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plumeting pH and bicarbonate of soda

Posted By: craig <craig@thezone.net>
Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2000, at 1:56 p.m.

Greetings from Canada. This is my first post to the forum.

I have a 27 US gal tank containing four (4) 2.5" - 3" young clowns. There is also a pleco, 3 danios, a small gourami, 3 corys, 2 penguin and 2 black tetras in the same tank, but the clowns are the main attraction (of course).

My parameters are as follows: ammonia - 0; nitrite - 0; nitrate - 110+

pH - 6.0; hardness 3 (55 ppm); phosphate 2.5

I have only just started using a Nitra-zorb pillow to reduce the nitrate down to hopefully 20-30 ppm.

The problem is the pH. I have a second exterior box filter for hardness and the Nitra-zorb pillows. I have also placed a small bag of limestone chips in this second filter and have thrown about 2/3 cup on the substrate. I have been adding 108 drops of pH Up over the last 4-5 days and have managed to increase the pH from 6.0 to 6.4. If I stop the pH will plumet back to 6.0 (maybe lower). I have nearly used a 4 oz bottle of pH Up in 3 months and I am tired of it. I am afraid if I leave for a few days the low pH will kill my fish.

The tap water is coming in at pH 7.0 (treatment plant). I do a 20 - 25% water change every 2 weeks with about a 2 gallon top-up every week. I used a neutralizer stone on two occasions but all it did was drive up my hardness to 10 degrees (180 ppm) and so I used a water conditioner pillow to bring it back down.

The local pet store owner suggested to me that proprietary pH adjusters are to be avoided as they cause other problems. Any advice here?

I was reading about bicarbonate of soda (NaHCO3)as a way of increasing pH when making water changes. While my water is neutral, it soon heads for the basement. Would it be wise to add an alkaline water change to offset the acid pH of my tank water or not? How much soda would I use in 5 gallons? Is household baking soda OK to use in the fish tank? Would the soda contribute to other problems such as sodium or hardness increases?

Any advice would be very much appreciated.


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