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Help - ph bottoming out

1686 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  maknwar
My ph measures 7.4 out of the tap and is too low to measure from my tank tonight.

Early Thurs AM my power went out did not come back on until around noon Fri. I had taken the filter media out and put it in plastic bags at 5:00 AM. At noon I replaced most of the white fiber and rinsed the rest of the media with tank water. By Sat. evening the tank was cloudy. After a small WC that night and Sun night it was clear.

Today (Mon) the fish are showing no signs of distress. My crypts have been melting. My water has no buffering capacity - the kh is very low.

It's a 55 gal., no CO2, 2 40 watt T12's, 2213 eheim.

I know not to change the ph too fast. I'll keep doing small WCs to try to stabilize things. Any other suggestions?
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Thanks, Matt, for the quick response. I didn't want to take the time to research this right now. I appreciate the quick response!
You are welcome.
You would want to shoot for a KH of 3 or 4
I think your tank lack carbon (usually come from CO2) so the plants strip them from carbonate which effect the KH then in turn lower pH.
It could also be your soil. If your using something like amazonia, the ph can drop really low really fast. It happened to me in both of the tanks I used amazonia in and I live in an area with extremely hard water. I know that the el natural people add crushed oyster shell to there tank to keep the soil from getting too acidic. If it is the soil, after a few months things will stabilize.
Check you nitrate level. When its too high, your ph can crash. Had it happen to me when I was overstocked and didnt keep up with water changes. Had to change it quite often to get the nitrate down before everything was good. When I have problems, I usually check the basics. Nitrates, nitrite, ammonia, etc... Cloudiness usually means an ammonia spike.
Thanks for all the responses!

Qwertus - the KH out of my tap is almost nonexistent (GH, too). I haven't had problems with the pH before this. It usually runs between 7.2 and 7.4. I've been told not to worry about the KH but I'm still not sure I'm comfortable with that.

Eric - I'm using Black flourite. I changed to that a little less than a year ago with a dusting of peat and mulm on the bottom. With the GH and KH so low out of the tap, and the pH at 7.4 I'm concerned about the pH being too high if I try to raise the other 2 parameters. I had been thinking of using Equilibrium for to raise the GH for the plants, though.

maknwar - I think it was a combination of bacteria dying off when I lost power and the crypts melting that caused an ammonia spike and the cloudiness. I have to figure out a better WC routine. I don't do it very often.

My tank seems to be kind of a hybrid. It's not really el natural, it's definitely not high tech. I get all kinds of conflicting advice from people who are very involved with aquariums, whether as a hobby or professionally, as to how often and how much water I should be changing. Also, I think I should be upgrading my lights. A few other things could be tweaked, but for now I'll deal with the pH.

Thanks, guys.
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If you have no kh or gh in your tap water, add some sea shells or crushed coral to your filter. That will add some kh and gh. When your kh is 0, your ph will crash.
Lower KH = Easier for the pH to change. Get KH up a bit and it will make your pH stable.
pH does not "bottom out". It only goes so low and healthy fish can adapt well. Water won't turn into battery acid, I promise. Leave it be. There is no need to add a buffer; it won't help and besides, it's too late. I use pure RO with no buffers and inject CO2 (KH - 0, GH - 0). My fish don't complain.

You already said it yourself: "Today (Mon) the fish are showing no signs of distress. My crypts have been melting. My water has no buffering capacity - the kh is very low."

Your plants will melt because they are adapting. They'll grow back if you don't muck around with the parameters too much.
They will adapt but swings in ph are not good. As long as it stays the same, the fish will be fine.
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