Nitrates 0 Causing lower pH?
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Nitrates 0 Causing lower pH?

This is a discussion on Nitrates 0 Causing lower pH? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I just checked Nitrites, Nitrates, Ammonia, and pH with API master liquid test kit. Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Ammonia 4.0 (I have no idea ...

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Nitrates 0 Causing lower pH?
Old 05-13-2012, 10:17 AM   #1
 
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Exclamation Nitrates 0 Causing lower pH?

I just checked Nitrites, Nitrates, Ammonia, and pH with API master liquid test kit.

Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Ammonia 4.0 (I have no idea why it reads this high. It does it every once in a while.)
pH 6.4 (I need this up asap as I have an apple snail in there and his shell has began to deteriorate)
Water is a little cloudy too.
I just did a 30-40% water change last night. When I gravel vacced there was a lot of waste, but I found that there was another piece on my filter that I did not know about and it was full, so I cleaned that last night. The water has been cloudy for four days now. I added a Chinese Algae eater (will be upgrading him to a larger tank when needed. He is about an inch and a half right now) and an Apple Snail about a week ago to my 20g H that already has 7 Tiger Barbs in it. (Before anyone says this is too small a tank for them; I monitor them everyday and have had them for about two months, maybe a bit longer, and there have been no problems with anything until now(I am talking about the water) )

Freshwater
20g H
Small Gravel Substrate
Undergravel Filter
Bubble Wand
Tetra Whisper EX45 Filter
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
 
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I will be upgrading the Tigers to a larger tank at a later time as well.
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
 
It would seem that the ammonia is high and the pH is low because of all of the decomposing organic matter. Since there are zero nitrates, either that test is incorrect or this tank has not yet begun to cycle. You need to aggressively vacuum the gravel and do water changes to get the ammonia down (Frankly, assuming it's accurate, with that high a level, I'm surprised the fish are still alive.)

Note: If you do not routinely aggressively vacuum the gravel with an UGF, they are nothing but trouble. Even though I'm old school and have used UGF's in the past, I wouldn't bother with one now that we have so many other good bio-medias.

AD
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
 
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We will need some more data. And as a caution, be careful with water changes if your tap water is basic (pH above 7) as the "ammonia" presently is ammonium in the acidic water, but if this becomes basic the ammonium which is basically harmless will revert to toxic ammonia and if it really is this high it will kill the fish.

For the additional data, what is the GH, KH and pH of your tap water? And what pH has been normal in the aquarium? Am I correct to assume this is not a new tank (you mention 2 months)?

On the cloudiness, I suspect this may be a bacterial bloom caused by cleaning the filter. It might also be connected to the ammonia. We can consider this when we have the numbers.

And I agree with AD on the UGF. If it is in the tank and working, shove the siphon hose down the airlift tubes to pull out waste from under the filter plate, and do good gravel vacuuming during the weekly partial water change.

Byron.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:20 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
We will need some more data. And as a caution, be careful with water changes if your tap water is basic (pH above 7) as the "ammonia" presently is ammonium in the acidic water, but if this becomes basic the ammonium which is basically harmless will revert to toxic ammonia and if it really is this high it will kill the fish.

For the additional data, what is the GH, KH and pH of your tap water? And what pH has been normal in the aquarium? Am I correct to assume this is not a new tank (you mention 2 months)?

On the cloudiness, I suspect this may be a bacterial bloom caused by cleaning the filter. It might also be connected to the ammonia. We can consider this when we have the numbers.

And I agree with AD on the UGF. If it is in the tank and working, shove the siphon hose down the airlift tubes to pull out waste from under the filter plate, and do good gravel vacuuming during the weekly partial water change.

Byron.
Tap Water:
pH 8.0 (Wow, I never knew this)
GH 77ppm (As of 12pm today)
KH ? (The guy said to call back tomorrow and I do not have a test kit for this.)

Aquarium:
pH 6.8-7.0
GH ? (Aparently they do not test for this in this town as I went all over the place to get it done. Nor do they have a test kit, nor do they have limestone and crushed coral or anything else other than buffers and pH chemicals)
KH ? (I can go have this tested if I need to.)

ReTest as of 1:05 pm Today:
pH 7.4 (After adding a VERY small amount of buffer at 12pm today. How could it go up that high?!)
GH ? (Assuming its soft as my snails shell has began to erode.)
KH ?
Ammonia 8.0 (Is it reading ammonium?)
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

Other Info:
It is not a new tank.
It was fully cycled before adding fish.
The water was cloudy for two days before I cleaned the filter.
I always gravel vac, but I will try the airlift tubes.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:22 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
It would seem that the ammonia is high and the pH is low because of all of the decomposing organic matter. Since there are zero nitrates, either that test is incorrect or this tank has not yet begun to cycle. You need to aggressively vacuum the gravel and do water changes to get the ammonia down (Frankly, assuming it's accurate, with that high a level, I'm surprised the fish are still alive.)

Note: If you do not routinely aggressively vacuum the gravel with an UGF, they are nothing but trouble. Even though I'm old school and have used UGF's in the past, I wouldn't bother with one now that we have so many other good bio-medias.

