View Full Version : pH 8.2, bad?

03-31-2010, 7:53 PM
Hi All-
New to the site, still figuring out how to keep fish. Everyone seems pretty nice. Here's what I have:

10 Gallon Freshwater Tank
- 5 Neon Tetras
- 3 Harlequin Rasboras
- 1 Male Guppy
- 1 Spotted Plecostomus (2" long or so)
- 2 small plants

I have had the tank for about a year now. About 2 months with the current setup. I read some of the thread about not doing water changes. For a long time I was doing weekly 15% changes. Just recently, I just went about a month without doing a water change and the Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrite levels are all close to nothing. I don't think I'll go a lot longer than that without doing a change though.

One thing that is a little troubling is my pH is a little high: 8.2

Should I be worried about this?

Thanks in advance.

03-31-2010, 9:01 PM
First of all- :welcome: to AC!

Don't use any type of chemical to lower your pH, although I do think that it should be a bit lower because of the neon tetras, which tend to like more acidic water. Are there any decorations in the tank that could be increasing the pH, like shells?

03-31-2010, 9:07 PM
You have great ph for an African setup lol. Like Lexi said, it is alittle high for the tetras. If its steady and the fish are acting ok then I wouldnt sweat it too much. Playing with ph is not the easiest thing.

If you simply add a product such as “pH Down” this will not work. Your buffering system will simply very quickly raise the pH back to its original state. You must remove the buffering ions from your tap water so that you may lower the pH. The best way to accomplish this is to purchase a Tap Water Purifier unit. These units filter the water from your faucet using an ion exchange resin. The resulting water is free of the salts and minerals which buffer your water. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a nice compact Tap Water Purifier specifically designed for aquarium use. This is the only reliable method I know of to reduce the buffering ability of your aquarium water and to lower pH. Without purified water, you may be able to lower your pH for a day or two, but without first removing the buffering ions your pH will climb again to natural levels. This fluctuation in pH is much worse than having the wrong pH to begin with.

03-31-2010, 9:13 PM
you could use some peat in your filter in a filter bag. Itll soften and lower pH. you might wanna test your hardness though before you do any of this

03-31-2010, 9:17 PM
you could use some peat in your filter in a filter bag. Itll soften and lower pH. you might wanna test your hardness though before you do any of this

This technique can work well, but is more complicated, less predictable, and probably best avoided by the inexperienced hobbyist.

03-31-2010, 9:50 PM
Do you have anything to measure GH and KH?

Aphotic Phoenix
03-31-2010, 10:44 PM
Unless you notice issues that cannot be linked to anything else aside from your water chemistry, altering it is not something you want to start doing on a whim. The pH matters a whole lot less than how "hard" your water is, so before you start messing with things figure out what your KH and GH are. If your dGH is 12 or more, then you might want to consider slowly lowering the hardness, but otherwise they should be fine.

I cut my tap, and I can honestly say that it is not something I would recommend to people without a certain level of dedication. Not only can it be expensive (RO/DI unit or purchasing water), but space consuming because you always need to store enough to do a massive water change in case of emergency.

As for not doing water changes, just remember that there are all sorts of chemicals that can get into your tank that may not be consumed by plants, and those chemicals will build up over time. The solution to pollution is dilution. ~_^

04-02-2010, 9:16 PM
maybe its just me but I dont like to fix whats not broken. If your fish have all lived for over a year and all seem healthy I wouldnt worry about it. What kind of test did you use? somtimes you can use 3 different test strips and get 3 different results if you just used a cheaper test strip I would reccomend bringing your water to your LFS and asking them to test it or buy a good liquid test kit.

miss jess
04-04-2010, 3:42 AM
This technique can work well, but is more complicated, less predictable, and probably best avoided by the inexperienced hobbyist.

re:peat it will also make your water dark brown with tannins. purigen will remove it however.

if it's only 10g, you could buy demineralised water to do your water changes with. of course it depends on your water hardness (i'm assuming that because the ph is high, the water is hard) but to lower ph slowly i'd just use 2/3 demineralised water to 1/3 tap water when doing water changes.
after you've got your hardness down you could cautiously start using 'ph down' products or lower the ph naturally. ways i know to naturally lower ph:
-more live plants will help lower the ph.
-rotting plants in the water, while bad for nitrate levels and possibly releasing phosphorus, will also lower your ph.
-if you're up for rescaping your tank, products like ADA aqua soil will lower ph.
-indian almond leaves, ketapang leaves etc will lower ph.

if you want more info on any of these methods, just ask. don't mess around with your water chemistry unless you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing. usually i say just to leave ph as it is but 8.2 is very high for most fish. if it were me i'd try to lower it to 7.6-7.8 at least. in any case i'd give up on the neon tetras and get yourself more guppies!

you shouldn't ever have any ammonia or nitrites at all in an established aquarium. with my 10g tanks (which are not as heavily stocked as yours), i do 35% water changes every two weeks. if your tank was mine i'd aim for 25% every week.

good luck, i know how annoying it is to have high ph!

