That's it, I give up regarding PH

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FishAddict74

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Dec 8, 2020
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So in short I basically got, I don't want to say swindled but, talked into spending more money than I needed to. I didn't open anything yet so I might be able to return it but, I'm still just so downtrodden...

I'm trying so hard to do everything by the books, to the letter, and that's leading me to trying to follow advice from 50 different sources all telling me completely different opinions about the right or wrong way to do everything. It's so overwhelming, so frustrating, I just feel lost...
My best advice is to stop researching for a bit, it sounds like you’ve done enough. Just let your PH stabilize through proper and regular maintenance, and start enjoying this hobby. Everything doesn’t have to be by the book. I break the so called rules all the time. The only rules that are absolute IMO are having a cycled tank with zero ammonia or nitrites, keep nitrates down, preferably under 20ppm and try to limit temperature fluctuations. Get quality fish from a trusted source and QT new fish if you can. I don’t always QT, if I get fish from someone new or an untrusted source I will, but I rarely buy from anyone I don’t have experience with or trust. Just have fun with this and enjoy your fish, otherwise, what’s the point?
 
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Snagrio

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Dec 15, 2020
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I've been doing exactly that. All my other parameters are nothing short of perfection with zero readings across the board and stable temperatures in the mid 70's. Yet I keep tearing my hair out over the blasted PH/hardness/whatever and keep throwing money at a problem that I keep being told doesn't matter yet that one opinion I hear that I might be doing it wrong rings all the louder in my head.

It's just, over the past half year or so I've been on what can only be described as a crusade to better the lives of all animals under my care (I'm somewhat of a generalist, beyond this project I have a parrot, chickens and snake) so perfectionism has been plaguing my every action on such matters as of late.
 

FishAddict74

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I've been doing exactly that. All my other parameters are nothing short of perfection with zero readings across the board and stable temperatures in the mid 70's. Yet I keep tearing my hair out over the blasted PH/hardness/whatever and keep throwing money at a problem that I keep being told doesn't matter yet that one opinion I hear that I might be doing it wrong rings all the louder in my head.

It's just, over the past half year or so I've been on what can only be described as a crusade to better the lives of all animals under my care (I'm somewhat of a generalist, beyond this project I have a parrot, chickens and snake) so perfectionism has been plaguing my every action on such matters as of late.
By messing with the PH, you’re destabilizing it and keeping it stable at a level other than what you’re tap comes out at will require constant care, it’s your call, but I would stop. Fluctuating PH is much more stressful on fish than wrong PH
 

Snagrio

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That's what I was thinking. Even if I got the PH lower now, every subsequent water change would just toss everything out of balance to some degree or another. The only way to reliably prevent that would be to get an RO system and that's money I simply cannot afford to throw around especially with how much cash I've sunk into this entire thing already.
 

Lalo J.

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After what FishAddict said there is not much to add. Look for your fish in a reliable source, it's good that you have not bought sick neons, be patient, many times we want that fish with anxiety but for some reason we must wait and it is fine, everything happens for something, see my thread and see what it has happened lately lol. Work with an acceptable pH for the fish you want to keep, maintenance and constant care is key here, get your cycling and start enjoying the hobby man.
 

Snagrio

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Think what I'm going to do is wait until sometime next week (there's supposed to be a blizzard coming through the next couple days), take the stuff back and see if the fish are doing any better as they're being treated.

There's also a farlowella catfish at the store that I can't stop thinking about for some reason. I don't really need one as between the 2 bristlenoses and 4 mystery snails I've got that kind of niche covered already, and it's not like you'd be able to see it like, ever given my setup with all the driftwood and tannin water.

Yet it remains on my mind all the same...
 

FishAddict74

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Think what I'm going to do is wait until sometime next week (there's supposed to be a blizzard coming through the next couple days), take the stuff back and see if the fish are doing any better as they're being treated.

There's also a farlowella catfish at the store that I can't stop thinking about for some reason. I don't really need one as between the 2 bristlenoses and 4 mystery snails I've got that kind of niche covered already, and it's not like you'd be able to see it like, ever given my setup with all the driftwood and tannin water.

Yet it remains on my mind all the same...
I wouldn’t worry about need if you like the farlowella, I would be careful with the BN though, the ones I’ve kept can be pretty territorial towards other bottom dwellers. Using rocks and wood to break up the bottom seems to help.
 

Snagrio

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I wouldn’t worry about need if you like the farlowella, I would be careful with the BN though, the ones I’ve kept can be pretty territorial towards other bottom dwellers. Using rocks and wood to break up the bottom seems to help.
I've heard of such stories, but I've never noticed such behavior from mine thus far. One is a young female and the other is an adult albino male and they tend to mind their own business. At most the female bonks the snails around accidentally just from being in her way, the male largely keeps to himself on principle.

I do for sure plan on adding corydoras at some point though so I'll definitely keep that in mind. But between the sheer tank size (125 gallons) and the plethora of driftwood pieces, dragon rock and live plants scattered throughout the entire scape things should be fine.
 
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I do one tank with very stained water and in which I use RO/DI water to maintain a low pH (6.0) and low TDS (50-60 ppm). In order to manage this tank I cannot use the normal test kits. Stained water makes reading colors almost impossible. So I use digital TDS meters and a continuous monitor which constantly reads conductivity/TDS, temp. and pH.

It takes a lot of work and I am not trying to move the tank numbers that far from my tap numbers which aree pH 7.0 and TDS of 83 ppm (unless we get a lot of big rains and then the TDS can get into the low 50s for a while).

If it is any help, I kept farlos for a while and they even spawned. They were the most difficult fry to get to adult size I have worked with to date.
 

Snagrio

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So, what should I really do in the end? I have two completely different trains of thought going on.

I either stay the course and get the fish I planned on from the start and hope for the best with not messing around with water PH as fish here should be used to the conditions (even wild caughts as they've been in holding tanks that undoubtedly weren't conditioned) and survived.

Or I have to completely rethink the entire plan and change out most if not all the planned species as they're all South American-based that prefer soft, low PH conditions.

The one advantage I have is that the water is actually very soft from a GH standpoint (completely zero), it's just the KH that's so high (literally the opposite end at 240 ppm). So that might make a difference even with the PH at 8.0? I don't know, I'm still relatively new to all this chemistry mumbo jumbo.
 
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