pH skyrocketed! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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pH skyrocketed!

I've been keeping a watchful eye on my smallest planted tank lately, as it is the most fragile of my hydrospheres it seems... Everything has been checking out as far as water quality goes, but the pH was a bit high. I added peat moss to the tank, and saw a small improvement. That was a week ago. I did a water change last night, and then retested earlier today. My pH has jumped up to 7.6 or so! I know this isn't the worst problem I could have, but I am slightly baffled as to what could have happened. Perhaps my local tap water has an inconsistent pH? But I've noticed no problems in my other tanks. Hmmm... I've added no new rocks or decor, just a couple of fish and plants!

Help?


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post #2 of 12 Old 03-07-2010, 10:02 PM
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What's the pH AND KH from your tap? How much peat did you add to what sized tank?

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post #3 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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What's the pH AND KH from your tap? How much peat did you add to what sized tank?
My tap spits water with 6.8 pH and <1 KH. I placed a little mesh bag containing a cylinder of peat (1x1x2"ish) in my ten gallon tank. My KH in this tank has stayed consistently at 3.

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post #4 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 03:42 AM
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Is there anything in the tank that could be raising it? Any rocks or shells or anything like that?

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post #5 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 04:04 AM
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My tap spits water with 6.8 pH and <1 KH. I placed a little mesh bag containing a cylinder of peat (1x1x2"ish) in my ten gallon tank. My KH in this tank has stayed consistently at 3.

I might retest the water in the ten gal and be sure and use low range test from API test kit. Is unclear to me if water from tap is 6.8 pH why you are using peat.
I might run a bucket of tapwater and let it set overnight, Then test the pH of the bucket of water. If ph isn't below 6.0 or above 8.0, There aren't many fish you could not keep for many would fall somewhere within those parameters.
I'm no expert at adjusting water and therefore I simply keep fish that do well in the water i have from the tap. If it's hard water,,I keep fish that like hard alkaline water. If water from tap is soft,acidic.,, I keep types of fish that prefer soft water. My own tapwater has pH of 7.4 and after the aquariums are a few months old..The ph is closer to 7.0 to 7.2. I keep fishes that do well in that water. Your water from tap has little Carbonate hardness and I fear peat will continue to lower KH thus making pH unstable. If anything,, I might be using something to help buffer the water and raise KH a little unless I were keeping Rams or other fishes that need very soft water.
I also would not use water from domestic water softener, for it removes salts that fish need Calcium,magnesium,and that also buffer your water to prevent pH shifts ,,and replaces these salts with sodium salts that some claim, may have negative affect on fishes with prolonged use.

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post #6 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Is there anything in the tank that could be raising it? Any rocks or shells or anything like that?
The only thing in the tank besides gravel and plants is a piece of Malaysian driftwood.

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I might retest the water in the ten gal and be sure and use low range test from API test kit. Is unclear to me if water from tap is 6.8 pH why you are using peat.
I might run a bucket of tapwater and let it set overnight, Then test the pH of the bucket of water. If ph isn't below 6.0 or above 8.0, There aren't many fish you could not keep for many would fall somewhere within those parameters.
I'm no expert at adjusting water and therefore I simply keep fish that do well in the water i have from the tap. If it's hard water,,I keep fish that like hard alkaline water. If water from tap is soft,acidic.,, I keep types of fish that prefer soft water. My own tapwater has pH of 7.4 and after the aquariums are a few months old..The ph is closer to 7.0 to 7.2. I keep fishes that do well in that water. Your water from tap has little Carbonate hardness and I fear peat will continue to lower KH thus making pH unstable. If anything,, I might be using something to help buffer the water and raise KH a little unless I were keeping Rams or other fishes that need very soft water.
I also would not use water from domestic water softener, for it removes salts that fish need Calcium,magnesium,and that also buffer your water to prevent pH shifts ,,and replaces these salts with sodium salts that some claim, may have negative affect on fishes with prolonged use.
I will continue you to retest the pH of course. I started using the peat because the pH in this tank was 7.5-plus to begin with, perhaps it's the gravel. The pH went down desirably before... And now has come back up. I would definitely like to buffer my KH, but I don't particularly like using chemicals... Is there a more holistic method?

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post #7 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 09:19 AM
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That tank is newly set up isn't it? That's the same readings I get from my tap here and each & every tank I set up so far w/out rime or reason has been swinging hardcore for the first 6-8 weeks after set up.
I had pH swings like this 6.8 - 6.4 - 7.2 - 7.6 - 7 and all I did in the end is let my tanks do their natural thing and leave them alone no nothing added, let them swing up & down until the point where eg. on the 55g I read 7.2 and it indeed stayed there for good. Adding peat to the non-hardness water you and I have can seriously bottom out your tank's stability and personally was this my tank I'd not do this. Like I said I just let mine run their natural thing for a few weeks and I now have constant e.g. on the 55g of pH 7.2 and KH 4 and its been like that stable since early Jan now w/out no uncontrollable chem's in it.

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post #8 of 12 Old 03-08-2010, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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That tank is newly set up isn't it? That's the same readings I get from my tap here and each & every tank I set up so far w/out rime or reason has been swinging hardcore for the first 6-8 weeks after set up.
I had pH swings like this 6.8 - 6.4 - 7.2 - 7.6 - 7 and all I did in the end is let my tanks do their natural thing and leave them alone no nothing added, let them swing up & down until the point where eg. on the 55g I read 7.2 and it indeed stayed there for good. Adding peat to the non-hardness water you and I have can seriously bottom out your tank's stability and personally was this my tank I'd not do this. Like I said I just let mine run their natural thing for a few weeks and I now have constant e.g. on the 55g of pH 7.2 and KH 4 and its been like that stable since early Jan now w/out no uncontrollable chem's in it.
Yes, the ten gallon is less than three months old I believe. But the chemistry has been pretty stable the last couple of weeks.
My water is actually about 17 GH in my tanks without the peat, another reason I began using it... I've had a good deal of success with both peat and coral for a couple of years now in several tanks. Most likely, I will just keep an eye on this tank for the next few days and feel it out.

I'll retest tonight. Honestly, I'm really just wondering what the science is behind pH fluctuations in water with stable readings in all other areas... Something I haven't had to deal with at all, ever.

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post #9 of 12 Old 03-09-2010, 09:37 AM
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Ok if you have no hardness coming from your tap and GH17 iin the tank - What the heck are you putting in these tanks? Do you use some type of concrete gravel mixes in there or something that hardens this up so much??
No doubt peat works; I had used it in 2 my set ups as well cause the fish needed softer water then I had. But as these tanks were established I added peat, no hardcore up's & down's like you have there.

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post #10 of 12 Old 03-09-2010, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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LoL. Angel, my KH is the one that's near 0 from the tap, not GH. I've had issues controlling the GH in other tanks, but I am not concerned for this one, it is well controlled. I haven't had a problem with GH in this tank yet, mostly just put the peat iin there to lower the pH a hair. My girl and I have both been trying to decide what shade this darn pH test is... We've decided 7.2! So I will just keep testing until my next water change, and we'll see what's up. Seems alright though... I think perhaps one of the rocks in there is the culprit, it looks like it might be disintegrating a bit, with different composition inside... Maybe not the best rock!

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