Why is my pH so high?

Tom

Now it is my turn to ask some questions and get some answers from the inteeligent people here. I tested my water for my 36 and 37(lights were off in 10, Ralphie needs a bed time) and the pH was at about 8.0-8.5. What would be causing it to be that high? The way I was planning on lowering it was by adding peat into the filter(don't like the chemical approach, I add enough chemicals every week as it is(i.e. plant fert., cycle, KH booster)), but does the amount of peat matter? If I am forgeting something, just let me know and I will let you know.
Tom
 

armadillo

HI Tom. Am answering before the smart people, just so you know, am not one of them.

What was your pH last time you measured it? Was it much lower? How long did it take to change?

The obvious culprits of a high pH are a change of substrate (to one that releases calcium traces), or perhaps a higher than normal rate of inverts dying/shedding (with their shells/exoskeletons dissolving)? And then of course there are the meds.

My pH is 8.0 out of the sink, so I experimented with peat. I had filled a fistful of peat in one of these carbon bag, and just left it in an unfiltered 20L (4G?) tank. The pH dropped by 0.5 points every day until it reached 6.0. That kind of scared me (the speed of it).

Of course to be scientific, I would have needed to measure it for longer to see how low it got.

Am also curious to know how long peat takes for its effects to wear off, and once that happens, whether the pH goes up again spontaneously (without water changes).

I also want to experiment with different volumes, and by using the peat like it should be used (i.e. in the filter, not just floating around).

I'd also like to knwo how often to change it, and the effect of adding water from the sink again.

All in all, I must say: I gave up and decided for stable pH as I want flexibility in my water changes.
 

Tom

The last time I checked it was about 2-3 weeks ago and it was at 7.0. So I have no idea.
Tom

P.S. I have always thought of you to be one of the smart ones on here, you are really silly at times, but I think that is why Mike made you a mod.
 

bhcaaron

Now it is my turn to ask some questions and get some answers from the inteeligent people here.

Oh man! Did you have to exclude me right off the bat!?!?! lol
 

armadillo

Me, silly? Youre' confusing me with COBettaCouple. Am always serious! ;D

Thanks, Tom, but am so confused by chemistry. Hope it helped a little.

Wow, that's a huge bump from 7.0 to 8.0 in a couple of weeks. If neither new shells nor substrate changes, then I can only think of meds or water supply.

Have you tested your tap water recently?
The last time I checked it was about 2-3 weeks ago and it was at 7.0. So I have no idea.
Tom

P.S. I have always thought of you to be one of the smart ones on here, you are really silly at times, but I think that is why Mike made you a mod.
 

Tom

Me, silly? Youre' confusing me with COBettaCouple. Am always serious! ;D

Thanks, Tom, but am so confused by chemistry. Hope it helped a little.

Wow, that's a huge bump from 7.0 to 8.0 in a couple of weeks. If neither new shells nor substrate changes, then I can only think of meds or water supply.

Have you tested your tap water recently?

I never thought to test the tap water. We just had some of the pipes in my house replaced so that could be it. The only thing I have noticed are the extra snails, but other than that, there haven't been any additions other than plants.
Tom
 

Tom

Oh man! Did you have to exclude me right off the bat!?!?! lol

I don't know, I can't remember. All right there picture boy.
Tom
 

sirdarksol

Ok, I'm not going to bother quoting anything, since I'd have to spend more time quoting than typing. I'll just answer a few of the questions that I have answers for.

First of all, if you use peat, you should do so in small increments. Get the peat bag, put a little bit (maybe a tablespoon for a moderate sized tank, teaspoon for a small one) in. Watch the pH. Each time you change it out, add more until you have the pH you're looking for.
The other option would be to pre-filter the water. Set up an empty 10 gallon with a filter that has peat running in it and then use that water when you're doing changes. It'd be a pain, but it would allow you to more completely control the pH.
The pH change should last until the next water change or until something else alters the pH (such as if you put cichlid substrate in). What the peat does is release tannins that eat away at the calcium that makes the water hard, thus neutralizing it and lowering the pH (this is very simplistic, but it gets the point across).
What I'm not sure about is how long the peat itself works (i.e. How many gallons will be lowered to whatever level by an ounce of peat).
Hope this helped.
 
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bhcaaron

I don't know, I can't remember. All right there picture boy.
Tom


LOL, ok, where are you getting this PICTURE BOY thing? Its starting to become a running gag with you, isn't it?
 

Tom

LOL, ok, where are you getting this PICTURE BOY thing? Its starting to become a running gag with you, isn't it?
Just like me calling Dave, Wally. I got it from the fact that you volunteered to get the pics for my Fish of the Month polls. Or did you already forget?
Tom
 

bhcaaron

O-O-O-O-H! Ooops! You're the one? I know someone asked but I have a fish's memory span. Is it time for the next one yet? What's the link?
 

Tom

Ok, I'm not going to bother quoting anything, since I'd have to spend more time quoting than typing. I'll just answer a few of the questions that I have answers for.

