Please Help - Ph has dropped drastically in a couple days - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 30 Old 06-05-2018, 12:42 PM
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If it were me, I'd put the sand in the filter (or in the filter flow) in pantyhose bags. I'd want to be able to remove it once your cycle happens. See what your pH is once it cycles...
The kh/pH will raise quicker with the sand being in the flow than just left on the bottom.

Did you ever test some tap water in a bucket? I'm curious what your tap kh is.

I had to remove anacharis from my bare-bottom grow out tank. Just not enough nutrients. It grew beautifully in another (dirted) tank, so maybe don't give up completely, it may recover. But you are right, dying plant matter only adds to issues. If a particular plant does not do well in a particular tank, I remove it and go with more of what does well or try something else.
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post #12 of 30 Old 06-05-2018, 01:44 PM
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Oh and regarding the water conditioner, it must say it neutralizes ammonia to help keep your fish safe. Most municipalities use chloramine to disinfect city tap water. Chloramine is chlorine bonded with ammonia to help the disinfection process last longer. Water conditioners that only neutralize chlorine set ammonia free. Tetra safe start is not a water conditioner. It is bacteria to help with your cycle. I suggest you get yourself some Seachem Prime instead, especially while you are cycling.
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post #13 of 30 Old 06-05-2018, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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I can't thank you enough, you have been so helpful!

I did test my tap water when all of this started and Kh is between 120-180 ppm according to the strips. I don't have a liquid kit for alkalinity. And I'll get some prime today.
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post #14 of 30 Old 06-06-2018, 04:44 PM
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be very careful with Prime and other ammonia "lockers". The do lock up the ammonia but most test kits still test positive for ammonia even with the ammonia already locked up. The danger is you test ammonia, add more chemicals, test for ammonia, and repeat. The ammonia locks also lock up oxygen and in extreme cases it is possible to suffocate the fish. Which will show the same symptoms as ammonia.


It is best to use ammonia tests which measure the free ammonia only (seachem ammno dot) or both (seachem multitest ammonia kit). And if you must treat only treat for the dangerous free ammonia.


Actually I just prefer to use fast growing plants which will actually prefer to consume ammonia over nitrates and in the process reduce co2 and return oxygen and fish food.


my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #15 of 30 Old 06-07-2018, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
be very careful with Prime and other ammonia "lockers". The do lock up the ammonia but most test kits still test positive for ammonia even with the ammonia already locked up. The danger is you test ammonia, add more chemicals, test for ammonia, and repeat. The ammonia locks also lock up oxygen and in extreme cases it is possible to suffocate the fish. Which will show the same symptoms as ammonia.


It is best to use ammonia tests which measure the free ammonia only (seachem ammno dot) or both (seachem multitest ammonia kit). And if you must treat only treat for the dangerous free ammonia.


Actually I just prefer to use fast growing plants which will actually prefer to consume ammonia over nitrates and in the process reduce co2 and return oxygen and fish food.


my .02
Thanks Beaslbob! I used the lowest amount of Prime last night, I won't use it regularly. I had to give up on live plants for the time being, whatever is going on with my water is affecting them too. The anachris has lost almost all of its color - the leaves are all white, almost translucent. The Java fern I had died and the marimo ball I have is extremely pale as well. I bought some fake plants for the time being to give the little guys something to swim in and around, the water looks better already! Before prime the ammonia was not very high, only .25 and I think I'm beginning to see Nitrates...maybe! I'll be caution with the prime, I won' want to rely on chemicals too much and will restock with live plants once things cycle.
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post #16 of 30 Old 06-07-2018, 09:49 AM
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Thanks Beaslbob! I used the lowest amount of Prime last night, I won't use it regularly. I had to give up on live plants for the time being, whatever is going on with my water is affecting them too. The anachris has lost almost all of its color - the leaves are all white, almost translucent. The Java fern I had died and the marimo ball I have is extremely pale as well. I bought some fake plants for the time being to give the little guys something to swim in and around, the water looks better already! Before prime the ammonia was not very high, only .25 and I think I'm beginning to see Nitrates...maybe! I'll be caution with the prime, I won' want to rely on chemicals too much and will restock with live plants once things cycle.
That sound like a good plan. Just treat for the free ammonia.


