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Seasonal changes in water hardness/pH?
I've been through a massive headache the past few days. I don't know if this
is just a problem with my local water authority or seasonal thing around the
Several weeks ago, I tested my water for hardness because I was reporting
problems with some valisneria in my tank that I was running CO2 on. It seemed
the combination of acidic conditions and low hardness and CO2 was leading to
melt, where I did not have this problem in another tank without CO2 but the
same water. Not having tested for several months, I checked water hardness.
It had dropped from the previous fall. It was coming out of the tap at about
2 dKH, 50 ppm total hardness and a pH of 6.8. This was a surprise, because
prior to this I had trouble keeping pH down in tanks, and it came out of the
tap at least a full point higher. (7.8+)
I brought home a few fish, 3 chocolate gouramis, last week that brought in
ick. Though not an awful problem in itself, chocolate gouramis seem to be
fish that are terribly sensitive to begin with, and prefer very soft water.
That's okay, I certainly had it. I still put a bit of peat in the filter. I
had a few other rather hardy fish in a semi-quarantine tank.
I started up a new bottle of yeast just yesterday, which I inject in the tank
above the choc. gourami tank. Today, a tube blew on the CO2 bottle, spraying
yeast & sugar around, and because the lid on the gourami tank was open, I
suspected some had gotten in. Since I was treating for ick anyway, I did a
large water change. After this change, the fish were all hanging near the
surface. I was clueless, and did some water testing.
Nitrites, ammonia were 0. Nitrates < 5. PH was over the high limit on the
test (7.8). dKH was 3 and dGH was 5. Total hardness was 100 ppm (out of the
tap as well). I filled the filter media with peat and monitored the water. PH
dropped to about 7.4, and remained. I added some sulfuric acid and it
initially dropped a minute amount, but bounced back up. Too much buffering?
Anyway, I've been busy trying to remedy to make the fish more comfortable,
and added blackwater, airstones etc.
As I was turning off the CO2 tonight I just unhooked the tube to avoid
potential problems. I had removed an escape valve with the last batch because
I was losing too much CO2 with all the attachments on there, and I had enough
trouble getting the stuff to brew. With the meeting of the air, it started
blowing out again. I realized that the yeast mixture was also immensely more
potent than when my water was soft. In fact, I had trouble with my yeast
concoctions over the winter due to the soft water, and needed to add baking
soda periodically. Now with the increased hardness, it's bubbling
potently.This caused the tube to blow, which caused the massive water
changes, which caused a drastic increase in hardness, pH, which caused . . .
I hope my fish live to tell this tale.
I'm going to check with NBMA tomorrow, meanwhile I'm wondering if this kind
of fluctuation should be expected? Before I kept fish I could have cared
less, and wouldn't have known about it. I guess I better keep up periodic
water checks. I thought I could dispense with these test kits after I got a