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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Only had my tank now for about 8wks and it completed it's cycle about 1.5 weeks ago. My water is well water and it's natural ph is somewhere close to 8.0. For the most part my fish have tolerated it (livebearers) as I have only done a few things here and there to lower it a tad. I used API's 7.5ph, but when it was used up I hadn't done anything in over 3wks.

I started to notice some of my fish struggling and at this point had thought that it was from my tank cycling, but now realize that it could have been from my high ph. I know that my local fish store keeps their ph at 7.0, so for some of my fish it has been a shock to be dropped in my tank and I have lost more fish in the first 1-2 days than any other period. Usually if they go past day 3 they are good.

I have it at 7.4 right now and when I test my ph I use both the high and low test as I also realize it is the only way to get an accurate reading. The ranges are too spread out IMO for one test alone. Anyway, what options are out there for controlling it? I'm using API's 7.0ph to keep it down, but it says it is not for tanks with live plants. I only have a few, but would like to keep them.
 

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Ok...first off...ditch the chemical pH controllers. They are a recipe for disaster.

A couple things to look at here. Is your pH right at 8 or is it over? You can work with an 8.0 level with most fish. However, any higher, I would suggest trying to lower it naturally.

Start with your acclimation. When you get new fish, acclimate them very slowly if not already. The best way to do this is by way of a drip line. Set at a rate of about 2 drops per second. If you can't do that, pour in about 1/8c tank water into their container about every 15 minutes. The acclimation should be at least a couple of hours.

Next, there are a few good ways to lower the pH. Do you have any driftwood in there? Maylasian is a good choice. It will release tannins in your water and turn it tea color. If you're not savy to the color, add some active carbon in your filter. Look at adding natural peat to your filter as well. This too will lower the pH and stain the water. You will vary the amount depending on what level pH you are going for.

Hope this helps.

Funny...we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I'm in VA and on well water too. My pH is on the other end of the chart... < 6.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks.

I've seen the drip-line method....to me, it's too much work for a guppy that may only cost .99.

Looking into the peat idea. I know Fluval sells it and I just got a FX5 for a new tank and I may try it on both of my tanks. When you say stain the water...how dark does it make it? My water is crystal clear and looks good enough to drink.....not so sure I want to sacrifice that.
 

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When you say stain the water...how dark does it make it?
It will give it more of a "tea" / natural color look to it. If you like it crystal clear, as mentioned, just keep carbon in the filter. Many aquarists (especially me) like the color.

As well...if you're keeping blackwater fishies such as Discus and Cardinals, it will be more of a benefit to them.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my current 75g tank, I have two HOB filters (Aquaclear 70) that both have activated carbon.
 

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Queen Platy
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8.0 pH is actually not bad for live-bearing fish as they desire alkaline basic type water. You must never try to alter the pH with medications. It never works due to buffers and its just making the water a swimming toxicated home.

Remember that when you use peat to lower the pH. Its not just a small amount, you need to add a great deal of it to lower pH.

There is a substrate called Aqua soil. It is nutrient rich and also has the ability to lower pH. This plus driftwoods and peat moss will significantly lower the pH.
 

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Only had my tank now for about 8wks and it completed it's cycle about 1.5 weeks ago. My water is well water and it's natural ph is somewhere close to 8.0. For the most part my fish have tolerated it (livebearers) as I have only done a few things here and there to lower it a tad. I used API's 7.5ph, but when it was used up I hadn't done anything in over 3wks.

I started to notice some of my fish struggling and at this point had thought that it was from my tank cycling, but now realize that it could have been from my high ph. I know that my local fish store keeps their ph at 7.0, so for some of my fish it has been a shock to be dropped in my tank and I have lost more fish in the first 1-2 days than any other period. Usually if they go past day 3 they are good.

