Weird water - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-05-2012, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Weird water

I've been reading up on water chemistry A LOT and still can't seem to find the answers, or atleast how to fix the problem. My current tank is 20 gallons with 4 cherry barbs. Current water chemistry:
pH: 6.4
Alkalinity: 120 ppm
Hardness: 50 ppm (this I don't believe is accurate, as I have well water, and calcium buildup on the rear of the tank is a sure sign.)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 80 (I know this one is a bit high)

Straight from the sink the water chemistry reads:
pH: 6.8
Alkalinity: 80 ppm
Hardness: 50-120 ppm

I add tap water treatment to my tank with everywater change, and Proper pH 7.0.
Reading further I know that the Proper pH 7.0 has a certain buffering capacity, but if that is so, why is my pH dropping?

How can I get my water perameters atleast closer to average, or should I change ideas for types of fish in my new aquarium?

I am about to start a new 55 gallon aquarium that I wanted to be as a community tank, but now I'm not so sure with this setback.

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post #2 of 6 Old 01-05-2012, 04:51 PM
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To understand the pH issue, have a read of this article:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

I wrote it, and in places it may get technical, but plow through and you should have a better grasp of what's happening.

It will also explain why any attempts to adjust pH must be carefully worked out with respect to the KH (bicarbonate hardness) of the water. I would stop using the pH chemical. Soft water fish like cherry barb are very happy with what you have out of the tap/in the tank. And the continual fluctuation from using chemicals, not to mention the chemicals effect on fish, is not beneficial.

Feel free to ask any questions. And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Byron.

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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post #3 of 6 Old 01-06-2012, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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I know that the readings say 50-120 for hardness but this typer of hardness reads for the magnesium and calcium in your water. The entire back of my current tank which has een running for close to 3 years has calcium buildup all over the back side of it. All of the clues for hard water, I have but the tests say otherwise...

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post #4 of 6 Old 01-06-2012, 01:10 PM
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The pH readings do not suggest hard water, although the bicarbonate hardness (KH or Alkalinity) is the pH buffering component. Still, the GH and KH are usually (though not always, depending upon what is in the source water) close. But as the pH is lowering in the tank, I would not worry.

One suggestion on the hardness numbers, I assume this is your test? What numbers do you get from the water supply folks? Many now have a website with data posted, or they should be able to tell you. Ask/look for the GH and KH/Alkalinity from them.

Byron.

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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post #5 of 6 Old 01-06-2012, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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The water I have available is well water. Not a city line, so my readings are all I have to go by.
I suppose my only concern with my pH is when I purchase my new fish at the store, their water's pH is about 7.0 exactly or 7.2. I know about letting the bag sit in your tank from the temperature to equal but transitioning from a 7.2 pH to a 6.4 could be detrimental... so how do I cure that problem?

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post #6 of 6 Old 01-06-2012, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cherryblu View Post
The water I have available is well water. Not a city line, so my readings are all I have to go by.
I suppose my only concern with my pH is when I purchase my new fish at the store, their water's pH is about 7.0 exactly or 7.2. I know about letting the bag sit in your tank from the temperature to equal but transitioning from a 7.2 pH to a 6.4 could be detrimental... so how do I cure that problem?
I have an even greater variance. I let my tanks lower naturally, I only "buffer" pH in 2 of the 7. The 5 naturally fall to pH 5-6, perhaps lower, no test kit reads below 5. I have all soft water fish, mostly wild caught from similar water. The stores here tend to buffer their water as they have such a mix of fish, so they will be anywhere from 6.5 to 7.2 depending upon the store.

When I get the fish home, I float the bag to even temp, then add some tank water to the bag, leave for 15-20 minutes, then add more; about a cup each time. I usually do this twice, maybe 3 times with especially delicate fish. Then I net the fish from the bag into the tank.

I know of some professional aquarists who never mess with the water mix, they just equalize temp and then in go the fish. One of these is an importer of fish, and his fish are very healthy, and those I have acquired from him have not been problematic.

It is true that pH and hardness changes can shock fish, and we should avoid creating them un-naturally in an aquarium. But the degree to which most fish can adjust is likely greater than we might expect. The pH in a planted aquarium fluctuates every 24 hours, from lowering during darkness and rising during daylight; this is caused by the depletion (during the light) and replacement (during darkness) of CO2 which affects the carbonic acid in the water. The daily fluctuation can be .4 or .5, and fish manage fine with this. Something very similar occurs in nature. It is slower obviously, but the point is that the fish do cope with it.

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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