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Tap water PH


Scaperoot
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   For the first time ever, I decided to test the PH in our tap water, and it was 8.4. I used the API liquid test (regular and high range). In our tanks, the PH sits between 7.0-7.4. I'm wondering, is there a threshold where the PH in tap water is too high before doing a water change? I don't know how the process works, but somehow a high tap water PH hasn't negatively impacted our fish (that I know of). Is high tap water PH ever a problem? 

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It’s just a sign of hard water. If it’s been working for you, it’s not going to be a problem. It was probably like that all along. Most fish will adapt just fine. Apparently it actually lowers in your tank. There are some species that have a harder time adapting than others. Like German rams, discus, apistogramma. But, most will be fine 

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I’m also assuming this is because off gassing you should put some water in a bucket and agitate it for a day or so then test it see what the ph is 

Edited by face
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 You really never know what you don't know😅 This makes me wonder if there's anything else I should be checking for. Losses are pretty rare nowadays, but there was a period about two years ago when I was losing fish on a regular basis. I guess if the fish seem healthy, and the tanks are 'seasoned", it should be ok. Thanks, everyone. 

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At least where I live the water works adds something to the water, so it comes out at around pH 8. It lacks the buffering capacity though, so in my tank it basically stabilizes around the tank water pH. In fact, if I'm not carefull, my pH may crash pretty fast due to the lack of this buffering capacity. I guess I'd be careful of doing large water changes in one go, but otherwise it might not be a problem as long as you follow your tanks.   

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Is there any way to stabilize the ph in a situation like this? I live in Portland, where our water is treated with lye to a ph of 8.8, but is totally soft, almost like RO/DI water, and the ph drops to 6.8-7 over the course of a week. If I'm not careful I can crash ph while cycling a new tank. I was advised to add shrimp salts direct to our tap water. Is that crazy for fish? I don't want to end up chasing the original fresh tap ph, but neither do I want it to be so labile!

Edited by anodyne99
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I use a round 30-gallon trash can as a stock tank, even has wheels on the bottom. You could age your water in something like that. Let it gas off and return to normal ph before using. then use a hose and a sump pump to move the water into the tank. You may not even need a dechlorinator after that, as chlorine should gas off as well. but I'd test a few times to make sure.

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On 2/9/2024 at 8:55 PM, Pepere said:

I believe ph rises as water off gasses co2.  Are there any gasses that the presence of them in tap actually raises ph, and off gassing lowers it?

Then I guess I used the wrong terminology, my bad. it would be more proper to say let it age and return to its normal ph. as apparently that's what it's doing in the tanks anyway. Better to do that instead of adding the lye infused high ph water. happy now?

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On 2/9/2024 at 9:17 PM, Tony s said:

happy now?

Actually I was not certain if my understanding was correct and whether there were other gasses present that artificially raised ph.   I am always interested in learning something better.
 

It was an honest inquiry.

It would indeed be interesting to see if the aging the water does drop the ph as opposed to the water dropping in ph due to the presence of something in the aquarium.

Edited by Pepere
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On 2/9/2024 at 8:33 AM, Scaperoot said:

I decided to test the PH in our tap water, and it was 8.4. I used the API liquid test (regular and high range). In our tanks, the PH sits between 7.0-7.4. I'm wondering, is there a threshold where the PH in tap water is too high before doing a water change?

In this particular situation you are looking at a ph shift of 1 to 1.4…. But then again, presumably, you are not doing a 100% water change.  Even at a 50% waterchange I suspect you might not be changing tank ph by more than a half or so…

 

my tank ph drops by 1 daily as co2 rises and falls.

any idea what the KH kevels look like in your tank and tap water?

Edited by Pepere
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Ok there’s 2 common things that cause ph to be different in tap water 

the first is co2 you have a certain amount in the air if you have more in your water the ph will be lower if you have less it will be higher this is more common in well, water, or places which have a dramatically different temperature than indoors.

