buying so much water, then I don't think there would be anything wrong with it.

Now I have a total of 40 gallons (2 tanks - one 10 and the other 30) and I simply don't find it convenient to be buying some 20 gallons of water every week. Too much hassle. So I use my tap water and dechlorinate it. However, I am lucky because my tap water is also neutral. So the choice is really up to you - if you'd be willing to buy so many gallons and if it wouldn't be a problem to you.

If you decide to buy water that has a much lower pH than the water in your tank - you'll have to acclimate your fish to a new and much lower pH very slowly. You don't want them to suffer any shocks. And once you start using bottled water, you'll have to continue to do so in order to provide a STABLE pH (remember?) - unless, of course, you find another source of water that will have the same pH as the bottled water.
 

BENT17

Hi all. I need your expertise here.. so I have an Ro which is stage 5 with a mineralizer with kh2 and GH2. I went to buy a mineralizer to incerase minerals in my RO reservoir which I keep for water changes (100L) I took reading before I added the minerals in the reservoir and noticed something strange.. TDS in aquarium is 170 and in RO tank is 55, but when I tested the PH as you can see in the photo are two opposites the Dark blue is the RO reservoir and the other one is my aquarium water one day after WC using the RO reservoir water.. The minerals I bought increases PH which will end up increasing My PH much more.. not sure what to do here.. any experts?
 

jtjgg

KH is carbonate which is directly proportional to pH. more KH higher pH.

is this for Discus or South American tank?

what is the pH of the tap, the RO water and the tank?
what is the KH of the tap, RO, and the tank?
 

BENT17

So I did some tests and I have two RO reserve tanks in my balcony which are giving high PH results. This is coming from RO with mineralizer. The other test is from same RO WITHOUT mineralizer. (Photos attached) second photo is PH GH and KH from RO without mineralizer.. I think best way forward is removing completely the mineralizer from the equation an dose minerals manually.. oh yeah also - PH in tank (which comes from the high PH reservoir tanks is around 6.4-6.5
Eliminated the mineralizer. It had water passing these minerals..
 

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MacZ

Do everybody a favour and DON'T post pictures of the test vials. Just give the readings. Pictures (especially without the chart next to the vials) are useless. Or at least name the pictures correspondently.

TDS is not directly corresponding to pH. So any results on TDS (are you talking µSI or ppm, btw?) do not have any explanatory value for pH. So leave those out. It's normal that they are higher in the actual tank, as you said there is soil in it and TDS meters measure EVERYTHING solved in the water. I mean, it stands for TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS.
For your purposes a TDS meter is all but useful. Those things are a must have for setups that need to have extremely low hardness/pH, like breeding softwater fish or full-on blackwater. The only use I see for you is testing whether the membrane of your RO unit is still working.

So you have two reserve tanks with remineralised RO. Well, as soon as you mineralise it, it is not RO anymore, but remineralised water. And with a measurableable KH, this leads to a higher pH.

As for the pH in the aquarium: You said you are using soil, right? That lowers pH temporarily significantly when using RO or low-KH water.

I don't get what you want, honestly. All is as expected.

----------------------------------------------
Here the basics:
pH, KH and CO2 are connected.

Carbonate + 2H+ <-> Hydrogencarbonate + H+ <-> carbonic acid <-> CO2/H2O
(The "<->" means that these reactions are in flux and constantly balancing out.)

pH: H+ are Hydronium ions, which are measured in pH. The more H+, the more acidic, the lower the pH.
KH (Karbonathärte = german for carbonate hardness) is the measurement of carbonates in the water, the more carbonates the higher the KH, the more H+ is bound to carbonates, the higher the pH.

RO has no KH, so the pH may go as low as 5 just due to gas exchange with the air at the surface. The CO2 gasses off over time, bringing the pH to around neutral at 6.8-7.2.
----------------------------------------------

is this for Discus or South American tank?

OP is trying to do a high-tech planted tank.
 

BENT17

First off sorry about the photos of the results I'm new here so didnt know..

I Have 2x 100L tanks with RO water which passes through the mineralizer which is used for WC. Kh and gh are both at 2 but PH is at its highest level (7.5/7.6). I Tested out the RO without mineralizer and they are both kh and gh at 1 and PH is 6.5. My reservoirs have no soil inside just a plastic tanks. Aquarium has substrate which lowers my PH as from a 7.6 PH from the reservoir to the tank drops to 6.4

Tank is a high tech one with CO2 and I have shrimps and tetras so far.

My question is.. should I eliminate the mineralizer and mineralize manually or keep the mineralizer and keep all as it is?
 

MacZ

Yeah, I got all of this, you're not telling me anything new. Hasn't got to do anything with being new, it's just common sense.