AD
I think that it is reading ammonium, but that still can't be good. It's not always this high. Normally it is 0-0.25ppm. It only reads really high right before and right after a water change. Maybe I need to change more water? I usually do 30-40% once a week.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:01 PM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Restricted Evidence View Post
I think that it is reading ammonium, but that still can't be good. It's not always this high. Normally it is 0-0.25ppm. It only reads really high right before and right after a water change. Maybe I need to change more water? I usually do 30-40% once a week.
If you haven't already, test the tap water on its own for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. It is worth knowing, as any of all of these may be present, and there are ways of dealing with them if they are.

As for the test numbers in your previous post, I would assume the KH in the tap water is low if the pH drops that much, and the very soft (77ppm = 4 dGH) water would suggest this too. Which is fine for soft water fish, such as the Tiger Barb previously mentioned. Avoid livebearers, they need harder water. But you have many fish to choose from with soft water, though tankmates for TB have to be carefully chosen.

What are you using as the "buffer?"

Ammonia at 8 ppm with a basic pH (above 7) would kill the fish in minutes, one of these numbers cannot be right. And if the ammonia is high at all, I would not do anything to raise the pH.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:36 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
If you haven't already, test the tap water on its own for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. It is worth knowing, as any of all of these may be present, and there are ways of dealing with them if they are.

As for the test numbers in your previous post, I would assume the KH in the tap water is low if the pH drops that much, and the very soft (77ppm = 4 dGH) water would suggest this too. Which is fine for soft water fish, such as the Tiger Barb previously mentioned. Avoid livebearers, they need harder water. But you have many fish to choose from with soft water, though tankmates for TB have to be carefully chosen.

What are you using as the "buffer?"

Ammonia at 8 ppm with a basic pH (above 7) would kill the fish in minutes, one of these numbers cannot be right. And if the ammonia is high at all, I would not do anything to raise the pH.
Tap Water:
Ammonia: 0.50 ppm
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
I use API stress coat+ to condition water before pouring it into tank. However, as of last night I have changed to Prime.

Retest of Aquarium as of 9:20pm today:
Ammonia: 4.0 ppm
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
pH 7.4

My fish are acting normal. Swimming around together occasionally chasing each other, so I really think it is reading ammonium or something is off with the test. I used a very small amount of Seachem Alkaline Buffer. Also, I am not looking to add any other fish at this time, though in a few years I plan to have a 180g. I have another thread with fish that i found and need advise with that if you get the chance (:

I went to my mom's to get my siphon gravel vac (I have a battery powered one here) but I accidentally left it there, so I will have to clean out the undergravel filter tomorrow. My water is still slightly cloudy. My snail seems to be doing better, he or she is moving around again after being inside his shell since last night.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:53 AM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by Restricted Evidence View Post
Tap Water:
Ammonia: 0.50 ppm
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
I use API stress coat+ to condition water before pouring it into tank. However, as of last night I have changed to Prime.

Retest of Aquarium as of 9:20pm today:
Ammonia: 4.0 ppm
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
pH 7.4

My fish are acting normal. Swimming around together occasionally chasing each other, so I really think it is reading ammonium or something is off with the test. I used a very small amount of Seachem Alkaline Buffer. Also, I am not looking to add any other fish at this time, though in a few years I plan to have a 180g. I have another thread with fish that i found and need advise with that if you get the chance (:

I went to my mom's to get my siphon gravel vac (I have a battery powered one here) but I accidentally left it there, so I will have to clean out the undergravel filter tomorrow. My water is still slightly cloudy. My snail seems to be doing better, he or she is moving around again after being inside his shell since last night.
Something is wrong with the numbers, no idea what. I would not use that buffer, there is no need and less chemicals into a fish tank the better for the fish as these things can add TDS at the least and possibly worse.

As the the ammonia in the tap water, that is not high so live plants in the aquarium should handle it at water changes. All else being normal of course.

I'll probably see the other thread in my travels...

Byron.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:00 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Something is wrong with the numbers, no idea what. I would not use that buffer, there is no need and less chemicals into a fish tank the better for the fish as these things can add TDS at the least and possibly worse.

As the the ammonia in the tap water, that is not high so live plants in the aquarium should handle it at water changes. All else being normal of course.

I'll probably see the other thread in my travels...

Byron.
The thing is I have an apple snail in there and his shell is eroding. That is why I went with a buffer after looking all over the place for limestone and crushed coral. I don't know what is wrong with this town, but all they have is chemicals.

Aquarium as of 11:50am today:
pH 7.4
Ammonia 8.0 ppm (Again no idea why)
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Still don't know what GH and KH of tank is, but I am going to order the GH since this town does not sell it for some reason.

Tiger Barbs swimming around actively.
Chinese Algae Eater mostly staying attached to decor and tank wall. (He swims off when the Tiger Barbs get close, but the Barbs never attack or anything.)
Apple Snail was out and about earlier, but he is inside his shell now.

About to go get my siphon.

Thank you for your help. I will use this forum to update the situation.
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