View Full Version : Super high pH, don't know why

04-30-2009, 02:58 AM
I'm running my 65g FW on tapwater (whichtests out at pH=7.5 and KH=11).

Substrate is a mixture of Flourite, Eco-Complete, and some kind of lava based substrate which is supposed to be good for plants. There's also several pieces of Malaysian driftwood.

I was about to look into getting CO2 running again, and thought I would take some tests to establish a baseline before adding any.

The pH probe shows pH=9.0.

Not believing that, I went out and bought a dripwise pH test kit and it tests out at 8.4.

What would be pulling the pH up so much?

I could filter some peat moss to bring down the pH, but I wonder if there's something I should be taking out of the tank as well.

04-30-2009, 03:17 AM
Tony, what does your tap water measure?

04-30-2009, 03:22 AM
The pH probe told me 7.6. The dripwise test kit showed me 7.4 (the lowest number on the scale, it reads from 7.4 to 8.8 or something like that). The pH probe is old and I was thinking it might be shot, but it tells me plausible numbers for the SW tanks (8.2, 8.3 and 8.4). But I hope it's wrong on the 9.0 reading, that seems way too high. Even if it's wrong though, it seems clear that something IS pulling up the pH somehow.

04-30-2009, 05:45 AM
Are your plants or fish stressing at all? If not, I would leave it alone unless you can lower it and keep it steady. It's better to be steady at 9.0 then wavering between 7.0 and 9.0. What's your temp at? The CO2 in itself will lower the pH too, so keep that in mind as well.

04-30-2009, 07:05 AM
No, I don't think any of the fish or plants are stressing. There were a handful of neons added on the weekend that have been dropping off one by one but I've always heard neons are like that (one actually was DOA in the bag by the time it was home). I hear that neons like a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5 though so maybe this is the problem.

Yeah, I was thinking I could just add CO2 and the pH will probably fall to a more "normal" looking number but I'm concerned that there's something else going on here that I should try to find out about.

It's weird. I read up on lava substrate, Flourite and Eco-Complete and the claims there are that they are inert and won't affect pH. I read up on Malaysian driftwood and people were complaining about unable to RAISE pH because they lowered pH so much. What's left? The food I feed? The water evaporates and becomes way too hard? I practically did a 100% water change two weeks ago (long story, but basically had to do a tank reset - between the 200 Ameca splendens I kind of let get the population get out of hand over two years - and the two containers of fish food that got dumped into the sump - my 3 year old likes to "help" and this apparently happened when I was at work during a diaper change of the 1 year old so no adult noticed this happened until I was home hours later and the water was all smoky milky white smelling like a sewer and don't get me wrong I love my kids and parenthood is a wonderful adventure and blah blah blah I wouldn't give it up for anything it's awesome and he meant well by it and I really kind of don't want to talk about it but it did give me the kick in the rearend to get on with netting out those incredibly pregnant livebearers and take them into an LFS which is something I should have done way sooner than this anyhow). So um. Yeah. What was I talking about? Right, pH. pH high. Me no understand why pH so high.

04-30-2009, 01:20 PM
pH high. Me no understand why pH so high.

Too much hydroxide...:)

04-30-2009, 01:32 PM
I was gonna say to much Caffeine, but then remembered were talking about the TANK, not Tony

04-30-2009, 09:23 PM
I talked to a buddy at work who's into planted FW and getting into SW (I really need to get him onto here, so I'm not the only one putting canreef.com onto the firewall logs a million times per day), and anyhow, he told me his tank tests out at 8.3 before CO2 as well, and drops to around 7.5 when he runs CO2. He says now he's thinking of filtering through peat as well on account of that. I picked up some peat pellets yesterday and was thinking of running them in a phosban reactor in the sump (yeah I run a sumped FW tank .. I can't get out of the "this is how we do it in reef tanks" mentality when it comes to running my FW tank. Anyone else tempted to run 40x water turnover in their planted tanks????)

Sooo.. guess it's normal for tapwater to jump like this (well, "normal" for a data sample size of "2 whole tanks").. Weird, I wonder what's doing it, must be the accumulation of the salts after evap maybe..

05-01-2009, 01:45 AM
I haven't tested pH since I moved to Saskatoon, but my plants, shrimp, and fish (Cardinals, Espei, and BN Pleco) are all fine, so I doubt I will bother testing. :lol: Try to get some Cardinals instead, they seem to be a bit hardier provided they live 48 hours. Seems once they make it past that they are indestructible.

Skimmer King
05-01-2009, 01:48 AM
you could always add some peat moss Tony to lower it

05-01-2009, 03:04 AM
Heh, I'll never have a FW tank without a sump again. Once you go sump...

Tony you're in the South aren't you? The water coming out of the Glenmore res is always pretty hard, my FW tanks ran above 8 most of the time. I'm actually surprised your tap water is testing that low, could be CO2 in the water that out gasses after it's been sitting a bit. Fill up a glass and leave it overnight, see if the pH rises.

05-01-2009, 03:10 AM
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yeah I bet that's it. I'll try it, thanks!

05-01-2009, 06:14 AM
Yep .. You totally called it midgetwaiter. :) Tested pH of some tapwater from yesterday and it was 8.3.

05-20-2009, 06:06 AM
Anyone else tempted to run 40x water turnover in their planted tanks????

HAHAHA Freaking awesome! And no my planted tank is around 8x, It would be chaos in there any higher.

05-20-2009, 06:18 AM
My planted tank is around 15x. :biggrin:

That said, I tested my tank today (for the first time, my J & L order came in [yay!]) and it was much higher than expected, around 7.4. I thought this was strange, since this tank is filled with distilled water... any ideas anyone?

Brent Shaver
02-27-2010, 02:33 AM
your substrate and aquascape could also be part of the problem for your high pH. Limestone, coral rock and coral sand will jump your pH and fast. Wood will also absorb pH if you are still having problems.

02-27-2010, 03:24 AM
Thanks - actually I don't have any coral based substrate or limestone in there as Calgary water is already pretty hard to begin with.

I did figure out it's the source water to blame (lot of limestone upstream).

I ended up cranking the CO2 (2 bubbles per second or thereabouts) to get pH down a bit. The end result is this (funny you brought this thread back to life 5 minutes after I took this picture and was thinking of uploading it):