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-   -   PH Emergency! How to raise the PH? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/ph-emergency-how-raise-ph-36595/)

redchigh 02-04-2010 10:42 AM

PH Emergency! How to raise the PH?
 
I have a livebearer tank thats been stable at 7.2 for a while now.

I noticed a dead fish a few days ago, took it out, and didn't worry too much. I checked the PH, and it was a little low, but nothing chronic. Since then, I've lost 3 fish in 4 days. I checked the PH again five minutes ago, and I think it was off the scale of my test strips- in the acidic range. (by color I would guess around 5.6)

My tap water is 7.2, so I don't know what happened. I applied aquarium ferts about 2 weeks ago, so that could be it, but how can I bring up the PH quick enough to prevent more deaths, but slow enough to not shock them?

Also, I wont be able to buy any specific aquarium products for a couple days- is there anything I can use in the mean time?
I do NOT use co2 fertilization, and the water is also a little too soft (also, against what my home water is!)

I was thinking of buying some Bulls-Eye 7.5 on friday but I'd hate to lose more of my fish.
I have another tank with less plants thats still around 7.2, should I move a few of my best specimens to that tank to prevent them from dying?

Angel079 02-04-2010 10:45 AM

Ok, for one tes it with a LIQUID kit not these strips; not only are they totally incorrect but will also give you false results after being open for a lil while.
2) Do you have driftwood in the tank that would lower you pH?
Ferts don't up/ down the pH

What's your other parameters NO2, NO3, Ammonia?

redchigh 02-04-2010 11:38 AM

I do have a little bitty piece of drift wood a few inches long in a front corner with java moss...
but the bizarre thing is that my aquarium ferts do lower the ph slightly. (I've decided not to use them anymore until I get a soft-water tank)

I don't know what my ammonia levels are, but my nitrites are .2 ppm with the nitrates at 10ppm (the ferts produce ammonia, so for a couple weeks after adding it the nitrites gradually go from .5ppm to 0ppm.

Oh no. I just went and talked to my buddy that gave my the ferts (he has a small goldfish container on his porch) and he told me they are pond ferts, not aquarium ferts. maybe thats the problem...He uses a pound per 4 square feet of surface area. I was using a tbsp in my ten gal every 5 weeks.
Geez, he was trying to kill my fish. Glad I didn't sell any...

I read on a cichlid web site that a combination of table salt, epsom salt, and baking soda can lower and buffer the PH as well as a commercial product. anyone ever tried it? The guy seems to know what he's talking about.

Byron 02-04-2010 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 319172)
I do have a little bitty piece of drift wood a few inches long in a front corner with java moss...
but the bizarre thing is that my aquarium ferts do lower the ph slightly. (I've decided not to use them anymore until I get a soft-water tank)

I don't know what my ammonia levels are, but my nitrites are .2 ppm with the nitrates at 10ppm (the ferts produce ammonia, so for a couple weeks after adding it the nitrites gradually go from .5ppm to 0ppm.

Oh no. I just went and talked to my buddy that gave my the ferts (he has a small goldfish container on his porch) and he told me they are pond ferts, not aquarium ferts. maybe thats the problem...He uses a pound per 4 square feet of surface area. I was using a tbsp in my ten gal every 5 weeks.
Geez, he was trying to kill my fish. Glad I didn't sell any...

I read on a cichlid web site that a combination of table salt, epsom salt, and baking soda can lower and buffer the PH as well as a commercial product. anyone ever tried it? The guy seems to know what he's talking about.

Please do not start putting stuff in this tank. I can all but guarantee you it will worsen the problem.

To answer your question as to what you can do immediately, do a partial water change of half the tank, no more at one time. This will ease the stress from the high nitrite (anything above zero is high to fish) and help to stabilize and raise the pH. Test the pH, ammonia and nitrite afterwards (wait about an hour). Test again tomorrow, and do another 50% pwc if the nitrite is still above zero. Let us know the test results.

I could go into details about this, but won't in the interest of getting the post to you. Use a good water conditioner. Put nothing else in the tank. And don't use those plant ferts. We can go into all these issues later.

Byron.

Angel079 02-04-2010 11:59 AM

I'm right there with B. Don't use that Pond stuff!!! Normal aquarium plant fert's like Flourish will not amend your water like this.
Was this my tank I'd do a 50% today and another larger w/c tomorrow; and if need be dep on the water parameters either keep this up every day or every 2nd day till these parameters are in check there again

Robanada 02-04-2010 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 319172)
I read on a cichlid web site that a combination of table salt, epsom salt, and baking soda can lower and buffer the PH as well as a commercial product. anyone ever tried it? The guy seems to know what he's talking about.

