PH Problem (too alkaline)

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NancyD
Posts: 1478
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: SF bay area,US

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by NancyD » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:58 pm

Well, the shells, coral & calcium substrate may be adding to your high pH (+ GH) troubles now. You can't just say it was fine 2 years ago, there can be a cumulative effect especially since you've moved...I do understand, we used Lake MI limestone rocks for years but it was a long time before we knew that it could be & was an issue.

Fish are very adaptable if you change lots of water often & test often to see what's going on. Until then you won't know. I'm not a frequent tester unless I move or have otherwise altered conditions.
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Basil
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:52 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by Basil » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:40 pm

I’m not a chemist, but I do know that water does not always seem to follow what I think are the rules.
For instance, I’m starting with RO/DI water made from my well water so it should be pure. But even though I add the appropriate amount of buffers and minerals, I end up with a dGH of 6, dKH of 2, and ph of 7.4. And that is after I aerate it as right after I mix them all, the ph is about 6.8.
And I keep reading that with a ph of 7.4, the KH should be higher but it’s not. To get my KH up to the recommended minimum of 4, the ph jumps to about 8.
But, even at 2, the ph stays steady so I go with it!
Maybe there is something in your well water that is causing more buffering than when you were on city water?
And, PA does salt some areas in the winter, correct?
Road salt contamination in wells has been a bit of a problem in my area of MD.
Also, do you have a whole house water softener? They are usually salt based and I’ve seen recommendations to not use the softened water in aquariums.
Just some more random thoughts
But hope you figure it out soon.

mollymalone
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:22 pm

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by mollymalone » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:03 pm

Sorry, jumping in to the game late here, but as your post was fairly recent thought I'd pipe in w/a couple a thoughts. I'm in MD and my pH is 8.2 and the KH is almost 0. (but the pH is stable, I know that's unusual). Here are the things I do do lower pH to varying degrees in different tanks:

Not immediate result, but longer term (will need rotating/periodic replacement before total decomp): Botanicals. I buy mostly from TanninAquatics.com and if you get pods, they last longer than leaves.

Also not immediate, Peat Grannules placed in media bag either in the filter if there's room or hidden in the back behind some plants (just have to remember to replace/rotate in new). I use approx a golf ball/ping pong ball sized amt for each 5 gal and then add more if needed after say 5 days or so (my largest tank is only a 29). But, I would start with smaller amts and increase as it can drop too quickly if too much is added at once or you get impatient for a result from the first batch.

CaribSea Instant Amazon Blackwater you can squirt the liquid in with each pwc to help keep the params stable.

Very fast. Be careful. Seachem Acid Buffer for times when there is a tap water spike and you need to lower your replacement water quicker. A pinch or two per 5 or 10 gal is all I ever really do. But, you should test till you know and before you use it.

And I just this past summer found a new filter media that SEEMS to be keeping my loach tank at 7 pH (although my Rosies don't need it that low I was interested in trying to see if the Boraras, which are diff to spawn, might at lower pH)!! It's from Korea, called Neo Pure. They have a Neo Hard for Alkaline and Neo Soft for more acidic water. It took over a month really. And then I wasn't certain, so I've stopped adding anything else to the pwcs. SEEMS to be pretty damn close following 25% pwc yesterday. Might be something you want to investigate. You can get it at BucePlants.com.

NancyD
Posts: 1478
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: SF bay area,US

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by NancyD » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:44 pm

High pH is often associated with high GH. I forget, have you tested for GH & KH? Nitrate? Java fern & vals like hard water, I don't think moss cares. Like Molly said KH could be any amount but 3 or 4 gdh of KH help to buffer the water (hold pH steady). Just to repeat, you want to avoid a roller coaster effect that can happen with additives & even large water changes with "doctored" water. Go slow on changes & test often. You may have seasonal water changes too as it gets rainier in the fall, we did at times.
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Basil
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:52 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by Basil » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:23 am

mollymalone wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:03 pm
Sorry, jumping in to the game late here, but as your post was fairly recent thought I'd pipe in w/a couple a thoughts. I'm in MD and my pH is 8.2 and the KH is almost 0. (but the pH is stable, I know that's unusual). Here are the things I do do lower pH to varying degrees in different tanks:

Not immediate result, but longer term (will need rotating/periodic replacement before total decomp): Botanicals. I buy mostly from TanninAquatics.com and if you get pods, they last longer than leaves.

Also not immediate, Peat Grannules placed in media bag either in the filter if there's room or hidden in the back behind some plants (just have to remember to replace/rotate in new). I use approx a golf ball/ping pong ball sized amt for each 5 gal and then add more if needed after say 5 days or so (my largest tank is only a 29). But, I would start with smaller amts and increase as it can drop too quickly if too much is added at once or you get impatient for a result from the first batch.

