HELP - pH problems!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-09-2011, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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HELP - pH problems!!


My 45 gal is newly setup. I've had nothing in it for a week - simply substrate, water, rocks. I added "stability" for 4 days and then added 4 zebra danios and 3 ghost shrimp. In the last 3 days, my pH is dropping steadily. It is generally @ 6.7 - and now it seems to be hovering around 6. Can anyone help me on this? I bought a snail (nerite) and I think it died overnight. I do have a lot of algae starting to cover the glass everywhere. I have been consistently checking water params, and I've still got 0 ammon. and 0 nitrites.

Thanks - I need help!!
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 09:30 AM
what is the ph of your tapwater? - its best to let it stand for 24hrs before you test it i believe

What are you using to test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. Liquid test kit, such as API is best
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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My tap water is supposed to be around 6.7 - I'll be checking it again today as I have done what you're suggesting - letting some tap water sit for 24 hours. I do use the API testing kit. -- thanks!
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 11:30 AM
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are you adding CO2 to your tank?
do you have "peat" in your filter?

Last edited by cmc29; 01-10-2011 at 11:33 AM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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No to both of those questions - I'm not "advanced" enough yet... ;)
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 12:42 PM
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Peat and CO2 are two things that will work to lower your p.h. But, since you're not adding either of those to your tank thats not the

I know that certain types of rocks will effectively raise your p.h. Limestone is one such rock. *CAUTION* i don't know how much limestone will raise your p.h. a little may go a long way.

How long do you run your lights a day?
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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cmc29 - I like the photos of your tank :) what kind of fish is the long thing with stripes? I would like my tank to look a little like yours :) Are those plants quite hardy? What kind are they?

I run my lights 12 hrs day.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 01:25 PM
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Driftwood can lower ph, it is also common for the ph to lower slowly over time in any tank. Unless you are trying to keep africans or something that required 7.0-8.0 ph I wouldn't worry too much. As long as the ph is not changing drastically over a short amount of time it shouldn't affect the fish.

If you want to you can try using a buffer to raise your ph, but I tend to steer clear of buffers because I don't really want to have to keep up with it.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 01:30 PM
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Pierce, I responded to your PM before seeing this thread, so I'll continue here.

All aquaria tend to acidify over time. The extent this occurs depends upon several things: hardness of your source water (tap water), objects in the aquarium that could affect the water (calcareous rock or gravel, bogwood, leaves, live plants), substrate material, fish foods, and fish load (type of fish and numbers). First thing we need to know is the hardness of your tap water; rather than wasting money on another test kit, check with your water supply people, some have websites with a chart of the water analysis or they should be able to answer you directly.

As for the acidification, this can be a very good thing if you intend keeping soft water fish. Most of the cyprinids, all of the characins, most catfish, and all dwarf or South American cichlids prefer soft water that is slightly acidic. And live plants tend to all come from such water naturally. Alternatively, hard water fish such as livebearers and rift lake cichlids will need to have the water hardened and made alkaline, and this can be done fairly naturally. If you tank is lowering as you describe, I would expect your tap water to be quite soft, but I'll wait for the numbers before suggesting what if anything may be advisable.

I am blessed in Vancouver with very soft water, the GH and KH is < 1 d out of the tap. The pH is 7, so in my aquaria it lowers easily to 6 or below. Which is great because I have all soft water fish and most are wild caught. And the photos indicate how well my plants grow in this water.


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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post #10 of 10 Old 01-10-2011, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sharelove View Post
cmc29 - I like the photos of your tank :) what kind of fish is the long thing with stripes? I would like my tank to look a little like yours :) Are those plants quite hardy? What kind are they?

I run my lights 12 hrs day.
Thanks for the compliment! I think the fish you are talking about is my kuhli loaches. I find they are best kept in groups of 3 or 4. They do equally well in a peaceful setup or in a slightly more aggressive setup. They prefer to have a sand substrate, but it's not required. but they do need hiding spots. The plants are Java ferns(very hardy and attach themselves to rocks and driftwood, and require low lighting). The yellow/green/redish stuff that's tall is Rotala. It grows very rapidly and prefers moderate to high lighting, but i think it would grow a darker shade of green in low lights. Those two plants make up the bulk of my plants in the 45 gallon. Due to the way i sloped my landscape and arranged my light, i can grow both types in my tank and get good growth rates.

There is a Red Tiger Lotus in a picture on one of my tanks as well. It's a great plant. It was easy to care for and grew very quickly always sprouting new leaves.

The benefits of live plants are virtually limitless. The water quality is much improved. Fish love the plants.

If it were my tank i'd probably dial down the lights to 10 hrs a day and see if that helps your algae issues.
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