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Lowering pH

Discussion in 'Husbandry / Breeding' started by snakemau, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. snakemau

    snakemau New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hello!
    Well I have a 55 tank, heavily planted, driftwood, sand/eco-complete substrate, Jungle Labs CO2 Fizz factory, and 2 Emperor 400 filters. I have 4 Otos, 6 tetra neon and there will be 6 pencilfish, 6 dwarf cories, 1 pair of blue rams and 1 pair of checkerboard cyclids in a few days. Also I'm planing on adding some Apistos. According to readings and this forum info, the pH should be around 6.5 if I want to breed my fish in the community tank and as well for good health ( I know these fish can withstand higher pH levels, but may not breed). The pH in my tank is 7.6, no ammonia or nitrates, soft water.

    I use the Wardley 3 in 1, 6.5 pH conditioner but didn't do anything!
    So I was wondering what else can I use to lower the pH? Any other buffers that you guys use? Should I use pH down?

    Thanks.
  2. ed seeley

    ed seeley Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Don't add the chemical pH adjusters. In my opinion they are a waste of money for soft water tanks as what you want to do is lower the amount of solids in your water and this will then lower your pH too. Adding more stuff to dissolve in your water will raise the solids in there. Also when the buffers run out the pH will rapidly alter and this can cause big problems. Peat will help if the water isn't too hard.

    If your water is soft what is the KH of your water (tap water and tank water)? If it's 4 or less then you may just be able to use some peat, otherwise you may need to look at a way to reduce the hardness further and the common options are Deionising resin (not one of the domestic softeners that are recharged with salt), RO unit or carefully collected rainwater.
  3. snakemau

    snakemau New Member 5 Year Member

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    Well my tap and tank water have the same readings:
    pH= 7.6
    KH (ppm)=120
    GH (ppm)=75
    Nitrite= 0
    Nitrate= 0
    Ammonia= 0

    I use the Jungle quick dip test strips and the API freshwater master test kit.
    So what can I do? I have some blackwater extract, will that soften the water and lower pH?
  4. tjudy

    tjudy Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Unfortunately your water has too many buffers (too high a KH) for natural pH reducers such as peat or leaves (catappa or oak) to work. Adding chemical pH reducers will lower the pH, but at the cost of increading the GH. The GH is not nearly as critical as KH or pH for spawning, but it is still better if the GH stay lower.

    The answer.... RO. When I need very soft, very acidic water I use straight RO water, oak and catappa leaves (the catappa I use is Indian almond leaf, not the norht american catappa tree) and an extract I make from boiling those leaves.
  5. Apistomaster

    Apistomaster Member 5 Year Member

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    Dicrossus filamentosus do need soft acid water or their eggs won't hatch so Ted's advice is spot on. They will spawn in water with a much higher pH and hardness but their eggs are unable to adjust to that water.
    I know others have good success rearing this species but I am still trying after nearly four decades for a successful spawn. Even if the water conditions are good, finding a female that will brood is the key to success. They often eat their spawns. Make that always when it comes to my attempts.
  6. Refael Hdr.

    Refael Hdr. Member 5 Year Member

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    The water I'm getting from my RO is usually pH 6.0-6.5. When I need a lower pH I'm usually using some acids for the job. Do you do the same? Especially when trying to breed some black water species...
  7. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I always filter my R/O water through sphagnum peat. This drops the pH (depending on time & amount of peat) down to pH 3.5!