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Old 11-03-2008, 11:41 AM   #1 
colby
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Question Changing pH Levels

How can I safely change the pH level in my tank? The pH is off the chart. I need to lower it and I'm not sure what to use and how to do it safely. After I tested the water, I went to a pet store and was stunned at the millions of different choices (ok, so I'm exaggerating a little).

Anyway, please let me know what the cheapest/best product is to use and how fast I can lower the pH without stressing or killing my already sickly betta.

Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:51 PM   #2 
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I'm guessing you mean off the chart high. Can you get actual readings? Bettas can be fine in the high 7's, but if it's in the 8's then you may need to do something. Most of the products designed to lower pH don't work and can cause a tank crash. This is because water hardness and pH are closely related and a tank with high pH will often have too high a buffer for these product to be effective. Also, it is near impossible to get the pH just right each time with those products. Most people will tell you to use driftwood to naturally lower it, but again, if your buffer is too high this won't really have that much effect. The only way that really does work is to use some r/o water mixed with your tap water. You just have to find a solution that works for you, and prepare it the same every time. What size is your tank?

Oh, and pH changes should be done very slowly.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:17 AM   #3 
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Oh...wow...good, that saves me some money. Some of that pH stuff is just downright overpriced.

Anyway, I have a 2.5gal tank with a light and filter. I have some gravel at the bottom and two fake plants. The filter is in (without the filter bag) and set on a low setting. I keep the temp in the 70's. And yes, I meant high when I said off the chart. I have a basic pH tester - one where you match the color in the tester with color on the chart. It's always a shade or two darker than the last color which is 7.

Hope that info helps! Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:26 AM   #4 
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I would buy a high level pH test kit (liquid kits are more accurate than strips). That way you can get an accurate reading of what your pH actually is. My betta is perfectly happy in a pH of 7.6. That being said, if it is extremely high (in the 8's) using a little r/o water would not cost you much in a 2.5 gal.
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:57 PM   #5 
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What is r/o water?
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:27 PM   #6 
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Reverse Osmosis. It is essentially totally "pure" water without any of the impurities that would cause pH extremes. It has no natural buffer though, so is prone to pH swings if used alone. Also it does not contain elements essential to fish health. That is why people usually find a mix of tap and r/o water that brings their pH and hardness into optimal ranges. You can get a r/o unit (usually pricey although I saw one for cheap once on e-bay) or buy the water from your local fish store (probably the better choice in a 2.5 gal).

I would first check to see the actual pH reading before spending any money however.

Hope this helps :)
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:02 AM   #7 
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Huh? What kind of weird test kit has 7.0 as the highest end of the chart? Don't waste your money on buying a standalone liquid pH test kit. They usually run about $10 or more in pet stores. You're *much* better off getting a complete liquid test kit. The API Freshwater Master Test Kit comes with tests for pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and can be purchased at online stores like Drs. Foster and Smith and Aquariumguys for around $15. It will also last you a heck of a lot longer than strips will, as well as give you much more accurate readings.

In the meantime, you can take a sample of your water to a good fish store and have them test the water with a good test kit. Like others have pointed out, unless your pH is above 8.0 or something, there's really nothing to worry about. Also, like others have indicated, avoid pH-adjusting chemicals like the plague as they can cause huge pH swings.
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