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pH problems


Virgil Ann Maderich

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Virgil Ann Maderich

I had a 10 gal via aqua for about 8 months with chronically low pH.

I upgraded to a 21 gal with a 10 gal sump. I moved everything over including most of the sand bed (of course with new sand added). The pH was great (around 8.2 during the day) until I added some Red Slime Remover. Unfortunately, at that time my pH monitor had a little accident so I wasn't able to measure until I got it fixed. Now my pH is running low again (7.65 at night, 7.85 during the day). My

alkalinity is 2.97/8 but my calcium is very high (a little over 500). I was dosing kalkwasser with the drip method for about two weeks but stopped once I noticed the jump in calcium. I tried Kent Superbuffer once but it had little effect and I was afraid of raising my alkalinity.

Truthfully, my fish (small jawfish, rainfordi goby, firefish goby and dragonet) seem totally unaffected but I'm not sure what harm the pH could do long term.

Also, there are small white dots appearing on my glass, which I am assuming is calcium precipitating out.

I do weekly water changes of 20 - 25%.

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You could get a two part additive like b-ionic and only add the alkalinity part until you get your alkalinity and calcium balanced. Then you can continue using your kalk.

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you dont say what corals you are keeping. the only way ph would matter is if you are keeping corals that require a certain level.

 

you say your inhabitants are fine. yet you are worried about this. why? the greatest and most important test kit for the reef aquarium are your two eyes. what do your eyes say?

 

 

nalbar

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Virgil Ann Maderich

I have some yellow polyps and xenia in the tank. The xenia

looks great. It is spreading all over its rock.

However, I have two issues. One is that I have hair algae. I

know it is just a nuisance but isn't it an indication of something else wrong? My lfs thinks I might have an anaerobic spot in my substrate, but how would I know?

Also, I was keeping seahorses. All was well. They were eating mysis heartily. In an effort to straighten out the hair algae, I dosed with b-ionic twice (I didn't realize my calcium was so high). Within two days my two newest seahorses were dead and my adult started to show signs of stress (I've had him for nine months so losing him would be especially painful). I really don't think it is related to the pH as I have had low pH for some time but I am a worrier and want everything to be as okay as possible.

My ph is fairly stable as I monitor it constantly.

I do have sand in my sump. Could that be the problem? I have a few snails in there but maybe they are not stirring up the sand bed enough. Should I tank the sand out of my sump?

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reread what you just wrote. you dosed with b-ionic, then your sea horses died. make the connection!

 

the hair algae is because you have phosphate in your system. remove the phosphate and you will remove the algae. somehow phosphate is being added, either something died or you are adding it with water changes or when you feed. i have no idea why you would fight algae by dosing b-ionic. a cardinal rule to dosing is to NEVER dose without knowing the parameters of your system.

 

generally speaking an anarobic place in your sand is black/dark area. its on the BOTTOM of the sand bed because its not getting oxygen. sometimes you can see part of it against the glass. many times its a result of incorrectly taken care of deep sand beds. its not something you often see with sand beds under 2 inches.

 

 

nalbar

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Virgil Ann Maderich

Oh yeah, I know I made a dumb mistake with the B-Ionic.

I Listened to someone at the lfs store about the hair algae.

Another big mistake. He told me that if I raised the alkalanity slightly, the hair algae would improve.

As for the phosphates, I do water changes at least once a week, usually more. I also just put Rowaphos in my filter.

I've only ever lost two fish (the two seahorses) and I was actually there when the one died. The other couldn't have been in the tank for more than an hour.

The only inhabitants that may die which I wouldn't notice would be the hermits. Could their decomposing make a difference?

Boy, this is one tough hobby! I've decided I am a masochist!

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no virgil, it is NOT a tough hobby. breeding reptiles is far tougher. so is racing cars. so is breeding parrots. its actually an easy hobby. what it takes is patience. a LOT of patience.

 

what this hobby does not have that the ones above do is a 'hands on' aspect. its really not physical. you spend a lot of time staring, peeking, looking, thinking. because of the introspective feature when something goes wrong there is an overwhelming desire to DO something. this is human nature at its most primitive. we feel the NEED to adjust, tweak, add. we want to SHOW our skill at solving the problem. we want to shout "Look what I did!". this is why so many make it SEEM more complicated than it is with all sorts of chemical blather. the problem is, with this hobby, most of the time is best NOT to do something, anything. cause 50% of the time when we add something it gets worse, and then we have to add something else to fix THAT (which will also be wrong 50% of the time).

 

its a glass box, filled with water, with a flashlight over it.

 

 

 

nalbar

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Virgil Ann Maderich

Ah, Nalbar, I wish I could speak to you. I think we would have a stimulating conversation.

It is just a glass box.... filled with life which is completely at our mercy. That's the problem. I have always responded to "rescuing" helpless animals (and fish). With my seahorses, I tried to do my best. I fed them 3 times a day. I spent months feeding live crustaceans obtained at great expense. When they began eating frozen mysis, I experienced a euphoria not commensurate with the accomplishment.

I worried over them, "peeked" at them, fussed over them... and they still died.

That is the problem with the hobby. In the end, we are trying to replicate something so complex that I am beginning to believe it is more luck than skill; which is what drives me absolutely crazy!

I agree that adding chemicals is a bad idea. I try not to. The B-Ionic was a mistake. But another incredibly maddening part of the hobby is that what works for one person doesn't work for another and everyone is offering suggestions which directly contradict one another. And, you are absolutely right, it is so difficult to stand by and watch what appears to be problems develop.

In spite of all of this, I'm sure I will persevere.

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the complexity that you speak of is why i say what i do. yes, the actions of the animals INSIDE the tank is very complex. it is so complex that not only dont we understand 90% of it, but we dont even have tests for about 99% of it! but most of the time, its 'self leveling'. left to its own devices, live rock will correct itself. its what we ADD (fish mainly, but also chemical additions) that throw everything off. look at it this way, if you put GOOD quality live rock in a tank with light, a heater, and water movement, and did infrequent water changes, that rock would 'live' forever. yes, algae would over come it, but the algae is cleaning the water. it is serveing its 'purpose' in life, which is to take phosphate and put it in a 'pill' that herbivores can then poop out as ammonia, transfering the phosphate into ammonia and getting it into the cycle. so add herbivores and 'presto', you have a machine.

 

you said ...'replicate something so complex'. to me, that attitude is the source of 90% of the problems people have on this site. we CANNOT 'replicate' a reef, nor can we 'build' one. we can only transfer one into our homes. this human need to 'replicate' is not a benefit to reef keeping. IMO reef keeping is counter-intuative, its what we DONT do that makes the difference.

 

 

nalbar

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