Can low PH kill fish?

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Auqaman

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With the colder weather I’ve been keeping my windows closed more often, and the PH has hit rock bottom. 7.1 being the lowest. I’ve ordered a CO2 scrubber and it’s being shipped.
Sadly, it was too late for my royal gramma. I found him this morning beside my BTA. Would it be the low PH, or the anemone that killed him?
I’ll be keeping my windows open until the scrubber arrives.
Thanks for the help
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I think it highly unlikely the pH is that low. How did you measure it?

It implies CO2 levels ten times normal, which if it is caused by elevated CO2 in home air, is a serious health hazard for yourself.
 
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Auqaman

Auqaman

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I think it highly unlikely the pH is that low. How did you measure it?

It implies CO2 levels ten times normal, which if it is caused by elevated CO2 in home air, is a serious health hazard for yourself.
I’m using the apex fusion. I think it’s off by .2
So when it reads 7.1 it would really be 7.3
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vetteguy53081

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If oxygen is low and water is too acidic- maybe
How low are we talking and what test kit?
 

homer1475

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PH buffers are alkalinity supplements. While you gain a small temporary increase in PH, you gain a rather large permanent increase in alkalinity. These things should never be sold nor added to a reef tank.

Calibrate your PH probe, let it settle for a day or 2, then get back to us.
 
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nereefpat

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PH buffers are alkalinity supplements. While you gain a small temporary increase in PH, you gain a rather large permanent increase in alkalinity. These things should never be sold nor added to a reef tank.

Yes, but in this case, I think OP means 7.0 & 10.0 pH buffer solutions used to calibrate a pH probe.
 

stevenliu9

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pH does dip down in winter months when air circulation isn't very good. I have been using a very cheap trick of dosing Arm & Hammer to my tank to raise pH. It isn't the most sustainable way, but something you can consider
 
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Auqaman

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So I just had a eureka moment. I calibrated my ph probe and sure enough it was bang on. I then decided to try placing the prob in a different chamber in the sump. Once it was in a different chamber, the ph went from 7.3 to 8.1. My ph probe and primary heater shared the same chamber, so the heat generated by the heater caused a false reading. Thanks for all the help everyone!!!
PS, it was the nem that killed the royal gramma!
 

nereefpat

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pH does dip down in winter months when air circulation isn't very good. I have been using a very cheap trick of dosing Arm & Hammer to my tank to raise pH. It isn't the most sustainable way, but something you can consider

See Homer's post below. Baking soda raises alkalinity.


While you gain a small temporary increase in PH, you gain a rather large permanent increase in alkalinity.

So I just had a eureka moment. I calibrated my ph probe and sure enough it was bang on. I then decided to try placing the prob in a different chamber in the sump. Once it was in a different chamber, the ph went from 7.3 to 8.1. My ph probe and primary heater shared the same chamber, so the heat generated by the heater caused a false reading. Thanks for all the help everyone!!!
PS, it was the nem that killed the royal gramma!

Glad you figured it out. My guess is it's the electric interference, rather than the heat generated.
 

jccaclimber

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I would not expect a substantial enough temperature difference to swing a pH probe that much. I’d start checking for stray voltage and other electrical interference. A fellow hobbyist near me saw a similar jump in a handheld probe when he turned on his fuge light. Obviously it wasn’t a real pH shift.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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So I just had a eureka moment. I calibrated my ph probe and sure enough it was bang on. I then decided to try placing the prob in a different chamber in the sump. Once it was in a different chamber, the ph went from 7.3 to 8.1. My ph probe and primary heater shared the same chamber, so the heat generated by the heater caused a false reading. Thanks for all the help everyone!!!
PS, it was the nem that killed the royal gramma!

It's not likely the heat, which has very little effect on measured pH near pH 7, but more likely electrical interference, which is fairly commonly an issue.

I discuss the temperature effects here:


Temperature Effects on pH Measurement
There are two different ways that temperature impacts pH measurement. The first involves actual chemical changes in the solution that you are measuring. Acids can, for example, become stronger or weaker as the temperature is changed. This is how calibration standards change their pH as a function of temperature (which is discussed in more detail in the calibration section below). If the solution has solids in contact with it (as is the case with saturated limewater in the presence of excess solids), the temperature can also impact how much acid or base is in solution impacting pH, and how much is just solid sitting on the bottom of the container. These effects are specific for every solution that you will encounter, and there is nothing general that one can or should do about this, except be aware that it happens.

The second impact of temperature is on the pH electrode itself. pH electrodes change their response in a very clear way as temperature is changes. They respond more strongly to pH changes at higher temperature than at lower ones. At 100 ºC, they change their output potential by 74 mV/pH unit, and at 0 ºC, they change by 54 mv/pH unit. Because pH meters are typically standardized at pH 7 (that is, zero mv = pH 7), the error from temperature differences gets greater and greater as the pH being measured gets further from 7. So it may be trivial when measuring something with a pH of 7.1, but very important when measuring something with a pH of 10 (or when calibrating with a pH 10 buffer).

There are usually three different ways of taking temperature into account. One is to make measurements close to the temperature at which you calibrated the meter (say, within a few degrees). The second is to “tell’ the meter what the temperature is (digitally or with a dial). The third is that some meters have a temperature probe, usually called an ATC, which you stick into the measuring solution. This probe reports the temperature back to the meter, and the meter makes any necessary corrections (for this type of temperature effect).

As long as you use one of these three ways of dealing with temperature issues, you will get reasonably accurate readings.
 
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Auqaman

Auqaman

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I'm still having issues with the PH probe. It's calibrated correctly (I've checked it and rechecked it). Whenever I take the probe out and place it in a different chamber it started to read correctly. But over a couple hours it will slowly creep down to the low 7's. I bought a PH meter and checked the water and it reads 8.1 when the probe reads low 7's.
Is there a static charge build up happening? I've been trying to ground the probe but it's not easy. Anyone else have this issue?
 

Mical

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I'm still having issues with the PH probe. It's calibrated correctly (I've checked it and rechecked it). Whenever I take the probe out and place it in a different chamber it started to read correctly. But over a couple hours it will slowly creep down to the low 7's. I bought a PH meter and checked the water and it reads 8.1 when the probe reads low 7's.
Is there a static charge build up happening? I've been trying to ground the probe but it's not easy. Anyone else have this issue?

Check the routing of your wiring for your probe. Make sure it's not near ANYTHING that electrical or the cable crossing at 90 degrees. As Randy mentioned above moving the probe and seeing a difference is usually electrical interference.
 
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