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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to discover the cause of a consistent problem with low PH.
It stays as low as 6.2 no matter what I've tried. The tank is about 4 mts old. 55 gallon. It cycled, but this low PH is inhibiting bacteria survival so I'm having to fight ammonia until I can solve the riddle.

Some readings suggest hevily planted tanks can be part of the problem. Anyone have this experience with their plant +fish tanks?

I've added Texas Holey rock used in chiclid tanks to raise PH. I've also tried adding some crushed coral in little sacks into the tank. Neither has done the job.

My plants are thriving, my fish seem happy enough, no odd behavior or losses. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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1st whats the PH of the source water? (your tap, or ar you buying it, boiling it, distilling it...

Ive been told that the major source of ph lowing in planted tanks is peat, it may be in some drift wood.

My LFS has a huge tank fully planted, but they don;t put any fish in it except shrimps and some low ph fish so you may be right in saying heavliy planted tanks will have lower ph. but i think its gotta be really heavy. My planted tank stays at 7.0ish.


it might be a specific plant, that is allowing its leaves to leach into the tank, im sure that will do it. perhaps you bought a brackish water plant.

secondly i never heard of lower PH killing bac. but perhaps someone else here can verify that as true or false, because i never heard otherwise either.

forgot to ask,, are you using a CO2 system in your tank>?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the advice and ideas. I'm not using any special water or CO2 devices. I'm not concerned if my plants grow slowly, so I'm not providing additional things other than good light and nutrients for them.

Well, with the solid advice of local fish store experts I've finally corrected the low PH. Two back to back 50% water changes accompanied by 2 teaspoons of baking soda each time. A week after the treatment my PH is between 6.8 and 7. My amonia and Nitrites are at 0. That's a FIRST for my tank! My ammonia levels have been zipping around like crazy. The expert was the one who told me that my acidic conditions were destroying beneficial bacteria. Seems he was dead on the money.

My tap water is neutral. I keep all withered or damaged leaves cleared daily. From reading, I'd say that non of my plants are bog or brackish water plants.

I think the rookie mistake of over-populating my tank just got the chemistry all out of whack. That situation has been corrected, thankfully. I'll continue to monitor my PH closely to see if it has truly stabalized. If not the investigation will go on until I solve the mystery.
 

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If you have a problem keeping your pH stable, you may want to consider some sort of buffer. Luckily where I live, we have very hard water due to a high calcium carbonate level because our aquifer is filtered by limestone. The calcium carbonate actually acts as a great buffer. Our water is somewhat acidic though, so I correct this with the addition of plain old baking soda until the pH is around 7.0. I do not add a lot at a time because pH is based on a logarithmic function, so one point (like 6.0 to 7.0) is actually quite a drastic change. You may want to consider adding a buffer, but make sure it's safe for aquarium plants - I've noticed a lot of buffers are actually NOT safe, so just check the back of the containers!
 

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That not what I mean.... I use baking soda to raise my KH but it your talking aquarium buffer to raise and lower PH than then IMO seachem is the way to go.... they just seem to work better and hold. Maybe, I should have been clearer.
 

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i can see for raising the KH to bring the PH up but to lower it ??
you have to worry about Phosphate, i would rather use co2 to bring it down
 

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You not following me... when you increase your KH you raise your PH Quite high if your PH is 7.0 and your KH is 1 you raise your KH to 4 your Ph is off the scale.... you have to now lower your PH (unless you have a CO2 system that PH Controlled) you will need to lower the PH. I was saying seachem products are good and if it PH you tring to move up or down seachem have whatever you need......

and messing with your KH with baking soda is not something a newby should try without understanding it. The mistake will most likely kill you fish.
 

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will is not like some newbie is going to throw in the hole box in, even 1 tablespoon might be to strong depending if the PH is close to 7 already , common since you have to start from the smallest measuring spoon {like 1/8 or 1/4}and wait about an hour or so and do a PH reading then add another and wait again too see what kind of change your PH is at very simple it does not take a mad science too do. there are other forums to read about this
PlantGeek :: Index
The Planted Tank - Articles, Forums, Pictures, Links
Aquatic Plant Central
these are just a few places you got all the info you seek :D
 

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This is how i finally controlled my ph problems a long time ago. A little goes a long way. Works great when ur ph hits 6.0 or lower lol I also figured out what was lowering it when i did that, so now my ph runs at about 6.8, and then much higher with the cichlids.
 

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Inkslinger if you notice all that info comes from Planted tanks sites. you agree. that being seid KH is much more important in planted tank than in just a decorated fish aquarium. It is important to see why or what is causing the problem. 9 times out 10 its something in the tank. KH effects the amount of O and Co2 the water can absorb that is why. As far as what a newbee will do, you can never tell. I seen correct info give to them to answer a question, but not enough info for them to understand why. Than they come back upset because something bad happened. So it always better to give a word of caution when we advise someone to do somethign they will cause stress on the the pets. Not sure whats going on with this back and forth thing, I was just adding to the post some additional info. Thats what these forums are for.....
 

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what is your pH out of the tap?

"if it ain't broke, dont fix it" or so the saying goes - if your fish are doing fine and your plants are doing fine, I wouldn't necessarily try to adjust the pH at this point. If it is heavily planted then the plants will help remove ammonia as they use it as a source of Nitrate.

If the pH drops in the tank, one thing to look at is mulm - do you do any gravel vaccuming? If not try some light gravel vac with the next few water changes - just go 'around' the plants so they don't get uprooted.
 
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