Controlling high pH
I'm new here but I've been stalking this forum for resources for a while.
I have some issues with high pH in my tank, and I worry it may be impacting the health of my fish.
I have a heavily planted five gallon with a betta, oto cats, and some snails. Over winter break I was gone for a week and my boyfriend was stopping in to take care of my fish and when I returned I noticed a small tear in his anal fin and the lower lobe (double tail betta) of his tail, they have started to regrow but a few days ago I noticed tears in his caudal fin and top lobe of his tail, as well as some curling around the edges of his anal fin, possibly mild fin rot? I have read that high pH can make it worse.
I just tested (API Freshwater master test kit) the pH today and it is currently at about 8.6, kH of 15 dKH. My containers of tap water, after sitting for several days, have a pH of 8.0 and a kH around 12. I would like to lower the pH of my tank, but avoid chemicals because they don't really do much in the long run. I work in the animal labs on campus and am fish lead there and all of our tanks had a problem of very high kH (>20 at times, highest was probably 26 or so) and pH (>8.6 at all times). We have switched to using a combination of RO and tap water to help control this, but it can still be difficult.
What would you suggest to help fix this? I can take RO water from my work, or go to the chemistry and biology labs on campus to get RO/DI water, but if there is a way to lower the pH without that, or to make RO/DI water in my room, that would be wonderful.
Thank you for your help!
Its tough to adjust pH, because when you do a water change you will cause a pH swing which is worse than consistent high pH
Few things you can try, make sure you have an inert substrate, try lots of driftwood. You could also use peat moss in the filter... but you need to be careful because again, the effects aren't permanent.
For pH adjusting options this is what I'm aware of:
Indian Almond Leaves
CO2 controlled with a pH controller
With a high dKH it might be hard to adjust your pH. I think the mixture of tap and RO/DI water is your best bet. If you want your own unit, you can price them here - http://spectrapure.com/AQUARIUM/RO-DI-SYSTEMS. You want a unit suitable for aquariums.
What is your dGH and what pH are you trying to achieve?
Last edited by gronlaura; 02-24-2014 at 10:13 PM.
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RO water is your best bet. It is the easiest way to achieve and maintain the pH your fish need. You should be aware that the bacteria needed to keep your tank cycled needs the nutrients in water that the RO process removes, so I recommend a mixture of tap and RO to start. Also make changes very slowly. The change in GH caused by RO water will hurt the fish unless it is done very slowly with small water changes over the course of a couple weeks (or longer depending on how large a change in pH you need).
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I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
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