pH Adjusters

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pH Adjusters

Post by Flute on Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:41 pm

I'm a bit concerned with how high the pH is on my main tank, which include mostly South American species. I don't know how high it is specifically, but it's off the chart on the low range pH tester- so at least 7.6
I don't want a crazy drop, just something below 7 that would be better for the inhabitants, as I'm worried that constant exposure to such a high pH will lead to problems in the future. I've tried various natural methods to try and lower the pH- Almond leaves, alder cones, black water extract, almond tea bags, etc. And have never had any success from them. I get some tannins, but that's it, never a drop in pH.

Unfortunately at the moment there's no way that I could afford an RO unit. So although I don't like the idea of adding chemicals, I'm not sure what else I could try to lower the pH. I have lots of bogwood in the tank, but they've been used for a number of years now, so are mainly inert. Substrate used is Eco Complete, which isn't supposed to effect pH at all.

Has anyone had any success with these types of products? Are they safe to use, or will the pH fluctuate too much?

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Any ideas, suggestions, alternatives and advice would be very much appreciated Smile
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by steve1572 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:32 pm

The most important thing for south americans is not so much the ph but the softness of the water they can deal with higher ph it the hard water they dont like
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by Flute on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:55 pm

Oh right, that's cool to know, thanks Steve! Our water is very soft, so that's a bit of a relief anyway. Just wondering if having this high a pH would potentially stop fish from breeding in my tank though? The keyholes and krobia are constantly shimmying at each other, but I never see any eggs any more. I don't know if they're just laying at night and the plec gets them before I get to see, or if it is actually stopping them from breeding? If this could be the case, could this cause any problems?

The corys spawn fairly regularly, and the only indication I get is the little marks on the glass that eggs leave.
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by steve1572 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:28 pm

It won't stop them laying but the eggs probably won't hatch and the problem with fish that lay in the open the egg 99% of the time get eaten by other fish do you have any plecs in the tank as they are the worst for eating eggs when fish sleep as for the corys they are terrible fish for eating there own eggs to breed them successfully you need them in a bare tank and remove the parents as soon as they have laid
To successfully keep my ph down I use pure ro as my water is very hard and I use sulfuric acid but for this you need a very good ph meter as the acid can drop water down very low most of my Apistogramma are in ph below 4.6 some as low as 3 which is very acidic
If you only have limited space for tanks I wouldn't worry about them breeding as it going to be very lucky to get fry
Hope this helps steve
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by Flute on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:46 pm

Thanks for the great advice Steve! I'm not trying to breed them as of yet, but I was worried about the females becoming egg bound if the pH could effect them in that way.

Once I move to a bigger place, if the tap water pH is still too alkaline, then I will be investing in an RO unit, as I would ideally like the tank at about 6.5 eventually.
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by steve1572 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:38 pm

You should be fine they will lay its very rare for fish to become egg bound and with the soft water they should lay if they need to
I'm surprised with soft water your not able to get the ph down lower one other way to lower ph is carbon injection if the tank is planted the plants will love it and it brings the ph down but its risky that you can over do the carbon
I have got one solution for you if you have £20 spare I have a small ro unit here it was used for 2 months when I bought it as part of a bulk buy of tanks and bits from a fish room it got a good years life in it and come with the fitting to screw on a outside tap its a 3 stage inline 50 gallon a day unit I was just keeping it as a spare but its really too small for me I use a 150 gallon a day and its on 24hrs so there's not enough hours in a day for it to produce enough water for me if your interested let me know

Steve
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by Flute on Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:47 pm

Thanks very much for the offer Steve, but we don't have an outside tap Sad I would definitely buy it otherwise. If we move and you still have it in a couple of months then I'd definitely be interested in taking it. But don't hold onto it for me if you were going to sell it anyway Smile

Also had it suggested on another forum that I could have a dodgy pH test kit. I've had it for just over 3 years now, so I suppose it could be off. Going to buy a new test kit come pay day.
I've always been able to get the pH to drop ever so slightly, say from 7.6 to 7.5, etc. but nothing substantial enough considering how many almond leaves and alder cones I was chucking in. It is strange though!

I know you use almond leaves a lot, how long do you generally leave them until they loose their effectiveness?
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by steve1572 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:09 am

I don't like almond leaves they breakup to quickly I use oak leaves they are just as good if not better and last for ages but I just use them now for decoration to make it more natural for the fish as I hate tannin stained water I don't like the look of tanks when they are coloured so rely on the acid and tend to soak most of the tannins out of the leaves before I add them
What substrate are you using as this could be buffering the ph and keeping it up also if you have any rocks you can test them to see if they will affect them ph just by putting some white vinger on them if they fizz they will also be buffering the the ph up you should be able to get your ph down more than that the best substrate is either pool filter sand but its not cheap I personally use Argos playsand it need a wash first but its ph nutrel and its cheap only £3 for 15kg
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by Flute on Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:16 am

Ah right, that makes sense! I shall be collecting oak leaves once they start falling later this year then Smile I love tannins so it would be an added bonus to have them too Smile

I'm using eco complete, I have heard people say that it can cause pH changes, but I've tested our tap water and it's the same as the tank. I'll pull all the rocks out and do a vinegar test on them too just in case, thanks for reminding me of that! Smile

Thanks again Steve!
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Re: pH Adjusters

Post by Flute on Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:50 pm

Ph isn't as high as I feared- I used a new test kit, and it comes back at somewhere between 7.2 and 7.5 Smile
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