Should I start freaking out about my PH?

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by HiFidelity, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Over the past few months I have been very happy with the growth, PE & overall health of my tank. My corals are growing faster than I had ever managed in the past and with the exception of some algae growing (very slowly) everything appears to be doing fabulous.

    I have one sole concern at the moment, as things progressed and improved also my PH has slowly climbed up and currently it peaks out at 8.5 during the day & 8.4 at night, I've increased my dosing of vinegar to help offset the rising PH and I'm now considering adding carbonated water too.

    I can't help but think of the old wisdom of "if it ain't broken don't fix it" only because the tank is doing so well, yet at the same time the health of my 5 fish is becoming a concern, perhaps my corals are loving slightly higher PH (for some odd reason) but fish can't stay healthy if it rises any higher than 8.5.

    What would you do?

    Most recent parameters measured;

    1.026 salinity
    8.5 alk (this limits increased vinegar dosing)
    8.5 ph
    450 calcium
    1300 mag

    I'm dosing kalkwasser/vinegar together & vodka via ATO water.
  2. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    The answer to the title of your post. No.
    Said it yourself. Ain't broke don't fix. Clean and Re calibrate ph probe?
  3. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I just cleaned & calibrated it a month ago but I'm thinking of buying another calibration pouch to rule out error.
    Liquid PH test kits are the worst so I don't take those measurements too seriously hah
  4. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    You should only fix it if you truly have an issue, and truly find the root cause.
    Opinion: Do NOT add CO2 to "patch" a possible problem.

    +1 on making sure your PH is really 8.5
    Also, make sure your Alk is really 8.5, and not much higher. (Unlikely, but double check)

    Are you getting precipitate on pumps? You might want to check that.

    Is your tank really sealed up? Enough flow through return? Skimmer air intake issues?
    A possible cause is lack of aeration.
    A very safe test is to put an air-stone in your tank for a few days, and see if that affects anything.

    A fun fix : Get more fish. :)
  5. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Also: Do you have concrete structures in your tank?

    BAYMAC Guest

    8.5 is what people strive for as an upper pH value. If it goes any higher, start to worry.
  7. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Baymac, I would have to say that I completely agree because only after my ph went past 8.4 did my coral growth really take off. A few months ago my tank only grew SPS at an acceptable rate, now i have LPS going, SPS is on crack & for the first time Zoa/Palys are really growing, for some reason if I put 10 zoas in a month later I only had 10. Now, I'm getting a 2 new heads/month on the harder to grow ones and the tiny 1 head frags are doubling up soon tripling etc.
    I wish I'd known because in the past I avoided high ph like the Plague.

    Mark, you must have gathered from my comments that judging by the tank's behavior alone it's far from a problem in fact it's been a good thing.

    My only concern is if it goes past 8.5, I bought seltzer water just in case it does I have a means to stop it right away.
    Now to answer to your comment more specifically;

    ALK is really 8.5, I've compared against a standard I got from BAR
    Percipitate - negative
    Tank is far from sealed up, open top and half the sump is exposed, not long ago I had a fan on there to combat heat and that seemed to not yield any changes also the whole setup is in the garage and I have an open stand with no doors. On top of all that, 3 feet from everything is a permanently open doggy door so there is all kinds of fresh air around.

    I do want more fish, but I've been too busy and there haven't been any fish to "rescue" (more like adopt for a fee from someone else) because I don't buy ocean caught fish from stores o_O yeah I know I'm weird...

    BAYMAC Guest

    :) I don't find that odd, in fact, I know several people that do the same. Me, I'll never buy a dog, I'll only rescue :)
    denzil and Coral reefer like this.
  9. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Just wondering why it would go higher than that if you don't change anything? Too much photosynthesis all at once?
  10. BAYMAC

    BAYMAC Guest

    Doubtful, but possible. Our phyto cultures would be at a pH of 12.0 if we didn't knock it down with CO2.
  11. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I don't expect it to rise any higher since the tanks chemistry appears to be balanced but ever since I moved to the new tank I noticed it slowly rise from 8.3 to 8.5 but so far it has stopped, the highest I've seen it go is about 8.55 during the last hour of photosynthesis. I guess I was afraid of what if the rising trend continued? simply because I've never had PH sit at 8.5 before, it's always been lower.

    I have wondered why the system's PH is different in this tank vs the old tank, same salt mix, same water source, same husbandry habits, only changes have been the tank itself and the addition of a sump & bigger skimmer. Now after seeing the feedback here I won't spend too much time thinking about that because I'm loving the results, so whatever I did along the process must have been right haha.

    My next mission is to get rid of algae once & for all, waiting on some chaeto from a friend :)
  12. BAYMAC

    BAYMAC Guest

    old tanks typically have build up of organic matter... as it breaks down, it drops the pH.
  13. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Have you considered reverse lighting your sump/refugium? Some folks have had good luck keeping a lower/more stable pH over a 24 hour period with reverse lit sumps.
  14. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    have a fuge ready to go but waiting to get some chaeto from a friend
  15. ifarmer

    ifarmer Guest

    Not really sure what is the affect of the PH in the saltwater.
    But in all of my years in this hobby i have never payed attention nor tested for PH

    Sent from my GT-I9192 using Tapatalk
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
  16. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Ive heard this before but haven't tried it

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