04-04-2010, 10:38 AM
I am surprised your nitrate level in so low (less than 10?) with your stocking level. If you don't use a liquid test kit your numbers may be suspect.
At any rate, I would go back to weekly water changes, say 25%. That will keep the water conditons stable over time and the fish should appreciate it.
I would never use chemical products to lower PH. I do mix some RO to my tap water to lower the total hardness, but if your neons are doing OK I would say leave well enough alone.

04-04-2010, 11:08 AM
10 Gallon Freshwater Tank
- 5 Neon Tetras
- 3 Harlequin Rasboras
- 1 Male Guppy
- 1 Spotted Plecostomus (2" long or so)
- 2 small plants
Most of those fish do better in larger schools, at least six fish per school, however your tank is too small to add all those fish. Also, is a spotted pleco the same as a common pleco? I've never had them and don't know much about them, but I do know they get huge. Even if it is 2" long now, it will quickly outgrow that tank. Any possibility of either a larger tank or rehoming the pleco? Even before it gets large, it will contribute mightily to the poo in the tank. I would step up the water changes a bit if I were you.
I have a 23 gal tank that is a bit overstocked but I'm running two filters on it. It has 7 harlequins, three redwag platys, four african dwarf frogs but alas only one male guppy. I had three older guppies and then added three new ones. The older guppies died one by one (I believe it was old age) and the new ones, I believe weren't the best quality guppies, so now I'm only left with one. He sorta does school with the harlequins though. Aren't the harls the most beautiful fish? I call it my "orange" tank because with the exception of the frogs (obviously, LOL), all of the fish are orangish.

04-04-2010, 11:28 AM
Although not the ideal condition for most fish your are keeping, if you had no problems, why fix something that is not broken???

If your fish were in same kind of water for two yrs, you done well and very lucky.

I think 15% a week was good routine maintenance schedule. There are other organic/inorganic matters which will accumulate in the tank with time which we can not test for. If such accumulation which will reflects on general water conditions and if reaches beyond threshold point, they will start to show/display discomfort/illness.

Like I said, I would not fix something which has not been broken for 2 years.

04-05-2010, 4:57 PM
Wow, I hadn't even thought of that. I got a couple shells in Hawaii and put them in a few months ago. And that would do it for the pH level, right?

I do have very hard water out of the tap. I go to PetCo to get my water tested just about every week. That's where they confirmed that I've had a high pH and high hardness for a few weeks. They use test strips, but I don't know the quality or brand of them. But I'm guess since I got the same results over a few weeks, it's probably accurate.

I have about 5 plants in my tank now. This should help the pH as well, right?

How's this for a plan. I will remove the shells I put in for decoration. I'll see if the pH level changes with weekly water changes. If it still is high in a couple weeks, I'll try doing water changes with some de-mineralized water mixed in. Sound good?

04-05-2010, 5:19 PM
And yes, I love my harlequins. Though the wife thinks the are sorta boring in that they are only orange fish. She likes the flowing decorative fins more.

And you are totally right about the pleco. I inherited a 72G bowfront aquarium that I am slowly putting together as I save the money. He'll have a huge home in about a month I think.

04-05-2010, 5:22 PM
Having more plants in general isn't going to just change your pH, at least not noticeably.

Certain ones like vals will use bicarbonate as a carbon source, which could lower pH if enough acid is added. I've never heard of it being drastic or even measurable though.

04-06-2010, 5:28 PM
If your water's already alkaline, it's not going to get harder or more alkaline from adding shells. It ain't broke; don't fix it.

04-06-2010, 5:31 PM
usually i say just to leave ph as it is but 8.2 is very high for most fish.

No, it isn't. It's pretty middling. You might start to worry when it gets past 8.5, but 8.2 isn't high. It's pretty normal for most of the UK, for example, and I've known people breed angels in rock hard water with a pH in the upper 8s.