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Low Ph!!

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Offline fish-friends

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Low ph!!
« on: December 03, 2017, 08:12:41 PM »
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Hey, I need some help I did a water change yesterday as normal my weekly water change I changed one piece of my filter media but kept the other old ones now tonight my fish are all gasping for air at the top my shrimp are too and one shrimp has already died my ph has dropped from 7 to 6.4 Iím worried they are all going to die and theyíd been doing so well  :'(

Offline fcmf

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 08:40:13 PM »
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Sorry to read about this.

What percentage of the filter media did you change? If less than a third, for example, it's unlikely that this is the cause - it ought to be quite easy to recoup the good bacteria over the next few weeks unless you're significantly overfeeding.

Presumably you didn't do anything else like run the filter media under tap water (rather than discarded tank water)?

Do you know what your GH and KH / water hardness readings are? If they're very low, then that may account for a PH crash.

Is there anything else which you've added to the tank or done differently?

What is your tap level PH reading normally?

What are the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate readings?

Sorry for all the questions. I'm tempted to suggest a water change, as this ordinarily helps problems, but it might not necessarily be the best course of action, hence all the questions. We'll do our best to help once you get back to us on these questions.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 08:58:09 PM »
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Thank you I will
Just check all them again now and write back

Offline Sue

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 09:08:35 PM »
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I had the same thing happen to me about 10 years ago, the pH drop I mean. That was when i was very lazy about water changes, doing about 25% once a month. The cause was my low KH getting used up between water changes.

But in your case you had just done a water change - you say you do them weekly, but how much?

Did you remember to add dechlorinator when you did the water change?

Gasping at the surface usually means ammonia and/or nitrite in the water so we will await your test results to see if there is any in the water.


For future reference, the only medium that should be changed is carbon, whether it is impregnated in a sponge or in a cartridge. Though even that doesn't have to be changed - it will stop removing things and work as a home for the bacteria. Sponges and ceramic media should just be washed in old tank water until they literally fall apart.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 09:18:44 PM »
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So just done all my readings ammonia and nitrite 0 nitrate 10 which is my normal reading the GH reading is normal too, my KH is 6od, I change around 30% a week the only time I didnít is when I went away but Iíve been back 6 weeks now and all has been fine, everything was perfectly normal yesterday until I did my water change and changed the carbon filter part the water was cloudyish too but now all my fish are at the top shrimp too, although my cories are still at the bottom acting normal

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 09:20:00 PM »
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Yes always use declorinater

Offline Sue

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2017, 09:25:00 PM »
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When the fish behave like this, another water change is the best thing to do. And a large one. This is fine as long as long as the new water is roughly the same temperature as the tank water.

Could anything have got into the tank? Anything at all from paint/air freshener fumes to someone dropping something in the tank?
Removing the carbon media should not cause the pH to fall and the fish start gasping.....

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2017, 09:29:15 PM »
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No no painting and I donít use air freshener really especially not near them donít even light candles in this room Iím reallt confused when itís been ammonia in the past it was clear what the problem was Iím completely clueless as to whatís happened would you say do a 50% water change now?

Offline Sue

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2017, 09:30:56 PM »
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I know it is 9:30 on a Sunday evening, but if you can manage a water change, I would do one now. And if they are still the same tomorrow, another one then too.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 09:34:17 PM »
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Am doing it now I will get rid of 50% of the water I canít sit and do nothing I feel like if something doesnít change Iím going to wake up to no fish  :'( fingers crossed

Offline fcmf

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 09:47:58 PM »
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I know exactly that feeling of needing to do something. I'm stumped as to what else could be the cause as something like scented festive candles was the other afterthought I had but you've answered that. Glad that your water quality and parameters are all good. A water change is definitely your best bet. Very best of luck!

For (hopefully!) peace of mind, it might also be worth checking your utility company website news section (if there is such a thing) to check that they haven't mentioned some sort of treatment taking place this weekend.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 10:10:00 PM »
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Thanks everyone for the advice! And concern
Just done a big water change and I donít want to talk to soon but fish and shrimp have all gone back to normal! Shrimp are back on their moss balls and fish swimming mid tank again literally as soon as the new water was in! So confused as to what it was  ???

Offline Sue

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2017, 09:02:58 AM »
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It does sound like something got into the tank since the previous water change. But as you say, what it was we'll never know.

If you had very young children or visitors with very young children, they would be #1 suspects, for example.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2017, 10:15:26 PM »
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No my son is 7 and knows not to do anything silly but the next morning I tested the water to check the ph and found a slight trace of ammonia! I did another big water change and then another today so Iím thinking it did a mini cycle after I changed the carbon, but Iíve been testing my water every few hours and itís all gone back to normal all my tetras have got their dark red bits back and seen happy I treated them to some frozen worms  ???

Offline Sue

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2017, 08:39:40 AM »
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It sounds like you've managed to get things under control.

What it in your filter besides the carbon, and what is the carbon media - impregnated sponge, cartridge or bag of granules?
You don't actually need to use carbon full time. When I discovered that I replaced the carbon in my filter with sponge and have never used it routinely since then.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2017, 10:05:07 AM »
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Itís a carbon cartdridge with granules in at the bottom then 2 phosphate sponges theses are the things I only normally need to replace when they are falling apart and a big blue sponge thing on top which lasts for ages, yes itís all gone back to normal amazing what a few emergency water changes can do!

Offline Matt

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2017, 02:48:37 PM »
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In my experience phosphate sponges have a tendancy over time to block and not pass much water through them, therefore inhibiting bacterial treatment. It tends to go around the sponge in some way.  I would change it for 'normal' filter sponge if it were me.

Offline Sue

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2017, 06:37:43 PM »
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I agree with Matt.

Wait a couple of weeks, then change 1 phosphate pad for a sponge, any brand will do just cut it to the same size and shape as the pad. Wait a month. Then change the other phosphate pad for another sponge. Then wait another month and swap the carbon cartridge for yet another sponge - or make a slit in the cartridge, empty put the carbon and fill the bag with sponge.

Then all you need to do is wash the sponges in old tank water taken out during a water change when they get covered in brown goo.

Offline Matt

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2017, 07:32:55 PM »
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Good shout to do it gradually Sue, I should have thought about that.

Offline fish-friends

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Re: Low ph!!
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2017, 09:57:26 PM »
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Thank you Sue and Matt that sounds a lot less complicated by making it just sponges because they are nice and easy to clean in the tank water when doing a water change I  will do this  :)

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