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 Big PH drop

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Ron
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PostSubject: Big PH drop   Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:11 am

I was reading on another site of an issue with a rapid Ph drop and thought I would check my tank. My 75 planted had a water change (about 33%) on Tuesday. No cloudiness issues, or sick fish afterward. Last night I noticed my canister filters' output slightly declining so I gave it a pretty good cleaning. Today I saw some significant clouding of water. No signs of stressed or sick fish but I thought I would perform water test. Ammonia was zero, Nitrite was 0, and Nitrate below 5. Ph however is normally around 7.6 but this AM it had dropped to 6.6 I'm very shocked my fish seem to be okay but a big drop IMO. Should I be worried or perform another WC? My tap water tested about 7.4 out of the faucet this AM
I did add yesterday some Pimafix and Melamix as I was not certain if I saw possible parasite issue beginning but later fish appeared okay and still remains ok this AM. These medicines in the past have never created any changes in my water so I don't think this is the issue.
There have been no new fish added for over a week, and no plant changes for over a month. This is a community tank with Angels, Tetras, Swords, Corys, Plecos, Shrimp and Nerites. As mentioned everyone looks okay.

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:23 am

I'm just curious Ron. When was the last time you tested your pH before the water change?  Shocked

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:23 am

Ron,
What is your KH? As you know, KH show the concentration of carbonates and bicarbonates in you water.KH also indicates the water's buffering ability. (The ability to neutralize acids with out affecting the PH) So a higher KH results in a more stable PH and a lower KH can result in a significant PH swing.

Also, if you use a lot of aeration, air stones, this can cause your PH to drop. This is because some tap water has buffers added and the oxygen removes this and the water goes back to it's natural PH.

I know, a lot of words to say a little but I hope the information helps point you in the right direction.

David
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:51 am

@JohnnyAMH wrote:
I'm just curious Ron. When was the last time you tested your pH before the water change?  Shocked

I am embarrassed to say Ph test was probably last checked more than 30 days prior. I have gotten a bit lazy with that test as Ph has never fluctuated in over 5 years more than .1 up or down.

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:00 am

@DLW wrote:
Ron,
What is your KH? As you know, KH show the concentration of carbonates and bicarbonates in you water.KH also indicates the water's buffering ability. (The ability to neutralize acids with out affecting the PH) So a higher KH results in a more stable PH and a lower KH can result in a significant PH swing.

Also, if you use a lot of aeration, air stones, this can cause your PH to drop. This is because some tap water has buffers added and the oxygen removes this and the water goes back to it's natural PH.

I know, a lot of words to say a little but I hope the information helps point you in the right direction.

David

Thanks David I bought a Kh and GH test kit as I have never tested before. A few years ago we talked about this test in the club and most members either never performed or did not see a big value. Guess may have been wrong. I will check this AM and respond.Interesting though about the aeration you mentioned. I have not changed any aeration more than what I have been using for months, but after cleaning my canister filter I got a huge amount of extremely fine air bubbles for quite awhile. Do you think that could have caused what you described?

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Last edited by Ron on Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:14 am

It is possible but I'm not sure. We would need to determine if the buffering was the culprit.
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:46 am

Thanks. I got a kit from a local LFS near the RIR and low and behold it appears to have been a used kit and missing the GH test solution. Bummer! I will have to get another one today and I will let you know what I find.

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:21 pm

@Ron wrote:
@JohnnyAMH wrote:
I'm just curious Ron. When was the last time you tested your pH before the water change?  Shocked

I am embarrassed to say Ph test was probably last checked more than 30 days prior. I have gotten a bit lazy with that test as Ph has never fluctuated in over 5 years more than .1 up or down.

I seldom check my pH too. Mine rarely fluctuates also. I'm gonna use this thread as a reminder to check my pH.  I also agree with DLW and recommend checking your water hardness. I'm also curious again, do you add CO2?  Neutral

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
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30 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Growout Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Growout Tank
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:26 pm

@Ron wrote:
Thanks. I got a kit from a local LFS near the RIR and low and behold it appears to have been a used kit and missing the GH test solution. Bummer! I will have to get another one today and I will let you know what I find.

