PH Emergency! How to raise the PH? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 04:18 PM
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Angel is correct, and it is easier to raise hardness and pH than it is to lower it. I use dolomite gravel, either in the substrate or filter. In the substrate, the problem is that it is there permanently (have to tear the tank down to remove all or some of it), but in the filter you can easily change the amount.

First to explain your falling pH. In an established tank, the biological processes work to lower the pH by acidifying the water. The degree of hardness--basically calcium and magnesium--in the tap water act as a buffering through carbonates, and if the tap water is say moderately hard, and you do weekly partial water changes of 40% or so, the tank will remain fairly stable at the pH of the tap water. The softer the water, meaning the less calcium and magnesium, the less carbonates, so the less buffering action and the pH drops normally due to the biological actions.

You can add hardness via dolomite or similar calcareous substances. Crushed coral works, as do marble chips; or so I'm told, I've never used these. But in my tanks I have half a cup of dolomite in the filter and it maintains a GH of 2 [tap water is zero] and a pH of 6 - 6.2 [tap water is 7 but with no hardness the tank remains acidic, and would be 5 without the dolomite].

You could take some tap water to the fish store and ask them to test the hardness just to know; make sure they test KH and GH and give you the numbers. Or you might contact your water supply people and ask, they often know and it may be on their website. This helps to know because you may not need much calcareous material to raise it to mid 7's. Using dolomite or similar is much safer because it is constant [my dolomite has worked for years] and less likely to fluctuations.

As noted previously, livebearers must have moderately hard and basic/alkaline water. Calcareous rock is the best way; limestone or lava rock in the tank would do some, but very minimally; the broken up dolomite is much more effective.

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 #12 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 05:04 PM
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You find find plenty calcareous"gravels" in your homestores garden center. Dep on the tank's size adding anywhere's from 1/4 cup to 1 cup will be plenty sufficient to raise the hardness so far that you have a stable pH of 7.5 no problem whatsoever.
If you can't easily access your filter a lil bag like a sock etc to be hung in the back of your tank close to the filters outlet will do that trick too.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #13 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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I have a few lava rocks in the tank already simply as decoration LOL.

Hmmm. What about epsom salts by itself? Supposedly on the other side Epsom salts increase General Hardness, so would that increase my PH?
I think I also have a piece of dolomite in it as decoration as well.

According to my test strips the KH is 40ppm (low) and the GH is approx 50-75ppm (soft)
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post #14 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 05:31 PM
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As far as I know lava isn't calcareous; or not calcareous enough to make a difference anyway (obviously in your case)

I'm not 100% on the Epsom salt alone how far this takes ya; I only know to use the combo of Epsom salts and calcium chloride.

Which means you have 2dKH and 3dGH....I"d try raise the dKH to 5 that should get it stable enough.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #15 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 07:07 PM
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Epsom salts, which of course is pure magnesium sulfate, not really a "salt" as we commonly think of salt, will raise the GH; calcium and magnesium are the minerals that basically determine water hardness. I experimented with this last year and nearly killed all my plants from magnesium excess which causes a potassium deficiency. As you have plants in the tank, you have to be very careful, especially as your use of that other fert has affected things.

It would be a solution to raise the pH now to ease the stress on the fish. However, raising it quickly is also stressful. Looking back in this thread I couldn't spot an indication of the tank size. How many gallons is this tank? I can offer you a suggested dose to help without (hopefully) damaging the plants, but that risk is there.

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 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 #16 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 07:26 PM
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Just me 2 cents....any crushed calcareous rock material sounds a heck lot safer to me; If its something Byron has tried who's like THE most cautions person on their tanks I could think of and it killed his plants (so I know he's not just been the noob dummy who OD'ed there at all), personally I'd stay away from it then.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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post #17 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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It's a measly little ten gallon tank.

Thats probably one of the problems.. smaller tanks are more unstable. (or so I've read)
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post #18 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 07:36 PM
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That is indeed very true and its simple: If you add 1 drop Ammonia to a 10g you're up for a disaster if you add 1 drop Ammonia in a 100g its diluted down so far that you may get away with it.

However that does not change the fact you have a source water that got next to no hardness, like me here, and that right there makes for a bouncy pH unless you take the named measure above.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #19 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 07:57 PM
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You're correct, in a 10g whatever you do to alter the water chemistry can have quite an effect. I dug out my charts for when I tried magnesium sulfate, and note that it raised the GH but had no effect on the pH. If you don't have a test kit for hardness, I would not experiment with fish in the tank. I was able to raise the hardness over a week by a few degrees, but I have no idea how this might equate to a 10g tank (I was working with a 90g). I am loathe to suggest something that could kill your fish or plants. B.

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 #20 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
You're correct, in a 10g whatever you do to alter the water chemistry can have quite an effect. I dug out my charts for when I tried magnesium sulfate, and note that it raised the GH but had no effect on the pH. If you don't have a test kit for hardness, I would not experiment with fish in the tank. I was able to raise the hardness over a week by a few degrees, but I have no idea how this might equate to a 10g tank (I was working with a 90g). I am loathe to suggest something that could kill your fish or plants. B.
I think that in my case the safest thing for me to do would be a product at the aquarium store that sets and buffers the PH to 7.5.

In my head, wouldn't that be the least risky? no experimenting, no killing my fish becuase my PH strips were bad, etc.

BTW, my strips measure DH, GH, PH, NO2, and NO3
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