First of all, if you use peat, you should do so in small increments. Get the peat bag, put a little bit (maybe a tablespoon for a moderate sized tank, teaspoon for a small one) in. Watch the pH. Each time you change it out, add more until you have the pH you're looking for.
The other option would be to pre-filter the water. Set up an empty 10 gallon with a filter that has peat running in it and then use that water when you're doing changes. It'd be a pain, but it would allow you to more completely control the pH.
The pH change should last until the next water change or until something else alters the pH (such as if you put cichlid substrate in). What the peat does is release tannins that eat away at the calcium that makes the water hard, thus neutralizing it and lowering the pH (this is very simplistic, but it gets the point across).
What I'm not sure about is how long the peat itself works (i.e. How many gallons will be lowered to whatever level by an ounce of peat).
Hope this helped.

Thanks, I will try and find some of the natural peat taht doesn't have any chemicals in it.
Tom
 

Tom

O-O-O-O-H! Ooops! You're the one? I know someone asked but I have a fish's memory span. Is it time for the next one yet? What's the link?

Ya, I'm the one. Not yet time. Like I had said, I will PM you about a week in advance so you know. But I am trying to think of the next 5 to go in the ring. I have a list, but I just need to decide which ones go and which stay for now.
Tom
 

bhcaaron

How about adding a few salties... salties would be nice... think of salties as the spice of the forum lol pun totally intended
 

Tom

How about adding a few salties... salties would be nice... think of salties as the spice of the forum lol pun totally intended

I had thought of that while looking around the main site, but I can't think of any at the moment to do a profile on. I will have to look in some of my books to see which aren't on the list and look really neat. I was also thinking of some brackish fish.
Tom
 

bhcaaron

cuddlefish? ahem... DRAGONETS!... SeaHorsies... eels... boxfish...
 

Tom

cuddlefish? ahem... DRAGONETS!... SeaHorsies... eels... boxfish...

I don't know, I was thinking of pajama cardinals, mandarinfish, maybe a clown goby, and a few others.
For the brackish I was thinking of puffers, monos, gobys, archer fish, some scat.
Tom
 

bhcaaron

I'm good with pajama or mandarin ... I'm thinking of getting both... mandarin btw is a dragonet
 

Tom

I'm good with pajama or mandarin ... I'm thinking of getting both... mandarin btw is a dragonet

You and I are so similar it isn't even funny. I know the mandarins are a dragonet, I just wanted to be specfic. So there. lol
Tom
 

bhcaaron

Ummm... no... you look like a fish... I have a mohawk.... not same
 

Isabella

Tom and Aaron, you guyes are making me laugh, lol.

Anyway, Tom, a few questions for you (Sorry if somebody already asked you about them.) Namely, how long have you had these tanks running? Any fish in there? If so, what fish and how many? What kind of substrates/gravels do you have in these tanks? Have live plants? Adding any plant fertilizers? CO2? What is the size and the frequency of your water changes? What is your tap pH, and how soon after you've changed your water, does your tank water rise to 8.0 - 8.5?
 

bhcaaron

See what you did Tom! Now you're making her laugh... STOP IT! I'm telling mom!
 

Tom

Tom and Aaron, you guyes are making me laugh, lol.

Anyway, Tom, a few questions for you (Sorry if somebody already asked you about them.) Namely, how long have you had these tanks running? Any fish in there? If so, what fish and how many? What kind of substrates/gravels do you have in these tanks? Have live plants? Adding any plant fertilizers? CO2? What is the size and the frequency of your water changes? What is your tap pH, and how soon after you've changed your water, does your tank water rise to 8.0 - 8.5?

It is my 36 and my 37. The 36 has been running since last Feb. and the 37 has been running since I think around April or May, but has water that has been in my 28(when it was still up and running) and that had been up since last May(I think). I have live plants with regular gravel. I add plant fert. I also change 10% every week and 25% every 3 weeks(don't do a 10% that week). I don't know what the pH of the tap water is. I don't know how long it takes for the pH to rise to that. The fish seem fine though, so it must not rise to quickly.
Tom
 

Isabella

Tom, maybe it's the plant ferts that are raising your pH? I have nutrient-rich substrate (Eco-Complete) in one one my tanks, and this is the only tank with a pH over 8.0. My tap pH is 6.8-6.9 and all of my tanks have that pH EXCEPT for the tank with Eco-Complete. Maybe it's the same with your tanks? Maybe some ingredients in the fertilizers are making uour pH to go up?

Another possibility is simply that your tap pH is this high. As for the water changes in planted tanks, this is what I do in my planted 75 gallon tank: 30% weekly water changes. I use Seachem's Flourish as a fertilizer (in addition to Eco-Complete). When you use ferilizers, you should be changing your water weekly, and I'd recommend something around 30%, rather than 10-15%. Not enough water changes could - perhaps - cause the pH to rise too. How? With new water, you're adding various elements/compounds to your tank, including Calcium (hence the whitish "calcium deposits" on tank walls). Calcium is one of the elements that raises tank pH. Perhaps there are many others in tap water that raise the pH too. There probably are many such elements/compounds in nutrient-rich substrates and plant fertilizers too.