The second is the city doing something to the water in your case they’re adding probably sodium hydrate it’s a very very strong alkaline substance The pH will quickly decline to where the natural buffering capacity of water is 

Better understand this we often think about buffering in water being carbonate and bicarbonate, but that’s only buffering against acid any base would increase the ph but with carbonate comes carbonic acid carbonic acid is a acidic buffer. It prevents pH going up and you equal parts of it at a set ph/co2 level so if your ph is higher that the buffer in your water it will go down until it stabilizes 

As for if  this is a problem imo no and heavily planned tanks ph shifts every day by one in lakes, it’s not uncommon for that to happen to in fact, in deeply lakes it’s not uncommon for you to get stratification where the ph can be 4on the bottom and 8 on the top sometimes like that 

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image.jpeg.baaa94c054c181663797a7ef18e22ee2.jpegimage.jpeg.46be0d161b4377540d762a8a47e08260.jpegimage.jpeg.476e6ad0deac9e79cb398429c386e26c.jpegThese are the products I use 2 age water. 30gallon trash can with wheels. They make a lid also. Small sump pump inside. Cheap. Does a good job. But I learned it doesn’t have enough lift to my second floor angel tank. So I had to upgrade. First floor was great. Volume out is slow enough it’s not blowing the tank apart. Food safe garden hose. Was worried about contamination. Python hook at the end. With a hose valve from hardware store for a shutoff. At python end. Works really great.


 

image.jpeg

They make smaller sizes for the can. For large tanks the pump could draw water from the tank as well. Watching for the fish of course 

The aged water should return to its natural range. Might take a day or so. 

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On 2/10/2024 at 2:53 PM, face said:

Ok there’s 2 common things that cause ph to be different in tap water 

the first is co2 you have a certain amount in the air if you have more in your water the ph will be lower if you have less it will be higher this is more common in well, water, or places which have a dramatically different temperature than indoors.

The second is the city doing something to the water in your case they’re adding probably sodium hydrate it’s a very very strong alkaline substance The pH will quickly decline to where the natural buffering capacity of water is 

Better understand this we often think about buffering in water being carbonate and bicarbonate, but that’s only buffering against acid any base would increase the ph but with carbonate comes carbonic acid carbonic acid is a acidic buffer. It prevents pH going up and you equal parts of it at a set ph/co2 level so if your ph is higher that the buffer in your water it will go down until it stabilizes 

As for if  this is a problem imo no and heavily planned tanks ph shifts every day by one in lakes, it’s not uncommon for that to happen to in fact, in deeply lakes it’s not uncommon for you to get stratification where the ph can be 4on the bottom and 8 on the top sometimes like that 

That's some very interrsring reading! Thanks for the info. I need to go through it a few times to truly digest it, as I am not very strong in chemistry. 

I live in a country where we only use well water in our taps. I have always assumed that the bubbles that are in our water was oxygen but it may actually be CO2!? It some times is quite a lot to a degree where I have devised a tube to remove a lot of the bubbles when refilling the tank.

If i had the space, I'd age the water as Tony describes, but I have 720lit (190gal) and do weekly water changes so it would require a lot of space that I don't have. 

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On 2/10/2024 at 9:42 AM, EggShappedFish said:

but I have 720lit (190gal) and do weekly water changes so it would require a lot of space that I don't have. 

Yes, it does. Kind of annoys the wife. I have 260 gallons of aquariums scattered throughout my house. I have the advantage that I can refill between tanks. You’d need close to 100 gallon on hand to start. Although they also have a 50 gallon tank I believe. Or if you have a heated space out of the way, like in a garage or basement, you could bring in a hundred gallon neoprene tank and accomplish the same thing. 

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On 2/10/2024 at 3:12 AM, anodyne99 said:

Is there any way to stabilize the ph in a situation like this? I live in Portland, where our water is treated with lye to a ph of 8.8, but is totally soft, almost like RO/DI water, and the ph drops to 6.8-7 over the course of a week. If I'm not careful I can crash ph while cycling a new tank. I was advised to add shrimp salts direct to our tap water. Is that crazy for fish? I don't want to end up chasing the original fresh tap ph, but neither do I want it to be so labile!

Hmmmm, my sitution is similar. I have a bag of crushed mussel shells in my canister filter, whitch seems to have so far kept pH and kH in check. This method doesn't introduce potentially high swings in the pH and kH values, which might happen if you use salts or other similar quick methods. I guess crushed coral or wonder shell could also work, but we don't seem to have those readily available here where I live. Cory has at least on some of his videos talked about using crushed coral and wonder shell in his tanks. As @Tony s suggested, letting the tap water sit for a while might also help. You can test this quick by taking a glass of tap water aside, wait 24 h and then test the water to see how it changes.

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