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View Full Version : Lets talk fish tanks! Need some help with Ph being too high



moonglow
Sep 22nd 2008, 05:34 PM
Last spring I posted I was going to put out little business cards to clean fish tanks in business or homes and right after I did that gas sky rocketed so I got no calls..:( But a few weeks ago I finally got a call so I am now taking care of the fish tank in a doctor's office. Well before they had me start they let the lady who had been doing it come in one last time to clean it as they had called her first. They have a bad habit of letting this tank go until its totally filthy and overrun with allege...this sits in the waiting room too!

Anyway this lady totally emptied the tank (worst thing she could have done) to try to get rid of all the allege and now its chemical balance is totally wrecked. I went in the other day and did maintenance on it and it was already getting that awful brown allege on everything..yuck. Well the Ph is so high I honestly don't know how the fish are surviving. Everything is high. So that day I didn't have a ways to measure how much ph downer to put it so guessed..didn't put in enough to make any difference. Went back Friday and put some in measuring it and got it down some...though you don't want to drop it too fast so as to not harm the fish.

Went in awhile ago to check on it and its high again...:B I took out the charcoal filter wondering if the charcoal is removing the chemical to lower the PH...that is what I need to know. (I know when putting in medication for sick fish it says to remove the charcoal as it will neutralize the medication)

Also in just over the weekend that brown slime was already trying to come back. As long as the Ph is so high along with the other chemicals its going to promote the growth of this stuff. Any ideas if taking the charcoal will help or not and what else can I do to help get it back in balance again and stay there. They have a under gravel filter and a water flow filter too. Of course every time I go up there I charge them for it..which they know...but this can't go on forever either. They might decide its too costly and get rid of the tank! I need to get it back in balance so I don't have to be up there every day checking on it. Thanks...

Oh its a 20 gallon fresh water tank.

God bless

HisLeast
Sep 22nd 2008, 05:40 PM
Hey Moonglow,

I don't know enough about fish to help you with a safe way to lower Ph. I do however, remember an old business contact of mine had a hobby website that might help you.

www.guppies.com is all about raising guppies as a hobby. The bad news is its about guppies. The good news is these people are serious, and the site has a ton of knowledge both on its information pages and in its forum. If you can't find the answer there, I doubt there's an answer!

moonglow
Sep 22nd 2008, 05:57 PM
Hey Moonglow,

I don't know enough about fish to help you with a safe way to lower Ph. I do however, remember an old business contact of mine had a hobby website that might help you.

www.guppies.com is all about raising guppies as a hobby. The bad news is its about guppies. The good news is these people are serious, and the site has a ton of knowledge both on its information pages and in its forum. If you can't find the answer there, I doubt there's an answer!

lol ok thanks. Yea I used to have a tank full of guppies too! They breed like crazy...:rolleyes: I will check it out..thanks.

God bless

AngelAuthor
Sep 22nd 2008, 06:09 PM
Interesting that you just posted this. I knew NOTHING about raising and caring for fish until just last night when reading the book Back to Basics which tells you how to do lots of things...just about EVERYTHING on your own as if you were living back in the 1800s on a farm.

One chapter talks about setting up a "acquarium" in your backyard in an above ground swimming pool to feed your family. They said that you have to be careful with the PH. You want it between 6.5 and 7. "add lime to reduce acidity; add gypsum to reduce alkalinity."

So if your pH is too high, I'm guessing you want to add some gypsum to the mix to bring it down if the filter isn't doing the job by itself.

moonglow
Sep 22nd 2008, 06:18 PM
Interesting that you just posted this. I knew NOTHING about raising and caring for fish until just last night when reading the book Back to Basics which tells you how to do lots of things...just about EVERYTHING on your own as if you were living back in the 1800s on a farm.

One chapter talks about setting up a "acquarium" in your backyard in an above ground swimming pool to feed your family. They said that you have to be careful with the PH. You want it between 6.5 and 7. "add lime to reduce acidity; add gypsum to reduce alkalinity."

So if your pH is too high, I'm guessing you want to add some gypsum to the mix to bring it down if the filter isn't doing the job by itself.

Well that would work if I lived on a farm and was doing that...:lol: Now they have chemicals you can buy and put in it to lower it..which I did but as I said it went back up over the weekend...:rolleyes: It won't stay down and I am trying to figure out why..if the charcoal is stopping it from working correctly...

BTW I have two giant gold fish in a pond outside...if you get hungry....





You can't have them! :lol::lol::P

God bless

teddyv
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:04 PM
How hard is the water where you are? Perhaps the pH is so high it's just overwhelming the chemicals? It's been a while since I kept a tank so I'm thinking out loud.

