Tropical Fish Keeping banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, in my fish-in cycling tank, my pH level is at 8.2. I tested my tap water and its at 7.4. Its a 5 gallon tank, with 1 panda cory *the other one died the other day* and I think the cause of his death was the abnormally high pH. The surviving cory doesn't look too god either. Is there anything I should do to reduce the pH back down to safe levels? I'm decreasing the level of air in the water as to allow more CO2 to mix in. Is there a way to safely lower the pH back down so it won't shock my last fish?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
*Update* So I did some reading about my water. It seems that my tap water is actually at 8.0 or so pH, and is pretty hard. I am now super worried now because cory cats like more neutral water. Any advice on trying to lower the pH, or should I give up on corys and get fish more acclimated for higher pH? :( And it seems I've been reading my pH test wrong :( darned things are so hard to read and get an accurate color match >_<
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
What are the other parameters of your water? Ammonia, nitrates, nitrites?

Cory's are not really hardy enough to cycle a tank. Cory's don't enjoy hard water either.

With your water being hard, you need to find out from your water company some information on how hard it is. They can tell you the general hardness (GH) and the KH, that would help. But overall it's difficult to lower the ph of hard water.

What is your water temperature?


Panda Corydas
like cooler water 70-79.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
kH: Average bicarbonate is 176 ppm
gH: 38 ppm Calcium, 8.1 ppm magnesium. Both are average levels., gH of 12
Water Temp: 79 degrees F, was treating for Ick. Will lower it to 77-78 degrees.
Ammonia: .25 or less ppm
Nitrites: I try keeping it around .25 ppm
Nitrates: between 10-20 ppm

I didn't mean to use my cory as the fish-in cycle, I went on the advice of my LFS *my mistake* so now I'm paying the price. But that's in the past, so now I'm just chugging forward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Yes, I currently have a bundle of anacharis plants floating around in the tank. 5 stems or so? I checked pH today, its down to 7.8 but I just did a pwc so I'll check again later today. I also turned down the air stone so its just a trickle right now so CO2 can build up and hopefully lower it.

And my cory is doing ok, considering how much stress is put on the little guy. She's swimming around, and eating. She's just lonely right now I think. She's by herself, so she spends most of her time hiding or laying on the gravel behind the air stone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Your KH equates to 9-10 dKH [I just like degrees better than ppm] so that is going to buffer your pH to prevent adjustments, which in turn means it will be more difficult to adjust the pH, so don't. Using any chemicals or pH adjusters with a KH of 9 will mean rapidly fluctuating pH and that is much worse.

But KH has no effect whatever on fish, other than the pH buffering. The GH is important to fish, so let's explore this. By 12 do you mean 12 ppm? Or 12 dGH? All your other figures are in ppm, but 12 ppm is less than 1 dGH and very soft so I want to be sure. This has a bearing on pH too.

Corys are highly sensitive to any chemical or medication, so it may have been the high temp plus ich medication that took the cory more than the pH/hardness. Lowering the temp plus a water change may work wonders for the remaining cory.

Byron.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry for not being clear; its 12 degrees hardness. I did use quICK cure, half dosage while at a higher temperature, but I changed the water after I finished treatment 5 times already. Since turning down the aeration and water changes, my pH went up to a more acceptable 7.8. Still far from the norm, but still better than 8.2. Will keep things updated. Thanks for the help and advice so far. Very much appreciated :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Sorry for not being clear; its 12 degrees hardness. I did use quICK cure, half dosage while at a higher temperature, but I changed the water after I finished treatment 5 times already. Since turning down the aeration and water changes, my pH went up to a more acceptable 7.8. Still far from the norm, but still better than 8.2. Will keep things updated. Thanks for the help and advice so far. Very much appreciated :)
OK, so to explore lowering the pH a bit. The safest method is also the natural method, and that is simply by diluting the tap water with non-hard water. Distilled water, RO (reverse osmosis) water, or rainwater will achieve this. Depending where you live, rainwater may be the best and cheapest, and for a 5g tank it won't take much. Collect it out in the open, not runoff from a roof which can pick up toxins.

