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Hi Guys,

First a little background info. Feel free to skip to the question, I wouldnt mind.:). My 65g tank has been running for 3 weeks with about 4 small plants. No lights yet and no fish. Using a Rena xp4. I have been doing about 10% water change every week. I also used seachem stability to seed the tank with bacteria. My pH is staying around 8. I added carbon to the filter just couple a days ago and getting a DIY CO2 system ready. All to try to bring the pH down. Currently I am using the API master test kit and the water parameters are:

pH: 8.0 - 8.2
Ammonia: 0.1
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: almost 0

Questions:
1.) What other parameter should I be checking for?
2.) What can I do to bring the pH down so I can start putting some fish in?
3.) Also, I seem to have some algae growing (http://www.aquariumforum.com/f2/filter-tube-getting-gunk-4150.html#post31823). What can I do to stop this?
4.) I rather not use a chemical to stop the alge. Can I put some gold apple snail (only thing available at our LFS) to make sure the algae doesn't spread to the tank from the filter tube?
 

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The high ph is not uncommon in lots of areas, The PH directly from my well water in Indiana is 7.8 and above out of the tap. Your tank is most likely not cycled yet, the bacteria you added, if functional, in that form, ( I prefer seeding with substrate or filter material from an established tank) with no fish and no source of ammonia to feed on is just kinda in limbo.
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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343 Posts
I would go further than Jim to say that your tank probably still needs to be cycled. I never was any good at pulling punches. The pH is not going to be a problem for your fish once you get the tank cycled. Fish are very adaptable when it comes to pH. There is a link to a fishless cycling thread in my signature area that will get you started in the right direction to get your tank cycled and ready for fish. If you decide to get fish that greatly prefer low mineral content, low pH, soft water, we can get that going too but it will require more chemical testing than most beginners like to do. Chances are good, once we have the test results, that I will recommend something like a mix of RO water with your tap water if you really want to go that way.

The pH itself is usually not a problem for fish. A fish in the wild will wake up to low pH water because of the CO2 build-up overnight. During the day the plants in the water system will use all available CO2 and the pH will go up between 0.8 and 1.0 pH units so the pH is something that fish adapt to quite readily. On the other hand, mineral content is often quite high in a high pH situation and is much lower in a low pH type system. Mineral content problems are a thing that a fish does not adapt to very well, so what we really will want to manipulate for the fish's health will be mineral content. Often, but not always, a hard water situation is a high mineral content situation and vice versa. That means that we can be guided by your water's hardness and make appropriate adjustments for a specific fish if we know that fish's mineral needs. Since TDS is not a common measurement being made, a fish's mineral content preference is often expressed in terms of hard water, soft water , etc.
 

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discus_dude
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Lowering the pH is a more extensive task. If you simply add a product such as “pH Down” this will not work. Your buffering system will simply very quickly raise the pH back to its original state. You must remove the buffering ions from your tap water so that you may lower the pH. The best way to accomplish this is to purchase a Tap Water Purifier unit. These units filter the water from your faucet using an ion exchange resin. The resulting water is free of the salts and minerals which buffer your water. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a nice compact Tap Water Purifier specifically designed for aquarium use. This is the only reliable method I know of to reduce the buffering ability of your aquarium water and to lower pH. Without purified water, you may be able to lower your pH for a day or two, but without first removing the buffering ions your pH will climb again to natural levels. This fluctuation in pH is much worse than having the wrong pH to begin with. As an additional option, I should mention that many hobbyists use peat to soften their water. By running peat in your power filter, or by placing a layer of peat under your gravel, you will soften your water. This technique can work well, but is more complicated, less predictable, and probably best avoided by the inexperienced hobbyist.

I have personally found that it is easier to buy fish which fit the pH of your water supply, especially if your tap water has a high pH. There are literally hundreds of fish available in the hobby which can thrive in the 6.6 to 7.8 pH range. I am certain that regardless of your pH level, there are fish which you will enjoy keeping and which will thrive in your aquarium.
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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You are quite correct Spawn. By adding a pH down type chemical you have done really two things. You have very temporarily dropped the pH but it will be back up tomorrow. The second more insidious thing that you have done is expose the soft water fish in your tank to even higher mineral content water than before you added that darned stuff to their water. Whatever acid is involved in the particular brand that you use has added its own content to the tank's water. Where that puts your fish is that they must endure a rapid drop in pH followed by a rapid rise and they must endure an increase in mineral content when they would have appreciated a decrease instead.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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I will also add that diy co2 will not help much on a 65 gal tank, It will take a lot of bottles and will fluctuate to much which can and will cause more algae. How much light do you have on the tank anyways?

You need to add a lot of fast growing plants to help take up the nutrients that the algae feeds on. It won't get rid of the algae, you will need to clean that off. But it will help keep to a manageable level.

You can treat what algae you have with Seachems Excel or a cheaper route would be glucohydride which can be purchased in a drugstore.
 

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Water Chemistry/ LiveBearer Specialist
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Another cheap approach to add to what Susankat said is to use ordinary hydrogen peroxide, like you might use to disinfect a cut. At less than 1 ml per gallon, it is safe to use and if applied directly to the algae it will kill it rather nicely. I use a pipette to add some right into the middle of a clump of algae to kill it all. A week later I can see that the algae is gone but the rest of the tank still is doing great.
 
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