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pH levels pretty high

This is a discussion on pH levels pretty high within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by excal88 Thanks for the info Byron. Unfortuantly for me, I live in So Cal, where the rain doesn't come often, and ...

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pH levels pretty high
Old 04-27-2011, 01:09 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by excal88 View Post
Thanks for the info Byron. Unfortuantly for me, I live in So Cal, where the rain doesn't come often, and its quite polluted. I was wondering if using arrow head drinking water would be good. I just tested some and it came out with a pH of less than 7.4.
That's a high pH that will have minimal effect mixed with your tap water. And the drinking water may well contain substances. The best thing if you want to buy water would be RO or distilled water, and then mix it.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #12
 
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If you go to your local grocery store or a wal mart and go in the area where they have all the soda's you'll find large jugs of water. You'll see ones that say Spring Water -- you don't want those , so look for the jugs that say Distilled Water - this will be the best way. I know at my local store a gallon is like .88
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:23 PM   #13
 
Thanks for the heads up guys. I'll stop by a few places and see if they sell distilled water. Hopefully at target. Haha.

Also, question on the mixing. Will I have to get a batch of the pre-mixed water with lower pH ready for each pwc from now on? Or just enough to get my tank's pH down, and then let the natural process let the pH equalize?
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:36 PM   #14
 
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I'm not really an expert when it comes to this but there should be a way to maintain and buffer your pH levels either naturally or chemically.

I live in TX and our water is about 6-7.5 pH and I keep Cichlids which require the higher more alkaline levels, I have to use coral and baking soda to get it up that high. Perhaps maybe some sort of a buffer to keep it down cause with the water in your area being that high perhaps a chemical to keep it there would be best. I'm not sure what everyone else suggests for the long term. Maybe adding some driftwood or peat could help with that cause they release Tannic acid in your water keeping the pH low. But good luck!
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:49 PM   #15
 
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Raising pH is easier than lowering, because to raise pH you need to increase hardness via calcium and magnesium primarily. You already have those in your tap water which is why it is hard and has a high pH. Lowering pH is a bit trickier because it means removing the minerals to soften the water.

Using lots of wood, leaves, peat are some methods. With a small volume (5g tank) this is not expensive; the peat has to be replaced regularly and that depends upon how much is being used to lower the hardness in relation to the initial hardness. Wood and leaves work similarly, by leeching tannins into the water and acidifying it. But with all these the initial hardness determines how much and how effective. I think most would agree it is far easier and safer (for consistency) to use the water mix method.

Now to the water changes. Once the tank is initially stable, with less hardness in the water it will tend to acidify and thus the pH will lower gradually. Keeping it low will be relatively easy because the weekly water change can use a similar mix of water as what you will start with, or perhaps even a bit more tap water in the mix. As long as the hardness does not increase to the point where it starts buffering more.

The formula for this will depend totally on your water, both the tap water and the diluting water. Just make sure the mixing is not done in the tank if fish are present, as I think I mentioned previously.

Byron.
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Old 04-27-2011, 10:47 PM   #16
 
So if it takes 1/3 RO to 2/3 tap to make a PH of 7. Get the tank to stabilize at 7. Once stable, you might be able to use 1/4 RO at a slightly higher ph (say 7.2 for conversation) to get the buffering of the water up so that it stay more stable at 7 and won't tend to go lower due to the natural tank process?

Most of this is due to fish would rather have a more stable ph then one that isn't quite ideal?
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:25 AM   #17
 
Thanks for the ratios Twindad, but I just added roughly 1 gallon of tap to 3 gallons of distilled water *distilled water from target, market pantry. Measured pH was actually between 6.8 and 7.0* and all that distilled water dropped that 1 gallon of tap down to around 7.4-7.6. I have about 4 gallons of that stuff right now. I'll wait until tomorrow and see how things go in terms of pH for the mixture.
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:25 AM   #18
 
Update

Ok, just did a 50% water change in the tank with my fish, and I got my pH down to 7.4 via the distilled water/tap water mix. Apparently the mix was actually at 7.4. Good number, going to keep it that way. Will monitor and keep updated.
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:46 AM   #19
 
I should have made it a bit clear I was trying to see if I understood what the others said. It's good to know what ratio got you 7.4. I'm contemplating doing what your doing to lower my ph. So I wanted to get my head around what was suggested.

My ph is stable at 7.8. Really hard to move even though my GH is 44-77ppm. According to my water company. I'd like to get to 7.2. I might experiments like you to get it lower, my only concern is it going up and down. Mine isn't going lower over time, it is staying the same. I left tap in a bucket for a week. 7.8 the same as when poured.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:25 PM   #20
 
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I should have made it a bit clear I was trying to see if I understood what the others said. It's good to know what ratio got you 7.4. I'm contemplating doing what your doing to lower my ph. So I wanted to get my head around what was suggested.

My ph is stable at 7.8. Really hard to move even though my GH is 44-77ppm. According to my water company. I'd like to get to 7.2. I might experiments like you to get it lower, my only concern is it going up and down. Mine isn't going lower over time, it is staying the same. I left tap in a bucket for a week. 7.8 the same as when poured.
Things will be different, sometimes significantly so, from aquarium to aquarium. It is not the tap water and distilled water mix on its own, but the effect of the biology of the aquarium. Letting a pail of mixed water sit for days will likely not show any change in pH because there is nothing acting upon the water chemistry [though in some situations there could be, such as dissolved CO2, which would normally gas out within 24 hours]. But once in an aquarium with fish, plants, bacteria--it may slowly or suddenly shift, and more likely down.

So, once the water is mixed and showing the desired pH, do a water change (around 30%) and monitor the pH in the aquarium over several days. And so on, depending upon the results. But be aware that as the acid increases or the KH decreases, at some point the buffering capacity may be exhausted and the pH can then very suddenly and sharply drop, what we term a pH crash. This can kill fish and plants.

Water in an aquarium will naturally acidify over time due to the biology. The pH will lower accordingly. The extent to which this occurs depends upon other factors, such as the KH of the water, items in the aquarium that may affect water chemistry (wood, rock, calcareous gravels/sand, leaves, peat, carbon, etc). Each aquarium can react differently.
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