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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been doing quite a few water changes lately (25-50% every other day for the past week) to get rid of water cloudiness due to my mistake on feeding. I always measured PH and KH levels a while after water changes.

Tap water: PH 7.6+, KH 7dH

This is what's weird:

My PH has been stable at 7.0 for four days now (a few weeks ago it was always 7.6). I added peat granules hoping to lower PH and soften water when it was at 7.6. But PH had been fluctuating constantly (+-0.3) until 4 days ago - PH has since seemed normal and constant at 7. Question is, how can PH stays so low since I keep doing large water changes for the past few days (remember my tap is 7.6+)? And what is more weird is that my KH never seems to rise after water changes at all and it keeps going down to less than 1dH this morning!! I removed peat granules after a 25% water change last nite hoping that my KH would rise due to the 25% tap water - but apparently it didn't help and KH as I said was down to less than 1 from about 2 last night.

My tap water is PH 7.6 and KH 7dH - shouldn't water change raise my PH and KH to a certain degree?

What was changed in my tank setup recently (bolded indicates possible cause):

1. Addition of a Rena XP3 - foam, ceramic rings, bio-chem zorb
2. Removal of peat last night
3. Change in feeding (once a day and less amount now)

Nitrification stage: the second phase, since ammonia is low (almost undetectable) and nitrite is high (as high as 5 ppm last night before the 25% water change I mentioned above).

Am I having problems with my water chemistry? I do not see signs of stress and all my fish ate agressively this morning showing no problems at all.

Thanks in advance for any info.
 

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I have a Rena xp2, I think the bio-chem zorb lowers the ph about .5. I use proper ph 7.0 but the water was always hovering around ph 6.6, until I took the chem zorb pack out, and the ph jumped back to neutral. You can try take it out, may or may not work, but wouldn't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick response. I will look into it and if any people using rena filstar have experienced the same thing, please post a follow up here, thanks.

Isn't it wrong to have a media that change critical water parameters like this? chem zorb does not say anything about PH and KH on the package and it is clearly not designed and marketed as a PH adjuster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
TERRIBLE PH CRASH!!!

This morning, I tested the pH and it was around 6.8. Then I just tested PH again (about 8 hours later) and it was way below 6.0 (reached or exceeded my test kit's limit!!) I then did a 35% water change hoping to bring it up =>> PH jumped back to 7.0!!!
This is the most shocking thing I have ever experienced in this hobby!!

Please help
. How can I keep the pH at say 6.8 (or 7.0)? I tried to avoid any chemical like PH up/down to adjust my pH (since my pH/KH keeps dropping -> I always change water to bring up the PH) and I don't know if there is any good product that will safely boost KH value.

I removed Chem Zorb according to Liquid Snake's suggestion. But I guess it was too late that all my KH was used up (I could not change water after removing Chem Zorb cuz I changed too ofter and too much already - like 35% every other day to get rid of cloudiness recently).

Please suggest a product that you have used that is good at keeping pH stable and KH optimal. Thanks very much!!!! There are just too many out there and I don't want to stress my p's anymore if choose a wrong product. Thanks!!
 

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How's your tank now?

The KH from your tap is good and should be able to hold your pH stable. The only reason that I can think of that can drop your pH that quickly is a large bioload (overcrowded, overzealous feeding, rotting food under driftwood/gravel). The nitrogen cycle eats up carbonates and that's why your KH is dropping, but it perplexes me because of how quickly it's dropping. Do not use pH UP/Down... They are just acids and bases that are designed to give you TEMPORARY pH readings that you desire. It will fluctuate.

I suggest you continue with the water changes to increase your buffering capacity and to stabilize your pH. Also, look into adding a bag of crushed coral in your filter for a long term solution. In the meantime, you can purchase commercial buffers like pH 7.0 or even common unscented Arm & Hammer baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as an immediate temporary solution.

If you are interested in using baking soda, do a search on this site. It has been discussed and details how to use it.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Don for your info and I did talk with Rhomzilla (thanks a lot Rhom for your help again) last nite about this pH crash thing and he suggested I go get some coral. This was what I planned to do but guess what

It was just another Terrible day for me and my fish today!!

the short story:
I went to BigAl's this afternoon after work (3:30 PM) and guess what, by the time I arrived, The BIG POWER OUTAGE struck Toronto and the store was forced to close and I didn't even get I chance to buy some coral / KH booster!!! I then rushed to nearby fish stores (petsmart/superpet) and damn, everything was closed down due to the power outage. By the time I got home (1.5 hours later due to traffic jam) the pH was again down to 6.2 (it was 7 this morning after a 20% water change).


My temporary solution:

I took out 2 pieces of driftwood (there was 4) immediately after I got home and then did another 10% water change. The pH got up to 6.8, and kH 1~2.

The tank is understocked (three 2" rbps, two 2" Jack Dempseys, one 2" rainbow shark, and six less than 1" zebra danios) and fish underfed with a lot of filtration (2 AC300, 1 Rena xP3, and one powerhead 802 w/ quick filter). I did water change and gravel cleaning almost everyday for 1.5 weeks now, so I don't think bioload is a problem here. I was suspecting that the biochem zorb came with Rena xp3 lowered my pH (cannot confirm this yet) so I took it out, and then as I mentioned I took out 2 pieces of driftwood today hoping the pH will hold stable for a little longer. The 4 pieces of driftwood has been in my tank for over 1 week now so I don't really think they are the culprit for this sudden pH crash. I really don't know what else to do or think now.

I will go get some coral if they resume business tomorrow. But I am not sure if my lfs's have any cuz I have never seen them before (lfs in toronto suck big time). If I can't find any, I will get either

1) Proper pH 7.0, or
2) Hagen's pH Stabilizer (kH booster) - mainly CaCO3

Which do you think is better for my situation?

I have live plants (water sprite, java fern and java moss) in my tank and I know proper ph 7.0 is not suitable for tanks w/ any aquatic plants, but this is an emergency situation so I don't care if I will kill the plants with it if this product is better for my situation.

Thanks again for the info and I will go searching some info on baking soda now.
 
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