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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just did my first water change with my fish in the tank, and it didn't go the same as the past three weeks. (with out fish)

I have been doing about 10 gal wc, my tank is 33. I add 3 tsp of baking soda to keep the PH at 8 and it has been working for the past 3 weeks (no fish though)

Today I did the same thing, my PH was up to 8.2 yesterday ( a little high) but I figured it would go back to 8 today when I did the wc.

after the wc I tested the water and my PH ois only 7.4!! I don't know why. I added another 4 tsp of baking soda in a cup of tank water and slowly stirred it into the tank and tested again.

It still isn't going up. One or two of my fish are hanging out in the corner at the top of my tank.

What do I do? How do i get my PH back to 8?
 

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I'm not a chemist but I think baking soda is only a temporary solution to increase the pH. It will rise and fall over and over again. What's important is stabilizing your pH by having alkalinity. You can use certain rocks in the tank to help with this; crushed coral, limestone, and special gravel. Did you add wood to your tank recently? I heard wood lowers the pH level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just tested my water and here are the levels:
tested with API:
PH 7.4
ammonia:0
nitrites:0
nitrates:20

tested with a quick dip strip (I hate them, but it's all I have for KH and GH)
KH:180
GH:150

Temp: 80

fish are out of the corners and swimming, but I still want to get my PH up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
des said:
I'm not a chemist but I think baking soda is only a temporary solution to increase the pH. It will rise and fall over and over again. What's important is stabilizing your pH by having alkalinity. You can use certain rocks in the tank to help with this; crushed coral, limestone, and special gravel. Did you add wood to your tank recently? I heard wood lowers the pH level.
No, I didn't add any wood. I had the PH stable at 8 for 3+ weeks. I don't know why it is different this time, except that there are fish in the tank now.

:x I experimented with baking soda for a couple days till I got it right so I would have it perfect each water change. I did the wc every Monday and it was always the same-8. I fiddled with it on purpose so I wouldn't have to try and figure it out when I had fish in the tank. And here I am trying to figure it out and my poor fish :?
:x

Also my nitrates are still 20!!! They were going down to 10 when I did a water change. Obviously that will change with fish in the tank, but should I do a another water change to get them lower than 20?
 

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Seems your GH and KH should be high enough to prevent a crash, but weird how it is so different now as to before.

Have you tested your PH out of the sink now and prior to getting your fish? Dont see how it would change if it is coming from the same source but maybe something to do with the seasons? Maybe alot of rain or something lately? Im just guessing and dont know what it really is but just trying to think of things that could cause it variate from what it always was. I would try adding a little more Baking Soda to see if the continues to raise it or not. Should stop raising it around the 8 to 8.2 mark so it shouldnt hurt to add a little more. It will on buffer your water more to prevent a crash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
xxbenjamminxx said:
Seems your GH and KH should be high enough to prevent a crash, but weird how it is so different now as to before.

Have you tested your PH out of the sink now and prior to getting your fish? Dont see how it would change if it is coming from the same source but maybe something to do with the seasons? Maybe alot of rain or something lately? Im just guessing and dont know what it really is but just trying to think of things that could cause it variate from what it always was. I would try adding a little more Baking Soda to see if the continues to raise it or not. Should stop raising it around the 8 to 8.2 mark so it shouldnt hurt to add a little more. It will on buffer your water more to prevent a crash.
I never thought of the rain or other sources altering the PH, I do have a well. But I did test it from the tap too, and it was 7.4.

My main concern earlier was the sudden change in PH. I know when you change anything, you should do it slowly and in the 1/2 hr it took me to change the water it went fromn 8.2 to 7.4. I was afraid it was going to shock them or something. They went to the top and was hanging out in the corner.

Now they seem fine, they are all swimming around and back in their usual homes. So now I'm wondering if I should keep the PH at 7.4 instead of trying to fiddle with it keeping it at 8. Is 7.4 too low?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
des said:
Your nitrate is fine from what I've read and recall. Anywhere between 20 and 40 is okay. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
really? that seems so high to me. (I'm use to saltwater and 1 is too high.) I was hoping to keep them no higher than 20.

Maybe I will wait and do another wc tomorrow. They seem happy again, don't want to freak them out 2x in one day. :)
 

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I suspect there are other things involved. When I think of PH, it is a pretty slow problem. Not something that appears right away but over time. Other things that might have bothered them are much quicker. How about the temperature of the new water? That will make them act funny right away. Unless there is a real need, many find it safer to not try to change the PH. I have hard alkaline water but find all of the CA/SA cichlids do not seem to mind at all that it is higher than recommended. They breed like rabbits, anyway. It could also be just a matter of them not trusting you much yet, if there were no other signs of distress. I might suggest trying them with the tap water and see if they are able to adapt to it rather than you working to adapt the water. Depending on where and what type fish you got, they may have never been in their ideal water. What is really important is for the PH to stay stable, not bounce up and down. Over time it can affect many things for them but if they get used to one, it does not bother them. Do you have any idea what PH water they were in before? Possible they are shocked to find it higher than they were used to before?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have yellow labs and demsoni. I have had them for a week on Sat. The water they ccame from was very bad. The nitrates were 80, I forget what the PH was, I have it in another post, but I think it was lower than mine.

