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Another Low PH Question

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Offline Andy The Minion

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Another low pH question
« on: February 04, 2018, 02:47:18 PM »
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I have just checked my large tanks pH having done a routine weekly 40% water change yesterday. Today I was working my way round checking the other tanks and found this tank is at 4.3 pH (I checked the cal on the probe) A drop test also showed low, somewhere less than the 6pH minimum but the colour wasn't massively different to the 6.0 colour
The water is very soft and has been running very stabily at 6pH 0.5kH in the past so I had stopped checking pH on a weekly basis. I also checked the kH and it has also dropped to below 0.3 so I can understand why pH might drop.
The strange thing is everybody is looking happily, colourful and lively with one pair starting to spawn and another guarding eggs so it doesn't appear to be bothering the fish.
I was wondering if pH probes can be thrown off by other factors in the water (the probe is temperature compensated and not more than 3C higher than the calibrated temperature)

The only other thing I did yesterday was to removed 8 fish (about 60-70cm of bio load leaving 100cm in a 500litre tank with a sump) If anything I would expect a higher pH because the respiration levels have reduced.

So given that this is a South American Cichlid tank and the water is intended to be soft and acidic I will monitor the water and fish with some Sodium bicarbonate on hand if anything changes but from the lack of reaction of the fish would you think is this a problem or an instrument/measurement failure?

Offline Sue

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Re: Another low pH question
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 02:58:08 PM »
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To be honest, I've never had to deal with very soft water and low pH. If the fish seem OK, I wouldn't worry too much. A pH that low won't harm south American fish though a pH change that happens quickly might.

And I would not use bicarb in a tank that has fish. It adds a lot of sodium to the tank and soft water fish are not 'designed' to cope with this. The best way to increase KH is by using dolomite which contains both calcium and magnesium, unlike limestone which contains just calcium. It is CaMg(CO3)2

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Another low pH question
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 03:44:06 PM »
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Thanks @Sue and thanks for the Dolomite tip, it's the first time I have seen that suggestion. Meanwhile back at the bleeding ranch the plot thickens, I just calculated the CO2, using the same pH probe in my planted tank and if the pH reading were true then the CO2 would be 120ppm which is lethal, and again the fish are fine. This is the third pH probe I have had, I sent the one back because it would drift 0.5pH in 30 seconds in 7.0 buffer solution. I will give this one another chance and actually recal it rather than just take a reading in the buffers, if it still mucks me about then its also going to go back :(

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