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I have a 55 gallon tank that's been running for about 2 months. right now the stocking is 9 neon tetra (was 10), 6 zebra danios, 5 julii cory catfish, a nerite snail, and numerous pest snails. Today I found one of my neon tetras dead. I tested the water and ammonia and nitrites are 0. my test kit didn't come with a bottle to test nitrates so I don't know that level. but the pH is 9 (or higher. it didn't quite match the color). Could this be the cause of the neon's death or something else? I did just add the 5 Julii Cories on Saturday but I had quarantined them first for 2 weeks and they all seem fine.
Also, how can I bring the pH down?
Thanks!
 

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That ph is certainly a possibility. That is very high and very few community fish are going to do well long term. You may end up having to go with guppies, platies and similar live bearers or switch to an african cichlid set up.
 

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What is the hardness, GH and KH of the water? This will both indicate perhaps one factor why it is so high and help to determine what to do to bring it down.

What else is in the tank for decor, plants etc?

2 weeks is not long enough of a quarantine period... 6 - 8 is. Having said that I haven't quarantined anything but any here that do regularly, use a much longer period.

Jeff.
 

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I don't know the GH and KH... Do they sell the testing bottles separately in the store?
In the tank for decor I have a lot of plants, a big piece of driftwood, some rocks, and it's soil and sand based.
 

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Sand and soil... I assume live plants.

If you are on city water the water utility can give you those numbers but they typically aren't over 10dGH which also doesn't typically result in a 9pH. If you are on a well, you should test it. The KH/GH test kit is usually about $10 or less.

What else is going on in the tank? There's got to be some reason for the high pH... what is your source water pH and what is your water change schedule?

Jeff.
 

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Woah that is a high ph. Did you ever figure out the cause. Is that ph straight from your tap. That is cichlid range ph and as mentioned you will have long term issues. At 55g I can't recommend buying distilled water. That can be expensive long term. Short term, buy an R/O system. Trying to adjust your parameters with a stocked tank will be a work in process deal. If your not careful some things can turn sour quick. Typically you want to avoid using chemicals to adjust water parameter unless your experienced doing so. Some of us just try to keep our tanks all natural as much as possible. Peat is another way to soften the water but use non fertilized peat and use media bags, panty hose or whatever mesh pouch you may have to make it easier.
 
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