Some aquarium plant chemicals/fertz affect anacharis with excel being one example. It's a non co2 carbon source for plants.


Best tank ever.


as usual my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #17 of 30 Old 06-07-2018, 02:16 PM
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Prime locks ammonia for up to 48hrs. You are supposed to test the water before you add it. It's true ammonium will register as ammonia, so testing after you add Prime is futile. The idea is to lock the ammomia to ammonium and during the next 24-48hrs, nitrosonamas bacteria converts to nitrite. Then nitrobacter bacteria converts nitrite to nitrate. Without any live plants (you can try plants again later if you wish) nitrate is removed via WCs.

How often are you changing water? The new tap water should raise your kh while your tank cycles. How much water are you changing out?

Now that you have removed live plants, salt (sodium chloride) can be used to protect against nitrite poisoning, dose the tank with 1 teaspoon of dissolved salt per 10 gallons. Salt does not evaporate, it stays in the water until you change it out via WCs. But the small amount will protect if your nitrite skyrockets. Just an FYI, java fern and anacharis can tolerate salt anyway. Just giving you the info in case of an emergency.

There's nothing wrong with using Prime to protect your fish from ammonia if used correctly. Knowing how to use it is important though. If you are only registering 0.25 ammonia, a 25% WC will bring it down roughly .06 points. That's not a lot of ammonia (19ppm), but it is still toxic to your fish especially as your pH climbs. You treat new water with Prime as directed, if you still have 19ppm ammonia, you would only have to use 0.25ml more Prime. It will lock that ammonia to ammonium for up to 48hrs. So if you are changing water every 2 days, the ammonia you register before a water change has to be dealt with.
Here is some Q&As regarding Prime
https://www.seachem.com/support/foru...rime-questions
It's pretty old, but the info is still correct.

For now, siphon your substrate well to remove dead plant matter or excess foods. Good luck 🙂
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post #18 of 30 Old 06-07-2018, 02:52 PM
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...
so testing after you add Prime is futile.




...

unless you test is for just the free ammonia.


my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #19 of 30 Old 06-07-2018, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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I did test ammonia before adding Prime so I feel ok there. I had been doing WCs when my tests showed ammonia of .25 or so, Nitrites have never gone up (except when one ghost shrimp died, then they spiked). When the Ph crashed, I did about a 20% WC and that didn't affect anything but continued doing that daily for about a week to no avail. Then the ammonia started to rise (.25 mostly, occasionally to .5) and I started doing 15-20% WC daily or even twice (following the results of the test). After talking to my favorite LFS lady - I trust her, she's had multiple large tanks over the years and has 2 or 3 right now - she suggested maybe I was being a little over cautious and to let the ammonia reach .25 without a WC. Kind of let the cycle work type of idea but to keep an eye that it doesn't go higher. SO, I'm back monitoring the tests and acting accordingly.

As of today the Nitrites are 0, maybe a touch higher and I just checked, Ph is 6.6 so progress! I won't check ammonia until tomorrow since I added Prime yesterday.

Everyone does look very happy so there's that!
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post #20 of 30 Old 06-07-2018, 04:29 PM
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FWIW both low ph and ammonia are signs of a cycle. Low ph means high carbon dioxide which can adversely affect the fish.


You friend could be correct in that a low ammonia like the lowest reading could be either locked or just a temporary mini cycle that would go away in a day or two.


As the cycle completes or due to plant action ammonia will fall. But even faster the pH will rise. Especially with plants sucking out the co2.


On my planted tanks even with peat moss in the substrate, I measure a pH of 8.4+ with the api high range test kit. Yet fish like neon tetras the "require" soft acid water live for years. What I also found was that with the peat moss, kH and GH stay constant but slowly rise to very high values with no peat moss. And neons in those tanks don't do very well.


best tank ever

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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