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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone-

I’m cycling my tank with my fish in it (after much deliberation and advice.). He’s doing well, eats twice a day, and is starting to learn his name (Santino, Sonny for short)!

I have noticed a little glass surfing (reflection I think) and will be putting some black paper up soon.

However, I’m worried about the PH in the tank. My API test kit reads a whopping 8.2… all tank parameters are below. Could y’all help me come up with a solution for this? Our tap water reads 7.4 at most. I was also advised not to use PH down since it’s better to keep it stable. I just really don’t want it to affect him. He did a little twitching today after eating and it was either indigestion or the PH…

TANK PARAMETERS
Size: 10 Gal (9 gallons filled) Filtered
Temp: 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Ammonia: less than 0.25 ppm but not quite 0
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: less than 5 ppm but not quite 0
Lamp next to tank to provide light, plus window less than 6 feet away

Santino thanks you!
Pollinator Plant Flower Petal Insect

Light Feather Fish Beak Terrestrial plant
 

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If you're open to a tannin-darkened tank, you could try botanicals. Driftwood, oak or Indian almond leaves, seed pods and such. You could also try using peat.
 

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However, I’m worried about the PH in the tank. My API test kit reads a whopping 8.2…
A ph of 8.2 will not harm your betta provided the other values are in order. Many bettas are kept at that ph and higher to no ill effect. But something in your tank is elevating the ph from 7.4. Normally, ph drops over time due to waste matter, decomposing vegetation etc. The usual culprit for a rising ph is the substrate. What are you using? Is your tank fully cycled?

I agree that you should not use chemical means to lower it. Just be mindful of you ammonia readings since ammonia is far more toxic at a ph north of 7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A ph of 8.2 will not harm your betta provided the other values are in order. Many bettas are kept at that ph and higher to no ill effect. But something in your tank is elevating the ph from 7.4. Normally, ph drops over time due to waste matter, decomposing vegetation etc. The usual culprit for a rising ph is the substrate. What are you using? Is your tank fully cycled?

I agree that you should not use chemical means to lower it. Just be mindful of you ammonia readings since ammonia is far more toxic at a ph north of 7.
The tank is cycling right now, I’m testing the water everyday and performing water changes as is appropriate.
The substrate is large and small pieces of gravel. There was a quick start ball in there that I didn’t realize was (somehow survived from my last fish) which I removed.
I don’t have any live plants but am looking into just getting a moss ball.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi again -
The PH is now up a little more. Is this common with cycling, new tanks, or anything else?
 

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Hi again -
The PH is now up a little more. Is this common with cycling, new tanks, or anything else?
I'm curious, what's the KH looking like? I wonder if that could have anything to do with this PH swing.

Maybe rather than dark water/extracts you should try adding IAL (or better yet oak leaves) directly to the tank. I collected oak leaves from my BF's property in the fall and found them way more effective than IAL. I'm letting them fully decay in the water and that's helping keep the PH at or below 7.5.

My tap water is very hard (GH and KH) and the hardness seems to kind of suck the acid right out of the water. Keeping "botanical method" aquariums is the only way I've been able to successfully combat this. Big gnarly chunks of driftwood, bottom entirely covered by leaves, dark water... all that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I haven’t tested the hardness in a while, when I did it seemed pretty normal. I’ll look into actual IAL etc. Will that raise the ammonia in the tank as I’m still cycling it?
 

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I haven’t tested the hardness in a while, when I did it seemed pretty normal. I’ll look into actual IAL etc. Will that raise the ammonia in the tank as I’m still cycling it?
I can send you a couple Indian almond leaves if you need, just PM me. Alternatively if you decide to buy a bunch, don't pay more than $0.50 per leaf, the retail markup on IAL is stupid.

I have never had an ammonia spike from IAL in any of my tanks, but most of my tanks also have a clean-up crew (bladder snails) and are heavily planted.
 

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Reading your post, I had the same thought as imaal: what is raising your pH? When you say gravel, is it just aquarium gravel from the pet store or some other kind of gravel? Do you have any rocks in there? Can you send a full tank shot so we can get a look at your tank? If you can figure out what is raising the pH, that will help you know the best way to combat it. Also, are you taking the pH measurements at the same time every day? From what I've heard, it is normal for pH will fluctuate a bit throughout the day, especially if you have live plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Reading your post, I had the same thought as imaal: what is raising your pH? When you say gravel, is it just aquarium gravel from the pet store or some other kind of gravel? Do you have any rocks in there? Can you send a full tank shot so we can get a look at your tank? If you can figure out what is raising the pH, that will help you know the best way to combat it. Also, are you taking the pH measurements at the same time every day? From what I've heard, it is normal for pH will fluctuate a bit throughout the day, especially if you have live plants.
I’ll post a picture when I get home. It’s aquarium gravel but it was sitting out for a while between fish.
 

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Is this common with cycling, new tanks, or anything else?
No. I repeat, something in your tank is elevating your ph and it is probably the substrate. That said, there is nothing unsafe about your ph level, providing you keep ammonia in check.
 
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