Well the first thing we need to know is what is the PH? High range tests go up to 8.8.
Yeah for certain it's about 8.4 quite high as you stated.
What substrate are you using? [Answered above while I was writing ignore]
Do you have the ability to test calcium hardness KH / Ca2+
Does your tap gas off? Instead of testing it straight out of the faucet, try letting it sit out in a Tupperware for a few hours and then test the tap. I don't see anything in the tank that I'd expect to buffer it so far.
I'd put money on it being your sand, sand is silica and silca is a base naturally which would raise your ph you can try and counter act it with cholla wood as that will lower the ph
Good news is if you find out that your tap water does swing in ph after sitting out for 6 hours, there is a solution! Let the water rest in a bucket overnight before your water changes. The swinging is probably stressing the fish more than the high ph alone. If you want to buffer, do all that in the bucket and let it sit for hours to make sure its stable for going through with the water change.I'd start with a base water test sitting from the tap after about 6 hours.
Good news is if you find out that your tap water does swing in ph after sitting out for 6 hours, there is a solution! Let the water rest in a bucket overnight before your water changes. The swinging is probably stressing the fish more than the high ph alone. If you want to buffer, do all that in the bucket and let it sit for hours to make sure its stable for going through with the water change.
But reaganp is right ph swings are more dangerous than high ph so try and bring it back down gently
True and my tap does fortunately only run 7.6. This wikihow kind of followed my logic "Goldfish can tolerate a wide pH range, and pH modifying chemicals are not a lasting solution without more consistent monitoring than most people will do. A range of pH 6.5-8.25 is fine." Getting good at buffering is the best option. If OP needs to get all into that.
I wouldn't start messing with anything else, you'll turn your tank into a chemical lab. Well water treated with a softener is never recommended for aquariums. Do you have a way to bypass it? Then go from there.
Okay so I let water sit out all night and I just tested it a few minutes ago, you’re right. It has changed to 8.2 over the night. Should I try to change to hard water instead? I have a feeling that our garage faucet isn’t softened.
I'd start by doing the same test with your garage water and see what it does then go from there.
It's hard to tell for sure, but looks like probably 7.4 or 7.6 for now. If it's stable in a few hours, you might have your water winner! Switching over will take some time though.
This is the long version of the answer to your question : Important - Understanding pH, KH, GH in Home Aqauriums
and the short version is:
- remove the airstone to reduce CO2 emission from the water. The more CO2 you have in the water, the lower than your nominal value the pH will be for a given KH value and temperature.
- soften your water - my guess is that your well water is hard (I also have a softener and it ran out of salt.....and my water suddenly became very hard causing the pH to rocket).
- check your water temperature. If it has dropped, then the ph will go up.
I'd agree with using the new water source to gradually shift them over 10%a day. Always match temperatures when you do partial water changes.I'd say to do 10% water changes daily for a week.
Do you have cold AND hot water in your garage?
Easy on the stressing out. Did the other tap hold 7.6 after it sat out? Maybe just bypass the water softener and use that other tap.
I'd agree with using the new water source to gradually shift them over 10%a day. Always match temperatures when you do partial water changes.
Does your water softener actually add potassium salt to the water?
If so, then this is the problem as adding potassium salt to water only TEMPORARILY drops the pH - then it jumps back up - exactly what you are seeing.
You may want to source your water elsewhere for a while until you can figure out what to do - however please keep in mind that slightly harder water will not harm your fish as long as the pH is stable.
The problem is that your high pH will reduce your filter efficiency........ maybe a long term solution will be to add peat to your tank.