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Thread: Reaching out to the community for PH help, Currently 7.9 to 8.3 and can't get down

  1. #1
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    Matthew Gwinner

    Default Reaching out to the community for PH help, Currently 7.9 to 8.3 and can't get down

    hello I have recently restarted an old saltwater reef in preparation for a discus tank. If you hate to read I have posted a Utube vid here https://youtu.be/7fM5WbMm6WY that explains where i am at now.

    Let me start by saying i reached out to a local breeder for his water parameters and he said pretty much don't worry so much about PH levels just stability, so if i can sucessfully keep them at this level problem solved.

    I will start where the water does since i have set up a filtration and drip system as well as an overflow so i can slowly perform a water change at 0.5 to 1.0 gallons per hour and in a weekend slowly do a 25% water change.
    I do not want to go the RO water rout again as i did with the saltwater since it is time consuming and unlike then when i had a huge heater/chiller unit i will now have to preheat water before adding. My tap water is at 7.9 out of the tap and after gassing for 24-48 hours is 8.3 - 8.6.

    testing the hardness with test strips by 3 manufacturers to make sure i an getting a somewhat accurate reading i have the following, the strips read in PPM and of coarse conversion is needed for the specs i can find:

    Total Hardness (CaCo3) 120ppm 6.7DH
    Alkalinity (CaCo3) 80ppm 4.5 DKH 1.61 Mg/L

    So according to the charts i can find alkalinity is soft and hardness slightly hard.

    The filtration on the tank is a modular canister system with mechanical filtration, a charcoal canister, and heater module. I have an old Fluval filter with lava rock and ceramic cylinders for a bio-filter. I am running a home made aireation cylinder 3"diameter 16"tall with 2 airstones and a slow feed from the filter output (I made this for the saltwater tank to stop the rim of the tank looking like a margarita bowl) I have a reactor full of sphagnum moss i used to use for calcium addition and has a flow control so it can be turned up/down as needed but it has made no difference in the PH.

    The tank has a 1/2 inch sand bottom with 4 large pieced of drift wood and rocks that have all been tested and are hard and non porous with low mineral content that would transfer to the tank. It has completed a 4 week cycle with 12 rummy nose tetras, 12 glow tetras, and 5 blue rams all of which are happy and healthy so far and were recommended as companion fish for the Discus.

    I am not what else to test the incoming tap water for to determine how to lower the replacement water PH and the tank elements have had little to no effect oh the tank PH at 7.6 - 8.0 so even with bteh very slow ddition during water changes the tank does not have the ability to buffer the Ph down.

    Not to say i am a lazy aquatics person i guess the saltwater reef spoiled me since once a balanced reef was established there was little to no tank maintenance and once every 2 weeks was a few hours of equipment maintenance so the tank was enjoyable which is what i want know, if it is a never ending battle to maintain the tank for happy healthy fish it will not be relaxing and enjoyable and i do not want that at all.


    Thanks to the community for any help you can offer, the knowledge i have found on here, and the inspiration of some absolutely beautiful tanks posted here.

  2. #2
    Moderator Team Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reaching out to the community for PH help, Currently 7.9 to 8.3 and can't get dow

    My feeling is that if the local breeder says your water is ok then go with it, don't bother with the sphagnum. My concern is more that your tank will be cycled to support a few little fish and not the sudden addition of a number of discus, particularly if you envisage just a 25% water change once a week. You may have to increase considerably quantity and frequency of water changes, at least to start. Anyway best wishes and enjoy the new adventure
    Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 11-24-2018 at 03:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Reaching out to the community for PH help, Currently 7.9 to 8.3 and can't get dow

    Hallo H2Ocean,
    in my opinion, your biological filter is not enough populated by nitrifing bacteria. You have a little fish population, and low organic waste, so bacteria has not much food to eat. Bacteria adapt their population to the organic load (ammonia) produced by fishes and in turn they produce nitrites and nitrates. This process consumes alkalinity and turn pH value toward more acidic values.
    Moreover if I have well understood, your biological filter was recently started and this is another reason for a poor bacteria populated filter.
    Usually a new tank should be cycled whithout fishes and with the daily external addiction of greater amount of ammonia as bacteria feeding, until you reach an organic load similar to that of the fish population you want to keep.
    Anyway look for more expert advises. Hope my poor english will be understandable.

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