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Old 11-05-2013, 11:54 PM   #1 
shadepixie
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pH too low

10 gallon tank, pH starts at 6 after a water change then slowly goes to 5.5, then 5. Tips? Where are betas and cores happiest? One of my cories died today.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:23 AM   #2 
rickey
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How often are you doing water changes?
What percent do you change?
What is pH of source water?
I would suspect a low kH with your source water.

R

Last edited by rickey; 11-06-2013 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #3 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickey View Post
How often are you doing water changes?
What percent do you change?
What is pH of source water?
I would suspect a low kH with your source water.

R
Lately every 5 days or so
About 40-50%
pH is 6 for tap water
Water where I'm from is very soft.

I added a smidge of baking soda last night, and it took the pH immediately to 7. Checked it this morning, it's still at 7.
Could the low pH be related to the slight ammonia readings I've been getting lately, as I read a low (acidic) pH kills off your BB? :(
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:27 AM   #4 
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Low pH makes it hard for nitrifying bacteria to grow. It also keeps most of the ammonia ionized as ammonium, which is relatively harmless.

But your pH is really low. Using baking soda is a good try, but not stable. You might try crushed coral or seashells to raise your hardness (KH). Your pH should rise slowly but naturally and stay there.

Betta like it <7.0pH, but will put up with almost anything.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:21 AM   #5 
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Agreed, I would add a little crushed coral/egg shells in a bag in the filter.

R
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:29 PM   #6 
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Egg shells. Great. Why didn't I think of that?

What about cuttlebone from the bird section of the petstore?
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:03 PM   #7 
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Eggs shells? Really? That would be way easier…
It's three days later and the pH is still at 7. I'm doing a partial change because my nitrites and nitrates are on the rise. I guess this means my nitrifying bacteria are working again.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:39 PM   #8 
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I have the same problem as you. My tap water has a very low KH value and is prone to sudden drops in pH unless stabilised long-term with something like crushed coral.

Until I realised what was going on, I found it very hard to cycle and then maintain the cycle in my betta tanks. Crushed coral was a lifesaver for me in that regard, although egg shells and I believe cuttlebone do the same thing.
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:03 AM   #9 
rickey
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Todays chemistry lesson
Calcium carbonate takes at less 3 forms in nature if you leave Magnesium out of the picture

Vaterite is the metastable phase and once vaterite is exposed to water, it converts to calcite (at low temperature) or aragonite (at high temperature: ~60 C). However, vaterite does occur naturally in mineral springs, organic tissue, gallstones, and kidney stone

Aragonite forms in almost all shells, and as the endoskeleton of warm- and cold-water corals. is thermodynamically unstable at standard temperature and pressure, and tends to alter to calcite in time. Aragonite is the calcium carbonate of your newly shed shrimp and crabs till his new exoskeleton hardens

Calcite is a common in sedimentary rocks much of which is formed from the shells of dead marine organisms. It is the most stable of the calcium carbonates and is often primary constituent of the shells of marine organisms.Calcite is only soluble in dilute acids (not water).

R

Last edited by rickey; 11-08-2013 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:26 AM   #10 
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So calcite is the final form that carbonate takes as a KH buffer? Below 6.0pH it erodes?

Ahh, that's why marine biologists (and you and me) are worried about CO2 buildup in the ocean lowering the pH and acidifying the water.
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