Cycling 55 gallon, concerned with PH 7.6/7.8.. planned on adding cory's from old tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-19-2012, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Cycling 55 gallon, concerned with PH 7.6/7.8.. planned on adding cory's from old tank

I started running the 55 gallon on Aug.16th. The tank contains.. aquarium sand (washed, for freshwater tank), 2 pieces of malaysian driftwood (boiled to leech tannins, placed in bucket of dechlorinated water over night), 10 live plants (swords, crypt, anubias, val, money wort).

No rocks or fish in the tank.

I also used Seachem Stability for the first week or two.

A few weeks ago the ammonia and nitrite were up a bit according to a test at a pet store. I did a small water change (10 percent)

Earlier this week I tested my water using the nutrafin mini master kit. The readings for nitrate, nitrite and ammonia were zero.

However my PH was 7.8. A second ph test kit showed 7.6.

The second piece of driftwood was added last night ( I heard driftwood helps lower PH?)

I currently have a 29 gallon which contains neons, cardinals, otto's and bronze cory's.

My plan is to transfer the bronze? cory's to the new tank for a week, maybe two depending.. then add the rest of the fish.

I tested the water this morning and the PH hasn't changed.

My concern is will the cory's be able to handle a PH of 7.6/7.8?

The 29 gallon PH level is 6.6.

I also tested the tap water and it shows 7.0 PH

If I were to place the cory's in the new tank (using a bag to float them) should I add a bit water from the 55 gallon into the bag so it's not a shock? Or will they be able to handle the PH okay?

I heard that PH adjusters (liquid or powders) are not good. Not advisable to mess with PH unless it's really bad?

I thought about placing the cory's in a bag (a pet store gave me some) Float them in the new tank and slowly add some of the aquarium water from the 55 gallon into the bag so they get use to the difference in PH? Is that advisable?

Thank you for your help! :)

Last edited by canuck123; 09-19-2012 at 08:31 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-19-2012, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add... I took bio nodes from my 29 gallon tank filter (Fluval U3) and added them to the 55 gallon filter (Fluval C4). Rinsed the new media from the C4 in bucket containing water from the 29 gal. I also squeezed bacteria from 29 gal filter media into the new filter.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-19-2012, 09:51 PM
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I checked the fish profile for Bronze Cory's and it says: "Corydoras introduced to new aquaria will settle in better if the tank is established; Cory's do not adjust well to a new aquarium with still-unstable water conditions and fluctuations."
I also read on another site that pH changes of 0.3 over a period of 24 hours can be deadly to some fish.

Perhaps you can try to slowly adjust your pH in one or the other (maybe even both tanks) to be more or less the same and then add the fish?

Drift wood can lower pH, but you cannot predict how effective it will be and how quick it will work. It depends on the buffering capacity of your water and how many tannins your wood will leak into the water. I've had some luck with it, but my tap water has a lower pH than yours to begin with. I read that you can add peat moss to your filter media or into your substrate to lower pH. It sounds a bit messy to me, but maybe it works.
One (very) effective way of lowering pH is the addition of CO2. Since you have a planted tank, the addition of CO2 may be beneficial for your plants. Not sure if you have a CO2 system already or not. There are simple and rather inexpensive DIY systems made with yeast OR you can choose to invest a bit and get a CO2 tank.
With that said, if you decide to add CO2 make sure you can properly monitor how much is added. I just recently lost over 50 fish in a 55G tank , because my CO2 tank leaked and (very effectively) lowered pH from a happy 6.8 to lower than 6 where my kit wasn't able to pick it up anymore. Surprisingly, the only survivor was a cory cat.

In the other tank you could raise your pH by adding crushed coral or shells or even small amounts of baking soda. Also, increasing aeration will drive out CO2, consequently raising your pH. Whatever you do, do it slowly.

As far as acclimating fish, below is a link to a useful article about "Properly acclimating fish".
I used drip acclimation on one of my fish recently and he responded very well.
Properly acclimating fish

Good luck and keep us updated! Congrats on the new, bigger home for the fish!
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-20-2012, 03:27 AM
I've got 5 bronze cories in my 55 and my ph is 8.4 and doing just fine. Have had them for 6 months. I was concerned with my Ph when I started my tank up. In my opinion ph is a little overrated, if acclimated slowly majority of fish can adjust to many different ph's.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-20-2012, 12:22 PM
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The first thing is to confirm the tap water pH. Place some fresh tap water in a jar with a lid and shake it very briskly for a few minutes before testing. This outgasses the CO2 which can cause a lower (inaccurate) pH reading. This at least will tell us if the 55g is somehow raising the pH.

Second, as mentioned, wood will tend to lower GH and pH over time, but this is usually minimal. The initial GH and KH of the tap water will affect this too. Do you know the tap water GH and KH This you can ascertain from the water supply people. Given the pH of 6.6 in the 29g, I would think your GH and KH is probably not high, but it is worth confirming. This too will affect the pH in the 55g obviously.

The above will give us the facts. As for the fish, they can easily adjust to the slightly higher pH, but with careful acclimation. We can go into this further when the above numbers are known.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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