CaribSea Instant Amazon Blackwater you can squirt the liquid in with each pwc to help keep the params stable.

Very fast. Be careful. Seachem Acid Buffer for times when there is a tap water spike and you need to lower your replacement water quicker. A pinch or two per 5 or 10 gal is all I ever really do. But, you should test till you know and before you use it.

And I just this past summer found a new filter media that SEEMS to be keeping my loach tank at 7 pH (although my Rosies don't need it that low I was interested in trying to see if the Boraras, which are diff to spawn, might at lower pH)!! It's from Korea, called Neo Pure. They have a Neo Hard for Alkaline and Neo Soft for more acidic water. It took over a month really. And then I wasn't certain, so I've stopped adding anything else to the pwcs. SEEMS to be pretty damn close following 25% pwc yesterday. Might be something you want to investigate. You can get it at BucePlants.com.
Nice to see another MDer! And I love your user name!
And I’ve seen Rachel OLeary mentioned quite a few times so after reading your post, I did some searching. Oh my, she is so close to me! And she has some fish I want to stock in the not so distant future. Cool!

Jim S
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:22 am

Re: PH Problem - stabilized?

Post by Jim S » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:37 pm

Well, I obviously don't know enough about all the chemical science, what it means, how to test or safely alter them. It's very overwhelming. Chemically speaking, I'd like to have natural ways to assist with regulating this well water pH issue and a SIMPLE routine to keep things stable. I don't have the finances to get into external filters, lots of chemicals, additional tanks, etc., I just really want to get things stabilized in my 55g and hope the fish adjust. I need to be LESS involved! I haven't been able to find the liquid chemical test kit locally and don't trust the test strips, so a trip to my trusted LFS is on tap as they are only open Fri-Sun.

I do want to thank everyone for all the time that went into replies and def will go back and try to put all the data together, including the peat drip and hopefully never go through this again!

So, it's been about 4 weeks since the original 10-12 deaths over that brutal 48 hour period - time to update:

*I pulled any coral and new-ish decorations that may have possibly contained some form of bacteria plus any shells the loaches weren't using as apartments.
*I added 4 small pieces of driftwood after soaking for a week.
*Completed my 3rd water change in 10 days (5-7g each time) using spring water to refill. When using well water, I treat with API pH down and API tap water conditioner, letting it sit for 24 hours before adding to the tank via hanging filters.
*Water temp is down to 76 degrees from 79 and holding. (ambient room temp is down 3 degrees)
*I moved my air stone to the center of the tank under the heater. This seems to have increased surface agitation quite a bit.
*I removed some lexan dividers that I was using to calm one side of the tank.
*Thinking about creating some air vents at the peaks of the castle. I never thought about trapped gases! The castle is an homage to my D&D days, so that has to stay. It's been in the tank since I first set it up long ago.

*Remaining 5 Kuhli seem to be doing just fine.
*Last remaining juli cat is the same/stable - hoping he gets some barb growth back because he needs some friends.
*All the guppies are fine with the changes so far except one who I expect to lose any day now. He's been in the hanging sick bay for about 10 days with tail rot. Others are showing no sign of any bacteria, stress or infection. Starting to think there was a bacteria on the jungle val because the deaths all happened right after adding.
*Bristlenose and pleco seem fine. The pleco went through some fin separation/rips a few days ago but they all have closed up nicely and he looks great.
*Added 4 female guppies early last week as a test and all are doing well. They should be dropping fry in about 2 weeks.

Jungle Vals, crystalwort and amazon swords (lots of baby plants starting again) are all growing at an incredible rate.

Time to let the tank stabilize in general, keep up with regular water changes with treated well water and add 3-5 small corys and a netfull of young kuhli this weekend.

Fingers crossed!

Jim
(I get email notices when this thread is commented on, so please feel free to add any thoughts at any time!)

Jim S
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:22 am

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline) 4 week update

Post by Jim S » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:11 pm

Well, 3 weeks ago I added 4 albino cory's and 4 kuhli. I'm happy to say all 8 newbies as well as my last juli cat and 7 older kuhli seem to be happy and healthy!

I removed the big castle and test all the new well water BEFORE adding to the tank. What I have noticed is that the ph levels seem to be MUCH more neutral after it rains and extremely alkaline during dry spells. Treating all water prior to adding seems to be helping. I've only lost two guppies in the past 4 weeks, both with a fin rot. I'm guessing this is the indication of a lingering bacterial infection, which may have ultimately been the villain.

Thanks to all for the words of advice and encouragement!

Jim

mollymalone
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:22 pm

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by mollymalone » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:38 pm

Glad to hear!

Basil
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:52 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: PH Problem (too alkaline)

Post by Basil » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:34 pm

That’s good news!

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