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ddesmond 08-12-2008 03:44 AM

New 20g with a PH noticeably higher than the tap

I started a 20g tank about a week ago, and after doing a small amount of research decided to "seed" the new aquarium cycle with two platy and plants. Both seem to be doing just fine at this point.

Out of curiosity I bought a water test kit today (trying to be scientific about the new hobby..). Ammonia low, Nitrite low, but the PH tested somewhere between 8.4 and 8.6. I tested the tap water I used to start the aquarium, and it was much lower at around 7.4. Should I be worried, or do something about this? Could it be a result of using dechlorinate products like the one that came with my tank? I only filled the aquarium about 75% because I anticipate moving it to a new spot in the room soon -- maybe I should fill'er up the rest of the way with the more acidic tap water to even things out?

Any suggestions appreciated!

1077 08-12-2008 04:24 AM

If you have fish in the tank you must use dechlorinator preferably one that removes chlorine, chloramines, and ammonia. What specific test kit are you using? What type of substrate or gravel are you using? what decorations if any are in the tank? what conditioners or chemicals have or are being used in the tank? What is meant when you say low ammonia and low nitrites? Ph fluctuations are not uncommon during cycling of new aquariums. The immediate concern is ammonia levels.

Tyyrlym 08-12-2008 06:37 AM

What kind of decorations do you have in the tank, any large rocks? What kind of substrate did you use, gravel, sand?

ddesmond 08-12-2008 03:14 PM

Thanks for the quick responses,

The test kit I used was a Red Sea brand "Fresh Lab" test kit. I'm at work now and can't remember the exact ammonia/nitrite readings, but came away convinced they were negligible for now anyway.. but the pH concerned me.

I hadn't given any thought to the decorations or gravel. The gravel is just some generic stuff I picked up at the pet store chain. Medium sized, natural looking gravel, about 35 lbs of it, rinsed thoroughly before adding. No large rocks, wood, or anything biological besides the two fish and two live plants.

There are also three small ornaments, molded plastic "poly-resin" knickknacks, also cleaned before adding. You guys latched right on to the gravel/ornaments, could this be the missing pH link!? I'm going to test again in a few days, and this was the very first test, but just curious if this is an expected result of something i'm doing, if it's part of the cycle or if i should be worried for the two platys.

Also, thanks for the advice on moving the tank, I bet this low end tank wouldn't withstand much acrobatics! Need to get a big bucket for the move operation, but need to get something sturdy to put the tank on first!

okiemavis 08-12-2008 04:06 PM

A lot of times tap water pH goes up as it ages, because the co2 dissipates. I'd treat some water with conditioner and age it for 24 hours. Then check your water parameters again.

Also, just checking again, you're sure there's nothing in the tank that would raise the ph? Is the gravel designed specifically for freshwater? Do you have any seashells or funny rocks?

Tyyrlym 08-13-2008 06:16 AM

It's common for someone to drop in a rock they found and then see a pH rise. If a rock contains calcium or any strong bases it can leech into the water and raise the pH. The same thing can happen with gravel, especially if it is reef sand or contains crushed coral.

1077 08-13-2008 06:24 AM

There is a local PETCO in my area that puts all of their aquarium substrates on two shelves. Some of the substrates are for saltwater, others are for cichlid tanks and contain coral. Also something else to think about, When doing your tests It is always wise to check the results at the specified times. By leaving the solution set longer than what is recommended the color can darken or lighten indicating higher levels or lower levels thus producing innaccurate readings. :)

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