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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About my setup: 5ft tank, about 115G but holds about 100G of water. Mix of Malawi cichlids.

Water out of the tap is KH 3 GH 3 PH 7.4

The tank has crushed coral as substrate and I use Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt to up the GH to 8 and KH to 8 which leads to pH of 8-8.2 consistely BUT ... and it's a big issue, everytime I do a partial water change (25% or about 25G) my pH crashes to 7.6-7.8 PH or so and my favorite fish who happens to be the tank boss (cobolt blue zebra ..mellowest dude!) suffers badly ..he starts shaking his head, flashing a lot ...clearly in distress. Breaks my heart to watch him suffer like this ! None of the other 15 or so cichlids (other than maybe the red zebra) show any discomfort once the new water goes in.

How do I add the new water ? Well I have a 25 G barrel that I fill with the tap water and as the barrel is being filled I put the appropriate amount of Seachem Prime AND Seachem Cichlid Salt and Malawi buffer (about 2tsp of each) - I dissolve the seachem cichlid salt and malawi buffer in a 1G bucket and pour it into the 25G barrel as its being filled. Then I run a power head inside the barrel for a few minutes to let it all mix properly...

However when I measure the pH in the barrel the pH shows 7.6 at best ... so once I start pumping the barrel back into the fish tank clearly my fishtank's pH must drop from 8.2 once the fresh 7.6 PH water starts pouring in. This is where the problem arises...my zebra hates it!! I know the tank's pH will stabilize to 8-8.2 within a day or so but obviously this sudden drop on the water change days (twice a week) is distressing my zebra.

What am I doing wrong? Should I be adding more Zeachem Malawi Buffer to the fresh water in the barrel to raise the pH ? I am worried that would result in my tank's KH levels going to 10-12 after 24 hours or so ,..would that be harmful ? Or ...less harmful than these sudden pH changes? Why does Seacheme Malawi buffer take such a long time to raise the pH to the target 8-8.2 PH is what I dont understand

Right now I'm running an experiment where I've filled the barrel up again but I will let the water circulate (via powerhead with a hose) for an hour to see if the pH raises to > 8 like it should.

Just for the record I've been keeping cichlids for about a year and have not had a death ..yet (knock on wood) so I must be doing something right, but I still want to resolve this water change pH drop issue as its clearly distressing at least one or 2 of the fish
 

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Try running the circulator overnight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well whaddya know ... 1 hour of circulating and the pH in the barrel with fresh water rose to 8.2

Yay! Wish I'd done this experiment so much sooner ..would have spared my fish a lot of unnecessary suffering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hving this issue again but this time even though I've been circulating the new water in the barrel for 2 HOURS now (instead of 1 like last time) the pH refuses to go up from 7.6

I've measured the KH in the barrel and it's at 8 dKH (tap is only 3) but pH still the same 7.4-7.6.. I'm like so confused now. Is it possible my (city) water supplier has added some sort of buffer/additive to water supply that prevents the pH from moving up ???
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh boy ... just to add more confusion.

So after 2 hours of circulating the new water in the barrel with dKH 8 and pH refusing to go higher than 7.6 I decided to pour it into my fish tank because one of my canisters was off and needed to come on ASAP (cant run it with 30% water missing, it sucks in air).\

Anyway since I had accidentally emptied out more water than usual I needed to top up approx. another half a barrel full (about 13G) so I did the EXACT same thing again, filled up the barrel with tap, added half the amoiunt of prime, half the amount of cichlid salt and half the amount of seachem malawi buffer. Let it circulate for 30 mins and what do I get ? Yep ..dKH at 8 and pH at 8.2

WHAT the actual F#*@K ? Exactly the same proportions, just smaller amount of water and the pH goes to where it's supposed to.

The only thing that I can think of is that the powerhead that I'm using (1400LPH / 350GPH) is not powerful enough to "mix" the full barrel of water ie. 25G. But that seems like such a flimsy conclusion considering it was running for 2+ hours and pH stayed at 7.6 lol.
 

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That's a head scratcher.
Perhaps your buffers can only buff a certain volume in 'x' amount of time? Not sure and I have never used any products to alter my water, other than Epsom salt.

Like DJ advised earlier, try whipping up a batch to match your standard water change and let it circulate over night.
 

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What happens when you use the original container but circulate for 24 hours?
 
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