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Old 02-06-2010, 06:10 PM   #1
ledfootz28
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Default Does ammonia raise or lower ph?HELP!

Hi all.I have a 75 gall fish tank with just a red belly,parrot fish and a spotted catfish.im having a real hard time with the water

first off my ammonia is sky high and my ph is low.i dont have much gravel so that dirt get filtered and dont sit..just enough gravel to cover the bottom.i have a few pieces of drift wood,an emperor dual filter and a 350 magun filter and circ pump.

i used alot of ammo lock and did a few water changes to try and battle the ammonia this week.i was wondering if high ammonia can lower the ph bc my ph is sadly in the high 4's low 5's..f'n rediculous.

ive been doing about 20% water changes once a month but lately ive been doing them more often bc of the water conditions.

heres my questions:
how many cubes of food(frozen plankton or whatever) would u feed every day.i was doing 2 cubes but now im only doin one for amm reasons.

how often should a h20 change be done on a 75 gal

Last edited by lohachata; 02-06-2010 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 02-06-2010, 06:29 PM   #2
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I would have said once a week, but looking at your list of big-eating, messy fish which I'm assuming aren't small, I'd say twice or 3 times a week,whatever it takes to get the water quality. If you only do once a week, you may need to do a huge one, like 75%.

Yes, over-feeding/under-waterchanging can drop definitely your pH. This is what is meant by "the tanked crashed". The nitrate levels creep up and up until the "buffering capacity" of the water is exhausted and the pH drops overnight. Usually I see this with high nitrate levels rather than ammonia as ammonia in an established tank should always be 0. That you have any ammonia is cause for concern. You may need to clean a filter or gravel-wash whatever gravel you have. I would advise you cut back on feeding, not necessarily forever, but until your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/pH is under control. Go back to basics, treat it like a new tank, watch you levels and change as much water as you need to to get things back on track.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:47 PM   #3
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well i just did a 75% water change and added stress coat and conditioner accordingly.i got the ph to the high 5's and the majority of the ammonia should be out.

does ammonia lower ph though?>
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:00 PM   #4
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dissolved solids can lower your PH.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:00 PM   #5
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Not sure on this one. Household ammonia is basic, caustic. You don't mix it with toliet-bowl cleaner (phosphoric acid). Ammonia gas in water makes ammonium hydroxide. Extra hydroxide in water is basic, not acidic. But when you add "detoxifiers" like Prime or ammo-lock, I think they control the ammonia's toxicity by "compexing it" and I don't know what that does to pH. The only ingredient in ammo-lock disclosed is sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate.

I do know that both nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-) are acidic. You really should be testing for all three.

Water changes are a straight concentration math. Ammonia conc. before x fraction of old water = ammonia conc. after. Your ammonia should be reduced by 75% with a 75% water change.

Last edited by emc7; 02-06-2010 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:25 AM   #6
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lf:

The following answers the question/title of your thread.

Originally Posted by emc7 View Post
ammonia is basic, ....
ie. ammonia raises Ph.

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Old 02-07-2010, 08:08 AM   #7
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Ammonia does not lower pH, but the process of turning it into nitrite and nitrate does lower the pH quite a bit.

The low pH is, actually in reverse, the reason your ammonia is so high. The bacteria which convert ammonia can't do it if the pH is as low as yours, so the ammonia you create can't get eliminated.

You really need to get that pH up where it belongs, and do it slowly enough to not hurt the fish.
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:54 AM   #8
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wow good posts guys.really appreciate it.ive been battling insane low ph and high ammonia and now it makes sense..having a low ph i cant get rid of the ammonia(i think thats right).

after the 75% water change last night i got my ph up to 5.6
im going to bring a sample of my tank water and tap water to the aquarium store today to get a full test done including the nitrites and nitrates.

emc7 you said its simple math in terms of 2 quantities of water that have ammonia but does the same work with ph.like if you have 25% of water with a 4 ph and add 75% of water with a 6.7 ph is that why my ph right now is 5.6

im def going to cut the feeding down to maybe 1 frozen cube for a while until im on a good water change schedule..it just sucks when u have a red belly catfish and parrotfish..they need food and not some algae wafers lol.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:23 PM   #9
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No, pH is a log scale. So the math is all off. You need an equation like 10^(.25*log(3.9)+.75*log(6.7))=5.8. That you got 5.6 instead of 5.8 means there is still something pulling your pH down further. Looks like more/bigger water changes for you.

Ammonia is straight math is you started with 4ppm, you'd have 1 ppm after a 75% change.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:31 PM   #10
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i cant keep doing 75% water changes and having no results.what could possibly be pulling the ph down if all the drift wood is out..no plants are in there and i have a fully working dual emperor and magnum filter.i just dont get how the water ph or even ammonia can get so out of wack with good filtration..its redicilous.

i heard stabalizing ph is hard and ph rebound happens alot..so what do you do if it just keeps rebounding low..how do you have fix it unless u take every drop of water out of the tank
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:35 PM   #11
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you would think that all that filtration would buffer the water to a normal ph

if my biological bacteria is toast from the ph then i could replace all the filters at once and im not messin anything up lol right.

i think im goin to service the magnum today.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ledfootz28 View Post
emc7 you said its simple math in terms of 2 quantities of water that have ammonia but does the same work with ph.like if you have 25% of water with a 4 ph and add 75% of water with a 6.7 ph is that why my ph right now is 5.6 ....
lf:

Not exactly.

Ph values are logarithmic whereas ammonia concentration values are linear.

The following is approximate only.

Ph indicates the concentration of H+ ions in the water, ie. a concentration of 10^-14 yields a Ph of 14.

Something like battery acid has a very,very low Ph; a high concentration of H+ ions and hence burns the skin due to the quantity of H+ combining with the basic portions of the skin.

Assume a 10G tank with a Ph of 5.

A one gallon water change with RO/DI water yields a Ph of approximately 5.9.

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Old 02-07-2010, 12:59 PM   #13
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filtering doesn't ever buffer, it justs moves ammonia to nitrate. Regular water changes take out nitrate, skip them and it builds up and up.

You are right, if your bacteria is toast, you can service the filters and be no worse off.

I have been known to take every drop of water out of tank. It really is the easiest way to get to 0 nitrate. The trick then is acclimating your fish back to the clean water slowly enough to be safe for them.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:11 PM   #14
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What kind of test kit did you use to find a PH of 4 or 5? Most kits will only measure down to 6.0.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:19 PM   #15
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so what should i battle first the ph or ammonia.if my ph is low then battling the ammonia is pointless.i just tested the ph and it dropped to 5
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