High and low, ph levels log. (experiment)
This is a log about my two tanks 55G and 56G and their ph differences. I Basically have the same type of fish in both of them but in the 55G I have limestone decorations, those limestone with holes throw them which makes great hiding places for fish. I later found out that those stones will raise my ph levels, and sure enough. In that tank my ph level is 8.0 which is ok for most of my fish there but it's pushing it with the Angels. In the 56G tank, the ph is 6.2, totally opposite! I also have rock in this one but they are not limestone, they are mostly fossils and granite.
So, I decided to do some experiment and see how this works. Since I practically have the same type of fish and used water from the 55G tank to start the 56G tank, I decided to do some water exchange between them, just a 10 gallons swap from tank to tank and see if this somewhat leveled the ph. After doing that I did my regular 20% weekly water change and retested it. It seemed to work a little, the levels rise and lower accordingly, I don't know if it was because the water swap or the water change though. The only thing I can think about doing to 'raise' the ph levels on my 56G tank is drop a piece of limestone in it? I certainly would like to keep away from chemicals since I've also heard if can affect the fish in a whole new other level.
Fiddling with hardness (and resulting pH) in a tank with fish can be dangerous. First, a bit of background.
"Hardness" of water is determined by the substances that are dissolved in the water. Minerals, especially calcium (from limestone, dolomite, coral, marble) and magnesium. The more calcium/magnesium, the harder the water. Tannins (as from wood, decaying leaves and plants, peat) acidify the water. When both are present they will work against each other.
Fish have a "preferred" range for hardness and pH. And since pH is directly linked to the carbonate hardness (expressed as degrees or ppm KH), it is very important to have a stable hardness, both KH and GH (general hardness). Soft water fish not only require a lower pH but also lower calcium. Some fish develop internal health issues from calcium. So it is critical to maintain the fish within their "preferred" ranges and even more critical to ensure the hardness and pH does not fluctuate significantly.
As you noted, limestone rock will harden water. Livebearers and rift lake cichlids prefer hard and basic (alkaline) water. Some other fish also do better in slightly basic, hard water. Some soft acidic water fish, like angels, can manage in slightly basic water, especially fish raised commercially in such water, but they also should not be subjected to fluctuating hardness/pH. Other internal health issues can occur, putting the fish under considerable stress and further weakening it's immune system.
A tank with a pH of 6.2 sounds ideal for soft acidic water fish. Whether or not you need to do anything to raise the hardness depends upon the existing hardness of the tank water, the hardness and pH of your source (tap) water, and what specific fish are in that tank. When you've provided this information, I may be able to suggest what if anything should be done with respect to the hardness.
That's great information Byron. I'm relatively new at this and I'm learning a ton as I go. I'll measure the tap water once i get home and I'll get the reading tomorrow (basing this on an old post about pH that you posted a while back and I read) I do hear we do have hard water here in central Texas due to the limestone in the ground. I went driftwood hunting yesterday and found some awesome pieces. I'm thinking on replacing the limestone I have in the tank wiht the new driftwood, tho it's a big piece and I don't know how to properly clean it since it's too big to boil it, any suggestions on that?
Oh, and in the 6.2 pH tank I have 6 juvenile Angels, 2 female Bettas, 2 Banjo Cats, 7 Von Rio tetras and 6 otto cats.
Re the wood, is it water logged? Dry wood from the ground will have to be soaked to waterlog it. Wood from underwater (a stream or lake) will probably be waterlogged, but then the problem is what may be in it. Parasites, pathogens and "bugs" of various sorts--these would be dealt with by boiling if you could. Heating the wood in the oven is another method, but this will dry it. Aside from the "insect" and bacteria issue, there is other toxins that might have been absorbed over time, and these may leech out very slowly in the aquarium. I have many years ago lost valuable fish from toxins leeching out of wood that had been in the tank for months (and was store-bought as well).
I'll get the Tap Water reading tonight or tomorrow morning. I did realized I gave you the wrong information about the pH.. the tank I'm more worried about, the one I have the limestone in and plan to switch it with the driftwood, it's the one with the high pH (8.0). I also have Angels there, 2 Parrot Cichlids, a couple of Peacock Eels and Gold Barbs.
I would remove angels from that tank, not so much due to water parameters but more from the standpopint of suitability. Gold barb are active fish, and angels are the opposite (as are the peacock eels). The parrot cichlid is a sad fish story; these are man-made, they have anatomical deformities, and many aquarists are opposed to their presence in the hobby as it encourages similar experimenting with fish to obtain mutants. Enough on that.
If you move the angels to the other tank, do it carefully; a change from pH 8 to 6.2 is significant and can shock and stress a fish.
OK, so I tested my tap water I had sitting out this morning and it's very hard and the pH is 8.2 which I'm not surpriced. Yesterday I took the limestone out of the tank and last night I built a CO2 generator (bottle, water, sugar and yeast) and installed it. This morning I retested the pH in the tank and is down to 7.6 from 8.0 that is was. I know it's not a good idea to leave the CO2 running over night but I felt the pH needed to be regulated and so far I think it's working.
I'm a bit puzzled. If your tap water pH is 8.2, how is the other tank 6.2? I still need to know the hardness of your tap water. You can find this out from your water supply board, they may have a website or if not they should be able to tell you the hardness of the water. Get both GH and KH if possible. If they have a website but you can't figure it out, post the link and I'll have a look.
The hardness also affects the extent to which CO2 diffusion will lower the pH. You have to be careful doing any of this, as I cautioned before--sudden changes are far worse than a stable pH even if it is high (or low).
Beats me! I was puzzled at that myself... how in the world..? but that's the reading. I just checked, the GH is online is average 96 ppm, tho it read yesterday around 120, and the KH read around 90.
Additional info, I inserted the CO2 hose to the tank's filter intake to diffuse it better. I saw it on a video on youtube.
According online the KH is 60 ppm
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