I Have 2x 100L tanks with RO water which passes through the mineralizer which is used for WC. Kh and gh are both at 2 but PH is at its highest level (7.5/7.6).

As expected. This is not RO anymore. It's just remineralised water. And the pH is as expected for a KH of 2.

Tested out the RO without mineralizer and they are both kh and gh at 1 and PH is 6.5.

As expected, the pH is due to CO2 from the air. Also, KH and GH at 1 stop the CO2 from lowering the pH beyond 6.5. These readings for KH and GH in RO means your membrane has to be replaced.

My reservoirs have no soil inside just a plastic tanks.

You are aware that "tank" and "aquarium" are synonymous in English? When I wrote you have soil in your tank, I was referring to the aquarium.

Aquarium has substrate which lowers my PH as from a 7.6 PH from the reservoir to the tank drops to 6.4

I know, that's what I was referring to.

My question is.. should I eliminate the mineralizer and mineralize manually or keep the mineralizer and keep all as it is?

Remineralise yourself. Obviously the system is taking away control from you and you should be in control for this.
 

BENT17

Thanks for your replies. So I will remove the mineralizer and dose myself.

Would you get rid of the 200L mineralized water of can I use it for my other two water changes?

This is the mineralizer I got. Has anyone ever used this?
 

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MacZ

Would you get rid of the 200L mineralized water of can I use it for my other two water changes?

Do whatever you see fit, but this will only extend the situation

This is the mineralizer I got. Has anyone ever used this?

This is not what you need. This is just adding carbonates.

Ask separately for a recommendation for planted tanks.
 

BENT17

Thanks will do!
As expected, the pH is due to CO2 from the air. Also, KH and GH at 1 stop the CO2 from lowering the pH beyond 6.5. These readings for KH and GH in RO means your membrane has to be replaced.

What do you mean "The pH is due to CO2 from the air?
Since the water is in a tank the pH increases?

Also after eliminating the mineralizer, do I still need to replace the membrane?

Thanks for all your help
 

MacZ

What do you mean "The pH is due to CO2 from the air?
Since the water is in a tank the pH increases?

RO fresh from the RO unit takes up CO2 from the air, lowering pH usually down to 5. When you let it sit for a while the concentration of CO2 in the water gets to an equilibrium, ending in a higher pH. As it still has KH, the pH doesn't get as low and so 6.5 is the lowest it can go.

Also after eliminating the mineralizer, do I still need to replace the membrane?

As the RO unit puts out water with detectable GH and KH, the membrane is probably due for replacement.
Is your tap water very hard? Another reason could be using warm tap water.
 

BENT17

Understood thanks will change the membrane then to get kh and gh down to zero.. yes my tap water is crazy high thats why I had to go for RO water. With regards the reservoir should I place in a circulating pump and run it 24/7 or can I leave it as it is. I usually do water change on Fridays and its filled back up Saturday evening. Prior to the water change Input on the heater in the tank and circulate the water for an even temperature reading
 

MacZ

Understood thanks will change the membrane then to get kh and gh down to zero.. yes my tap water is crazy high thats why I had to go for RO water.

Yeah, depnding on the hardness readings even a new membrane might not help. But the higher the hardness the shorter tha lifetime of a membrane. You might eventually want to replace one of the stages after the membrane just with a second membrane.

With regards the reservoir should I place in a circulating pump and run it 24/7 or can I leave it as it is. I usually do water change on Fridays and its filled back up Saturday evening. Prior to the water change Input on the heater in the tank and circulate the water for an even temperature reading

An air pump would be enough, but in principle it's enough to let it sit over night.

And remember when remineralising manually that you mix in the reservoir. So maybe a pump for circulation might be a good idea after all.
 

BENT17

Yeah, depnding on the hardness readings even a new membrane might not help. But the higher the hardness the shorter tha lifetime of a membrane. You might eventually want to replace one of the stages after the membrane just with a second membrane.



An air pump would be enough, but in principle it's enough to let it sit over night.

And remember when remineralising manually that you mix in the reservoir. So maybe a pump for circulation might be a good idea after all.
In fact I was trying to figure out why having two tanks with the same water and one tank had a higher PH than the other one, makes perfect sense then!

I was thinking of adding minerals a few hrs before waterchange and leaving the pump on. (Only reason is not to have the pump on for 247 for a whole week on thats all but if it helps then ill leave it on..
 

MacZ

I was thinking of adding minerals a few hrs before waterchange and leaving the pump on. (Only reason is not to have the pump on for 247 for a whole week on thats all but if it helps then ill leave it on..

I did not imply to leave it on 24/7, just turn it on the night before a waterchange so the minerals are definitely dissolved and the CO2 is driven out, so the water is least altered before use.
 

BENT17

Thankd for your help! Now just hoping someone gets back to me on the other post on which minerals I need to use
 

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