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Re: [SPAM] [AGA-Member] pH shock - how to support recovery?

In my experience, if the pH is within the range tolerated by the fish, more
so if in the optimum range, it would be better to leave the pH alone. Fish
can thrive in less than ideal conditions as long as those conditions are
stable. Subjecting to them to an upswing in pH would most likely result in
further stress, again more so if we're talking about raising the pH back to
the orginal levels and those weren't the optimum to begin with.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kirsten Klinghammer" <klingham@pacbell.net>
To: "'Aquatic Gardeners Association Member Chat'" <aga-member@thekrib.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2005 2:54 PM
Subject: [SPAM] [AGA-Member] pH shock - how to support recovery?

Sorry to bother everyone, but I made a BIG MISTAKE this morning.  I just got
a CO2 tank for the first time, and have been careful to use it only when I
can monitor it (since I'm not quite used to how set it the way I want it
yet).  I've been setting the level low the past couple of days and have been
building up to what I want, but this morning I mistakenly set the bubble
rate way too high, and I had a massive pH drop over three hours time - pH 8
to pH 6.5.  I should have double-checked myself sooner, but I didn't, and as
a result my fish have suffered.  Luckily they're all still alive, and I hope
and pray they stay that way.   I did some quick and dirty checking online
about pH shock, and all I can find it that fish can die from it, and how to
avoid it (these parts I know).  How does one help fish get over it?

If anyone can guide me on my next steps I'd appreciate that.  I have done
two 25% water changes so far - one immediately, one about 20 or so minutes
later.   The first brought the pH from 6.5 to 6.8, and the second brought it
to about 7.2 (my tap water - well water - pH is about 7.4 - 7.5).  The fish
(Corydoras sterbai, angelfish, Siamese algae eaters, and otocinclus) were
all basically immobile when I walked into the room to check the tank and
found the low pH, and most weren't even visibly breathing.  After the first
water change the fish all looked a little happier, and some of them moved
about again.  After the second water change the fish have all started
breathing relatively normally, although the SAE's and some of the otos still
look pretty out of it.  The angels and the corys aren't back to normal
activity, but I think they'll survive; not so sure about the otos or the

My O2 level was 5 ppm, btw, when the pH was 6.5, and has normally been
around 6 ppm, at least in the pre-CO2 days.  I checked the info on all of
the fish, and they supposedly can all handle (or thrive) at low pH levels.
Obviously the sudden change is wrong, but at least I caught the problem
before the pH dropped even lower than it did.

Question 1:  Should I try to bring my pH any higher at this time (to
approach pre-precipitous-drop levels), or should I just leave everything
alone for now (the CO2 is off, of course).

Question 2:  Should I turn feed any of the fish later on today?  What is the
least physiologically taxing for them, to feed them or not?  They had a
small Tetramin flake and Spectrum pellet breakfast, and I found them before
they were going to get their live blackworms for lunch (I usually feed 4-5
small feedings per day, at least two live feedings, the rest frozen or

Question 3:  If a fish has survived pH shock, is it more prone to illness,
or should previously healthy fish (which these are) return to full health

I feel appalled at my error this morning, and I want to do anything I can to
help keep my fish alive.

Thank you,


Kirsten Klinghammer

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