I can only guess which shop was that... Mad

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Angelfish Show Tank
(Angelfish, Guppies, Neons and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Growout Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Growout Tank
10 gal. Planted Bristled Nose Plecos and Guppy Show Tank
(Guppies, Bristled Nose Plecos and kuhli Loaches)
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:40 pm

Okay so I just bought a new API GH & KH test kit. This time I went to Fins and Feathers and able to get a complete unused kit. Also for a lower price than the other lfs.
KH was 2 to 3 degrees and GH was 5 to 6 degrees. I have no idea from this point if that is good or bad. The instructions with the kit is a bit vague to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:39 pm

Kh at 2-3 degrees would be about 0-50 ppm gh at 5-6 would be 50-200 ppm. Kh is good for discus, your gh for most tropical fish. You probably already know this so just stating the obvious. The low kh provides very little buffering ability so this would cause a wide ph swing. So we have found the culprit, now we must find a solution. When water evaporates it leaves behind ions that contribute to hardness. Adding tap water brings in more minerals resulting in increased gh. The only real way to stop this is with deionized water. You can use special filters to bring the gh down and/or chemicals to bring kh up. My suggestion would be to ride it out if the fish are not showing signs of stress. To try and control this with water treatments can be frustrating and expensive. Sorry I know I can get wordy so I hope some of this helped. If not just ignore it. But let me know how things work out.
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:59 pm

Thanks David. I sure appreciate the explanation. I was reading and re-reading the test kit instructions and saw the numbers you posted above, but I could not quite understand what they meant and if I needed to make a change. I will watch closely from now on though. All fish, snails, and shrimp show no signs of stress or unusual behavior so I guess they are ok. I will do as you suggest and "ride it out".
I will let you know how it works out.
Thanks again.
Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:59 pm

@DLW wrote:
The only real way to stop this is with deionized water.

OR.... Ron I could trade you some of my hard water for your softer water - I could use it! Smile

Nice thread - Problem Presented - Assessment - Discovery - Resolution Options

Do you think this has happened in the past and was undiscovered? I recall you have had some issues keeping your Angels - could this have been a contributing factor?

I would say the majority of us probably only measure parameters when there is an issue AND unfortunately that fits my description.

But I do hope to change, I like the measuring, tracking and scientifikeee part of the hobby.


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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:15 pm

That does raise a question that I had in the back of my mind when I was losing some fish. I lost Neons, Angels and Rams. I think but sadly can not confirm that I did check PH then and no issues. I used a product back then from API called General Cure and it seemed to save all my other fish. I know from now on though I will begin a spread sheet for each of my tanks keeping track of WC's, tests, results, and any changes I make. There is an earlier thread where members are talking about this but I guess it takes a scare to make me act sometimes.

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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:58 am

@Ron wrote:
That does raise a question that I had in the back of my mind when I was losing some fish. I lost Neons, Angels and Rams. I think but sadly can not confirm that I did check PH then and no issues. I used a product back then from API called General Cure and it seemed to save all my other fish. I know from now on though I will begin a spread sheet for each of my tanks keeping track of WC's, tests, results, and any changes I make. There is an earlier thread where members are talking about this but I guess it takes a scare to make me act sometimes.

It all goes back to that basic word in fish keeping, husbandry... After doing this for about 50 years, I still can't look at water and guess its chemistry. I can usually spot poor water quality when I see it but I have also seen many healthy looking fish swimming in it. My point is that it happens to all of us. No mater how disciplined we are about scheduled water changes stuff is going on that we can't see. Waiting until we see a problem is like waiting for a disaster to happen. Right now I'm waiting for what was a beautiful a plant to recover from wilting because I got behind on my water changes. I was on schedule but not keeping up with the heavy bioload in that tank...  shrug

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Angelfish Show Tank
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30 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Growout Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Growout Tank
10 gal. Planted Bristled Nose Plecos and Guppy Show Tank
(Guppies, Bristled Nose Plecos and kuhli Loaches)
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PostSubject: Re: Big PH drop   Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:27 pm

This is interesting. You don't live very far from me and my KH out of the tap is usually much higher than that, so my PWC schedule generally keeps the buffering up so I don't get much of a change in pH, and have to work pretty hard to achieve it. Ph is always right at 7.4 out of the tap.

I think cleaning the filter caused a bacterial die-off, not enough to cause the tank to literally cycle, but enough decayed organic matter to acidify the water for a bit. I think it will be quite temporary, but that is just my guess! A return to your regular PWC schedule ought to bring things around.

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