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Balancing PH in a cycling Frewater Tank
About 4 weeks ago I bought my first Aquarium, I purchased a 29 gallon tank and began cycling. I added the cholorine treatment and decorated the tank with plastic and ceramic items. After one week I added 3 tinfol barbs to help in the cycling process. My PH was initially 7.2 and has subsequently increased to about 8.0. My tap water ph is around 7.6. I added a PH neutrilizer to bring it to the ideal 7.0 I did 3 treatments and received no results. My fish are alive and seem well but I want to drop and stabilize the PH before I add any additional fish. My ammonia levels are a little high but my nitrite and nitrate are ok. Does anyone have any suggestions on maintaining a 7.0 PH level. I have not done any water changes because I thought it may be too early.
The most important thing about pH is that it remain constant, fish can acclimate to various pH but frequent changes in it can make fish sick and kill them. the pH from my tap hovers between 8 & 9 and since I have an oscar I use A.P.I.'s Proper pH 7 which fixes the pH at a set point which I have to add with every water change.
I dont know exactly what levels the ammonia and nitrites are at I have just been taking my water to a LFS for advice. Tomorrow I will be buying the Master API kit, right now I just have the API PH adjuster kit. I have been hesitant in doing a water change becuase I was under the assumption it would disrupt my cycling process. Also, do you have any suggestions in doing the water change, how do you add up to ten gallons at one time without killing the fish? I know it needs to cure and have the chlorine out before being added... any suggestions? Thank you for all your help!
Turn your filters (and heater if it will go above the water line when water is removed), siphon out the 10 gallons then add your decholrinator to the tank and refill. Turn everything back on, dechlorinator works very fast so chlorine shouldn't get into your filter bed.
Deal with the tank cycle first. Leave the pH alone for now.
As you saw, using pH adjusting solutions often don't work; this is more than likely because of the KH of your source water (tap water). The carbonate hardness (expressed as KH) acts as a pH buffer to keep the pH steady. The chemicals change it, then the buffer changes it back. Eventually if you keep using the chemicals the buffering capacity of the KH will be exceeded and the pH will suddenly crash, usually killing the fish.
Another point is the rise in pH in your tank. I don't suggest messing with this for the same reason, but it would be useful to know why, and remove whatever may be causing it so the pH will at least remain stable at the tap water level. Do you have any real rock in the tank? And what is the gravel? I may have some suggestions when I know this.
In the meantime, please stop using any additives except for water conditioner which as OscarLoverJim mentioned will work instantly. If you have ammonia or nitrite above .25 you should do a 50% water change, using only the conditioner. By the way, which conditioner do you have?
Have you tested your tap water for ammonia? Some tap water has ammonia, some has nitrite, some has nitrate; it is good to know this first, so you can properly assess what is going on in the aquarium.
Barbs are fairly hardy fish, luckily, but this is bound to take its toll on them.
Do you know the hardness of your tap water? You can find this out from the water company. They may have a website, or will answer you. Get the KH and GH if you can. This will tell us what will be involved in adjusting the pH if that time comes.
Byron and Oscar Lover thank you for all your help.
I went out last night and bought a API master test kit and Water Hardness/Softness Kit. I tested my water and its at PH 7.8, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0 (slight color but not .25), and Nitrate 80. The water was hard it took 8 drops to make it yellow ( I forgot the exact reading). Also I added two more fish a gold and blue gourami. They seem to be okay but one is reclusive and the other spazzez out sometimes im not sure if they are fighting over terroitory or what. I will wait to see if they start to chill out and become more stable. Anyone have any experience with these fish also they are with tinfoil barbs and have seen no aggression twards them. Also, I read Gourami's you need a minimum 4 in a tank so they wont pester other fish.. advice is greatly appreciated. Also what other fish would be good to add to my tank because I do want a few more.
Thank you in advance for all your help.
Two comments on tests. For pH of tap water, let the water stand overnight before testing. Some tap water contains dissolved CO2 and this has to dissipate out, as CO2 affects the pH reading. Testing tap water after 12-24 hours will produce a more reliable reading. And your tank should remain close to that number, barring influences such as rock, wood, calcareous gravel, etc.
On the nitrate, with the API test you need to shake Regent #2 for 2+ minutes to achieve a reliable test result. While the instructions say 30 seconds, others have found that this can result in a very high reading. Two minutes for Regent #2 will produce a more reliable nitrate number. It may not be 80 then. Let us know, as this needs some action if it is actually 80.
On the gourami, we have fish profiles here [you can click on the shaded name in posts to see that fish's profile, or use the second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top] that will give you information on compatibility, minimum tank size, water parameters, etc. The blue and gold gourami is the same species, just colour variants. So the profile on Blue Gourami will cover both fish. As it notes, they reach 6 inches so 2 in a 29g is pushing your luck as if they are both males there will be aggression.
I did test the PH of the tap water (I let it sit out for 2 days before testing..lol) The PH is 7.8 exactly the same as the tank. In regards to the nitrates I did not shake the #2 for 3 mintutes only briefly I wil re-test tonight. Also, I know the gourami's are both female (they have the bellys and short top fins). If the nitrate level is high with the best approach for treatment?
Re fish, I apologize, I had missed the significance of the tinfoil barbs earlier. These fish attain 14 inches and need at least a 7-foot 200g tank to be kept in a group which they need to be. Can you return them? Fish in small tanks develop internal growth problems, weakened immune systems, and usually what we ca;; stunted growth. They will be unhealthy and very unhappy, and anything in with them will likely feel stressed too. Fish have a way of "communicating" so to speak. Check our profile on this fish, click the shade name Tinfoil Barb or use the second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top.
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