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MInanoTank

pH issues suddenly

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MInanoTank

My Fluval EVO 13.5 has been up and running since late February.    I'm using an APEX Aquacontroller on the tank, and installed a new pH probe when I set it up.

 

My pH has been very stable since Day 1 - fluctuating from a high of around 8.3 during the day to a low of around 8.05 at night.

 

For the last week, it has been dropping as low as 7.8 during the night, and only getting up to 8.1 during the day.

 

I first suspected that the probe needed to be re-calibrated, but haven't had time to do that.   

 

This morning I woke up to an all time low of 7.77 - and it's definitely low in there, not just a probe calibration issue - because the torch and hammer corals are tightened up, and the monti is looking a little pale.   They aren't happy!  Lights have been on for about 45 minutes, pH has slowly climbed up to 7.85 in that time.

 

I do have a weak kalkwasser in the OTA.   (1 tsp / gallon)

 

Online research is saying to add baking soda, or RedSea Reef Buffer - baking soda is in the Kitchen, Reef Buffer needs to be order from Amazon and won't be here until tomorrow.

 

Looking for recommendations from this forum community -

 

What do you use to keep pH stable?  

Should I do something immediately to raise pH?   (I obviously don't want to shock the system - but I also need to travel for work Wednesday & Thursday, so I want to get this raised somewhat before taking off for 2 days.   My daughter is going to feed fish while I'm gone - but she won't be here all day to monitor / adjust for me while I'm gone.)

What are possible causes for this downward trend.

 

Things I'm thinking about -

1) I've been spot feeding coral every morning - trying to keep a sun coral happy and open.   I was just feeding mysis, squirting the "juice" on the other corals while feeding the sun coral the shrimp.   I bought some Coral Frenzy last week, and have been adding a tiny amount of that to the water I use to defrost the mysis.   Am I over feeding now?   The pH drops do correlate with the start of using Coral Frenzy.

2) I run carbon in the filtration - read that amino acids should be supplemented.   I put a dose of amino acid supplement (Seachem Reef Pro) in Thursday afternoon, and that's when I noticed a big drop in pH that night - first time it went below 8.0 overnight.

3) I did my weekly 3 gallon water change yesterday - and replaced Purigen in filtration with a bag I had "recharged" (not a new bag).   I pulled the Purigen bag this morning, just incase there was still some bleach / chlorine in the bag.   I replaced that with some PolyFilter, and dosed Prime (just in case).

4) Thinking about dumping the ATO reservior, cleaning, and reloading with a higher concentration of kalkwasser (2 tsp / gallon).

 

Thoughts, comments, recommendations, and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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Mark L.

A lot more experienced people than me will give better advice but I had this issue for a short time in my 20 gallon.  Low PH for a while but my Alk was still good.  I'd test Alk as most of the pro's on here will tell you that's more important and that they don't even test PH anymore .

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Clown79

Don't chase ph, that's what most will say. A lot of us don't even test it.

 

It's a parameter that fluctuates. All day long

 

 

Monitor alk, ph and alk work together. 

 

The only safe way to alter ph is opening a window in the house

Any buffers on the market mess with other parameters leading to more problems.

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MInanoTank

Recommendations on Alk test kits?    I probably don't have much of a choice in my town - probably only have API kits available at the local Pet Supplies Plus.   

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MInanoTank

Thanks - Amazon Prime is delivering in 1 day to SE Michigan lately - can have it tomorrow.

 

This is what I mean by the corals not being happy -

 

IMG_0137.thumb.JPG.a9088ae1c32c5fa0eec110efa405f2a0.JPGIMG_1877.thumb.JPG.0103010a5fb63f3db85972d48c95d9a2.JPGIMG_3654.thumb.JPG.009016ebf711316d87021d4211c3d54f.JPG

 

I've never seen the torch, hammer or ric that tight during the day.

 

CO2 levels in my house are generally pretty low - I keep windows open anytime temp is above 50F, and at least one cracked open when below that temp - according to my Netatmo current CO2 level in the house is 505PPM.   I did open the window in the Office where the tank is located this morning - pH has barely gone up.

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MInanoTank

Kalkwasser?   Or no kalkwasser in the ATO reservoir??

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hotdrop

My understanding is that anything you do to increase gas exchange will up ph. Including opening a window or aiming your power head at the surface, or just raising the return outlet. You should probably check the calibration on the ph probe I’ve seen lots of reports of drifting probes.

