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Sudden ph issues

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Sudden ph issues

Post  Dalkanar on Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:12 pm

I came home to a cloudy tank yesterday, tested the ammonia and it showed the smallest reading, between 0 and .25 ppm. I tested the ph, which is normally in the 7.6/7.8 range, and got a reading of 6.0 . I immediately did a 50% wc and that brought the ph up to 6.4 and did another 50% wc today that brought it up to 6.8. I decided to test my tapwater ,which has always tested in the hard range and around a ph of 7.6, and it came back as soft with a ph of 7.2. I did my weekly wc over the weekend and all was well.

I can only theorize that all the salt that has been used on the roads, sidewalks, etc. has made it's way to into the water treatment plants in the area and softened the water supply. If this is what has happened, it's great for those with fish that love soft, lower ph water.... But, My 36g community tank residents have not fared well. I lost all my neons over the past 24 hours, along with both my nerites, and the rest of my fish have become lethargic and are currently sticking to the bottom of the tank. The stress seems to have claimed their appetite as well. I will probably wait a day or two and do another big wc.

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  williemcd on Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:32 pm

Dalk.. I'll let more expert folks chime in but... Who is your water supplier?  City, county?  Bill

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Dalkanar on Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm

I live in henrico, but draw water from richmond, I do believe

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Amp2020 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:55 am

After working for Petco for a couple of years and testing the water three time a week. I've come up with a theory. During times of drought the water has a high pH around 7.6-7.8 and high Alk. During periods of heavy rain the pH is lower around 6.8-7.2 with very low Alk. The hardness doesn't seem to change. It's always hard water. Salt doesn't actually soften water. That's why you can't use a household water softener to soften aquarium water. Just doesn't work that way. I suggest adding buffers to your aquarium if the Alk. is low. This will prevent a pH crash. Also, add prime to the tank to detoxify the ammonia in the tap water. Ammonia is added to the city water to make chloramine. For some reason during rainy periods there's always small amounts of ammonia in the tap water.

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  chiclidlover on Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:04 pm

Is your tank starting to cycle again. Did you change out filters recently or add a filter to your tank. I live in henrico area also I usely stage my water in a cooler because of our area there always having main breaks an water contamination about three days ago I notice water pressure dropped tremendously in my home a several homes in the area due to construction on mechanicsville turnpike. I would stage water for now own. Let it gas off if you don't like chemicals in the tank certain rocks bring up Ph I've heard oyster shells work a little at a time.just remove them.on your next water change
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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Dalkanar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:37 pm

I plan on doing another water change tomorrow since I'm not working due to the weather. I did lose my female red wag platy and the little skunk cory this afternoon. I would do a wc today, but I think they are stressed enough right now. The ph seems to rise around .2 ppm with each change. I do plan on getting a buffer to at least stabilize things temporarily. I may try crushed coral in my filter to help maintain hardness and ph. And yes, when the ph dropped to 6.0, my tank cycle stopped. I am dosing it with nutrafin nutracycle to help get it restarted, I've had good results with it before. I use prime religiously for water-changes. My main concern at this point is to keep the ph high enough to keep the cycling bacteria going and knock the stress level down on my poor fish.


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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  williemcd on Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:42 pm

Dalk.. you just tweaked an idea for me.. .I'm going to grab some of this snowfall and eventually take a reading!...Anyone have any clue as to what the readings will be?  Bill

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Dalkanar on Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:54 pm

Bill, I'd say it would test either neutral or slightly acidic.

I checked the ph of the tank just now and it's reading around 6.8-7.0. The surviving fish seem to be slowly recovering. I still plan on doing a 50% wc tomorrow after picking up some type of buffer or crushed coral. Judging by the weather right now, I doubt I will be going to work again tomorrow, So I will have plenty of time to take care of things. I would have done it today, but I do not want my fish anymore stressed at the moment.

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  williemcd on Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:49 pm

IMHO.. You're probably on the right track... and I think you'll be dead on with the snowmelt readings.. acidic and soft... Bill

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Amp2020 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:40 am

Pure snow will not actually have a pH because there won't be anything in the water to give it a pH value. Any number you get from a chemical or electronic tester will not be accurate. Contaminants in the water is what gives the water a pH value. A little CO2 in the water will give you an acidic value but that can quickly change.

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  williemcd on Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:42 am

Amp!  where did you come up with that assessment?.. We all know of the issues of acid rain here on the Eastern Seaboard!.... Water molecules do pick up assorted traits from airborne particles... The snow tested out at 6.6 here in our area.. Too lazy to test for hardness... I had company, fish and friend types, since early afternoon till now... So.. time to extinguish this candle that's burned at both ends for far too long!... Later ... Bill

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Amp2020 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:15 am

Based off of research of distilled water. I onces used some distilled water for a betta and it died. Apparently the pH crashed on the tank and was down to 5.0 when the betta died. The pH changed very quickly because the alkalinity was almost zero. Allowing the pH to change very quickly in a short period of time.

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  Dalkanar on Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:21 pm

Good news, after 4 water changes over the course of 5 days, the tank has stabilized completely, I did use a buffer to keep the ph at 7.0 for the time being untill I can find some crushed coral or such to stuff in my filter. My ammonia and nitrite readings are back at 0 and the fish seem back to normal for the most part. Now to replace what I've lost, I might get some cardinal tetras, and I have to replace the two corys that died(one fell to gill damage yesterday).

Amp is correct, the water vapor in the atmosphere generally does not pick up enough elements to give any sort of hardness to the water droplets that fall.As far as bottled water goes. Distilled will not have much of anything in it due to it being made from filters and steam. I did test bottled "spring water" a while back when I was considering water source alternatives for the tanks . It came out as slightly alkaline with a very acidic ph (6.0 is as low as my test kit goes). I'll wager that well water in the area will have varying reading depending on depth and location.

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Re: Sudden ph issues

Post  williemcd on Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:35 pm

Not to be argumentative.. but Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions (low pH).  Acid rain is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids. 


I haven't researched the water hardness issue though..

But.. good news that you got your tank back under control!.  Bill

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