please help - pH dropping after driftwood cleaning
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please help - pH dropping after driftwood cleaning

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please help - pH dropping after driftwood cleaning
Old 05-16-2013, 02:24 PM   #1
 
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please help - pH dropping after driftwood cleaning

Hi guys, I need some help.

I've had my tank set up/fully cycled for about 4 months. I have always had stable ph at 7.6 (it's about 8 out of the tap). Yesterday I removed and cleaned 2 pieces of driftwood (in bucket of tank water)
which were starting to be covered in brown algae. I also siphoned the sand which i do once a week.

A few hours after the clean up I noticed my fish seemed to be breathing heavy and I found my ph dropped to about 6.6 - all other parameters looked good (0,0,5). So I changed about 30% water and went to bed.

This morning the fish were looking very stressed, all huddled together and at the surface. I knew it must be the ph and sure enough it dropped to about 6.4. I did water changes over the course of a couple hours and they fish were looking much better - normal infact (pH then was at about 7.2ish).

I've been monitoring the ph today and again its slowly dropping and I don't know why. I assume it has to do with the driftwood cleaning but not sure what i can do about it. There have been no other changes or additions to the tank.

btw the driftwood has been in the tank since initial setup but this was the first time i cleaned it.

For now I am just doing 10% water changes every few hours to keep the ph at around 7.2 to 7.6. Any other ideas what I can do?

my setup:
Tank - 55 gallon
filter - eheim 2217
Fish - 15 neon tetra, 12 lemon tetra, 3 bolivian ram
substrate - sand, river rocks
driftwood (malaysian), no live plants- fake
ph - now about 7
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 0 (very low due to all my water changes today, normally 20-30)
kh 3
gh 5
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
JDM
 
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First, remove the driftwood to see if it is, in fact, the culprit.

What did you use to clean it with?

With your KH being on the low side the pH can be lowered easier even if unintentionally.

Jeff.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:07 PM   #3
JDM
 
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You know, with the fixture you have you could easily stock some low to medium light plants in there. The water is just hard enough to support them as long as you don't try valls. A bunch of crypts would go nicely and some real amazon swords.

Just thinking out loud... the tank looks great without but I really like plants... so I like to suggest them.

Jeff.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:16 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by JDM View Post
You know, with the fixture you have you could easily stock some low to medium light plants in there. The water is just hard enough to support them as long as you don't try valls. A bunch of crypts would go nicely and some real amazon swords.

Just thinking out loud... the tank looks great without but I really like plants... so I like to suggest them.

Jeff.
+1

Additionally you killed off all the algae in the drift wood which in and of itself could cause the low pH.

and possible ammonia.

Test ammonia also.

And most importantly did you use latex type gloves with any kind of oil or chemicals on them? Did you change the filter media? Did you accidently have any toxin in the tub? Was the dog (with a flea collar) jumping around the tub as you rinsed? This can happen after introducing toxins in the tank not to mention from the water change itself.

You may need to do a water change which I never recommend except in the rare unique cases where accidental toxins may have been introduced. If you have another tank I would transfer the fish there until this settles down.

my .02
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:31 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDM View Post
First, remove the driftwood to see if it is, in fact, the culprit.

What did you use to clean it with?

With your KH being on the low side the pH can be lowered easier even if unintentionally.

Jeff.
thanks Jeff, I'll be removing the driftwood tonight. I was careful to clean it in tank water during a water change - all i did was brush them off using a filter brush that I only use for the aquarium, so no soap or cleaners of any kind.

They were probably 40% covered in brown and green algae.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
+1

Additionally you killed off all the algae in the drift wood which in and of itself could cause the low pH.

and possible ammonia.

Test ammonia also.

And most importantly did you use latex type gloves with any kind of oil or chemicals on them? Did you change the filter media? Did you accidently have any toxin in the tub? Was the dog (with a flea collar) jumping around the tub as you rinsed? This can happen after introducing toxins in the tank not to mention from the water change itself.

You may need to do a water change which I never recommend except in the rare unique cases where accidental toxins may have been introduced. If you have another tank I would transfer the fish there until this settles down.

my .02

thanks for the .02!

I have a couple buckets I use only for water changes, and I try to be careful about not introducing chemicals in/near the tank. I cleaned the driftwood with tank water only but I'm sure i cleaned off a good bit of algae (brown and green were growing on the wood).

All other parameters are great, no ammonia, nitrite, low nitrates etc. Fish are doing great now but from what I've researched these pH swings are not good for them - and they really looked freaked out this morning!
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:48 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDM View Post
A bunch of crypts would go nicely and some real amazon swords.
Man I would really like to get some live plants in the tank. I was actually researching last week what I could get but I assumed my lighting was not sufficient. Also the more I researched the more "complicated" it seemed (special substrate, co2 injection, fertilizer, etc.).

I'll look into these for sure - thanks.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #8
JDM
 
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Originally Posted by Helix View Post
Man I would really like to get some live plants in the tank. I was actually researching last week what I could get but I assumed my lighting was not sufficient. Also the more I researched the more "complicated" it seemed (special substrate, co2 injection, fertilizer, etc.).

I'll look into these for sure - thanks.
Check my tank in my profile.

Marineland double bright, seachem's flourish once a week if I remember, a root tab for the sword. I have tried a large variety of plants and only the most light needy don't do well.

That's about as complicated as it gets. You don't need CO2 unless you are really cranking out the light intensity, special substrate is marginally a benefit, depending on which one, not a benefit at all. Fertilizer... solid ferts can be a benefit but in a lower light low tech setup not really needed. Your tank is already cycled so you aren't worried about having enough to replace the cycle.... great time to play if you are considering it.

Get some crypts, sink them in the substrate and see how they do.

Jeff.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:48 PM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helix View Post
thanks for the .02!

I have a couple buckets I use only for water changes, and I try to be careful about not introducing chemicals in/near the tank. I cleaned the driftwood with tank water only but I'm sure i cleaned off a good bit of algae (brown and green were growing on the wood).

All other parameters are great, no ammonia, nitrite, low nitrates etc. Fish are doing great now but from what I've researched these pH swings are not good for them - and they really looked freaked out this morning!
Hopefully the fish will recover fully.
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