So basically if they seem fine right now in 7.4, then it would be o.kay to keep them at 7.4? That is what the PH of my tap water is.

The way I figure the temp is I put my thermometer in a small glass bowl and run the hot and cold until it is 79 (what I keep my tank at). I fill gal jugs and check the temp every couple gal.
 

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Nitrates are fine where they are. Check your tap before wcs just to make sure. If your formula worked with baking soda at lets say a ph of 7.7 out the tap ,it would change that formula if the ph out the tap decreased or increased . I wouldn't mess with it too much you don't want swings in ph to be +/- 0.2ppm in a 24 hour period.
 

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Hi zoie,

I am not sure if this is the situation in your case, but fish waste lowers PH. If I go longer than usual between water changes (due to work) the PH is much lower. So perhaps you had a good plan with no fish but now the waste from the fish is keeping the water at a lower PH.

Personally I would not mess with the PH by adding baking soda; PH of 7.4 should be fine. To keep you PH a little higher in a more stable manner, you can add crushed coral to your filter or add limestone rocks as decorations. Limestone and coral slowly dissolve over time raising PH. In my one African tank I have Texas holey rock; the PH in that tank is higher than the rest of my tanks. Although no scientific facts, I like to think having the limestone rock in the tank makes the changes in PH during water changes more gradual.

This is all based on experience and readings; I unfortunately do not know the "science" behind my above assumptions/advice.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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I would agree with what Matt says above but I feel like some more explanation is worthwhile. Fish waste can lower PH in some situations but it has to deal with the question of buffering first. We often read that high GH/KH buffer the PH. That means that water with high KH Will resist changes in PH more than water with lower KH. Where we get into trouble seems to be when we try to apply rules for one part of the country to water in other parts where the situation may be totally different. For a far better explanation of the "science" part, I like this site:

http://www.freshwater-aquarium-fish.com/water_chemistry.htm

It just seems to say it in a way that I find easy to understand. Bottom line for me is that what may work well for California or Texas water may not work for East coast water. It just takes more thought and there can be no "standard" answer for many situations.
 

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If your PH is 7.4 right out of the tap, and never really seems to change i would think that they would be ok. A buddy of mine has his at about that all time cause that is what his water is at and doesnt like buffering and he has healthy fish and more fry then he knows what to do with. Also from what I was told a STEADY PH at 7.4 would be better than a PH that is never constant.

If I a wrong and that PH will not work with at all please correct me, but that is what I do. Im just lucky and have liquid rock where I live so dont have to worry about it. My GH is upwards of 450 and KH is almost as high too with a steady PH of 8
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyonw for your responses and opinions.

The PH out of the tap has been the same 7.4 I wanted it higher, but i guess a stable PH is much better than one that is not stable.

they were all happy this morning. NO casualties. :)

The odd thing is that 2 people told me the fish would lower the PH, but mine went a little higher over the week.

Because I am still new, I am testing the water everyday for a while (probly for a few months). the PH was at 8 for 3 weeks. I added my fish and it stayed at 8 for the first few days then slowly crept up to 8.2 by the time I did the water change. I wonder if the cichlid stones I added raise the PH? They were added a couple days before I got my fish.

Well, I guess everything is fine now, and thanks again for all your help!!
I got scared when I saw them going to the top and hiding in the corners.
 

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Sounds like it may be a matter of things getting stable. One thing that I might mention but may sound offensive is being new. Nothing wrong with being new so I don't mean it that way but there is some learning curve. One item that you may not know about is reading the test in the same light. It will take some time to get comfortable with judging the reading when it is in between colors. That's normal but if you do it in the same light, it will come faster. Since I never get to read the tests at the same time of day, etc., I have picked a light to always read under. That way it may be off by a hair but it is consistent. I find that the actual point on reading is not as important as the trends. Getting to know what to expect as normal just takes time. Then one day you may look at a test and say, WOW, that's not right! Until that point, doing any major work to adjust things is stressful and may not help that much. Kind of like riding a bike. Just try to keep it on the road and then one day it's a piece of cake!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have been testing my water every day and my PH is slowly going up again. I don't understand.

How do I stableize it? It goes up about .4 a day. Monday after the wc it was 7.4 which is what my tap water is. Then Tue is was 7.8, Wed it was about 8 maybe a little higher, and today it is between 8.2 and 8.4.

My KH is going up too, it was 300 today and about 180 on monday. I use a dip strip to test that and I don't like them, but it's all I have. I'm not good with shades of color either, but it was definitly higher.

My GH has gone up only a little. It was 150 on Mon and it was higher today, but not 300.

I'm thinking of doing smaller wc every day instead of one big wc every week. Is there anything wrong with doing that, or is there a better way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I just took out 2 gal of water, but had to put in 3 (the cat keeps drinking it and evap.) I waited a bit and tested and the PH went down to 8.2 (It was 8.4 before, I wasn't sure, but now that I see the 8.2 I know it was 8.4 before)

Does that seem like a safe amount to do?
 
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