07-18-2009, 09:23 AM
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I agree with Twistersmom, and will exlain below why this is critical.
The conflicting pH readings of 6 and 7.4 puzzle me...one of these tests can't be correct, probably the high range. If you normally maintain your tank mid 7's I would get a more standard range pH test kit (pH 6 to 7.8 or something) so you can easily see when/if the pH drops.
And a note on that, be very careful. If the ph actually fell to 6.0, the nitrosomonas bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite would be very limited; as the pH drops this bacteria is less able to function. Doing a water change that raises the pH above 7.0 in such a situation is dangerous. At an acidic pH, ammonia becomes ammonium which is basically harmless to fish (unlike true ammonia). When the pH of the water suddenly becomes alkaline after the water change, the ammonium immediately converts back to ammonia. The nitrosomonas bacteria need time to multiply to a level where they can handle it. Thus, monitor the ammonia and do the partial water changes. Also might be good to use a declorinator that also detoxifies ammonia. And/or add "Cycle" or "Stability" to the tank; these are biological supplements to jumpstart the bacteria and are safe.
Last edited by Byron; 07-18-2009 at 09:25 AM..