What Is Causing My Well Water pH To Raise? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-27-2010, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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What Is Causing My Well Water pH To Raise?

Hi,

I'm currently having a pH problem in my tank, so I've be testing the water from point A to point B. The water straight out of my well is coming out at about 6.6 to 6.8. I then let it sit in a rain barrel for about a week and it raises the pH to 7.0 to 7.2. What is going on? Is this process continuing in my tank? The pH in my tank is a steady 7.8 or more.


Kevin
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-27-2010, 01:05 PM
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It would seem that you have a considerable amount of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) in your well water. This often occurs in tap water too, which is why it is recommended to let tap water sit for 24 hours before testing the pH, as this gives the CO2 the time to dissipate from the water. CO2 lowers pH because it is adding acid, and when it dissipates from the water the pH rises. This is the same in reverse as when planted tank aquarists add diffused CO2 to their tanks, it lowers the pH.

Sometimes objects in the tank that are calcareous (rock or gravel made from calcareous rock, coral, dolomite, marble, lava, etc) are the culprits but in this case you have tested the water on its own, so I suspect the CO2 is the answer.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 5 Old 05-28-2010, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
It would seem that you have a considerable amount of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) in your well water. This often occurs in tap water too, which is why it is recommended to let tap water sit for 24 hours before testing the pH, as this gives the CO2 the time to dissipate from the water. CO2 lowers pH because it is adding acid, and when it dissipates from the water the pH rises. This is the same in reverse as when planted tank aquarists add diffused CO2 to their tanks, it lowers the pH.

Sometimes objects in the tank that are calcareous (rock or gravel made from calcareous rock, coral, dolomite, marble, lava, etc) are the culprits but in this case you have tested the water on its own, so I suspect the CO2 is the answer.
Thanks for the great information Byron. I was wondering what was happening. So even after I let my water sit for a week and add it to my tank when it's around 7.2, it still has enough CO2 to dissipate to raise my pH to 7.8? Or is the CO2 already dissipated? I was just hopping it was all the marble river rocks that was raising my pH.

If the CO2 is the culprit, what can I do about it? Would a product like Seachem's Neutral Regulator work for me? It was recommend by my LFS. It is supposed to adjust the pH to 7.0 and keep it there.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-28-2010, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by IceBerg View Post
Thanks for the great information Byron. I was wondering what was happening. So even after I let my water sit for a week and add it to my tank when it's around 7.2, it still has enough CO2 to dissipate to raise my pH to 7.8? Or is the CO2 already dissipated? I was just hopping it was all the marble river rocks that was raising my pH.

If the CO2 is the culprit, what can I do about it? Would a product like Seachem's Neutral Regulator work for me? It was recommend by my LFS. It is supposed to adjust the pH to 7.0 and keep it there.
As you may be seeing, there can be a lot of things occurring that together cause issues. Getting to the source is sometimes tricky.

I did not connect this with the marble rock thread, but now that you have, that is also going to raise the pH. I would leave the marble rock out of the tank, do normal water changes, and see where the pH sits. Give it a week or two, with normal water changes and no other interfering. That will at least show you/us where things stand.

To your question on the water and CO2: CO2 will dissipate fairly quickly, say a day or so, as far as I understand it. Water that has sat for a day or more and is pH 7.2 is not going to raise the tank pH to 7.8, that is something in the tank (like the marble rock).

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 5 Old 05-28-2010, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
As you may be seeing, there can be a lot of things occurring that together cause issues. Getting to the source is sometimes tricky.

I did not connect this with the marble rock thread, but now that you have, that is also going to raise the pH. I would leave the marble rock out of the tank, do normal water changes, and see where the pH sits. Give it a week or two, with normal water changes and no other interfering. That will at least show you/us where things stand.

To your question on the water and CO2: CO2 will dissipate fairly quickly, say a day or so, as far as I understand it. Water that has sat for a day or more and is pH 7.2 is not going to raise the tank pH to 7.8, that is something in the tank (like the marble rock).

Byron.
Sounds like a plan! The marble rock has been extracted from the tank for a few days now. After I did some research on rocks and how some could possible raise your pH, I pulled them. Next week will be fun. I should be buying my light and ordering my plants and driftwood from SA. Hopefully they will get back to my emails.
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