Water of no use - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-25-2010, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Water of no use

Newbie here. Setting up a planted tank. 40 gallon. Our water here has a ph of 9. Maybe higher. Of course the fish I decide on are soft water. Anyways, I bought the API tapwater filer. Followed the directions, Ph of 5.5. Suposed to be. Add the electro-right and the ph adjuster, My Ph is 5.5. Next day, thinking I done something wrong, add more. Ph 5.5. So I do a 25% water change and just add regular tap and my PH was 6.8. But it went right on down to 5.5. again. This is crazy. Will I not be able to have fish because of a Ph either to high or to low? Can I say "Help" now?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-26-2010, 07:12 AM
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glad you joined us here at TFK.. sorry if responses seem a bit slow but there are times when knowledgeable members are not on for a few hours or even a day.. so please dont get discouraged if you dont get a reply right away..

this sound like a bunch of things are potentially going on ... i will ask a few questions and see what i can offer but some of our more experienced members should be along to help you out...

what is your tank set up? salt or fresh water, size, substrate, decor, etc.....
what test kits are you using? are they strip or drop tests?
have you had any one else varify your tests just to see if the one you have if flawed (been there!!)
also what type of filtration are you using

Back in the Game!!! Live Bearers in a 40 Breeder
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-26-2010, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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40 gallon fresh water. Substrate is Aquriumplants.com own substrate. Piece of wood. That's really it. Like I said. I'm just setting up. I have everything ready to go, just no plants of fish yet because of the water. I'm using a Sera test kit. I have the large one will all the tests. As far as I know, it should be fine. I used it on our tap water, Ro water, even spring water we had, and they all had different values as should be.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-26-2010, 07:20 PM
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I don't know if you have thought about it but a soil base tank at least in my experiance lowers the ph. My water from my tap is 7.6 but in my soil base tank it is 6 and the other tanks that are not soil base are 7.6 like the tap water. You might could read up on it and set your tank up like that its really not hard and the plants I have in that tank have amazing growth even better than a tank I have that has Eco Complete in it which is exspecially for plants. Plus its a bad idea to add chemicals to your tank to adjust the ph or control other things like ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites because that will cause major fluctuations when you do water changes. You can read up on the soil base setup here:

and here


Kindest Regards,

Keeping fish its not a hobby it is a passion!

I have a 55 gallon, 40 gallon, 29 gallon, 20 gallon tank, 5 gallon , and a 2.5 gallon all with real plants.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-26-2010, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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I don't want to change my substrate. But I am thinking of draining in down and doing good all tap water. Maybe add peat to the filter, and I will have CO2 for the plants. Luckily the tetras I'm wanting are very tolerant. One reason why I chose them. Will have to look at my other wants, and see what to watch out for, acclimate and hope for the best. And I know, it's always better not to mess to much with the water. I actually thought this was a pretty straight forward solution!
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-26-2010, 09:14 PM
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Have you tried leaving your tap water out for 24 hours and then testing it? Mine ranges from 8.2-8.4 from the tap, but mellows to 7.8 after 24 hours or 7.4 with aeration. If yours does the same you may not need to add chemicals in order to use it; you'll just need to have some sort of container to let it sit in beforehand.

That said, your substrate may be the culprit. It does not say that it doesn't affect the pH on their site, and I saw at least one reviewer that mentioned a pH crash (8.2 to 5.4, I think?) after using it, though they were also using CO2. I'd try getting a bucket and putting the filtered water in it, then adding the appropriate amount of chemicals and monitoring it to see if it stays where you want it. You could also do a 100% water change and replace it all with tap water, then monitor the pH and see if the substrate causes it to drop.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-27-2010, 05:34 AM
For tetras I assume anything from 5.5 to 7 is good.

Anyway, I found this interesting.

"Peat moss softens water and reduces its hardness (GH). The most effective way to soften water via peat is to aerate water for 1-2 weeks in a bucket containing peat moss. For example, get a (plastic) bucket of the appropriate size. Then, get a large quantity of peat (a gallon or more), boil it (so that it sinks), stuff it in a pillow case, and place it in the water bucket. Use an air pump to aerate it. In 1-2 weeks, the water will be softer and more acidic. Use this aged water when making partial water changes on your tank.

Peat can be bought at pet shops, but it is expensive. It is much more cost-effective to buy it in bulk at a local gardening shop. Read labels carefully! You don't want to use peat containing fertilizers or other additives.

Although some folks place peat in the filters of their tanks, the technique has a number of drawbacks. First, peat clogs easily, so adding peat isn't always effective. Second, peat can be messy and may cloud the water in your tank. Third, the exact quantity of peat needed to effectively soften your water is difficult to estimate. Using the wrong amount results in the wrong water chemistry. Finally, when doing water changes, your tank's chemistry changes when new water is added (it has the wrong properties). Over the next few days, the chemistry changes as the peat takes effect. Using aged water helps ensure that the chemistry of your tank doesn't fluctuate while doing water changes."
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-27-2010, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Always something, isn't it? The site does say that it doesn't effect the PH. API is of no use either. I e-mailed there help line and they said, My tests were expired or the chemicals were expired, (no to both) and to just add more! Just add more? Like, how much more, and if it still doesn't work? Anyways, I had fish and plants 8 years ago with no problem and I haven't moved, so maybe it won't be too bad. I'll check the water after it's been out a while.Maybe that will help. Oh, the tetra's I'm wanting are X-ray Pristilla tetras. They can take a wide range of PH. Up to 8.5. So I'm hoping they'll do OK.
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