As far as the algae, are there any dedicated algae eaters in the tank? I used to have a couple snails and a plecostamus (sp?) to deal with that, although I'd still have to clean the algae every now and them.

HisLeast
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:06 PM
Oh also... is this a freshwater or saltwater aquarium?

moonglow
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:13 PM
How hard is the water where you are? Perhaps the pH is so high it's just overwhelming the chemicals? It's been a while since I kept a tank so I'm thinking out loud.

As far as the algae, are there any dedicated algae eaters in the tank? I used to have a couple snails and a plecostamus (sp?) to deal with that, although I'd still have to clean the algae every now and them.

This is brown slime...the worse kind of allege..I don't think any fish will eat this...

I have no idea how hard the city water is here...its pretty bad though. We have underground salt mines so get alot of hard water deposits. I am wondering about the under gravel filter. I was reading on this one site how left over food is sucked under it so is decaying...hard to get at to clean out and wondering if that could be adding to the problem also. Its been in there for years from what they tell me and never taken out...no telling what kind of junk is under there. I used their Gravel Vacuum but don't know if it got below the gravel to suck out any junk under there...:hmm:

God bless

moonglow
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:17 PM
Oh also... is this a freshwater or saltwater aquarium?

fresh..........(have to add this so it goes through)

lol look what I found...

http://thinkorthwim.com/2007/03/06/face-painted-fish-in-a-relationship/

This is too funny...a man and woman with fish painted on their faces..making faces at each other...:lol:

livingword26
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:30 PM
What exactly is your ph, also what are your nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia readings. How many fish, and what kind, are in the tank and what is the temperature?

teddyv
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:47 PM
This is brown slime...the worse kind of allege..I don't think any fish will eat this...

I have no idea how hard the city water is here...its pretty bad though. We have underground salt mines so get alot of hard water deposits. I am wondering about the under gravel filter. I was reading on this one site how left over food is sucked under it so is decaying...hard to get at to clean out and wondering if that could be adding to the problem also. Its been in there for years from what they tell me and never taken out...no telling what kind of junk is under there. I used their Gravel Vacuum but don't know if it got below the gravel to suck out any junk under there...:hmm:

God bless
Maybe test your local water source - are you using the bromethyl blue for testing (or something equivalent)?. Also I haven't heard of using a combination of undergravel filter and a charcoal filter before but it has been a while.

If it's been awhile since the gravel has been throughly cleaned that also could be an issue. I recall cleaning mine every 1-2 years and it gets pretty gross down at the bottom.

moonglow
Sep 23rd 2008, 12:03 AM
What exactly is your ph, also what are your nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia readings. How many fish, and what kind, are in the tank and what is the temperature?

I am using their stick test thingie and the color codes it comes with, the ph is so high it doesn't show on the chart...though I did get it down some today..I don't remember the numbers though. I also don't remember the numbers on the other things you asked about other then everything was high. Remember its not my tank. I don't think ammonia was listed on the tester. There are six fish...three very small...two about an inch and a half and one that is probably two inches long in a 20 gallon tank. They don't have a temperature sticker on the outside of the tank so I don't know what the temp was...sorry I am not much help in answering all these questions.


teddyv
Maybe test your local water source - are you using the bromethyl blue for testing (or something equivalent)?. Also I haven't heard of using a combination of undergravel filter and a charcoal filter before but it has been a while.

If it's been awhile since the gravel has been throughly cleaned that also could be an issue. I recall cleaning mine every 1-2 years and it gets pretty gross down at the bottom.

It might come to testing the water if all else fails! But I doubt that is the full cause of it. I am thinking the under gravel filter might need to go. I found a site that had alot of good information on it and going to read up on that. Thanks.

God bless

livingword26
Sep 23rd 2008, 12:36 AM
This is a good place to get advice. But the first thing they will ask you is the same things I asked.

http://aquariacentral.com/


I also would recommend getting an aquarium pharmaceuticals master test kit. It will be a great help, especially if you are going to do this for money.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754034

Test strips are notoriusly inacurate. If your ph is between 8 and 6, you will be fine.

moonglow
Sep 23rd 2008, 01:12 AM
This is a good place to get advice. But the first thing they will ask you is the same things I asked.

http://aquariacentral.com/


I also would recommend getting an aquarium pharmaceuticals master test kit. It will be a great help, especially if you are going to do this for money.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754034

Test strips are notoriusly inacurate. If your ph is between 8 and 6, you will be fine.