 

APi test kits are largely garbage, they don’t even bother to accurately print the color chart so 2 cards will have different colors.  Most of the tests can only show way too low, way too high or somewhere in between 

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Mark L.
7 minutes ago, hotdrop said:

My understanding is that anything you do to increase gas exchange will up ph. Including opening a window or aiming your power head at the surface, or just raising the return outlet. You should probably check the calibration on the ph probe I’ve seen lots of reports of drifting probes.

 

APi test kits are largely garbage, they don’t even bother to accurately print the color chart so 2 cards will have different colors.  Most of the tests can only show way too low, way too high or somewhere in between 

I second this.  My PH is much more stable now since I pointed my powerhead up just slightly.  It disturbs the water the water more allowing for more gas exchange.  Maybe just a coincidence but it costs you nothing to try.

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Mark L.
11 minutes ago, MInanoTank said:

Thanks - Amazon Prime is delivering in 1 day to SE Michigan lately - can have it tomorrow.

 

This is what I mean by the corals not being happy -

 

IMG_0137.thumb.JPG.a9088ae1c32c5fa0eec110efa405f2a0.JPGIMG_1877.thumb.JPG.0103010a5fb63f3db85972d48c95d9a2.JPGIMG_3654.thumb.JPG.009016ebf711316d87021d4211c3d54f.JPG

 

I've never seen the torch, hammer or ric that tight during the day.

 

CO2 levels in my house are generally pretty low - I keep windows open anytime temp is above 50F, and at least one cracked open when below that temp - according to my Netatmo current CO2 level in the house is 505PPM.   I did open the window in the Office where the tank is located this morning - pH has barely gone up.

Has anything changed with your flow?  7.7 is a little low but I've had mine drop MUCH lower and my torches never cared.  What I find they do care about the most is flow.  Mine have done what yours have in the picture but usually after I moved them and they didn't like the flow. When I repositioned them again they came back out.

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Tamberav

Why are you dosing kalk without testing alk or knowing your consumption?

 

Sounds like a lot of changes at once.

 

My tank runs 7.8- 8.1...its no problem. You certainly don't want to dose anything to bring it up.

 

I would never blindly dose even small amounts....you should be measuring and figuring out your consumption and matching it do your alk is steady. If coral growth changes or even slows from some stressor than all consumption will drop so regular testing is needed.

 

I would stop kalk...and start testing alk every day at the same time for at least a week to figure out if it is needed.

 

If your corals were happy before the added food..I would prob back off on that too till you can figure out the cause. Your corals get amino acids from regular frozen food you are feeding already.

 

 

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Clown79

I prefer hanna alk checker. Fast testing and no questioning the results. Same with their po4 checker.

 

Can't wait for them to design a digital nitrate tester.

 

2 hours ago, Tamberav said:

Why are you dosing kalk without testing alk or knowing your consumption?

 

Sounds like a lot of changes at once.

 

My tank runs 7.8- 8.1...its no problem. You certainly don't want to dose anything to bring it up.

 

I would never blindly dose even small amounts....you should be measuring and figuring out your consumption and matching it do your alk is steady. If coral growth changes or even slows from some stressor than all consumption will drop so regular testing is needed.

 

I would stop kalk...and start testing alk every day at the same time for at least a week to figure out if it is needed.

 

If your corals were happy before the added food..I would prob back off on that too till you can figure out the cause. Your corals get amino acids from regular frozen food you are feeding already.

 

 

Spot on!

 

Alk fluctuations and drops in nutrients will cause a lot more issues with corals than a ph fluctuation since its fluctuating all day long.

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MInanoTank

This isn't a pH fluctuation - the pH is dropping and not coming back up.   It's been stalled all day long at 7.88 even with lights on, and windows open.

 

I've been averaging highs around 8.3 during the day, and lows around 8.0 at night for the last month.

 

Since Thursday - highs during the day have moved down to 8.1 and lows are falling to around 7.8.

 

That's a move in averages, averages trending down, not a normal daily fluctuation due to photosynthesis and CO2 exchange.

 

I'm freaking out because if I stay stalled at 7.88 and get that 0.3 - 0.4 overnight drop - the pH is going to be in the 7.5 or lower range overnight.

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MInanoTank

Just checked ammonia, nitrite and nitrate - all 0s.

 

I don't know how to describe it - but the water doesn't smell right.   I'm considering doing a 50% water change.

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Tamberav

Bacteria will make pH fall. I don't see any sort of bloom in your pics but more bacteria = more CO2. 

 

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Mark L.
38 minutes ago, MInanoTank said:

This isn't a pH fluctuation - the pH is dropping and not coming back up.   It's been stalled all day long at 7.88 even with lights on, and windows open.

 

I've been averaging highs around 8.3 during the day, and lows around 8.0 at night for the last month.

