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Old 03-25-2013, 09:50 PM   #1 
ryancalif
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Be careful with baking soda...

I had been having weird pH drops in my 5.5g tank for the past few months. It would be at 6.6 one day, and the next day below 6. I ended up changing the water more due to low pH than high ammonia/nitrites/nitrates.

Anyway, I did a little bit of research on how to correct low pH and a popular home remedy is to add about a tablespoon a baking soda for every 10 gallons. So I added about half a tablespoon and my pH jumped from less than 6 to about 8.2 in a matter of a minute.

To any extent it essentially nuked all of my BB. I have been getting solid ammonia readings now (no nitrites or nitrates) for the past couple days which, to me, indicates that my nitrogen cycle completed folded.

Any ideas how I can stabilize my pH again without using baking soda? I've read that crushed coral works pretty well.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:16 PM   #2 
valen1014
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Calcium carbonate maybe? That's crazy though. I had no idea that could happen. I have DIY CO2 in a 2.5 gallon tank (plants only for now) but my pH is pretty low 6.2-6.0. I was thinking of messing with it to see how I could bring it up. I guess I can cross baking soda off my list ^^;;
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:06 PM   #3 
ryancalif
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valen1014 View Post
Calcium carbonate maybe? That's crazy though. I had no idea that could happen. I have DIY CO2 in a 2.5 gallon tank (plants only for now) but my pH is pretty low 6.2-6.0. I was thinking of messing with it to see how I could bring it up. I guess I can cross baking soda off my list ^^;;
Well, just be careful if you do add some. It really does work! I can tell you that much. Lol.

You might try adding a smaller amount at first, then re-test pH after to see where you're at. Honestly though, I don't think I'd recommend baking soda anyway for aquariums as it's only a temporary solution, and the pH spike after is hard to gauge.

I'll check out the calcium carbonate though.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:40 PM   #4 
LittleBettaFish
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I find baking soda doesn't really do much long-term to buffer your pH, and it is as you found out, very easy to overdose.

I have extremely soft water here as well, and I use crushed coral in any tanks that are cycled. It works extremely well and lasts quite a surprising amount of time. You also only need a small amount once it starts to go to work.
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