pH problems
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pH problems

This is a discussion on pH problems within the Freshwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I have two tanks. One is a 30gal freshwater with alot of fish (12 gouramis, 5 cory cats, 6 oto cats and a pleco) ...

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Old 03-11-2009, 07:42 PM   #1
 
pH problems

I have two tanks. One is a 30gal freshwater with alot of fish (12 gouramis, 5 cory cats, 6 oto cats and a pleco) The other tank is a 20 gal with 2 goldfish. The 30 gal keeps reading 5.0 for pH and my nitrates are always high. The 20 gal reads 7.5 pH and all the other tests are normal. Testing my tap water is 8.5pH. Its all the same water, same water conditioner. Why is the differences so drastic? And how do I fix my 30 gal tank? I'm very new to the hobby and I think I'm getting myself confused. I would really appreciate any help. Thanks!!!!!!
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:33 PM   #2
 
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I am guessing that you have quite a bit of driftwood in there? If so, you could add some crushed coral to the tank to bring your hardness up a bit.
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:19 AM   #3
 
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Your problem is the overcrowding in the tanks. How often do you do water changes? How much water do you change at a time?
When an aquarium has too many fish or the fish are too large for the tank the waste begins to build, which is where the high nitrates come from. High nitrates for any length of time is toxic to the fish and will contribute to stunted growth, health problems, and eventually an early death.
High nitrate levels will cause chemical reactions in the water which will drop the pH to dangerous levels, as it sounds like yours is already there.

The best way to fix the problem is with small daily water changes (10% - 15%) and to either get a larger aquarium or rehome some of those fish. Once the water conditions are healthy again (this may take a long time to completely clean up) you can expect the fish to continue to grow to adult sizes. That many of those kinds of fish together should not fit into that size tank when they are all even 1/2 grown. The same thing applies to the goldfish.
To give you a brief picture of what those fish turn into, they run as follows for adult sizes:
gourami - standard, 5 - 6 inches full grown
gourami - dwarf, 2 - 3 inches full grown depending on species
cory cats, 3 inches full grown
otocinclus, 4 - 5 inches full grown
standard pleco, 18 inches full grown

standard/comet goldfish, 14 inches full grown
fancy goldfish, 7 - 8 inches full grown

It should also be noted that goldfish and common plecos are waste machines, very dirty fish who require good filtration and lots of water changes.

When cleaning this up be careful not to change too much water at a time to avoid changing the conditions in the tank too drastically at once. This can put the fish's organs into shock and cause death. pH is very important for the physiological functions of a fish and each species has a very specific safe range, none that I am aware of can typically handle 5.0 without causing harm/damage. I would encourage you to begin small water changes asap.

One last note: Be careful not to overdose water conditioner. Only dose for the amount of clean water being added. Overdosing water conditioner can also drop pH levels and is very difficult to clean up.

Good Luck to you!
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:48 AM   #4
 
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Great post Bettababy!.........You said it all and very concise and gave correct advice........You put everything in your post that jkphoenix needs to know and do........One thing more jk phoenix, how old are the gouramis?.........I'm really suprised your not having major aggression issues with 12 gouramis in such a small tank.......Do they fight with each other?........Chase on another?........Do they have nipped fins?
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:36 PM   #5
 
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Thanks Fishin Pole.
I wanted to come back and add something about the goldfish to give a better idea of their needs...
I currently have a large fancy goldfish (7.75 inches) in a 120 gallon tank. He is the only fish and that tank requires 2 water changes/wk, 30% each to keep it clean and to keep him healthy. He will be moving to a 225 gallon tank this summer, but is likely to only share that tank with a pleco due to waste issues. This fish is only about 4 yrs old with a potential lifespan of up to 25 yrs.

When I took this fish in about 3 1/2 yrs ago he came from a 20 gallon tank and was about 2 1/2 inches long. Within the first year he went from 2 1/2 inches to 5+. This is a normal growth rate for a healthy goldfish.

Dawn
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:47 AM   #6
 
Thanks so much for the advise. I normally do 20% water changes weekly. But I started doing 10% every day. They don't fight. No one is injured in any way. They are 2 moonlights, 2 snakeskin and 2 pearl. I've had these 6 for about 6 months. I only recently put the other 6 in the tank. (2 paradise and 4 red honey). I took those out of the tank.
Do you think it is better to use spring water or tap water? I have city water and they put alot of cloramine and clorine in it. I use TLC water conditioner.

Do the goldfish need salt in the water? I wasn't a huge fan of goldfish but these two are growing on me. The tank they were in was green and had only a couple of inches of water. So I moved them to a 20 gal. They seem to be doing okay. They are Ryukins and they are about 3 in. Should I move them to a bigger tank?

Thanks again!!!!!
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:03 AM   #7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
Your problem is the overcrowding in the tanks. How often do you do water changes? How much water do you change at a time?
When an aquarium has too many fish or the fish are too large for the tank the waste begins to build, which is where the high nitrates come from. High nitrates for any length of time is toxic to the fish and will contribute to stunted growth, health problems, and eventually an early death.
High nitrate levels will cause chemical reactions in the water which will drop the pH to dangerous levels, as it sounds like yours is already there.

The best way to fix the problem is with small daily water changes (10% - 15%) and to either get a larger aquarium or rehome some of those fish. Once the water conditions are healthy again (this may take a long time to completely clean up) you can expect the fish to continue to grow to adult sizes. That many of those kinds of fish together should not fit into that size tank when they are all even 1/2 grown. The same thing applies to the goldfish.
To give you a brief picture of what those fish turn into, they run as follows for adult sizes:
gourami - standard, 5 - 6 inches full grown
gourami - dwarf, 2 - 3 inches full grown depending on species
cory cats, 3 inches full grown
otocinclus, 4 - 5 inches full grown
standard pleco, 18 inches full grown

standard/comet goldfish, 14 inches full grown
fancy goldfish, 7 - 8 inches full grown

It should also be noted that goldfish and common plecos are waste machines, very dirty fish who require good filtration and lots of water changes.

When cleaning this up be careful not to change too much water at a time to avoid changing the conditions in the tank too drastically at once. This can put the fish's organs into shock and cause death. pH is very important for the physiological functions of a fish and each species has a very specific safe range, none that I am aware of can typically handle 5.0 without causing harm/damage. I would encourage you to begin small water changes asap.

One last note: Be careful not to overdose water conditioner. Only dose for the amount of clean water being added. Overdosing water conditioner can also drop pH levels and is very difficult to clean up.

Good Luck to you!
Hi! Dawn,

Your advice seems to be very thorough and precise.
Since you are Aquatic Specialists, what are your thoughts on keeping f/w specimen found in slightly acidic water at pH of 7.6 or 8 or higher? I do understand that most can adapt to wider range of pH than pH of their natural biotope (even natural biotope may fluctuate somewhat depending on seasons). But would you agree that pH of 7.6 or 8 or higher for most tetras (neons, etc), corys, rasbora, some barbs, bala shark, etc. be inadequate? It is my understanding that extreme pH difference can/will cause irritation/inflammation of gill thereby hampering with their functions in respiration and excretion (excretion of NH3/NH4+ from blood thru gill).
Thanx in advance for your input.

Cerianthus.

Last edited by cerianthus; 03-13-2009 at 08:06 AM..
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