Lastly, my fish are doing fine as well in a pH around 8.0 (though I don't like this pH level at all). This is because - as you already probably know - commercially bred fish will adapt to a much wider range of pH levels than wild-caught fish would. As long as your pH is stable, they should be fine.

I hope this helps somewhat.

P.S. Measure your tap water pH before and after dechlorinating it, as well as let undechlorinated water stand in some container for 24 hours, and then measure its pH after these 24 hours. I am curious what the results would be.
 

Tom

I have used the same fert for the whole time I have had my tanks up and running and there haven't been anything that high. I will change some water tomorrow at lunch and test it after changing it(about 24 hours later). That might be the problem, but never thought of it.
Tom
 

Isabella

Then it may simply be your tap water. My tap water was at 7.0 in the past. Now, I've noticed it's been at around 6.8-6.9 for the past year or so.
 

Tom

I'll test the water tomorrow.
Tom
 

Tom

I tested it again today and the pH has gone down back to normal. I wonder if it was just my tester.
Tom
 

bhcaaron

I wonder if it was just the user?
 

bhcaaron

I thought so... hehe
 

bhcaaron

>
 

Tom

That's it, don't fight the urge to be mean. Excellent, everything is going as planned. The transformation is almost complete. -> -> > -> -> > On this scale you are at about the 3-4 on there, while I of course am at the very end.
Tom
 

bhcaaron

Wow... your weird
 

armadillo

Wow Tom, that's good news. Hopefully it was indeed the test kit.
 

Tom

Wow Tom, that's good news. Hopefully it was indeed the test kit.

Ya, but I still got my hands on a huge bag of peat moss(free of charge) and I am testing how it affects the water over 2 weeks(in a separate container) and if it gets it to where I want, then it goes in, if not, I have a bunch of plants outside that could use it.
Tom
 

Tom

Wow... your weird

I know, that's not news to me, you don't have to tell me.
Tom
 

armadillo

That's cool. Am thinking of continuing my little peat experiment when I get a chance.
Ya, but I still got my hands on a huge bag of peat moss(free of charge) and I am testing how it affects the water over 2 weeks(in a separate container) and if it gets it to where I want, then it goes in, if not, I have a bunch of plants outside that could use it.
Tom
 

Tom

That's cool. Am thinking of continuing my little peat experiment when I get a chance.

So far, in a week, it has lowered the pH 1.0-1.5(started at 7.0-7.5, now at 5.5-6.0) and the GH has gone from moderately hard to soft. I am very happy with the progress of the GH but I don't know how long it took for the pH to get there. I continue to do this for another week and retest it. In a week I plan on setting up an empty tank and putting feeder goldfish/guppies and some ghost shrimp so I can see the affects on fish before I decide to put the peat in my tank. I will keep you all posted.
Tom
 

armadillo

Thanks for the heads up, Tom.

So you're having the same results as me, more or less. I don't like the sound of pH dropping by 0.5 per day (that was roughly the rate for me). Sounds too quick. But I still need to play around with quantities.
 

Tom

I don't remember where I read it, but someone here said that if you want to lower the pH, the best way is to lower it 0.5 everyday until you get where you want it.
Tom
 

armadillo

Really? But that seems so very huge. That means a 5x fold change, doesn't it?
 

Tom

I just set up a 10 gallon and got 3 goldfish and 2 ghost shrimp to test whether the peat moss is toxic to fish or not. I am just making sure they are healthy and not sick.
Tom
 

armadillo

Wont' the goldfish be sick from the nitrates? 3 goldfish in a 10G is a lot. You're supposed to have 1 goldfish for a 20G, in theory, arent' you? If they get sick, I'd test your nitrates too, to be sure that it is indeed the moss.

Also, I wonder if goldfish are good indicators. They're supposed to be quite resistant. So they might be perfectly fine for ages, where other fish wouldn't last an hour.

And now for my opinion, I wonder if you should be testing this on animals? But do what you like with it, it's just my opinion. I mean I am not trying to make you change your mind or anything.
 

Tom

It doesn't really matter to me, if they survive, they are going to my uncles pond for next year. That is why I also have the ghost shrimp, to test both ends of the spectrum. The test is only going to last for a week or so.
Tom
 

Tom

I know it is a day late but here it is.
Before
pH 7.0-7.5
GHMod. hard
*GH 7.84

Week 1
pH 5.5-6.0
GH soft
*GH 2.24

Week 2
pH 5.0-5.5
GH soft
*GH 1.68
Tom
 
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Tom

I forgot to add, I put in the peat with the goldfish on the 22nd and am going to see if anything will happen. Before adding the peat, I lost 1 goldfish and 2 ghost shrimp, so the numbers are 2 goldfish and 1 ghost shrimp. The ghost shrimp doesn't seem affected at all by the peat.
Tom
 

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