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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

My water is kinda strange and I wanted your thoughts. My water is coming outta the tap at close to 10 ph. The hardness is 0 and the KH is about 120ppm. After a few days, the GH goes up very slightly to less than 25 ppm the KH remains the same, but the ph drops dramatically down to about 7.8 as of the last reading. Last night it was 8.4 or so. Also, this is well water.

This is in a cycling 55 gallon, with about 10 fish. Ammonia is starting it's way up and Nitrites are just behind. I am very much on the beginning of the curve on the cycle.

Does PH drop when GH is so low? I knew it would if KH was very low, but it isn't very low, just not very high. Could there be anything else that is dropping the ph?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this? I know I can add epson salts and baking soda etc to get to the GH and KH I want, but if that stabilizes the PH, will it stabilize at 10+?

I am going to do some experiments as I continue the cycle with salts and bicarb but I was hoping someone out there has seen something like this. I am going to have calvus in this tank and I hear they are very sensitive to the PH changing and being unstable.

Thanks for any ideas!
 

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pH of 7.8 is not a bad thing. Tap water often has a higher pH when first drawn then after it sits for 24 hours. Yes, I have also read that Calvus are extremely sensitive to even undetectable changes.

So your pH is 10 out of the tap. What is it after the water sits for 24 hours? Maybe that will be your answer...age your PWC water.

I think the ammonia and nitrite in a cycling tank can affect pH too, so I'd work with just the tap water for the time being.

I'm very lucky. My well water is 7.8 out of the tap, 7.8 after 24 hours and somehow is always 7.8 in the tank. I assume my aragonite substrate and a little crushed coral in the filter is compensating. My KH and GH are 7 which is kinda low, but since the pH is ultra stable, I don't worry about it.
 

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Does PH drop when GH is so low? I knew it would if KH was very low, but it isn't very low, just not very high. Could there be anything else that is dropping the ph?
Carbon dioxide would be the reason. You may have a very high level in the tap water and as it gases off, pH will drop. There's some info on the relationship of pH and CO2 here.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this? I know I can add epson salts and baking soda etc to get to the GH and KH I want, but if that stabilizes the PH, will it stabilize at 10+?
I'd double check your GH reading first. Two reasons, it's inclusive of what drives the KH reading, so is usually higher, and also because it shouldn't go from 0 to 25 without adding anything to the water. It's not clear if you're testing the tank water or the tap after it sits a bit though. You certainly have water that's a good candidate for prepping before using. I'd work with and test samples of water that have been aerated for 24 hours to get a good handle on actual readings.

If GH truly is low, adding epsom salts will raise it without affecting pH. You don't really need to add sodium bicard as your KH is fine, as long as you keep up with water changes and don't overstock or overfeed. If you do add the sodium bicarb, it'll only raise pH to 8.3 or so no matter how much you add.

I am going to have calvus in this tank and I hear they are very sensitive to the PH changing and being unstable.
I've heard that too, but I haven't found my calvus to be sensitive at all, but my change water is relatively close to tank water, so really haven't pushed it. I also do smaller more frequent changes.

Hope that answers some of your questions. I think you'll end up just drawing change water into a large container a day ahead and adding some epsom salts. I think that'll get you to where you want to be. If you find your pH is still bouncing after 24 hours, then maybe adding the sodium bicarb would be a good idea too.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bingo! I had taken water from the tap and tested it the night before last and it was off the scale. In the morning it was still off the scale so I assumed it was changing due to something in the tank. But, for some reason I didn't dump the water out of the cup. I left it sitting on the counter. After reading your post I went back and tested it again and sure enough, it had dropped to about 8.0.

So, I guess epsom salts, maybe a little bicarb (I would like my ph to be over 8 for the tangs) after letting it sit for a couple of days will be the ticket.

As far as the GH goes, that goes up after being in the tank. No change in the water on the counter. I have some lace rock, sand and lots of other rock in the tank so I think it is raising the GH slightly after a little time. The KH stays the same.

