Can softer water fish acclimate to a PH of 8.3? Help with buffering - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-15-2014, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Can softer water fish acclimate to a PH of 8.3? Help with buffering


I have a 72 g planted tank, (although with few plants). I fertilize with Flourish Excel, Flourish, and Equilibrium. I've also recently moved and done a substrate change from standard gravel to Eco-Complete planted aquarium substrate. I keep 3 clown loaches, 2 blue botias (red-finned loach), 3 Blue Acaras (cichilid family), 2 Sumatra two spot catfish, 5 Black Veil Angels, 2 Plecos, and 1 Royal Danio (blue-hill spotted trout).

I'm writing because I recently moved about 40 minutes away and my tap water is much harder than my fish are accustomed to. The tap water values are as follows:
PH 8.3
KH 8 degrees (143.2)
GH 7 degrees (125.3)

My former location tap water:
PH 7.4
KH 4 degrees
GH 5 degrees

My current tank water readings:
P.H 7.3
KH 9 degrees (161.1)
GH 12 degrees (214.8)

Prior to the move, I was able to keep my PH easily at 7.0. When I did my most recent water change I treated the water with Seachem Acid Buffer and Seachem Neutral Regulator. This led to a PH swing down to 6.8 which the next day rose to 7.4. HUGE swings! I don't want to keep having to buffer the water at every water change, as I know that these drastic changes in PH are super dangerous to my fish, and the buffering effects don't seem to last. I've also recently (yesterday) added a large piece of driftwood and two smaller pieces of driftwood.

My questions are:

1. I've never kept fish at such a high PH (8.3) so I do feel the need to buffer the water. And - my fish all prefer a lower PH range of 6.5-7.0. Can they adapt to such a higher PH?

2. Any thoughts or ideas of why my tank GH and KH readings would be higher than the tap? I'm new to plants, could it be because of the Equilibrium I dose or other plant fertilizers? I tested my aquarium rock with white vinegar and there was no reaction, so I'm guessing it can't be from that. Perhaps the substrate?


Last edited by SldgXXDz; 03-15-2014 at 08:40 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-17-2014, 12:53 PM
pH is a function of both kh and carbon dioxide.

If the ph is high soley because the plants are removing carbon dioxide , the IME any fish will not only survive but also thrive.

I have had some problems with some fish like neon tetras where kh rose over time.

But I found out that peat moss in the substrate maintained kH at 4 degrees for over two years and many soft water fish (neons, hachetfish and so on) thrived.

So I highly recommend against any PH additives to reduct the pH.

You might want to consider using something like peat moss to keep kH a little lower however.

and as always measure pH just before lights out.

my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

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post #3 of 4 Old 03-19-2014, 09:54 PM
Don't need to dose Equilibrium if you have high GH to begin with.

I also just changed my substrate to MGOCPM and a sand cap - some of the MGOCPM got into the water, and the pH dropped from 7.6 to 6.6. MGOCPM has a lot of sphagnum in it. But my tapwater is still high pH and very soft. I'm using Equilibrium becuase the tapwater is so soft, for the plants. I wonder if the MGOCPM would keep the GH up any?

ps sorry if I'm hijacking this thread - answers optional.

10g planted tank since 4/18/12; 2 10W CFLs; Fluval U2 filter; substrate: MGOCPM.
6 Pristella Tetras,
1 Betta splendens (f)
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-20-2014, 01:46 AM
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not the is inert.i agree with the peat moss.a mix of ro water will bring it down too.

bettas-goldfish-shrimp-snails-planted tanks
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alkilinity , buffer , buffering capacity , hard water

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