Hey everyone, I'v had a 40G set up for quite sometime and just last week i had lost my female Darter and female Akilis fish and now iv noticed the male Akilis is just sitting at the bottom....so i had done water testing and noticed my PH level was 6.5....I need to know what I can do to increase the PH level....I have 0 ammonia and i have 0 Nitrite...As for Nitrates the level is 5/4.4=1.136....any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks
Have you tested your tap water PH?
As for nitrates, I have no idea what that reading is. Can you tell us which test kit you're using??
my tap water PH is at 7.0 and im using a Nutrafin Test Kit
I'm not familiar with that one but maybe someone else can chime in on how accurate is is.
Not saying it isn't but I can vouch for accuracy good liquid test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test kit.
It's a little pricey at the chain stores but you can find it online for a lot less and is a great investment overall for the health of your fish. Especially if you have to monitor levels alot. If you just have to monitor ph, i believe you can buy the liquid kit for ph only at most pet store chains.
Having said that, most fish will tolerate some range up or down in ph within recommended optimum ranges for that type of fish. The thing they won't tolerate are big swings in ph by trying to raise or lower ph chemically. Since your tapwater is 7.0, your weekly water changes should somewhat keep the range where you need it to be. If you really need to raise it, you can use some crushed coral but keep monitoring it so it doesn't swing too far in the other direction.
Before you start messing with adjusting the pH, can you tell us what fish you'd like to have? You mention a darter, is it a North American darter? Do you know the species? And I've no idea what "Akilis" is; a google search did not turn yup anything for this name, not even closely similar, so I'm at a loss.
A pH of 6.5 is not bad, it sounds normal, but if the fish need basic harder water, we can help you fix that.
I have 1 Swordtail, 2 Plecos, 3 snails, 1 North American Darter, 1 Blue Lyretail, 3 Silver Tipped Tetras, 2 Rasboras, 3 White Cloud Minnows
First I'll explain what's occurring to lower your pH. As an aquarium becomes established or matures, certain biological processes settle down. Bacteria (and I am referring to more than just the familiar nitrification bacteria, there is also a host of bacteria residing in the substrate to break down waste into organics, some is aerobic (uses oxygen), some is anaerobic (very little or no oxygen). Plants are part of this biology and very useful for this reason. Anyway, as this occurs, the water acidifies and the pH lowers. The extent to which the pH will drop depends upon the KH (carbonate hardness) of the source water, the type and number of fish and plants, other water issues (minerals, organics, tannins) and how often you do partial water changes. We don't have the KH (hardness) of your tap water, but if the pH is 7 and your tank is lowering to 6.5 I would expect the KH in the tap water to be minimal, in other words, soft water. Weekly partial water changes of 30-50% will somewhat keep the water stable, as adding fresh water that is pH 7 to aquarium water that is say 6.4 will result in a slight increase in pH. But this must be consistent. This minimal fluctuation is not hurtful, it is completely natural in nature and occurs in all planted tanks with what we term the diurnal variation; but I won't go into all that.
So your source water (tap water) is probably soft. What this means is that you are ideally suited to soft acidic water fish. The tetras, Blue lyretail (a killifish, Fundulopanchax gardneri), rasbora, and most likely the pleco are soft water fish, very much so. The white clouds are sort of "in between," they do well in either slightly acidic or slightly basic water [there's another issue here, in a moment]. The swordtail is definitely basic hard water and will not do well in soft water because it lacks minerals. It might be "OK" in your tank because we don't know the exact mineralization (hardness) of your water, so there is some leeway. The darter from NA could be either, I'd need to know the species and look it up.
The other issue with the white cloud (and the darter probably) is temperature; these are cool water fish, which is to say, room temperature is the highest it should go. Whereas the other fish are "tropical" and better at "normal" aquarium temps around 77-79F.
So, back to my original suggestion. Given the condition of your water, I would recommend you work towards a soft acidic water fish community. You have hundreds of fish options; all the South American and SE Asian forest fish (with very few exceptions), including the tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish, catfish, loaches, rasbora, smaller barbs, gourami...the list is nearly endless. The aquarium will naturally, without intervention, provide ideal water, with the weekly partial water change.
If you have any questions, fire away.
I'm gonna agree with Byron (what a surprise) and suggest that with tap water like yours you have so many options that shooting for livebearers that require hard, basic water is sort of asking for trouble.
With soft, acidic water you can do all sorts of community tanks and have several good options for regional biotopes to emulate including SE Asian and Amazonian.
thank you guys very much....i have done a 40% water change which i kno can be dangerous and the PH level is now somewhere between 6.5 - 7. I will be doing another one prolly tmrw just to keep the levels steady and my fish the Blue Lyretail that was about to die is now looking better...hes eating and moving around abit....and his color is slowly comming back...Thanks again
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