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I change my water once a week and every time my cichlids end up on the bottom of the tank breathing rapidly. I add dechlorinator and try to match the water temperature with my python the best I can. I've even left the sponge filters on while I drain the tank in an attempt to oxygenate the water. Anyone else have this happen?
 

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If your tap water (24 hours after exiting the pipes) has a pH the same as your tank...OK not to test. But if your pH from the tap is much different than the pH in the tank, then that would make them gasp on the bottom.
 

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Test the tap water with the same test you use for your tank water. But leave it in a container for 24 hours before beginning the test.
 

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VaranusPanoptes said:
How would I calibrate my PH from the tap? Also, I fishless cycled my tank, been running for over a month, nitrite 0ppm, ammonia 0ppm and nitrates 10-20ppms.
Hopefully your tap water pH is the same as your tank water pH. If your tap pH is the same (or a little higher) then it's fine. Fish are ok going into a little higher pH (ex/ going from 7.2pH to 7.8pH) but changing to a lower pH will distress them. Water coming from the tap the pH usually rises so it's important to also know what the pH is after 24hours of sitting; circulating the water with something like a powerhead will accelerate this process.

If you see a big pH difference then an option would be smaller, more frequent water changes.
 

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So...when you change water with pH=7.6 and are adding to a tank that is 8.2 you are making too much of a change to pH.

Verify that after 24 hours your tap water with high range test is 7.4?

You could make many smaller changes or treat the water you are adding with baking soda to increase the pH of the new water to match the tank.
 

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My tap water is pH 6.4 - 6.8 so I premix a buffer solution (recipe below) in buckets when I do my 70%-75% weekly water changes and add this gradually as the tank is refilling. For example in my 450gal I add about 1 quart of the solution in the tank every 6 minutes.

My recipe (yours will be different): per every 25 gallons I add 2 tablespoons baking soda, 1 cup epsom salt (my water is basically r/o), 1 teaspoon Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt.

Link to the buffer recipe on this site: https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php

The key is the keep your tank's pH consistent. Any significant change (lower is much worse) will stress your fish.
 
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