Oh No! I'm In Trouble!

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AquaPit

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Hi everyone!

A short intro..

I had set up a new 30L(8US Gal) cube tank for 5mths now..

All these while, I only had a PH Test Pen which I bought one year ago.. And the PH reading was always the same range, 6.2-6.4PH..

Finally, I bought a new API Water Test Kit..

So.. With the water test kit, i tested my water and...

My water parameters are as follows;

PH 7.6 (High Limit)
High PH 7.8
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 20ppm

I've been having a high Ph level all this while!!

I even tested my tap water and it reads 8.2Ph!

I think I am in trouble....

The current livestock are all low Ph tolerant..
Neon Tetras x7 (of which 3 have been in there for 4ths!)
Cherry Shrimps x17 (1mth duration)
Wild Enlers x3 (2wks)
(Overstocked!)

In my tank are 2 Driftwoods,1 Bogwood, Anubias Nana, some white stones, shrimp soil substrate..

Haizz...

Should I just leave as it is or there will be trouble ahead?? IMG_20150723_212916.JPG
 
First, concerning the species mentioned, the neon tetra is the only species that might be somewhat affected (I'll come back to this).  Endler livebearers should have moderately hard or harder water with a basic (above 7.0) pH, and shrimp generally prefer this too.
 
It would be more useful to know the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) as these more directly impact fish.  The pH is usually relative to the GH and KH but depending upon the GH and especially the KH the pH may be high for other reasons.  I will leave this until we know the GH and KH numbers; check with your municipal water supplier.
 
As for stocking, I would not have included the Endlers as the neons should be OK (space-wise), though more space would be better, but given their relatively sedate nature (not active swimmers) they will likely manage.  However, the neons will not be at ease in hard water with a fairly high pH, but until we know the GH and KH we can't say much more.
 
Once we know the GH/KH it will be easier to explain the pH lowering, but generally speaking this is normal due to biological processes.  Organics accumulate and cause acids which lower the pH naturally, to be brief.  Organic matter such as wood, leaves, peat also work like this.  But the GH and KH impact the rate this occurs, so we again need those numbers to have a more complete picture.
 
Byron.
 
Byron said:
First, concerning the species mentioned, the neon tetra is the only species that might be somewhat affected (I'll come back to this).  Endler livebearers should have moderately hard or harder water with a basic (above 7.0) pH, and shrimp generally prefer this too.
 
It would be more useful to know the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) as these more directly impact fish.  The pH is usually relative to the GH and KH but depending upon the GH and especially the KH the pH may be high for other reasons.  I will leave this until we know the GH and KH numbers; check with your municipal water supplier.
 
As for stocking, I would not have included the Endlers as the neons should be OK (space-wise), though more space would be better, but given their relatively sedate nature (not active swimmers) they will likely manage.  However, the neons will not be at ease in hard water with a fairly high pH, but until we know the GH and KH we can't say much more.
 
Once we know the GH/KH it will be easier to explain the pH lowering, but generally speaking this is normal due to biological processes.  Organics accumulate and cause acids which lower the pH naturally, to be brief.  Organic matter such as wood, leaves, peat also work like this.  But the GH and KH impact the rate this occurs, so we again need those numbers to have a more complete picture.
 
Byron.
Okay!

Here is my tank water KH and GH readings

KH: 3 (53.7ppm)
GH: 11 (196.9PPM)

I have prepared my tap water in the testing tube and was thinking of leaving it for 24hrs before I test them..

Hopefully I can get this sorted out..

And I am a bit confused about the endlers and neon tetras part.. Hehe.. Sorry can explain again? :)
 
First on the GH and KH...these indicate moderately hard water, so the high pH is most likely related.  However, there is always the matter of carbonate or calcareous substances in the aquarium raising the GH, KH and pH, and in your first post you mention white stones (white may indicate calcium, but not always) and "shrimp substrate" may be similar as shrimp need calcium for their exoskeletons.  So, it would help to test your tap water alone for GH and KH; I'm assuming as you are testing the tank water that you have these test kits.  You are wise to let the tap water sit for 24 hours before testing pH, but this is not necessary for GH or KH.
 
On a very general note, always test the tap water (source water) for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, GH, KH and pH, just so you know what you have to work with.  Selecting fish suited to your normal water makes life much easier for you, and the fish will be better off health wise if there is less manipulating of the water parameters.
 
On the endlers/neons...space wise, an 8 gallon aquarium is not much space, but the 7 neons should be OK (our final water test results may suggest different).  I would personally not add more fish, like the endlers.  You mentioned initially being overstocked, but with plants and regular water changes I don't think you should have much to worry about.  The water hardness and high pH is not going to bode well for neons which are soft water fish.  However, you already have them, so it may be best to leave things alone, but in harder water fish like neons frequently die sooner than normal because of issues internally caused by the mineral salts in the water.  Endlers are hard water fish by nature, so they need this, and with your numbers endlers should have no issues.
 
