I think my pH is too high.... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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I think my pH is too high....

I have a 20 gallon tank and i have had it get up for about 9 days now so it brand new still and still going through the cycle. But my pH has went from 7.2 to about 8. Is that too high? I have guppies in my tank. If that is too high what should i do to lower it?
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 09:30 PM
Liquid test or strips?

8.0 is high for most community fish, but is somewhat adaptable. It is fine for guppies, though.

I would personally lower it. Try adding peat to a filter.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 09:33 PM
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I would leave it alone.
My ph is close to 8 and I have not had any problems.
I do try to avoid fish that prefer a low ph.
when adding new fish, just try to acclimate slowly, adding 1/4 cup or less of your tank water to the water they came with every 15 min. until the water in the bag has doubled, and I think you should be fine.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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I use the API liquid testing and it is alittle darker than 7.6 is it is around 8. what is peat? and how do i add it to my filter?
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 10:25 PM
Peat is a mulch like substance that you put into a media bag or stocking and add to your filter canister or hob. I actually use blackwater expert (peat extract), because it works faster and i can add water to my tank that has been pre-conditioned.I found that 2 drops per gal lowered my water by .2 in less than an hour. Before using you should experiment with a pitcher of water to see the effects on your water. It's a powerful remedy and proves to be healthy for fish.Don't worry about the discoloration of the water, if you use carbon it will clear the water.

Oh, if you don't already have driftwood , by adding a piece of medium sized driftwood you can lower your ph by around .2-.6 so if you go this route add it now before trying peat so you'll see the differnce first.

Last edited by catfishtabbi; 03-24-2009 at 10:32 PM.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-24-2009, 10:30 PM
strips are inaccurate compared to the chemical testers. you need the high ph. 7.6 is the max on the low ph test kit. peat will lower your ph but you have to experiment with it to get the readings you want. only use peat that don't contain additives though and to add to your filter, get a filter pouch or equalivant that won't allow the peat to escape the pouch when added to the filter. the sayings is, if your fish are fine, leave the water alone. they will adapt. its easier to get the fish to adapt to the water rather than modify the water for the fish. experienced keeps can do this though.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-25-2009, 07:27 AM
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i agree with flight50, dont start messing with your Ph................the more you change it the more stress it puts on the fish to adapt to the changing parameters.............Most fish can adapt to whatever Ph comes out of your tap.....Its better to let them adapt to what you have as far as water goes, then to keep a constant change in there water Ph......I have a friend with a 150 gallon african cichlid tank that the Ph is 6.6, alot lower than what they claim they shold be in......His tank is awesome and he hasnt lost a fish in 2 years............In fact some of them have breed in the tank............Trying to get ultimate living conditions with Ph is alot of smoke and mirrors for MOST fish.......I dont worry about Ph unless your trying to breed a certain species..........The easiest way to lower it, like other members said is either peat pouch or some type of driftwood
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-25-2009, 10:56 AM
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I agree with the previous advice except I do have an issue with the notion that a fish can adapt to any water. If you've read some of my previous posts in other threads you'll know that I have a thing about pH. But my first comment, as mentioned by others, is don't mess with the pH. A pH of 8 is OK for livebearers, as previously mentioned. That said, I would find out why it went from 7.2 to 8. But now to my main point.

In unsuitable water and surroundings, fish become stressed and unhealthy. Although water conditions in an aquarium may be ideal, a fish that has developed (evolved) to survive in one environment will still suffer if placed in a completely different one. For instance, a fish that is by nature accustomed to a thickly planted stream with hiding places will feel very vulnerable in a bare tank that affords few or no hiding places. The fish does not "know" that it is safe and free from natural predators, and without the comfort of hiding places it will be continually stressed, eventually becoming diseased and may even die. The same holds for the water chemistry. The fact that many of our aquarium fish are today captive raised does not alter this; it is part of the biological makeup of the fish through millions of years of evolution, and you can't change the fish's natural "blueprint" by raising it in a tank.

The foregoing is a generality. Some adaptation is obviously possible, at least with some fish. But as aquarists I hope we are all concerned that we provide our fish with the best environment we can to ensure they are healthy and happy. As I can't know what a fish may be thinking or feeling (other than by observing the outward signs that can give a hint), I consider it my responsibility to provide the closest natural environment that I can, on the basis that the fish is probably going to be comfortable and healthy, and therefore happy, in that environment.

There is a biological process that occurs in all freshwater fish. All life needs water, and our cells (like those of a fish) are largely water. Ever wondered how a fish "drinks" water? It does so by allowing water to pass through its scale cells (marine fish are the opposite, water passes out, but that's another story). And in order to do this, it must change its internal pH to equal the pH of the water it lives in; the fish has no choice, it has to do this or it will literally die of dehydration. This is why a tank where the pH changes significantly and rapidly is so stressful to fish; it is continually having to adjust its internal pH to match the external. As others have noted, a fish can be acclimated to a slightly different pH if done very slowly and gradually. But each degree of the pH scale represents a ten-fold increase in the acidity or alkalinity of the water; for example, a change from pH 7 to pH 6 means that the water has increased its acidity by ten times, and a further change of that water to pH 5 means an increase in acidity of a hundred times.

Cardinal tetras live in very acidic water, and are found throughout much of the Rio Negro in Amazonia. A study carried out in 1992 over 720 square miles surrounding the confluence of the Rio Negro and Rio Demini found the pH of the water varied from 3.4 to 5.5 throughout the area [TFH, Jan 1993]. Expecting this fish, and other species from the same area, to "live' in a pH of 7.6 is not logical. Baensch & Rhiel [Aquarium Atlas, I] recommend an optimal pH of 5.8 with variances tolerated between 4.6 to 6.2, and when kept in hard water cardinals frequently perish from calcium blockages of the kidney tubuli. It is not to be wondered why so many aquarists buy cardinals and find them dead within weeks. I have for more than 15 years maintained my tanks at a pH in the low 6 range, and cardinal tetras have lived for 8 or more years (so far). I do not believe it is logical to think we can alter what evolution has put in the fish.

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 #9 of 14 Old 03-25-2009, 11:29 AM
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I agree with previous post (Byron's) Don't purchase soft water fish and try and keep em in hardwater.It is a fact that many fish can and do adapt to slightly different Ph values than waters that their wild caught cousins or ancestors come from .For over the years ,,they have been acclimated from generation to generation to water unlike that in the wild. But in general,, Fish that prefer soft or acidic water do best in that water, where as fish that prefer hard or alkaline water do best in that water, I will always suggest that you buy fish that do well in the water that is easiest for you to produce rather than, attempting to adjust your water to suit the fish.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-26-2009, 06:45 AM
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i agree with what both Byron and 1077 are saying thats why i used the term "MOST" fish can adapt..........not all.....It wasnt intended to mean all fish.........But as i stated, i seen african cichlids in very low Ph water that have thrived........Thrived enough to breed outside of there perfect water conditions
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