Check it: Baking soda = sodium carbonate = weak base. Table salt = sodium chloride. Common ion effect/lechatlier's principle: If you mix baking soda and table salt, it will make the resulting solution LESS basic (lower pH, not what you want) than a sodium bicarbonate solution. This is because the extra sodium coming from the table salt forces the sodium coming from the baking soda to bond with its CO3H ion, rather than allowing that ion to pull a proton from a hydronium (acidic) ion. Epsom salt would also make the solution somewhat basic, but independently of the other two- no common ions.

In short, I'd use a phosphate solution, personally.This is because it's a strong acid, however, it's polyprotic = forms multiple weak acids and salts -> buffer. This means that with the proper mixture of monosodium (once deprotonated, still weakly acidic) or disodium (twice deprotonated, rather basic) phosphate, you can make a very versatile buffer.
Remember, it's not the amount that you put in that changes the pH, it's the relative quantites- the amount controls the strength (resistance to change) of the buffer.
Best of all, phosphate buffers are found in nature =)

Just...so you know, I've never tried this on my fish before- this is strictly from a chemist's perspective! I can assure you that the chemistry is correct, but I can't make any promises about saving your fish.

Here's a good site to help you figure out exactly what you need, if you decide to use a phosphate buffer:
Phosphate Buffer Calculation (Javascript)

redchigh 02-04-2010 02:02 PM

hmm that could have something to do with the problem to begin with... I added salt about 2 months ago, and baking soda around the same time as the ferts. Could the salt left behind be enough to trigger the acid creation?

on a different note, Is that why if you bake dry baking soda it becomes acidic?

On the test strip debate, I can't afford liquid test kits right now. Around here, the cheapest one is $40. The test strips that test no2, no3, hardness, and alkalinity, and ph were $10. Just figured it was better than nothing.

I just tested my dechlorinated tap water- its 6.8. Looks like I'll still need something to lower it more. Any suggestions?

Byron 02-04-2010 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 319222)
hmm that could have something to do with the problem to begin with... I added salt about 2 months ago, and baking soda around the same time as the ferts. Could the salt left behind be enough to trigger the acid creation?

on a different note, Is that why if you bake dry baking soda it becomes acidic?

On the test strip debate, I can't afford liquid test kits right now. Around here, the cheapest one is $40. The test strips that test no2, no3, hardness, and alkalinity, and ph were $10. Just figured it was better than nothing.

I just tested my dechlorinated tap water- its 6.8. Looks like I'll still need something to lower it more. Any suggestions?

You've confused me. Originally the problem was a drop in pH from tap 7.2 to 5 something. My advice to do pwc would begin to address that, but as I noted in that post, the reasons I left for later. I'll explain. But first, in this post you say it is 6.8 and you want to lower it...which is it?

You have livebearers--they will not do well in acidic water. They require some mineral hardness and higher pH, mid 7's would be perfect.

And while not generally accurate, strips are better than nothing, so don't worry over that. When I have your answers to the above I'll offer suggestions/explanations for what occurred. B.

redchigh 02-04-2010 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 319230)
You've confused me. Originally the problem was a drop in pH from tap 7.2 to 5 something. My advice to do pwc would begin to address that, but as I noted in that post, the reasons I left for later. I'll explain. But first, in this post you say it is 6.8 and you want to lower it...which is it?

You have livebearers--they will not do well in acidic water. They require some mineral hardness and higher pH, mid 7's would be perfect.

And while not generally accurate, strips are better than nothing, so don't worry over that. When I have your answers to the above I'll offer suggestions/explanations for what occurred. B.


Sorry I'm a bit panicked. My tap water was 7.2 when I set up the aquarium, but now its 6.8.

I definately need my Tank PH around 7.2-7.5 (many of my guppies' gills are beginning to turn inflammed so I'm worried)

Even if I do water changes, the PH won't be high enough. It'll be an improvement, sure, but not quite high enough. What can I do beyond water changes to bring it up to mid 7's?

Angel079 02-04-2010 03:00 PM

What's your hardness? Anything that'll bring up your hardness if even by 1-2 degrees will bring up your tanks pH too.


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