Byron.
 
Byron said:
First on the GH and KH...these indicate moderately hard water, so the high pH is most likely related.  However, there is always the matter of carbonate or calcareous substances in the aquarium raising the GH, KH and pH, and in your first post you mention white stones (white may indicate calcium, but not always) and "shrimp substrate" may be similar as shrimp need calcium for their exoskeletons.  So, it would help to test your tap water alone for GH and KH; I'm assuming as you are testing the tank water that you have these test kits.  You are wise to let the tap water sit for 24 hours before testing pH, but this is not necessary for GH or KH.
 
On a very general note, always test the tap water (source water) for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, GH, KH and pH, just so you know what you have to work with.  Selecting fish suited to your normal water makes life much easier for you, and the fish will be better off health wise if there is less manipulating of the water parameters.
 
On the endlers/neons...space wise, an 8 gallon aquarium is not much space, but the 7 neons should be OK (our final water test results may suggest different).  I would personally not add more fish, like the endlers.  You mentioned initially being overstocked, but with plants and regular water changes I don't think you should have much to worry about.  The water hardness and high pH is not going to bode well for neons which are soft water fish.  However, you already have them, so it may be best to leave things alone, but in harder water fish like neons frequently die sooner than normal because of issues internally caused by the mineral salts in the water.  Endlers are hard water fish by nature, so they need this, and with your numbers endlers should have no issues.
 
Byron.
Much appreciated!

A lil bit more info on my tank,

-The white stones are just the decoration pebbles type
-The shrimp soil stated that it helps to maintain a lower pH
-On alternate days, I will add this water supplement called Tetra Vital..
-I think there is this type of volcanic rock or some sort in one of my filter media compartment

Hmm.. Thats about it actually..

I will test the tap water for the KH and GH later..

And how do I test the pH again? Becoz there is 2 type of pH tests (pH and High pH). Test both at the same time?

TIA
 
You can use both testers as you seem to be very close to the overlap region. If the pH one shows the highest colour, go by the high pH one; if the high pH one shows the lowest colour go by the pH one. Once the pH is out of the range of a tester it still shows the highest/lowest colour.
 
Agree.  Once you find the best test, only use that one, for consistency.
 
I am not sure I would use Tetra Vital.  I've never seen this and had to look it up on the Tetra site.  Fish assimilate minerals from the water but also primarily (in most species, not all) the food they eat.  Soft water species occurring in habitats with water having no mineral content obviously do not need minerals added to the water.  Hard water species (livebearers) do, but there may be more than adequate calcium and magnesium in your tap water. It may be contributing to raising the GH and pH, given that it does add minerals (magnesium will increase GH).  The numbers for the tap water alone will help us sort this out.  
 
Byron.
 
essjay said:
You can use both testers as you seem to be very close to the overlap region. If the pH one shows the highest colour, go by the high pH one; if the high pH one shows the lowest colour go by the pH one. Once the pH is out of the range of a tester it still shows the highest/lowest colour.
Tks!

Byron said:
Agree.  Once you find the best test, only use that one, for consistency.
 
I am not sure I would use Tetra Vital.  I've never seen this and had to look it up on the Tetra site.  Fish assimilate minerals from the water but also primarily (in most species, not all) the food they eat.  Soft water species occurring in habitats with water having no mineral content obviously do not need minerals added to the water.  Hard water species (livebearers) do, but there may be more than adequate calcium and magnesium in your tap water. It may be contributing to raising the GH and pH, given that it does add minerals (magnesium will increase GH).  The numbers for the tap water alone will help us sort this out.  
 
Byron.
Noted on the Tetra Vital.. I think you are right about the supplement..
Here is a link to what Vital is about,
http://www.tetra.net/de/en/aquaristik/tropische-fische/pflege/wasserpflege/tetra-vital

Got the tap water reading,

KH: 2(35.8ppm)
DH: 3(53.7ppm)

Now.. What does this means? Hahaa
Hahaa
 
Got the tap water reading,

KH: 2(35.8ppm)
DH: 3(53.7ppm)

Now.. What does this means? Hahaa
 
 
Well, it seems probable that something within the aquarium is increasing the mineral content, and if it is going from 3 dGH to 11 dGH, it is significant.  The increase in KH is not, and not surprising, since increasing GH is often possible without messing with KH, I do this all the time as I have near-zero GH and KH in my tap water and need to increase the GH for plants to have sufficient calcium and magnesium.
 
Going with the easiest possible first, I would stop the Tetra Vital, do a couple partial (1/2 the volume) water changes on alternate days, and test the GH (and KH while you're at it).  Once you're on a regular weekly water change, and if the GH lowers to close to the tap, you will have solved this mystery.  If the GH remains high, then you will have to look at other possibles, which would include the substrate--I find it odd that a substrate intended for shrimp lowers rather than raises pH, but then it may still be raising the GH but not the pH with it; this is not unusual, my GH additive does not mess with the KH or pH.
 
