no alkalinity and low pH for about 3 months, any ideas are welcome!!
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no alkalinity and low pH for about 3 months, any ideas are welcome!!

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no alkalinity and low pH for about 3 months, any ideas are welcome!!
Old 10-07-2011, 06:38 PM   #1
 
Thumbs down no alkalinity and low pH for about 3 months, any ideas are welcome!!

Hi everyone. I am looking for some help because even with 12 years of experience, I have not been able to help myself unfortunately. I have a 55 gallon FW with 3 silver dollars, 2 black fin tetras, and 1 glass catfish. About 4 months ago I had a full tank with tons of beautiful fish including 2year old clown loaches and a fully grown albino BN pleco. I am a full time college student and I did not take care of my tank as I should have. Out of anybody, I knew better, but I still did it because I didnt have time to clean my canister filter or even do a water change, let alone a gravel vac. Since then though, the water parameters have been way off whack. As of yesterday, my readings read as : Nitrate: 0, Nitrite .5, Hardness: 125, Kh: 0, and pH around 5.8-6.0 (I do not know about the ammonia because I had not realized that my tests expired over 2 years ago so no wonder they were saying 5). I keep the temp at 78 at all times. I run a Penguin Bio-wheel 350 HOB filter along with a Fluval 305 Canister Filter. I just added the HOB after losing 80% of my fish to help with the filtration part. I use Stress-Coat as my water conditioner, Colonize (Dr Foster and Smith biological bacteria brand) and sometimes use Easy Balance Plus just as an extra additive. I also use aquarium salt and I have a bottle of Microbe-Lift Special Blend for when the Alkalinity and pH become stable so I can quickly get my beneficial bacteria back because when the pH is that low, the nitrogen cycle cannot be completed so there is no good bacteria in it. I have been doing around 4 water changes a week, between 10-25% with 25 % only being once a week cause I do not want to shock my survivors. I have also been using pH+ but while doing some research today I guess when there is no alkalinity, the pH cannot be raised so I am wasting my time by using that product at this point. I really need to know a quick and easy way to raise my alkalinity so I can get all of the parameters correct so I can have a stable tank again without sickness all the time and so that I can add some fish to my quarantine tank to eventually start adding fish back to my 55. Any ideas would definitely help me out. Thank you to everyone in advance! I am dying inside seeing my tank this horrible
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:13 AM   #2
 
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

First and most important, stop adding chemicals. There is no substitute for regular maintenance and proper stocking levels. Some of those chemical substances will interact with others and create even more problems. And some, like the Easy Balance Plus, are harmful in themselves because they interfere with the natural bacteria--and by bacteria here I am not referring to the nitrification bacteria but the host of other bacteria that breaks down organics.

So, to get things back on track. Regular but smaller partial water changes are the only way to go. Use nothing but a good water conditioner.

Leave th pH alone. Those fish are soft acidic water fish and will be fine in a pH in the 6's. Fluctuating pH is very stressful and can cause permanent and irreversible internal damage to the fish.

Are there any live plants? These would help immeasurably. If the pH remains below 7, ammonia will change to ammonium which is basically harmless. The nitrite is not however, and any above zero is trouble. Plants would avoid nitrite, as they grab the ammonia/ammonium first. Even something as simple as floating plants will achieve wonders.

For more detail on the above, you can read about bacteria here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/

The fish stocking has issues, but lets get the tank back in shape first.

Byron.
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djbutterflyx (10-08-2011)
Old 10-08-2011, 08:47 PM   #3
 
Thanks for the advice... I have been doing regular water changes, just 10-15% at least every other day and 25% once a week.... I've been doing this for awhile though and still no changes... and with the silver dollars, they eat any live plants so that really isnt an option right now :( I just dont get why it isnt budging and I will stop using the products except for the Stress Coat as my water conditioner. I heard that using baking soda will help increase the alkalinity?
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:33 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djbutterflyx View Post
Thanks for the advice... I have been doing regular water changes, just 10-15% at least every other day and 25% once a week.... I've been doing this for awhile though and still no changes... and with the silver dollars, they eat any live plants so that really isnt an option right now :( I just dont get why it isnt budging and I will stop using the products except for the Stress Coat as my water conditioner. I heard that using baking soda will help increase the alkalinity?
Baking soda [=sodium bicarbonate] will, but long term this is dangerous. There is no effective buffering action and it cannot stabilize pH in the face of additional acidic waste. And continual addition will result in an intolerable level of sodium ions.

Using ions of calcium and magnesium, such as dolomite gravel in the filter, will raise the KH but of course also the GH. But as I mentioned, the fish named are soft water so there is no reason to do any of this. The GH and KH in all my tanks (except one) are at 1-2 degrees. The pH is at 6 or lower.
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djbutterflyx (10-09-2011)
Old 10-09-2011, 05:07 PM   #5
 
I'm pretty sure tho that clown loaches and cories and a clown pleco might not like the low ph.. so I need to check because if so I need to fix the water cause clown loaches are my favorite!!
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Old 10-09-2011, 05:21 PM   #6
 
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I'm pretty sure tho that clown loaches and cories and a clown pleco might not like the low ph.. so I need to check because if so I need to fix the water cause clown loaches are my favorite!!
We have profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top. Water parameters are given for each species in the profiles.

Clown loach is fine down to 5. Clown pleco can manage down to 6, one source gives 5.5 [I checked into this species, as I note the profile is old and I need to revise it]. Cory all occur in very soft acidic water so they are not a problem, though I might alter this depending upon species.

If you do 50% weekly water changes it will work to stabilize the biology. If any buffering is required, dolomite is the best method.
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Old 10-09-2011, 05:51 PM   #7
 
is dolomite something I can add to my media basket for my HOB filter and can I get something like that at PetCo? Not quite ready to make a big order from drs foster and smith.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
 
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is dolomite something I can add to my media basket for my HOB filter and can I get something like that at PetCo? Not quite ready to make a big order from drs foster and smith.
I used to be able to buy small (maybe 1 pound) bags of dolomite gravel. But I cannot get it around here now. Others have mentioned it has to be ordered. It doesn't take much. In the 1990's I used it in my 115g, and about 2 or 3 tablespoons in a nylon mesh bag in the filter kept the pH at 6.2-6.4 when the water out of the tap was zero GH/KH and pH in the 5's. So it doesn't take much. If you can get some, yes, you can put a bit in a filter, use one of those mesh bags for filter media to keep it in one place.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:59 PM   #9
 
I found some on drs foster and smith but its I think 40lbs of it... lol... wth am I going to do with 40lbs? I really hope I can find somewhere that sells a 1lb package or at least just 5...I already have a media basket for my HOB which will be perfect!
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