 

Since Thursday - highs during the day have moved down to 8.1 and lows are falling to around 7.8.

 

That's a move in averages, averages trending down, not a normal daily fluctuation due to photosynthesis and CO2 exchange.

 

I'm freaking out because if I stay stalled at 7.88 and get that 0.3 - 0.4 overnight drop - the pH is going to be in the 7.5 or lower range overnight.

Mine dropped to 7.4 and stayed there for like two weeks. I kept my Alk stable throughout that time (I do dose 2x per week to keep it stable), PH eventually came back up and sits around 8.  Nothing was harmed in the tank during those 2 weeks.  I agree with what some of the others have stated, the issue might be somewhere else.  Check your Alk when you get your test kit.  Deep breath . 🙂

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MInanoTank

Just got back from LFS with APEX calibration fluids - recalibrated probe - pH now says 7.69.

 

Salifert Kh/Alk kit gets delivered by Amazon tomorrow.

 

LFS only had API Alk kit in stock - said they ran out of other kits last week waiting for re-stock.  Their only suggestion was to do a big water change.

 

The acans have now gotten really tight.   The GSP, zoas, and sun coral don't seem affected.   Neither do the fish (pair or picasso clowns).

 

 

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MInanoTank
2 hours ago, Mark L. said:

Mine dropped to 7.4 and stayed there for like two weeks. I kept my Alk stable throughout that time (I do dose 2x per week to keep it stable), PH eventually came back up and sits around 8.  Nothing was harmed in the tank during those 2 weeks.  I agree with what some of the others have stated, the issue might be somewhere else.  Check your Alk when you get your test kit.  Deep breath . 🙂

What are you dosing?   And how?  

 

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MInanoTank

While at the LFS picking up the calibration fluids - I also picked up some Acurel phosphate removal pad.   I placed a piece in the top of the inTank Chamber 1 basket around 5pm last night - pH has been steadily climbing since then, even overnight.   Now sitting at 7.85 from a low of 7.69 around that time.

 

Online research doesn't show a link between high phosphates and pH drops.  I'm suspecting this was water / bleach induced, and the phos reducing pad is pulling something out of the water that was causing the pH plummet.

 

The Salifert kH/Alk test kit will be delivered today - will check levels asap.

 

Also have 5 gallons of fresh water mixing - will change water between conference calls today, and after Salifert tests.

 

The torch, hammer and acans look better this morning.   The monti is still pale.   FIsh stil active an appear fine.   All snails, hermits and porcelain crab are present and accounted for.

 

The water smells more like it should as well - hard to describe what was off with the smell - it smelled sweet not salty is the only way I can describe it.

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Mark L.
16 hours ago, MInanoTank said:

What are you dosing?   And how?  

 

I use ME Alkalinity (the smaller bottle) but there are many other brands that do the same thing.  I just measure out the ml I need to add (directions are on the bottle) and add it a couple of times a week.  Keeps my Alk in my desirable range.

 

https://www.amazon.com/ME-Alkalinity-Liquid-Concentrate-Pharmaceutical/dp/B072LY733Z/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1USN5VM8GNZAX&keywords=me+coral+alkalinity&qid=1556029481&s=pet-supplies&sprefix=me+coral+alk%2Cpets%2C136&sr=1-2

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MInanoTank

Alkalinity is definitely NOT low!

 

Got the Salifert - did the 4ml tank water test, and it didn't change color.

 

Did the 2ml tank water test and got a dKH of 22.4 (target should be 8 - 11 dKH?)

 

Checked the water being mixed in basement - got a 10.8 dKH reading on that.

 

 

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Tamberav

I would pick up a hanna low range Po4 kit if you are going to start using Po4 remover, I would be testing. If you hit 0 you will have new problems. 

 

I would probably run a second alk test to make sure it is correct then I would do a water change to start getting alk down. Alk that high should be throwing off other stuff too. 

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Mark L.
1 hour ago, MInanoTank said:

Alkalinity is definitely NOT low!

 

Got the Salifert - did the 4ml tank water test, and it didn't change color.

 

Did the 2ml tank water test and got a dKH of 22.4 (target should be 8 - 11 dKH?)

 

Checked the water being mixed in basement - got a 10.8 dKH reading on that.

 

 

If that reading is correct there's your problem.  That's crazy high.  Not even sure how it would get that high???

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MInanoTank

3rd test = 21.6 dKH

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Mark L.
34 minutes ago, MInanoTank said:

3rd test = 21.6 dKH

Water change immediately.  I'll be interested to see from others why they think it could possibly get that high.  Like was stated above, being that high could cause all kinds of other issues. 

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