Once you have the GH down to the tap water level, or closer [4-5 dGH would be no problem either, and even 6 dGH], which will be ideal for soft water fish and plants, the pH may lower naturally as well, due to the biological processes I mentioned previously.
 
Byron.
 
Byron said:
Got the tap water reading,
KH: 2(35.8ppm)DH: 3(53.7ppm)Now.. What does this means? Hahaa
 
Well, it seems probable that something within the aquarium is increasing the mineral content, and if it is going from 3 dGH to 11 dGH, it is significant.  The increase in KH is not, and not surprising, since increasing GH is often possible without messing with KH, I do this all the time as I have near-zero GH and KH in my tap water and need to increase the GH for plants to have sufficient calcium and magnesium.
 
Going with the easiest possible first, I would stop the Tetra Vital, do a couple partial (1/2 the volume) water changes on alternate days, and test the GH (and KH while you're at it).  Once you're on a regular weekly water change, and if the GH lowers to close to the tap, you will have solved this mystery.  If the GH remains high, then you will have to look at other possibles, which would include the substrate--I find it odd that a substrate intended for shrimp lowers rather than raises pH, but then it may still be raising the GH but not the pH with it; this is not unusual, my GH additive does not mess with the KH or pH.
 
Once you have the GH down to the tap water level, or closer [4-5 dGH would be no problem either, and even 6 dGH], which will be ideal for soft water fish and plants, the pH may lower naturally as well, due to the biological processes I mentioned previously.
 
Byron.
Wow! Once again I appreciate the help!

Will do the necessary and make the water to the best I can just for the well being of the fishes..

And I think setting up a soft,acidic water for my Apistogramma tank will be more achievable.. *fingers crossed*

Tks once again!
 
It would be best to sort this water parameter business out before venturing into a fish species that is considerably more demanding with respect to water parameters and stability, so good thinking.  A couple weeks (following my earlier suggestions) will tell us what we need to know, and hopefully you will find the cause easily and it will be solved.  Once the water has stabilized for a period, we will know.
 
There are many factors in water parameters and stability, and nature cannot be rushed.
 
Byron.
 
I agree. Get the water right before introducing any fish.
 
Byron said:
It would be best to sort this water parameter business out before venturing into a fish species that is considerably more demanding with respect to water parameters and stability, so good thinking.  A couple weeks (following my earlier suggestions) will tell us what we need to know, and hopefully you will find the cause easily and it will be solved.  Once the water has stabilized for a period, we will know.
 
There are many factors in water parameters and stability, and nature cannot be rushed.
 
Byron.
I had done some thinking..

I think I will just leave the water parameters as it is..

Because I want the tank to be just the Endlers and Cherry Shrimps..

I will be getting a bigger tank with possibly a softer,acidic water type.. And if the Neons are still alive, I will move them there..

What I have done though is stopping the Tetra Vital with just one 25% water change..

The hardness and pH readings are still the about the same.. So, I rather not mess the parameters..

I suspect the high gH is contributed to the soil like what you said.. It does say it lower pH value though but there might be contents in there that raises hardness maybe..?

Whatever it is, I learnt quite a lot from your expertise.. Tks once again!
 
Byron said:
It would be best to sort this water parameter business out before venturing into a fish species that is considerably more demanding with respect to water parameters and stability, so good thinking.  A couple weeks (following my earlier suggestions) will tell us what we need to know, and hopefully you will find the cause easily and it will be solved.  Once the water has stabilized for a period, we will know.
 
There are many factors in water parameters and stability, and nature cannot be rushed.
 
Byron.
Hi Byron

Need your advice

Below are my Water Supply readings

Screenshot_2015-08-01-10-41-54~2.jpg
pH avg is 8.1
pH range is 7.7-8.4

Screenshot_2015-08-01-10-37-06~2.jpg
Total Hardness(CaCO3) avg is 57mg/l
Total Hardness (CaCO3) range is 22-114mg/l

My tap water reading using the API Liquid Test is
pH 8.4
kH 2
gH 3

So. What am I looking at here?

TIA!
 
I think I pretty much answered this in my post #9.  You have soft water with a basic (high-ish) pH.  Something in the aquarium is increasing the GH, but the pH is lowering a bit.  If you leave the tank as is, the Endlers and shrimp should have no issues; the neons may not like it but they may manage for a while anyway.  We cannot predict.
 
If you remove whatever is causing the increasing hardness, soft water fish like the neons will be fine.
 
The GH is fiarly easy to explain, as I've done above.  The high pH may be due to something they add to the water, or something natural.  But from your numbers, the pH seems to lower naturally in the aquarium.  This is normal, so there is no problem I can see.
 
Byron.
 

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