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Frustrated with high ph

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Chiriohs, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Chiriohs

    Chiriohs Junior Poster

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    My tap water is very hard (fish store calls it "liquid cement"), and the ph is around 7.7 out of the tap. My problem is, it seems like whenever I put the water into a fish tank, the ph shoots up to 8.2.

    I now know that I shouldn't have had all those sea shells and lime rock in my 10 gallon, lol. I took all of that out (very sad...that was an awesome rock) but my ph is still high. Even when I set up a 5 gallon hospital tank with gravel from my 10 gallon but with no decorations except a resin bamboo tunnel. The ph in that tank is now also 8.2

    I figured, ok, I bet it's the gravel. I bought new gravel, but I have not been able to pick it up, so I still have that to try.

    But now, I am baby-sitting some fish in a 10 gallon for my friend. He brought his whole set-up with two gallons of his water (a little less than I recommended, but *shrug*). We filled up the rest with my tap water with Hikari Aquarium Solutions Ultimate Water Conditioner. He has different gravel and no lime rock or seashells or anything. I just tested his water and now HIS water is about 8.2. I tested my tap water again, and it's still 7.7.

    wth? lol... I'd like to get the ph down before I really get into planting my tanks.

    Thanks for any information!
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    There is no reason you cannot grow plants with high ph water.

    My tap here in FL is 8.4 out of the tap and I have no issues in my 45 gal non c02 planted tank.

    Is there a specific reason you want to lower the ph?
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The water company may be adding CO2 to your water to lower the pH. When it sits awhile the CO2 outgases and the pH goes back up. Or, you may have limestone "gravel" in the tank, which is easily checked. Just take a few pieces and drip some swimming pool acid on them to see if they fizz. If they do, they are likely limestone. A cheap replacement would be swimming pool filter sand, which isn't supposed to add carbonates or calcium to the water - pools need to be kept within a limited pH range too.
     
  4. EllenOC

    EllenOC Junior Poster

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    It's not just water from a company that can change after sitting a while. I have well water, and the ph from the tap is much lower than ph once the water sits a couple of hours.

    I never added anything to raise ph, knowing that I had hard water to start with, but the first tank I ever set up had a continuing problem with ph raising over time. The cause was the gravel that I thought was just plain stuff (from PetsMart).
     
  5. Chiriohs

    Chiriohs Junior Poster

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    Ahh...the gravel might be the issue then. I got it from Petco about three years ago. Although, my friend has different gravel, but also from Petco. I'll try leaving water out for a few hours and seeing if the ph changes.

    I just thought it was odd that I took out the limestone and all the sea shells and my PH didn't go anywhere. I have very hard water as well.

    Guess I'll test my new gravel before I put it in, too.

    I was only trying to lower the ph because I found out it makes ammonia worse and supposedly plants can't live in high ph. Coming to realize this may not be true, heh...

    My java fern is all yellow and black spotted (but the new shoots are nice and bright green and healthy looking), so I thought I'd rule out ph first since it was high while I was waiting on a diffuser for DIY CO2. I'm thinking maybe it's because I didn't put all the fern in the tank at the same time, and some of it got hot, and this that and the other. We'll see how the new shoots fare.

    I just have a full spectrum 15 watt fluorescent (couldn't find the K temp on the box, but the spectrum chart looked pretty good) on it (10 gallon), as I'm trying to go mostly low-tech.
     
  6. ibnozn

    ibnozn Member

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    I grow Java fern in high ph. Microsorium sp. (Java ferns) are very hard water tolerant. Your new growth is healthy so you should be fine.

    Driftwood will help to lower the ph in your tank and it just so happens to also be very good for tying on Java ferns.
     
  7. Calkayne

    Calkayne Junior Poster

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    Hi there, I am new here and just come across your thread.

    I have exactly the same problem! pH sits steady and climbs to ~8.

