View Full Version : Urgent ph & Plec help needed

07-02-2012, 02:43 PM

I finally managed to source a L200 Green Phantom (expensive but always loved the fish) however I have recently done my random testing and noticed that my ph is up from 7.6 to 8.2

This plec is new (as of last Friday) and comes from an lfs with 7.4ph obviously this is something of a worry. The plec has been here 3 days, he has still not eaten (tried cucumber and zucchini) am going to try wafers tonight and is acting very shy whenever I enter the room (which true could just be down to being new / shipping).

My question is what can I do to reduce it, I think adding alder cones / leaves is going to a waste of time (have been doing this last 2 days in another tank with no change in ph) so guessing my only options are to use some RO water or a chemical.

I cannot get access to RO water locally, but do have a bottle of API ph down which I'm getting tempted to add to the tank, however everything I read about it suggests not to (was only thinking literally a few drops)?

Will the plec adapt to this high ph, he is about 5" and is the only inhabitant in a 30G tank?

Many thanks guys

Lady Hobbs
07-02-2012, 03:23 PM
What kind of substrate do you have? Also, any rocks or decorations that could be suspect to raising the pH?

Is this tank totally cycled, I hope. If not cycled, pH is never stable. I would use no chemicals. They will not keep the pH down anyway.

07-02-2012, 04:20 PM
Lady hobbs, the tank is cycled, has been for quite some time. If I remember right, and Mark correct me if I'm wrong, the substrate is standard aquarium gravel. We do know that the rocks in the tank are not effecting the ph, as the ph at the tap is the same as all the tanks.

07-02-2012, 05:59 PM
Yes that's right rmiller the tank is fully cycled and has been for months, there are rocks in the tank but have been for months also the tap ph is the same 8.2

Previously the tanks have always been at around 7.6ph it was only as a result of the loss of a Juvie Flash pleco that I decided to check all these things and this change in ph is obv related to a water company thing as has always been at 7.6 for over a year which is why I generally do not check ph.

Am thinking to just leave the Phantom and hope that he adjusts to the increased ph? Have added alder cones to the tank to if nothing else create more a Blackwater effect and make the Phantom more secure etc.

Thanks for your reply Lady Hobbs it's much appreciated (btw in case you wonder, rmiller and I are together though an ocean apart)

Many thanks and further input appreciated :)

07-02-2012, 09:11 PM
Has anyone else had success keeping a green phantom pleco in high ph water? Any other suggestions of foods to try that may entice the little guy to eat?

07-02-2012, 11:32 PM
IME plecos don't always eat readily in their first week of tank life, you need to be feeding them a variety of things to get them eating at first. I'd suggest trying algae wafers after lights out on 1 night, courgette the next, followed by cucumber . . . Get the idea? After a week they are usually more settled in and will eat more readily.

07-03-2012, 04:04 AM
Thanks scottishfish,

It seemed last night he was starting to nibble at a cucumber, but no real noticible bite marks. When redfan walks past the tank it still frightens the poor guy so he runs and hides. Some new plants were added to the tank this am to give him a bit more privacy.

Mark, if you have time tomorrow, crazy as things are, I know love, but maybe you could sit at the tank and watch the phantom for a while so he can get to know you and then he will fall in love with you. I know it didn't take long for me too ;)

Lady Hobbs
07-03-2012, 12:47 PM
Lady hobbs, the tank is cycled, has been for quite some time. If I remember right, and Mark correct me if I'm wrong, the substrate is standard aquarium gravel. We do know that the rocks in the tank are not effecting the ph, as the ph at the tap is the same as all the tanks.

@rmiller, Thank you for answering redfans questions for him.

@redfan, the pleco will adjust to the higher pH than he will adjust to the chemicals that raise and lower it constantly. Whatever caused this pH to raise now, perhaps it will drop back down some again. Do a check of your tap water and again after it's sit there for a day. That should tell you if the pH is raising by something in the tank or is simply the source for your water supply.

Enjoy your new addition.

07-03-2012, 03:39 PM
Very likely you have soft to very soft water (I do) and the pH will then drift. Can't really do anything about it except change 75% of the water either every day or every two days (been there, done that.) Otherwise, live with it and do smaller but more frequent water changes to prevent the tank's pH from swinging too radically - sorry, there really are not many others things to do if your water is soft ... best of luck.

07-03-2012, 04:36 PM
Thanks cermet.

Mark does small frequent changes on all his tanks. Typically 10% daily as much as 30% if he skips a day.

To my knowledge the tap water has the same ph. From what Mark and I have discussed, his area is in a drought and we think they maybe bringing in water from another source. It's the only reason we can think of for such a sudden and drastic change. We will definately be keeping a close eye in the phantom as it is one of his favorite fish.

Thanks again for the support.

07-11-2012, 11:47 AM
Time to update,

Things have changed again. The area having been in drought for about 6 months is now after 2 months of the wettest weather on record no longer is.

Previously the water from tap (after dechlor) was showing 8.2 however have tested again today and it has drastically gone down to 7.4 - 7.6 assuming they are no longer using underground water reserves and now overground reservoirs again (which explains why it's now returned to it's normal 7.6).

The tank is currently showing at ph of 8 so a dilemma, should I just leave as is (doing 15% w/c every 3 days) and over time it will hopefully go down? Should I do as Cermet suggests and maybe 50% w/c every day?

Also, if I go the route of leaving the w/c as are is the lower ph water simply going to buffer up to the current tank level of 8?

Sorry for all the Q's but gonna get to bottom of this either way. Obviously doing massive changes 50%+ could also have the other effect of lowering it too much too quickly.

