pH = permanant headache... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-02-2007, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
pH = permanant headache...

OK, as a few of you know, i'm busy cycling a new tank specifically for my angels. Its been up a while, and i've been chunting it through the cycle adding Bio Mature and Cycle. I've been doing regular tests to check nitrates/nitrites/ammonia but have neglected to bother with the pH checking. I thought i'd remedy this this morning and found to my horror that the pH is 8. Now, my angels really won't appreciate that!

The tank they are in at the moment has a pH of about 6.8 and my tap water has a pH of about 7.4. I've not played with the water in their old tank, i'm assuming it must be the plants and fish that have brought it down (there's no bog wood in their current tank.)

So my question is - What has made the pH go up so high? As you can see in my post in Fw pics, there's some vinewood in there, which i thought would bring the pH down like bogwood - is this wrong? Or am i panicking prematurely and this is all part of the cycle and a result of the sky high other readings (which is supposed to happen according to the bottle of Bio Mature.)

I know that it's not clever to use those various powders and potions that promise perfect pH in a bottle as it tends to cause stressfull swings and dead fish, so what's the best thing to do? Bung a bit more bogwood in there? Or just leave it to settle?

Also i was gonna put my plec in first (once the cycle has completed itself, obviously) but i remeber someone saying somewhere that plecs can be a bit funny about pH, and i don't wanna kill him either.

Sorry for the ramble, but i'm all confuddled! Cheers.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-02-2007, 09:03 PM
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Re: pH = permanant headache...

Might be time to determine your GH and KH.;) What substrate and rocks(if you are using them) are you using?

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post #3 of 8 Old 09-03-2007, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
I'm gonna have to invest in a kit that does GH and KH before i can give that answer.

I have sand and slate in the current tank, and black gravel (it's not a natural gravel, it appears to be ceramic with some kind of [plastic?] coating) and exactly the same kind of slate (cos it was left over from the previous tank set up, and i harvested it all fom the same place...) in the new one.

It's just white silica sand in the current tank.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-03-2007, 05:04 PM

I can recommend the TetraMin TetraTest Kit. I have used this kit for the last 1.5 years and reproducible results are possible with it.

I have just spent an hour hunting for the elements and molecules and no joy!
I believe from the few sites which published the same "specifications (which they were not) that this product is one which I would not use.
MS: as you are aware I do not recommend the use " of anything such as this product".
These specifications indicated that Biomature contained salts.
Some salts will produce a base solution.
I believe that the Biomature is at least partially the reason that you are observing a Ph of 8.

Same song second verse as Biomature except that salts are not mentioned.

Biomature and Cycle
No way! No Way! do these products contain bacteria as advertised.

1) If you have the availability of activated carbon filtration introduce it to you filtration process for 3 days and then remove it.
2) Implement 20% daily water changes to get this "mess and it's byproducts" out of your tank water.
3) Place a tablespoon of flakes in your tank.
4) As you have no fish in your tank "crank up" the temperature to 85F. Although not set forth in the fish keeping literature the increase in temperature from 78F to 85F IMHO will decrease the cycle time by 50%.

After 10 days check your water parameters. IMHO the ammonia and nitrites will be at an observable zero value. Evacuate any extant flake remnants.

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post #5 of 8 Old 09-03-2007, 05:10 PM
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if im understanding what youre saying to run a cycle, Ron, than I have a question. how can 1 tbsp of flake food provide enough of a bioload to make the tank fish-worthy at the end of the cycle?

I just want to make it clear im not questioning your methods at all, I just enjoy learning :)

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post #6 of 8 Old 09-03-2007, 05:49 PM
I have an angel in my community tank, and my pH is 8.2. They can be quite comfortable in the higher pH, but you may lose a few weaker specimens that cannot adjust. They also will not breed in such high conditions. If you choose just to go with the high pH water, drip acclimate each and every fish for the best results.

You are right about the "pH balance" powder. I tried it once. It shot the pH down instantly, and then the pH skyrocketed right back to 8.2 a half hour later (no joke). A consistently high pH is much better than a fluctuating one.

One option is to mix demineralized water with your tap water, but this can be tricky since you first have to have access to such water (or pay handsomely for it), and then you have to be VERY consistent to mix it exactly as you did the previous time so that you avoid the aforementioned fluctuations. Hope you find a suitable solution!

Best wishes for your fishes!
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-03-2007, 07:01 PM
Originally Posted by beetlebz
if im understanding what youre saying to run a cycle, Ron, than I have a question. how can 1 tbsp of flake food provide enough of a bioload to make the tank fish-worthy at the end of the cycle?

I just want to make it clear im not questioning your methods at all, I just enjoy learning :)
1) pls interrogate away (and I encourage you to do so): if one of my assertions is incorrect then I really need to know it ASAP.
2) the one tablespoon was based on "as best as I remember" Ms' tank volume was less than 20G.
3) IMHO one tablespoon should be "plenty" but if the flakes "begin significantly going away" and ammonia and nitrite concentrations are observable then adding another tablespoon of flakes would obviously be warranted.

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post #8 of 8 Old 09-04-2007, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
OK, I may have got to the bottom of this. Turns out that, as had been said here, the Bio Mature ain't all it's cracked up to be, i took advice from a different member of My LFS staff (not the one a trust and have had a lot of good advice from) , and turns out this new one isn't as knowledgeable as the other dudes there. Once again i've fallen foul of the school boy error of not doing my own research, i'll learn properly one day! Just lulled into a false sense of security by other knowledgeable members of staff!

I've spoken to the folks there and they've said to let at all settle and cycle and the vine wood should bring it down again over time. Hopefully the suggestion of the carbon in the filter should speed this process.

However i have found out what may be at the root of the cause, I was talking to the owner of the LFS, who has been keeping fish for years and see's the shop more of a way to fund his own habit thab as a way to make a living...

He asked me what day i filled the tank on. Confused i told him it was a saturday. Turns out that the water in my area is pretty good on a weekday, but always goes haywire over the weekend as the water company only staffs the treatment works mon to friday, so it all gets a big dose of whatever goes chemicals into the supply to see it through the weekend on automated systems...

He said that when he started the shop he used to get strange fish deaths over the weekend at the shop, so began testing the water out of the tap every time he used it, and it the PH always sky rocketed on a weekend. they stopped using the water on a weekend and saw a dramatic reduction of fish stress and death.

I'll be checking out this story myself this weekend, but it would explain the large difference between the water and the tanks, as i never used to do water changes on a weekend till i changed jobs to one that gave me weekends off.

Also, Ron, the tank i am setting up at the moment is a 52g, but i do have a 15g too, so that may be where the confusion arose!

Cheers for all the help folks, i do love a mystery. I'm just glad it's a mystery concerning just water, and no fish suffered!
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