sudden pH spike- how to fix - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 08-14-2011, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
sudden pH spike- how to fix

My tank just had a sudden pH spike. It is normally around 7.5. I tested it yesterday morning and it was 7.6. I woke up this morning and one of my zebra danios was dead. It hadn't been showing any signs of illness or disease, so I immediately tested my water. All the conditions were normal except the pH was suddenly 8.6! I use an API liquid test kit and tested it twice to make sure I was getting the correct reading. None of my other fish seem to be distressed, but i'm sure they are with such a drastic pH change. I have 3 cories, 3 (now 2) zebra danios, a mystery snail, and a single female betta in this tank. (before anyone says anything, I know the zebras shouldn't really be kept in a 10 gallon tank and that i should have more of them. I was going to get 2 more in a few days, was waiting to make sure the bio load was under control, I just got the danios a week ago)

How do I get the pH back to normal? I'll do a big water change, but what would cause this?

10 gallon tank
ammonia: 0
nitrite: 0
nitrate: between 5 and 10
pH: 8.6 (normally 7.5)

Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 2 Old 08-14-2011, 01:20 PM
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The pH change needs to be done slowly. But first, let's find the cause, and it may occur again.

What is the pH of your tap water? You should let it sit out in a glass overnight to get rid of the CO2 that will affect the test, but if you haven't [previously tested it accordingly, you can put some tap water in a bottle (1/4 full only) with a lid and shake it very vigorously for a couple minutes, then test.

What is the hardness of your tap water (you can find this out from the water syupply folks, many now have a website with water data posted)?

And what is in the tank, in the way of substrate, rocks, etc.?

Has any substance gone in the tank [thinking of water additives and such]? And what is your water conditioner?

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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