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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I've noticed that my tank's pH varies considerably between water changes. My tap water is 7.0, the tank after a water change hovers between 6.6 and 6.8, but after 3 or 4 days without a water change the pH jumps to 7.0 and sometimes 7.2. I once went 7 days without a water change and the pH was above 7.2 (the regular pH test).

I'm assuming that means my water is fairly soft, and therefore more prone to wild pH fluctuations. My tank is a 10-gallon, I have colored gravel, two pieces of driftwood, 5 plants as well as some duckweed, and some Indian almond leaves.

I read this article from Fishlore which claims that pH variation is not as serious as some think, and pH varies considerably in natural environments also... but I'm curious as to...

...Why my pH rises predictably between water changes?
 

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Hello all,

I've noticed that my tank's pH varies considerably between water changes. My tap water is 7.0, the tank after a water change hovers between 6.6 and 6.8, but after 3 or 4 days without a water change the pH jumps to 7.0 and sometimes 7.2. I once went 7 days without a water change and the pH was above 7.2 (the regular pH test).

I'm assuming that means my water is fairly soft, and therefore more prone to wild pH fluctuations. My tank is a 10-gallon, I have colored gravel, two pieces of driftwood, 5 plants as well as some duckweed, and some Indian almond leaves.

I read this article from Fishlore which claims that pH variation is not as serious as some think, and pH varies considerably in natural environments also... but I'm curious as to...

...Why my pH rises predictably between water changes?
Do you use tap water?

If so, most likely your tap water contains dissolved gasses, including CO2, which will naturally diffuse over time. CO2 is acidic in nature, so as it diffuses you pH will rise to its actual state (what your tank sees most of the time).

This is one reason why you should not do testing after a water change, but before.

To determine if your water is actually "soft" other tests are needed, like KH and GH.
 

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Hello all,

I've noticed that my tank's pH varies considerably between water changes. My tap water is 7.0, the tank after a water change hovers between 6.6 and 6.8, but after 3 or 4 days without a water change the pH jumps to 7.0 and sometimes 7.2. I once went 7 days without a water change and the pH was above 7.2 (the regular pH test).
Hi there,
I don't think that fluctuation of 6.6 up to 7.2 is "jumping". You are in the neutral PH range from 6.8 to 7.2 actually which most freshwater fish prefer. Soft, Acidic or Low on my chart states 6.2 or lower. I use Tetra Easy Strips. Personally I wouldn't be worried about this fluctuation in the neutral zone. I agree with Davo, make sure to do your water tests prior to changing your water - test the cycled stuff.

Your driftwood may be expelling tannins that can lower your PH so that may account for some of it but again its not enough into acidic that I'd be concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! I usually let my tap water sit for at least a few days before putting it in, but will do :)

So if before the water change the pH is 7.2 and after it's 6.8, should I remove the fish and reacclimate him? I usually do this, but sometimes I leave him in for water changes of 10-15%.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So I suppose on a side note, to keep my water more stable should I start using spring water? What alternatives are there to tap water?

The apartment I live in is in an old house with old pipes, so I assume there is probably a lot of dissolved minerals?
 

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Hi there,
Well - okay yes I do believe Spring Water is always a better alternative to tap. Make sure to look up the PH and get one in the neutral range I know Poland Springs qualifies. Spring contains no chlorine, no fluoride, no antibiotics and the PH is more stable as you will note when you test it. All human beings should have access to real water, let alone fish. Its a better base product but you should still use a detoxer like Kordon Amquel or even Prime at two drops per gallon that you replenish.

*The most important thing* is having a product on hand that will prevent your fish from being harmed by ammonia or nitrite* Prime does that at two drops per gallon, for every single day that you either do not test your water or that your water reads more than zero ammonia. A fully cycled tank should read zero ammonia consistently, along with safe on readings on nitrites and nitrates.

I use only prepared fish water (Fresh Water One and/or ELive Betta Water). These products generally start as reverse osmosis but they are thoroughly adjusted for fish afterwords, including the minerals and PH. RO water itself is not good for fish without altering it first. I don't have time to play that. So I just get what the fish needs. Proper water. With that I use Kordon Amquel and/or Easy Life Fluid Filter Medium but very minimally. Although I do not use Prime myself I recommend it in the forum because most have tap. Prime is best against tap.

I have no doubt that plenty of fish are very healthy on tap but my feeling is that is because their owners are very attentive to their care and more experienced. If tap water was healthy it wouldn't be treated with many chemicals before even reaching your sink. By stating my own preference and reasons for it I am in no way judging what others do. Others will swear by tap water, so this is really a matter of your preference in the exact same way that all other fish care products are your choice.

I wouldn't ever remove my fish from his/her home especially for water changes.
Only time I'd ever is if I was QT for medicating depending on the situation.

Don't let your tap sit out so long that it gets stale. On the other hand even if my test said all of the chlorine was gone I wouldn't trust that with tap. I'd still treat it.

Read more here: Why are you changing your water?
tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-general-articles/regular-partial-water-changes-188641

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I treat my tap water with Prime, and the tank is cycled. So shoud I not let my water sit for too long? What does "stale" mean in this context? Lol
 
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