Many thanks for all the replies thus far :)

Lady Hobbs
07-11-2012, 12:30 PM
Well, this is a nuisance now, isn't it? I think since the pH is so much different, I would do smaller water changes myself so the tank is not going through a big pH swing.

Have your tried drawing some tap water, testing it, and then letting a sample sit for 24 hours and then testing it again? It would be nice to see how it is normally after sitting for a spell.

DOH! Reading back a couple posts, I see I wrote the same thing a few posts ago.

07-11-2012, 01:23 PM
Thanks for the reply, Am going to try your suggestion about testing from tap and sitting it 24hrs. Not sure it's going to make any massive difference but maybe it is worth a go.

I'm thinking the smaller changes are probably the best idea, however as I did ask would the ph from bucket (which is significantly lower) not just raise when in the tank as the higher current tank water would buffer it up to current level?

Equally I don't think it's anything to do with items in the tank as they all have different things but all show a similar ph result (the tank in question has rocks in it btw).

Many thanks :)

Lady Hobbs
07-11-2012, 01:53 PM
It might be an interesting test because it just could be a couple of the rocks in your tank is causing the higher pH?

07-12-2012, 03:02 PM
Right Lady Hobbs, the plot thickens ...

I have got a bucket set out, however.

Tested the tap water twice which is deff at 7.4 (has been over a week now). Another tank which is at 8 - 8.2 has had 25% water changes every 2 days, yet still shows as 8.0 (it's a 22G tank so should have had all the water swapped out by now) .

This prompted further investigation .. so made that bucket up to test overnight, using cold water mixed with 1 kettle of hot water (to bring temp up to 24C) then added dechlor, tested the bucket .. shockingly it was at 7.8 - 8 ...

Think I may have identified the issue, the kettle!!! it's full of limescale (from the last few months of high ph tap water) .. assuming this is the reason for the results I just got and why none of the tanks are showing any reasonable drop in ph??

What are your thoughts?

Going to thoroughly clean the kettle this evening anyway.
Thanks again :)

07-12-2012, 06:07 PM
You gonna switch to heating water in the plastic container? I bet that will make a difference babe. Eliminates the possibility of the kettle contaminating the water again. Ohh...experiment time. Do one bucket mixed from the kettled water and one from microwaved water in the 2 gallon bucket we talked about and then tell me I'm right thumbs2:

07-13-2012, 02:22 PM
The heating of 2ltr in the microwave took over 10mins .. so gave up. Have now used just the kettle and seeing as the overnight bucket showed a ph of 7.6 I decided to do a 50% w/c on the 30 today.

Just checked it (an hour in) and the ph has dropped from 8 to 7.8 which is what I was aiming for. Obviously need to recheck this this evening and tomorrow to see if buffers up any more, but hopefully if it remains at this lower level I will repeat the process on Monday to hopefully get it down to the desired 7.6 :)

Cheers guys, will update as required.

07-13-2012, 07:04 PM
Ummm, what wattage is your microwave? Mine heats a gallon of water to 40c+ in about 3 minutes. I pour it back in the 5 gallon bucket, scoop out another gallon, 3 more minutes in the micro and bam perfect temp. Takes a bit longer in the winter as his house is old and drafty, but that won't be an issue soon. But am really glad the ph is down for now, hope it stays that way love.

07-13-2012, 07:12 PM
Any chance of talking you into posting a pic?
By the name alone I HAD to do a google image search and was hit with a sudden rage of jealousy!

We just got a Orinoco Banded Pleco yesterday, and not to take away from how sweet He is (cust he's awesome) but I'd love to see a pic of your green phantom :18:

ps... sorry to post with nothing actually helpful, now I feel kinda selfish (really tho, a pic would be killer!)

07-14-2012, 03:48 PM
Thanks Becky, The ph has remained at 7.8 on checking today so woohoo :)
The microwave is like 1000 Watt, it should not be a prob at all as it cooks everything else as normal.

j250nyahweh - The attached pic is the only one I have of him atm (he's still pretty shy and rarely ventures from the caves) I will take some more soon so you would be able to see the stunning green with the really nice patterned dots, He is 5" and when he is in full flow he is an absolute treat to watch :)

Do you know the L number of your banded?


07-14-2012, 04:01 PM
Glad its still down Mark. I look forward to more pics :;):

Lady Hobbs
07-16-2012, 03:00 AM
redfan, what kind of gravel are you using in the tank that has the high pH?

I didn't mean for the water to sit out for a week. I just wanted to see what the pH is on your tap water after it's sat for one day. Storing water will be a pain in the neck.

07-16-2012, 01:50 PM
Lh--- we figured out at least a portion of the problem was the kettle he was using to heat the water to the proper temp had lots of limescale in it. He has cleaned the kettle thoroughly and it has made a difference. Most if his tanks have standard aquarium gravel in them. One has sand.

Lady Hobbs
07-16-2012, 03:09 PM
And why is he heating the water? If he took it directly from the tap as we all do, it would not need to be heated. Right?

If the water was in a kettle for days, then I would see the pH changing but not for just a few minutes to heat it. If I drop a chunk of coral in my tank for 5 minutes, it will change nothing. If I leave it in the tank for days, it will.

07-16-2012, 04:44 PM
Tbh, I'm not sure why he heats the water with a kettle...all I know is out of the tap and over night tests were both fine on ph, the change came with the water heated in the kettle.

07-16-2012, 05:49 PM
They can certainly be hard to get a picture of, thanks for posting what you've got so far! building the anticipation :ssmile:

Mine's an L243. I'll try to get a pic up in the photo forum of him (once I get a decent one:hmm3grin2orange: )