    Tap water pH is ~7 though. So something is pushing the Water Alkaline. I have plants and a Betta in a 20L Aquarium and no stones. Exept for... Gravel sitting over the Aquarium Soil ;)

    Over the last week I have added a pH reducer to bring the pH back down to between 6.5-7 (So it is better for the Fish and also within recommended window of the Plants).

    My question is: How long did it take for your pH to settle to where you wanted it to be?
     
  8. SftWrmRain

    SftWrmRain Junior Poster

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    Another with Increasing pH - No Rock in Tank

    I'm writing for my mom who has a 75 gallon tank, no plants and only a few plastic type plants and decor items. She has removed all traces of any gravel substrate (she has no substrate down at all right now). The only rock in her tank is the little "weights" on the bottoms of TWO plants.

    Her well water tests at a 6.4 pH. Crazy, I know but it's true.

    She was confused by the 8.2 pH reading from her tank that was filled with this same water, so I had her empty the thing completely of water, and refill with tap water, minus any rocks or gravel.

    The only "rock" items other than the plant weights is the carbon in her filter.

    After two hours, the pH has gone from 6.4 to 7.2. No fish have been added during this time.


    Anyone have answers? She wants to keep Discus and I'm trying to educate her about how to keep a tank properly, so I really want to be a stickler about her pH remaning at the 6.4 that it is out of the tap. Otherwise the water changes I'm encouraging her to do will shock the fish who then live in a higher pH environment.

    Help!
     
  9. TheKillHaa

    TheKillHaa Prolific Poster

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    whats Kh level on your tank water? that will possibly lead us to find out why you have such variations on Ph.
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    It sounds as though your tap water is out-gassing, it isn't unusual for water to be naturally 'fizzy', either because of the place it comes from or because a water company adds CO2 .

    While I agree with the TheKillHaa that it would be nice to know the KH, would also like to know the GH. The reality is you (or your mother may just be stuck with hard water.

    It is rather difficult (and expensive) to maintain water at significantly lower ph.

    Having said that one answer is to add CO2, and you might as well add plants.:D

    Sometimes (I think all the time) it is better to match your livestock to your local conditions, I know that unless you are trying to raise wild caught discus, the hybrids are being kept, successfully in much harder water than many think possible.

    Biollante
     
  11. Chiriohs

    Chiriohs Junior Poster

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    Update: I believe my water it outgassing as well. When I do a water change on my betta bowls, a LOT of bubbles end up sticking to the sides of the bowls. Same thing when we fill a glass of water to drink. Lots of bubbles.

    I have completely changed out my petco gravel to a thin layer of neutral pea gravel, a layer of flourite, and a layer of pool filter sand. Same ph. New growth of the java ferns look so good that when my gold barbs get particularly hungry, they snack on them. I guess I'll have to feed them more, hehe.
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    CO2 is far more common in water than we usually think In fact, it is pretty nearly impossible “not” have CO2 in water. SpringerLink - Book Chapter

    This is if you are interested, kind of a nice overview. With a Canadian twist, eh? Natural water

    As fascinating are the flora and fauna of our aquariums, the media in which we keep them is perhaps even more.:cool:

    The fact of molecular structure of water, that big old oxygen with two tiny “bent” hydrogen atoms hanging of the oxygen with exactly 104.5 degrees of separation guarantees it cannot remain pure. If you are interested Water molecule structure and H2O - The Mystery, Art, and Science of Water: The Chemistry of Water: Structure

    If you are paranoid about your tap water Drinking Water Information and Web Resources - Drinking Water Contaminants. Remember: Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.:rolleyes:

    Biollante
     
  13. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

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    pH isn't your enemy most of the fish people keep will adapt to your waters pH it's not the enemy it's Kh that controls how your pH swings. I really wouldn't worry about a high pH unless your trying to breed specific types of fish.

    Even then I wouldn't use a commercial buffering product for that ether R/O water or a peat moss filter tank would do a better job.

    - Brad
     
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