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Re: Low pH Why?

On Wed, 14 Jun 2000, June wrote:

> Water in my area has PH of 7.4  Amquel  added at set up and water
> change.
> When tank was about a week old I tested the water. The PH was 5 by one
> test kit and 5.8 by other. Ammonia was 5 PPM and nitrite has never gone
> above <0,1mg/l   25% water change that day resulted in no change. 50%
> water change the following day brought the ammonia down to  2-3 PPM
> where it has stayed since. PH and nitrite remains same.

It sounds like probably your water has very low buffering capacity.  You
should get a test kit to measure the buffer capacity (aka KH, carbonate
hardness, alkalinity) in your tank and in the tap water.  You probably
need to keep at least 3 or 4 degrees of buffer capacity (50-70 ppm if your
kit measures in ppm) in order to have stable conditions in your tank.

You should also get a general hardness kit to help with decisions about
how to treat the problem.

In all likelihood the driftwood is the problem, but with a reasonable
buffer capacity in your water it shouldn't be so.  If it turns out that
your buffer capacity is low, then you will need to add something to bring
it up.  If your general hardness is also low then you may want to use
calcium carbonate to bring up both the general hardness and the buffer
capacity (see the archives for sources and dosing methods).  If your
general hardness is substantially higher than your buffer capacity then
you might use baking soda (*not* baking powder) to raise the buffer
capacity, or you could take Mr. Gomberg up on the free 50 mls of potassium
bicarb that he offered a few days ago.

Whatever you do, don't do anything without testing first!

Good luck,

Roger Miller