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Help needed with very Acidic water


sunnylass
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Ok a friend of mine that lives in Victoria has 3 tanks. And all three within a few days of her doing any sort of water changes, when tested, the result is yellow. She has in one of the tanks, which is 28litres approx, 6 platties...........3 rasboras..........2.suckers..........snail....... 2 pepper catfish. She has an oxyblock in there, but nothing is helping. As soon as she re balances the Ph, within two days its back to yellow.

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it takes 24 hours for pH to settle in water (one reason you should let the new water sit overnight before adding it to a tank) so even if it reads neutral when she adjusts it, it may not be neutral at all. the best thing to do is check the pH of where ever she's getting the water from, and if it's not too bad, ignore it. if it's way too acidic, then change water sources. fiddling about and adjusting the pH is the worst thing you can do as then the water is inclined to big pH swings IME which are really bad for the fish.

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what is the water source? tap, tank, bore? Using a crushed coral or shell grit substrate can help. why the oxy block? this should not be required in a filtered tank.

Hi someone, she has added the oxyblock in the hopes it will help stabilise the Ph level. The tank is filtered, but she is getting desperate. The water source is tap, but its really bad water.

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it takes 24 hours for pH to settle in water (one reason you should let the new water sit overnight before adding it to a tank) so even if it reads neutral when she adjusts it, it may not be neutral at all. the best thing to do is check the pH of where ever she's getting the water from, and if it's not too bad, ignore it. if it's way too acidic, then change water sources. fiddling about and adjusting the pH is the worst thing you can do as then the water is inclined to big pH swings IME which are really bad for the fish.

Unfortunately she can't change water source, its the only water supply she has LOL. I'm just hoping a solution can be found because she loves her fish, but the acidity in the water is terrible.

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Shouldn't she be using a pH block instead of an oxy block? and oxy block simply adds oxygen to the water, doesn't affect the pH.

and i'd forgotten about that someone! i remember i was told once that shell grit (the type you buy for birds) can be put into a stocking (if you don't want to use it as a substrate) and put into a tank with acidic pH issues - it's an alkali based substrate so it should even out the pH gently over time :dontknow: man someone, your brain must be like an encyclopedia of fish stuff! i dunno how you remember it all, but i'm glad you do! <_<

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I'd do some experiments.....to find the cause.

Get a couple of empty 2 litre bottles put some substrate from the tank in one.....nothing in the other....add tap water to both and test in 3 days

If it's the same......you can rule out the substrate

If they are both acid it's the tap water??

If it's not the there is a good chance the substrates the problem.....

If that doesn't solve the problem.....I'd remove all foreign objects.....decorations,plastic plants, timber etc and one by one test them

then I'd test the filter......and even test the food she's using.......if that fails I'd collect rainwater and only keep fish that like soft/acid water.....Wild bettas or Rams? :dontknow:

As someone says buffering the water with calcium carbonate may be the the solution....even if it doesn't identify the problem.

Edited by Rod
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Shouldn't she be using a pH block instead of an oxy block? and oxy block simply adds oxygen to the water, doesn't affect the pH.

The Oxy-block I have indicates that it not only replenishes the oxygen but helps stabilise pH as well.

I am going to contact my friend though and give her the suggestions from here, thank you everyone for that, hopefully something will be sorted out.

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^^^ What Rod said.

I'd also be looking at her maintenance routine, as a build up of organic matter (old fishfood, mulm, dirty filter, driftwood, plant matter etc) can cause a pH drop. Google "old tank syndrome" too, just see if it sounds familiar. It can happen to fairly new tanks, especially when they are quite small and well stocked. It would be good to at least rule it out.

Cycling (developing beneficial bacteria to deal with fish waste products - very important) can also dump the pH, so if the tank owner is an overzealous cleaner then you could be looking at something like that. Do you have any other test kits other than pH? It would be useful to know the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings too.

I'd be very very careful about using chemicals and blocks to adjust it. They are a band-aid measure and can really make the problem so much worse as they change the pH fairly rapidly. While it says it stabilises it, it really does the opposite. At best, it is more stable than adding pH up, but far less stable than rectifying the cause of the drop or adding oyster shells or some other natural adjuster. A stable pH is much better than one that swings around, even if it isn't an ideal stable pH. Don't stress if it isn't exactly the same as what the book says the fish need, most fish are bred and raised well outside their natural/ideal pH these days anyway. There are exceptions however, anything below a 6.4 and you are in dangerous territory for most fish. Yellow sounds bad, but what number is it? Different kits measure differently. On my current kit, yellow would be ok, but on my old one yellow would have caused a serious panic!

What colour substrate does she have?

How often is the tank cleaned?

Does she gravel vac or just take water out? or just top up?

How often is the filter completely cleaned? What type of filter is it?

Any live plants? any drift wood? any fertilisers?

What water treatments/pH products/dechlorinators are used?

Does she use any medications regularly?

What is fed and how often?

Is the tank cycled (does it measure 0-0-0to60 for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate)?

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I have found that coral sand will raise the pH and help to keep it stable. Most major aquarium stores carry it for marine fanciers, it's not cheap though. Also it isn't really good for corys as it has sharp edges that will lacerate their barbels.

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I thought I'd let everyone know that my friend in victoria is ecstatic! The shell grit has worked a treat. She has it in a bag, and she just wants to know how often she has to replace the shell grit, if she has to replace it at all?

She's so over the moon. Thank you everyone for the advice.

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