What’s causing my pH issues?

FreshwaterHG

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I have a 5.5 gallon tank with a young betta in it. He’s the only thing in that tank. I keep having issues with the pH becoming way to acidic, testing at around 6. I am slowly correcting it with baking soda, only changing it 0.2 every few hours but I want to find the cause. My tap water is around 6.8-7.2. It was around 7 yesterday morning, 24hr later, at 6.

I have spider wood and dragon stone, sand, live plants, Indian almond leaves and that’s it.
 

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FreshwaterHG

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DoubleDutch said:
Think you've extreme soft water what is causing Ph swings
I do have soft water, but I haven’t had this issue in any of my other tanks. They all match the tap water pH.
 
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FreshwaterHG

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DoubleDutch said:
Do you know Kh/Gh.
A bit strange indeed
I don’t have the exact amounts. I haven’t tested my water for that. I just know it’s generally soft since you can look up parameters on your city water but they don’t specify Kh/Gh. I also don’t think that’s what’s causing it. I have two other tanks and have had no other pH issues them them
 

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Honestly just let it be. Unless you notice stress from the fish stop chasing numbers. Between my 4 tanks the pH is different between them all since I use different substrate and some have drift wood others don't etc. But all fish hailing from South America to Asia are doing fine. It's not their native countries pH but what about the water they were bred in? The best thing you can do is keep it consistent. If you buffer it to 7.5 and it drops to 6.5 and stays there for a week but your fish show no signs of stress leave it alone because all the bouncing of pH will do more harm. Just look for stress if you don't notice any you're fine and can stop dumping money down the drain. Because whatever you have buffering your water down is gonna continue to do so unless you completely overhaul your tank to make sure you're rid of it when you possibly could've just sat back and enjoyed your pet.
 
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FreshwaterHG

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the thing I’m worried about it it actually dropping below 6. Since 6 is the low range, I have no way of telling if it’s actually at 6, or lower. I know that below 6, BB can start to die as well as plants. Could it be the dragon stone perhaps?
 

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FreshwaterHG said:
the thing I’m worried about it it actually dropping below 6. Since 6 is the low range, I have no way of telling if it’s actually at 6, or lower. I know that below 6, BB can start to die as well as plants. Could it be the dragon stone perhaps?
6 is not that low.

BB can still function at 6 or lower.
Plants prefer slightly acidic water, 6 is well within their range.
It's not the dragonstone.


It's most likely dirftwood + almond leaves lowering it, and inaccuracy of hobby grade testing kits.

I would leave it as is.

Good read:

 
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FreshwaterHG

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Chanyi said:
6 is not that low.

BB can still function at 6 or lower.
Plants prefer slightly acidic water, 6 is well within their range.
It's not the dragonstone.


It's most likely dirftwood + almond leaves lowering it, and inaccuracy of hobby grade testing kits.

I would leave it as is.

Good read:

I guess my question is how do I actually know it’s at 6 if 6 wont be an issue. Since there is no low range test in my kit I guess my worry is it’s not actually at 6, more like 5.5.
 

Pridedcloth3

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Chanyi said:
6 is not that low.

BB can still function at 6 or lower.
Plants prefer slightly acidic water, 6 is well within their range.
It's not the dragonstone.


It's most likely dirftwood + almond leaves lowering it, and inaccuracy of hobby grade testing kits.

I would leave it as is.

Good read:

I agree with the dragon stone not doing it I had three pretty big pieces no issue excerpt my Oscar abused itself on them. No change in pH though and currently using them in a nano tank for shrimp since I dropped 80 bucks for them lol.
 
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FreshwaterHG

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Pridedcloth3 said:
I agree with the dragon stone not doing it I had three pretty big pieces no issue excerpt my Oscar abused itself on them. No change in pH though and currently using them in a nano tank for shrimp since I dropped 80 bucks for them lol.
I guess my only thought was it is lower quality dragon stone. Idk I got it from petco. I might just soak an extra piece in a bucket and see what the pH reads just to be sure. May be a waste of time but it can’t do any harm.

it’s possible it’s just the city water. I’m normally done even live in the city I’m in right now. I recently had to move due to COVID and will be leaving again in September (thank god. This tap water is treated with ammonia and Chloramine as well, I’m not a fan. Made a fish-in cycle a mess).

what signs would I look for if it was affecting them? Additionally, is there anything to naturally buffer the ph? Like how driftwood can lower it?
 

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Hello, I recently had a similar issue and was advised that Bettas do better with a pH closer to 7
I was able to add crushed coral to my tanks filter to raise and stabilize the pH to about 6.8-7. I have extremely soft water and the pH out of my tap is about 7 but over 24 it drops to 6 or lower without the crushed coral to help stabilize.
 
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FreshwaterHG

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Megaanemp said:
Hello, I recently had a similar issue and was advised that Bettas do better with a pH closer to 7
I was able to add crushed coral to my tanks filter to raise and stabilize the pH to about 6.8-7
Thanks, if I continue having the issue I’ll give it a try. Did it change the pH slowly or quickly? And does it stay constant now or does it fluctuate a lot?
 

Mhamilton0911

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Are you testing constantly at 6? or has this change happened fast? I 'think' wood can cause the ph to gradually lower, although i may be wrong. But there are other things you might be able to add to gradually increase, like crushed coral or aragonite sand. Im currently using aragonite in a shrimp/snail tank because my ph dropped in this one tank as well.

I know that over time, your ph will decrease, for many reasons. in my tanks i believe its from the plants using the nutrients, and my water source not replenishing quickly enough.
 

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FreshwaterHG said:
Thanks, if I continue having the issue I’ll give it a try. Did it change the pH slowly or quickly? And does it stay constant now or does it fluctuate a lot?
It raises the pH over about 24 hours so it’s not too stressful for the fish. I would add a little at a time ( 1/2 tablespoon maybe) and wait a day or so in between adding more so you don’t accidentally change the pH too fast or overshoot and end up with it to high! Hope this helps :)
 
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FreshwaterHG

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Thanks!

I do test fairly often for pH since I have 2 newly cycled tanks and one going through a mini cycle due to a substrate change. After a water change I read around 6.8 since this is my tap water and after a day or so it’s dropped to 6 or below (unsure since low is 6). Wood can cause it but if you take a look at the photo of the tank there are only the equivalent of 2 sticks in this tank. I’ve kept a large peice of spiderwood before and found no dramatic pH change, so I doubt the wood is doing it this fast.
 

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Is one tank fed more than the others? And/or does it receive fewer water changes?
 
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FreshwaterHG

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AvalancheDave said:
Is one tank fed more than the others? And/or does it receive fewer water changes?
Well I definitely feed more to my 16g but that’s cuz it was way way more fish then the 5 or the divided 20g betta tank. Water changes are pretty much the same. I’ve been doing more on the two betta tanks since they are newer and just finished cycling. The 16g is well established and gets water change weekly or every other week.
 

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FreshwaterHG said:
I don’t have the exact amounts. I haven’t tested my water for that. I just know it’s generally soft since you can look up parameters on your city water but they don’t specify Kh/Gh. I also don’t think that’s what’s causing it. I have two other tanks and have had no other pH issues them them
Same driftwood and IAL in there ?
 
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FreshwaterHG

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DoubleDutch said:
Same driftwood and IAL in there ?
The 16 has no driftwood atm, the 5.5 (the one with issues) just has spiderwood and my 20 has spiderwood and fluval wood which I believe is Mopani driftwood.
 

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