I have it at 7.4 right now and when I test my ph I use both the high and low test as I also realize it is the only way to get an accurate reading. The ranges are too spread out IMO for one test alone. Anyway, what options are out there for controlling it? I'm using API's 7.0ph to keep it down, but it says it is not for tanks with live plants. I only have a few, but would like to keep them.
Just to back up what everyone else is saying, never use a chemical to alter pH because it lowers it until it is all gone, then your pH swings violently back to where it would be naturally.

A high pH like that should be fine for livebearers though... Infact I've found it ideal. Guppies, for example, can even go in high pH marine tanks...

Be aware that the pH in a tank naturally drops over time, you could end up with very acidic water if you add something to lower pH to the mix and that might be much worse than what your fish have now.
 

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+1 for all the above.

FWIW my planted tanks including those with peat moss in the substrate all have a pH of 8.4-8.8 with the api high range test kit.

The reason is simple. Live plants consume the carbon dioxide so the tank is a net consumer of carbon dioxide and producer of oxygen each 24 hour period.

removing carbon dioxide and hardly be stressful for the fish and in fact lowering the pH adds carbon dioxide which is why you may be seeing some stress.

Oh I have neon tetras, glow fish, silver hatchetfish, in addition to plattys and guppies. In the past angelfish also. So it is not just some super hardy fish that can tollerate high pH. Even the soft water lower pH fish thrive in that environment.


my .02
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Does anyone know what affect taking water from a RO system will have on ph other than eliminating the natural buffers in the water? Will it raise or lower?
 

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I am assuming you are testing the water in your tank and not straight from the well? To get a true pH reading from your well water you need to let it sit in container with an air pump for 24 hours then test it. My water test about 7.4 out of my well but once I let it sit for 24 hours it test 8.2. The water in my tank test 8.2-8.4 and I have had zero problems with keeping fish alive, just acclimate them slow.

As far as the tannins go in my experience they won't lower the pH that much. Plus if you are using carbon or something else to remove the tea stain from your water then IMO you are not affecting the pH. The tannins in the water are what causes the pH change and not the wood itself. So if you add driftwood but then add something to take the tannins out then you won't affect your pH at all.

Another thing you might consider is getting a hardness test kit and a TDS meter if you are going to get an RO unit. If you are going to get an RO unit you will still need to add something to the water to keep some hardness in the water to buffer or your pH will go all over the place. My hardness straight from the RO unit is 0, so when I do my water changes I add 20 gallons of RO water and 5 gallons well water. (Straight from the well, not through a water softener). This keeps the hardness of my tank at about 4 degrees and the total dissolved solids are under 100. Just like I mentioned above the water straight from my RO unit test under 7 but after 24hours it is at 8.2 100% straight RO water is almost 2 clean for fish, there are some minerals and stuff in water that are removed by the RO process so keep that in mind as well.
 

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....has no life....
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Never tested the water straight from the faucet. Just always assumed it to be pretty close to 8 something since when I've put it in my tank I tested 8+. Always tested at least 24hrs after a water change. My water probably does about what yours does.

My plan when I get the RO system was to do exactly as you stated for water changes. I know I need to keep the buffers working to hold my ph levels.

What is the ph of the water coming out of your RO? Still 8.2?

As far as keeping fish alive....I think I have something else going on in my tank. Started medicating it yesterday.
 

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The pH straight out of my RO unit is under 7. After 24 hours it goes to 8.2, the same as my well water. I don't know all the science behind pH but I'm guessing that the RO process doesn't permanently change it because after 24 hours it test the same as my well water does after 24 hours.
My fish and plants look a lot better since I went to the 75%RO water 25% well water.
 

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The pH straight out of my RO unit is under 7. After 24 hours it goes to 8.2, the same as my well water. I don't know all the science behind pH but I'm guessing that the RO process doesn't permanently change it because after 24 hours it test the same as my well water does after 24 hours.
My fish and plants look a lot better since I went to the 75%RO water 25% well water.
again carbon dioxide lowers pH and when it outgasses the pH rises.

Hence your low initial pH that rises in a day or two.
 
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