Use a pail for this, so as not to further stress the cory with more fluctuating water. Mix tap water with rain water until you have the pH you want, and I would aim for around neutral. pH of 7 is un-natural, but 6.8 or 7.2 is what I'm meaning to aim for. Then, let it sit overnight and test pH again. The idea here is that we are reducing the hardness more than the pH, so the pH will not keep rising. Also, the hardness is equally important for the fish. Rainwater normally has a low pH, but some mixing is still important for stability.

Once you have it stable, you can do small water changes over several days until you have the tank where you want it.

Collect some rainwater to use for water changes, same principle. The good news is that once you have the tank stabilized with softer water, the ph will tend to lower a bit on its own, so using a mix of tap/rain water for water changes should work well.

Byron.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK, so to explore lowering the pH a bit. The safest method is also the natural method, and that is simply by diluting the tap water with non-hard water. Distilled water, RO (reverse osmosis) water, or rainwater will achieve this. Depending where you live, rainwater may be the best and cheapest, and for a 5g tank it won't take much. Collect it out in the open, not runoff from a roof which can pick up toxins.

Use a pail for this, so as not to further stress the cory with more fluctuating water. Mix tap water with rain water until you have the pH you want, and I would aim for around neutral. pH of 7 is un-natural, but 6.8 or 7.2 is what I'm meaning to aim for. Then, let it sit overnight and test pH again. The idea here is that we are reducing the hardness more than the pH, so the pH will not keep rising. Also, the hardness is equally important for the fish. Rainwater normally has a low pH, but some mixing is still important for stability.

Once you have it stable, you can do small water changes over several days until you have the tank where you want it.

Collect some rainwater to use for water changes, same principle. The good news is that once you have the tank stabilized with softer water, the ph will tend to lower a bit on its own, so using a mix of tap/rain water for water changes should work well.

Byron.
Thanks for the info Byron. Unfortuantly for me, I live in So Cal, where the rain doesn't come often, and its quite polluted. I was wondering if using arrow head drinking water would be good. I just tested some and it came out with a pH of less than 7.4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Thanks for the info Byron. Unfortuantly for me, I live in So Cal, where the rain doesn't come often, and its quite polluted. I was wondering if using arrow head drinking water would be good. I just tested some and it came out with a pH of less than 7.4.
That's a high pH that will have minimal effect mixed with your tap water. And the drinking water may well contain substances. The best thing if you want to buy water would be RO or distilled water, and then mix it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: excal88

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
If you go to your local grocery store or a wal mart and go in the area where they have all the soda's you'll find large jugs of water. You'll see ones that say Spring Water -- you don't want those , so look for the jugs that say Distilled Water - this will be the best way. I know at my local store a gallon is like .88
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the heads up guys. I'll stop by a few places and see if they sell distilled water. Hopefully at target. Haha.

Also, question on the mixing. Will I have to get a batch of the pre-mixed water with lower pH ready for each pwc from now on? Or just enough to get my tank's pH down, and then let the natural process let the pH equalize?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I'm not really an expert when it comes to this but there should be a way to maintain and buffer your pH levels either naturally or chemically.

I live in TX and our water is about 6-7.5 pH and I keep Cichlids which require the higher more alkaline levels, I have to use coral and baking soda to get it up that high. Perhaps maybe some sort of a buffer to keep it down cause with the water in your area being that high perhaps a chemical to keep it there would be best. I'm not sure what everyone else suggests for the long term. Maybe adding some driftwood or peat could help with that cause they release Tannic acid in your water keeping the pH low. But good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Raising pH is easier than lowering, because to raise pH you need to increase hardness via calcium and magnesium primarily. You already have those in your tap water which is why it is hard and has a high pH. Lowering pH is a bit trickier because it means removing the minerals to soften the water.

