Raising PH killed my fish
I have a 55 gallon tank that is 6 months old. I was trying to raise the PH by adding baking soda (never again), and alll my fish died. I did a 20% water change and tried to add 2 new fish. Both died as well. Should i do a 50% water change?
PH is a function of carbonate (baking soda is a source) and carbon dioxide.
If you must add baking soda add it to maintain carbonate hardness at 8 degrees or so. So get an api kh test kit which is calibrated at 1 drop for each degree. Then if KH drops below 8 add a little baking soda untill it is above 8.
I highly recommend you add macro algaes expecially fast growing one like caulerpa profilera, chaetomorphia,gacilaria. (for id see: Macro Algae: Your Source For Quality Marine Plants and Macroalgae | Gulf Coast Ecosystems)
then only measure the pH just before lights out.
My 55g pH rose to over 8.4 in a week after adding macros.
After a week try a common FW male black molly. Take your time to acclimate. And don't add food for a week.
I think you will find that when you can keep a molly alive for a couple of weeks, the more expensive marine only fish will do just fine.
By figuring out what is causing the decline in PH you can nip the problem in the bud. I found purchasing a product for the job of raising PH can be a better alternative as many will never raise the PH past 8.3 or 8.2 even if you fail to dose correctly.
FWIW the PH went down due to the carbon dioxide.
What is happening is the tank is cycling pure and simple. Adding chemicals to raise the PH without measuring KH is dangerous and ignorante. Use the baking soda to up the KH then use the macros to suck out the co2. Or better yet skip the baking soda and just let the tank settle down.
The macros will also correct numerous problems like the various spikes caused by a cycling tank.
FWIW I was stating that finding the initial problem is key to the solution. I have seen PH drops from many things from improper decor and sump materials to simple exhaustion of the water column from excessive coral growth. I hope you don't deem me Ignorant and Dangerous when I also make a recommendation for a future dosing product that I feel is a tad bit safer than baking soda,as I did not say to use it I was insinuating to look into it.
Also I don't see a statement about the tank still cycling but maybe that is in another thread. Sorry for the misinterpreted information.
So Kennie can you give any other information on your tank such as water perameters including PH and KH. Is this gentleman Beaslbob right and your tank is still cycling and suffering from carbonic acid buildup?
I must also say that say 5 of my reef tanks have a slightly lower PH and still have great coral growth,color, and beautiful fishes...the PH is usally 7.9ish so don't worry too much unless its really low and or fluxing.
Also my original post saying "By figuring out what is causing the decline in PH you can nip the problem in the bud." had a meaning of not add to the tank but solve the problem through process of elimination.
But dosing baking soda to raise pH would imply that the original poster was as ignorant as I was on my 55g many years ago.
Baring some really really outlandish circunstance like using a toxic substrate, the macros will correct whatever is happing. Buy testing with the molly will insure the original poster is well on his way to a healthy tank.
I was just remembering my own experience from many years ago.
I don't worry about ignorance as I have plenty to go around. I hope to learn from the ignorance though.
still it's just worth .02
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