Ok thanks for your help! I have a test kit but its pretty old so probably need to get a new one. I know the ph is too high otherwise that brown junk wouldn't be coming back ...:rolleyes:

God bless

Lyndie
Sep 23rd 2008, 03:19 PM
Might find some help here too-
http://www.fishgeeks.com

moonglow
Sep 23rd 2008, 03:30 PM
Might find some help here too-
http://www.fishgeeks.com

Thanks! ....:)



God bless

moonglow
Sep 23rd 2008, 05:24 PM
Well I found out what the problem was with this tank. I went in there again and the ph was high again..isn't staying down...everything high again...I tested their drinking water and it showed they have great water there! Its soft water too and everything is in balance...so its not the water going in the tank causing the problem its something in the tank. They don't have too many fish...tank is clean (better be since i cleaned it :lol:) good filter system ...so that left one thing to check. I moved the gravel and got down to the under gravel filter and pulled it up just enough to see under it. Its got caked decaying fish food and waste stuck on there....I image its very, very nasty as she said that's been in there for years!

Its going to have to be taken out and when I do its really going to make the tank nasty. I hate to have to drain out alot of water just to get that all out of there. I am thinking of taking the fish out...draining out as much of the clean water and saving it before pulling that out. That way I won't have to totally replace all the water ...when you replace all the water it throws everything out of balance and is like having a new tank and having to start all over to get everything back in balance again. Wish there was a way to clean that out without it spreading all through the tank....

Once I get it out, its staying out too...they are just traps for fish food and waste and can't be cleaned well. I had a feeling that was the problem...just hoping it wasn't...:rolleyes: Even if I moved all the gravel to one side I don't think the gravel vacuum could get it all sucked out..the slats are just too narrow on it.

Thanks for everyone's help on this...I am going to save all the links for when I need them which I am sure I will. :)

God bless

teddyv
Sep 23rd 2008, 07:36 PM
Well I found out what the problem was with this tank. I went in there again and the ph was high again..isn't staying down...everything high again...I tested their drinking water and it showed they have great water there! Its soft water too and everything is in balance...so its not the water going in the tank causing the problem its something in the tank. They don't have too many fish...tank is clean (better be since i cleaned it :lol:) good filter system ...so that left one thing to check. I moved the gravel and got down to the under gravel filter and pulled it up just enough to see under it. Its got caked decaying fish food and waste stuck on there....I image its very, very nasty as she said that's been in there for years!

Its going to have to be taken out and when I do its really going to make the tank nasty. I hate to have to drain out alot of water just to get that all out of there. I am thinking of taking the fish out...draining out as much of the clean water and saving it before pulling that out. That way I won't have to totally replace all the water ...when you replace all the water it throws everything out of balance and is like having a new tank and having to start all over to get everything back in balance again. Wish there was a way to clean that out without it spreading all through the tank....

Once I get it out, its staying out too...they are just traps for fish food and waste and can't be cleaned well. I had a feeling that was the problem...just hoping it wasn't...:rolleyes: Even if I moved all the gravel to one side I don't think the gravel vacuum could get it all sucked out..the slats are just too narrow on it.

Thanks for everyone's help on this...I am going to save all the links for when I need them which I am sure I will. :)

God bless
I know you didn't really ask for advice with this post, but you'll definitely need to take the fish out before disturbing the gravel. You'll probably need to remove all the water as well - hopefully it's not a huge tank.

Have fun!:)

moonglow
Sep 23rd 2008, 09:56 PM
I know you didn't really ask for advice with this post, but you'll definitely need to take the fish out before disturbing the gravel. You'll probably need to remove all the water as well - hopefully it's not a huge tank.

Have fun!:)

advise is fine...:)

Actually they decided to buy a whole new tank! So they had me price checking..only problems was no one sold a 20 gallon tank here in town except one place and they only had one tank! So they gave me the money then I went downtown and bought it for them and took it back. I had to clean it up a little as it was so dirty and dusty and smelled like dog inside...:hmm:

Of course I would have taken the fish out if I was going to end up cleaning the under gravel filter..well taking it out I mean, because it would really pollute the tank..yuck. Now of course everything will be taken out to transfer to this new tank which I will do in the morning. Usually if I am just doing regular maintenance and using the gravel vacuum I don't take the fish out as it doesn't stir things up that much. I never took out my fish ..its less stressful on them. Netting them can damage their scales and their slime cover too..plus stressing them alot so they are more prone to diseases. Tomorrow I will have to do that and I hope they aren't hard to catch! Chasing them around with a net also causes them alot of stress. There are two I know I will have problems with and they are fast so I am going to bring my net and in using two I should be able to corner them...hopefully. Sometimes that takes longer then anything! :rolleyes:

God bless