Using lots of wood, leaves, peat are some methods. With a small volume (5g tank) this is not expensive; the peat has to be replaced regularly and that depends upon how much is being used to lower the hardness in relation to the initial hardness. Wood and leaves work similarly, by leeching tannins into the water and acidifying it. But with all these the initial hardness determines how much and how effective. I think most would agree it is far easier and safer (for consistency) to use the water mix method.

Now to the water changes. Once the tank is initially stable, with less hardness in the water it will tend to acidify and thus the pH will lower gradually. Keeping it low will be relatively easy because the weekly water change can use a similar mix of water as what you will start with, or perhaps even a bit more tap water in the mix. As long as the hardness does not increase to the point where it starts buffering more.

The formula for this will depend totally on your water, both the tap water and the diluting water. Just make sure the mixing is not done in the tank if fish are present, as I think I mentioned previously.

Byron.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
So if it takes 1/3 RO to 2/3 tap to make a PH of 7. Get the tank to stabilize at 7. Once stable, you might be able to use 1/4 RO at a slightly higher ph (say 7.2 for conversation) to get the buffering of the water up so that it stay more stable at 7 and won't tend to go lower due to the natural tank process?

Most of this is due to fish would rather have a more stable ph then one that isn't quite ideal?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the ratios Twindad, but I just added roughly 1 gallon of tap to 3 gallons of distilled water *distilled water from target, market pantry. Measured pH was actually between 6.8 and 7.0* and all that distilled water dropped that 1 gallon of tap down to around 7.4-7.6. I have about 4 gallons of that stuff right now. I'll wait until tomorrow and see how things go in terms of pH for the mixture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
292 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update

Ok, just did a 50% water change in the tank with my fish, and I got my pH down to 7.4 via the distilled water/tap water mix. Apparently the mix was actually at 7.4. Good number, going to keep it that way. Will monitor and keep updated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
I should have made it a bit clear I was trying to see if I understood what the others said. It's good to know what ratio got you 7.4. I'm contemplating doing what your doing to lower my ph. So I wanted to get my head around what was suggested.

My ph is stable at 7.8. Really hard to move even though my GH is 44-77ppm. According to my water company. I'd like to get to 7.2. I might experiments like you to get it lower, my only concern is it going up and down. Mine isn't going lower over time, it is staying the same. I left tap in a bucket for a week. 7.8 the same as when poured.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
I should have made it a bit clear I was trying to see if I understood what the others said. It's good to know what ratio got you 7.4. I'm contemplating doing what your doing to lower my ph. So I wanted to get my head around what was suggested.

My ph is stable at 7.8. Really hard to move even though my GH is 44-77ppm. According to my water company. I'd like to get to 7.2. I might experiments like you to get it lower, my only concern is it going up and down. Mine isn't going lower over time, it is staying the same. I left tap in a bucket for a week. 7.8 the same as when poured.
Things will be different, sometimes significantly so, from aquarium to aquarium. It is not the tap water and distilled water mix on its own, but the effect of the biology of the aquarium. Letting a pail of mixed water sit for days will likely not show any change in pH because there is nothing acting upon the water chemistry [though in some situations there could be, such as dissolved CO2, which would normally gas out within 24 hours]. But once in an aquarium with fish, plants, bacteria--it may slowly or suddenly shift, and more likely down.

So, once the water is mixed and showing the desired pH, do a water change (around 30%) and monitor the pH in the aquarium over several days. And so on, depending upon the results. But be aware that as the acid increases or the KH decreases, at some point the buffering capacity may be exhausted and the pH can then very suddenly and sharply drop, what we term a pH crash. This can kill fish and plants.

Water in an aquarium will naturally acidify over time due to the biology. The pH will lower accordingly. The extent to which this occurs depends upon other factors, such as the KH of the water, items in the aquarium that may affect water chemistry (wood, rock, calcareous gravels/sand, leaves, peat, carbon, etc). Each aquarium can react differently.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top