Help raising my PH - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-28-2009, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Question Help raising my PH

Hi all,

I just tested the 5 gallon Betta tank and everything looks fab - with the exception of my PH.

Last week:

Ammonia= 0
Nitrite= 0
Nitrate - 10
PH - 7.6

Today:

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 10
PH - 6.0

I'm using the API master test kit. I've tested my tap water PH which is 7.6 so the obvious thing I will do is a water change to get the PH back up some but I'm curious as to why the big drop from last week.

Any suggestions as to why??

Thanks
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-28-2009, 04:41 PM
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What do you have in the tank as far as plants, rocks, sand/ gravel?
Do you use water conditioner for your exchanges?
Did you recently do any type of med treatment for something?
Any other changes took place in that tank during that time of the drop?
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-28-2009, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a pic. of the tank. I use Prime water conditioner every time I do a water change. No med treatments at all: everyone seems healthy and feisty. No changes to stocking, plants, ornaments or anything else since last week. Literally nothing. That's why I'm puzzled by the drop in PH.
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Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-29-2009, 03:36 PM
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Romad, it would be worth knowing the KH of your tap water. Hardness (which you may know is distinct from but closely tied to pH) can be measured as GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness). It is the KH that we should know. KH acts as a buffer to avoid pH swings. But this depends uon the degree of KH. Water with no KH [my tap water here has zero KH and GH] will allow the pH to fluctuate according to other factors that a higher KH would buffer against, such as natural acidifying of water in an aquarium.

A drop of 7.6 to 6.0 in one week is very significant, and could be extremely stressful on the fish. While a partial water change to restore the pH seems like a good idea, it might not be; if there is something causing this sudden drop and it is still continuing, a fluctuating pH back and forth is almost certain to kill some fish or at the very least leave them weak and prone to other problems. Until the reason is identified, I would suggest allowing the pH to remain where it is in the aquarium. The effect on the fish will be no worse, as it is the movement that is stressful.

If you can provide the KH of your tap water and the aquarium water just for comparison, one of us should be able to suggest the remedy. Not that you're intending to do it, but on no account use pH altering chemicals, since these will not be effective long-term if there is a buffering agent.

One other thing, how long has this tank been running? And is this the first drop in pH, i.e., for the previous weeks (if more than a week since setup) has it always been at or close to 7.6?

Byron.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 #5 of 9 Old 08-29-2009, 06:41 PM
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KH is a good idea that Byron has there!
I'm wondering since souly tab water is used if the city done something, eg flush pipes with higher chlorine rates which in return also mess up your tab water (and so with the tank) entirely cause if that would be the case and its 'back to normal' now, then a water exchange would help. However in ANY case I'd do several VERY small water exchanges to up the ph again so the fish have the least amount of stress adjusting slowly.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-30-2009, 12:51 AM
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I might were it me,(and it ain't) perform the pH test again using the high range test from the API master kit. Sometimes it's easy to grab the wrong bottle. The low range test in my view should be used when keeping fish that prefer soft water or if tapwater tests at 6.8 or below.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-30-2009, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I just got back from a weekend trip so will test the high range PH as soon as I unpack or first thing tomorrow morning.

Byron, the tank has only been fully cycled for approx. 1-1/2 months now but I've never had a fluctuation like this one (I test weekly). And I will not be adding any chemicals to raise the PH based on the expertise on this forum.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-30-2009, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romad View Post
Thanks guys. I just got back from a weekend trip so will test the high range PH as soon as I unpack or first thing tomorrow morning.

Byron, the tank has only been fully cycled for approx. 1-1/2 months now but I've never had a fluctuation like this one (I test weekly). And I will not be adding any chemicals to raise the PH based on the expertise on this forum.
Yes, that was a good suggestion from 1077. Though it does puzzle me why if you were using the same test kit it would suddenly be so far out. Anyway, the high end kit will help confirm this. And I do think we need to know the KH; if you don't have a kit, not suggesting you run out and get one, but maybe a call to the lfs (if they're reliable0 to ask if they know the KH of tap water in the area? Most stores here do, so that would tell us that part of the equation.

Byron.

P.S. Another thought occurs to me, always do a pH test the same time of day, as pH can fluctuate (slightly) during the day--not as much as this obviously--but just a general coment on testing; that way you have an idea of the regular pH and any changes from week to week.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 08-30-2009 at 04:32 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-31-2009, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Just tested PH and it's up to 6.8 on the "regular" PH test so up slightly after the water change.

The high range PH is 7.4 to the best of my estimation. Obviously based on both of those readings, it's sometimes hard to differentiate between one range and the next on the charts.

I don't have a test for KH. I used to have those dip strips that I used when starting out but tossed them after I bought the API master kit.

I do have to make a trip to my lfs today so I'll bring some tap water with me. The only good one in this area is not the same town/water supply.

Thanks guys. I'll post some more numbers later.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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