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Author Topic: Gravel turns water alkaline...  (Read 7988 times)
« on: January 14, 2008, 09:14:50 PM »

Hi, guys. I've just joined up to this lovely forum, however I've been lurking for a couple of months or so, doing research for my new tank, etc.

Now, I got a new tank before Christmas, which I put my three zebra danios in - I had kept them for about a year in a smaller tank, and they were really healthy, etc. After considering the advice on this site very carefully, I kept some old gravel and mixed it with the brand new gravel in my new tank. I kept the floss from the old filter to put in the new tank to help with the nitrogen cycle. I believe my tank has already cycled after one month of being totally set up, and the nitrates are nearly zero. I added a new danio on Christmas Eve and it, as well as the other guys, look really healthy and love it in their new tank.

The thing is, I added some new salt-and-pepper corydoras two days ago (they're so cute!) and they seem like they're having a great time these past two days - they're eating the pellets I put in the tank for them, etc., but I checked the ph of my tank yesterday and it's alkaline. About 8.0. I was like, uh-oh, because according to the website they like slightly acid water. The danios clearly don't seem to mind, but the corydoras have only been there for two days, so I'm worried it might take its toll on them later on, even though they look happy now.

After taking a little bit of gravel out and putting neutral water in a test tube along with it, and leaving it overnight - the ph test showed that it's the gravel making the water go alkalike. This is really annoying because it would be difficult to get all the gravel out and put some neutral gravel back in without disturbing the fish too much!

Do you guys have any advice? Would corydoras be robust enough to cope with alkaline water? Should I add something to the water or filter to counteract the alkaline effect of the gravel? Should I completely change the gravel?

Arg! What do I do?
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 09:28:33 PM »

A lot of people have kept cories very successfully in pH at 8.0.  In fact they will be found in pH levels resembling that in the wild.  A number of sources also mention low to mid levels of hardness (2-12), when in fact a range of 2-20 dH is acceptable and natural for them.  The pH range for cories is usually 6.0-8.0

It has always bothered me the way a lot of the info regarding water parameters is presented.  It is as if there is a perfect range which must be achieved for fish to thrive--even simply survive.  The data usually comes out as a combination of facts combined to create fish nirvana.  Hobbyists need to remember that for most species kept the distribution of that species in the wild is wide.  And the water conditions vary.  With many (most) species it is nto a single number for any value.  Rather it is understanding and remembering that there are wide ranges of water conditions.  And some of the data presented is done so with an eye to replicating conditions that may be more conducive to successful breeding--not just keeping.

Ranges.  Think ranges.  Do not trust single numbers.  In the wild the species will see large shifts in a number of water parameters overnight.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2008, 09:35:07 PM by Sully » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 09:59:43 PM »

The gravel you bought is probably crushed coral.Is it white?
My well water is 8.2 pH and I have over 50 cories all perfectly healthy some Ive had for 2 years

Waiting will fill
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 10:20:40 PM »

Thankyou so much for putting my mind at ease, guys.... It's just that I had so many mishaps when I was a kid with my aquarium hobby, and I don't want to mess up again now I've started again (however, I've been at it for over a year now and nobody's died yet).

The gravel I got didn't look like crushed coral but perhaps there is some in there. The picture on the front of the bag had goldfish on it. There is some white gravel, but it's mostly different shades of brown. I wonder if the gravel will ever 'settle down' and go neutral, or if it will go on creating alkalinity forever. Hm.
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 10:31:49 PM »

I'm gonna guess your tap, after sitting out for 24 hours will have near the same pH as your tank water.  Sounds like you have regular "pea" gravel, which would have no effect on your pH. Smiley  Have fun with your tank and welcome!
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 10:43:43 PM »

Yeah - I would have thought so too, but I did a 'control' sample as well. I put water in a test tube without gravel and left it for the same amount of time as the one with gravel, and the plain water one came out 7. Weird, isn't it? It does look like normal, boring old freshwater aquarium gravel, but it was pretty cheap....
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 10:45:06 PM »

Thanks for the welcome, by the way! The knowledge here and willingness to help out is amazing.
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