Question about pH

Jax1108

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Hi Everyone!
So we have had our new fish for 3 days now! We cycled our planted tank, 20gal, for a week before adding 1 betta, 7 albino gold tetras, 2 kohli loaches, and 2 ottos (oh and one tiny snail got transferred over with the plants! Bonus!) I did have a pet store test the water to make sure it was cycled a day or two before adding the fish, they told me "everything looks good but your pH is a bit high." Then another gentlemen employee who was standing by interrupted and said you don't really need to worry about the pH, just the Nitrate, Nitrite and Ammonia. I just tested the water again and Ammonia was 0, Nitrite was also 0 but pH was 8.0 or higher. Our tap has a filter system (Rain Soft) so I am thinking that makes our water alkaline.
Do I need to do anything about this?
Also, did the first water change today at about 20-25%. Is it not a good idea to test same day as a water change? When's the best time to do that?
Sorry, so many questions - I just want to do this right!!
 

Byron

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Hi Everyone!
So we have had our new fish for 3 days now! We cycled our planted tank, 20gal, for a week before adding 1 betta, 7 albino gold tetras, 2 kohli loaches, and 2 ottos (oh and one tiny snail got transferred over with the plants! Bonus!) I did have a pet store test the water to make sure it was cycled a day or two before adding the fish, they told me "everything looks good but your pH is a bit high." Then another gentlemen employee who was standing by interrupted and said you don't really need to worry about the pH, just the Nitrate, Nitrite and Ammonia. I just tested the water again and Ammonia was 0, Nitrite was also 0 but pH was 8.0 or higher. Our tap has a filter system (Rain Soft) so I am thinking that makes our water alkaline.
Do I need to do anything about this?
Also, did the first water change today at about 20-25%. Is it not a good idea to test same day as a water change? When's the best time to do that?
Sorry, so many questions - I just want to do this right!!

Dealing first solely with the pH issue/questions. The pH is connected to other factors, primarily the GH (general hardness), KH (alkalinity or carbonate hardness) and CO2 dissolved in the water. The first thing to determine is the numbers for the GH, KH and pH of your tap water on its own. These you may be able to ascertain from the water authority if you are on municipal water, check their website, or call them. Get the number and their unit of measure as there are several. The pH they may also have. When you test pH for tap water, let a glass of fresh water sit for 24 hours, to ensure all CO2 is out-gassed, then test pH; this will give a more accurate reading, as there can be CO2 dissolved in the water. This step is not necessary when testing pH of aquarium water, just tap.

Do you have any data on the "softener?" Some of these soften water by replacing calcium and magnesium salts with sodium chloride (common table salt) and this can be even worse for some fish.

When testing tank water, test prior to a water change so you see what has developed over the week since the last change. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate can bee tested prior to the W/C and again afterwards. Ammonia and nitrite you want at zero always, and nitrate should be as low as possible. Nitrate you can control with not overstocking, not overfeeding, substantial water changes, substrate vacuuming, filter cleaning, and live plants can help.

Never attempt to adjust the pH. Never. This is connected to the GH/KH and these must be dealt with primarily if changes are necessary. But having said that, it is easier and safer to know the GH/KH/pH of the tap water and select fish suited to that water. Adjusting water parameters is not easy, and it can get expensive.

Male bettas are not community fish, so there could be trouble here before long, especially with the tetras. Kuhlii loaches are a shoaling species (as are all tetras), and need a small group. A 20g is not a large tank though, but a group of 5-6 in total would be OK. They should have sand substrate, and chunks of wood to hide in--and being nocturnal, you will not see them out much.
 
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Jax1108

Jax1108

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Byron, thank you for the great feedback!
The water softener system does take salt, we have to add bags of salt in the system for maintenance, but according to their website it leaves very little salt/sodium in the finished product. I am going to call and ask them if there is a bypass perhaps for this situation although on their website in the Q&A section it states that the system does NOT change pH.
We also have a Sparkletts water service. I went ahead and tested this water too, but it seems its quite a bit different at about 6.6. What would you suggest? Is that going to be too acidic? my Betta seems to be fine, not showing any signs of distress or damage.
 

Byron

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Byron, thank you for the great feedback!
The water softener system does take salt, we have to add bags of salt in the system for maintenance, but according to their website it leaves very little salt/sodium in the finished product. I am going to call and ask them if there is a bypass perhaps for this situation although on their website in the Q&A section it states that the system does NOT change pH.
We also have a Sparkletts water service. I went ahead and tested this water too, but it seems its quite a bit different at about 6.6. What would you suggest? Is that going to be too acidic? my Betta seems to be fine, not showing any signs of distress or damage.

Do not use water that runs through the softener.

What is "Sparkletts" water service?

What is the GH, KH and pH of the source water before it runs through the softener?
 
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Jax1108

Jax1108

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Do not use water that runs through the softener.

What is "Sparkletts" water service?

What is the GH, KH and pH of the source water before it runs through the softener?
Oh sorry, I see now you are in Canada!
Sparkletts is a water delivery service that delivers 5g water bottles to your home to put in a water cooler/distributor for drinking.
I have no idea what the parameters are of the water before the softener because it is configured for the whole house, so even the outside hose is putting out the softened water.
 

Byron

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Oh sorry, I see now you are in Canada!
Sparkletts is a water delivery service that delivers 5g water bottles to your home to put in a water cooler/distributor for drinking.
I have no idea what the parameters are of the water before the softener because it is configured for the whole house, so even the outside hose is putting out the softened water.

Bottled drinking water often has minerals in it, so without testing this may not be an option.
 
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