Thanks for the thought as I would have given up on retesting the water. I should have let it rest longer. Maybe a pump and air stone is called for.
:thumb:
 

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My water is a bit strange as well: pH is off the scale, with no GH or KH. :roll:

I do think you should add both baking soda and epsom salts. With organic acids and time, your pH will likely drop a bit further; and pretty soon your lace rock won't be contributing very much to the hardness either.

Soda will stabilize your pH above 8, and the salt will help the fishes' slime coat and osmoregulation. It's not rocket science, just find the amounts you need to add to 1 gallon of tap water after you've bubbled it for 24 hours to get the values you want. Then, scale up to account for the size of water change: you don't have to bubble your water later, just now while you figure out what's needed.

My calvus handle 50-60% water changes that aren't carefully matched with no trouble. Acclimation stress is terrible, but once calvus are in and settled, they're reasonably resilient.
 

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Maybe a pump and air stone is called for
It would speed up the change water prep time.
I am going to have calvus in this tank and I hear they are very sensitive to the PH changing and being unstable.
In my opinion, the water temp is also important to consider.
Put a spare heater in the change water when you are prepping it.

I do a weekly 30% w/c with no problem.
I aim for the replacement water to be pretty close in pH, KH, GH and temp. to the tank water so I don't have to worry about fluctuations so much.
It'll be easy after you figure out your amounts and get a routine down.
Way to go, great planning. :thumb:
Alicem
 

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I go straight from the tap to the tank, and add dissolved soda/salt/water conditioner as the water goes in. I don't have the time or space for a secondary holding tank for water prep, and my cyps, gobies, calvus, shellies, xenos, julies and paracyps don't seem to mind. :thumb: Unless your water has high ammonia or chlorine, I wouldn't think that it'll make much difference to pretreat your tap water.

Just my $0.02 :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think it is time to do some testing. I am going to slowly bring up the KH and GH of the water I have in the tank now with small changes and adding some homemade buffer. When I get it up I will then start experimenting with how much the tap water affects heavily buffered tank water. I have a feeling you are right Triscuit, that if the water is properly buffered that the high PH water out of the tap will not affect it much. I hope not. It would be MUCH easier just to be able to premix the salts I needed, dissolve them and add them with water directly from the tap.

If I have to go to the bucket method, I agree with you alicem that a air pump will speed up the process a bit and a heater will really be needed. I live in Alaska and the house is often 60F or so. I use a very accurate thermometer for water checking. Got used to being precise with water temps making beer where a few degrees can make a huge difference.

It is really great to talk these things out here. A process for these things can make life a lot less complicated when my fishies arrive in a few weeks. When they come in I just want to have fun watching, not worrying about water chemistry. Thanks everyone. Great discussions on here as always. :thumb:
 

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I thought the reason for the 24 hour wait was to bring pH down from over 10 to 8.0?
 

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Fish really don't care about pH. pH is an easily measured analyte that tells us much about the parameters that matter. (For example, if we're talking about acidified trout streams, the problem is not the low pH, it's the solubility and speciation of aluminum. At low pH, aluminum kills fish.)

Adding dilute pH 10 water to buffered pH 8 tank won't be noticed by the fish. The equilibrium reactions are very fast, and the new water will have very little affect on overall pH, particularly if soda/salt buffers are added at the same time. (If you add baking soda to pH 10 water, It should bring pH down, as long as the tap water has relatively low total dissolved solids (TDS) and isn't buffered.)

I hope I'm not confusing the issue... :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It works! I have been out of town, but I got back and did a 25% water change (helped jump start the new 20g as well :thumb: ) and when I added the tap water back it only changed the ph slightly from about 8.2 to 8.4 and leveled back to 8.2 in a few hours. I have found that the suggested amount of 1tbsp/epsom salt, 1 tsp baking soda to each 5g brings everything in line. My GH and KH are topping the scale now and the ph is running steady at 8.2. This is very easy to do and I think I will go with Triscuit's suggestion of dissolving in tank water and mixing while I add the new water. Tried it this time and it worked like a charm. No muss...No fuss!

The cycle is done and my little cycle fish are even adding fry to the tank as a gift to the coming calvus and multies. I bet they will appreciate it! Now if I can just get my fish up here to Alaska I will have 2 tanks o' shellies and friends! Can't wait!

Thanks for all the help everyone has given! :dancing:
 
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