Thread: PH Question
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:06 AM
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When I kept C. moori/blue dolphins they did just fine in ph in the mid 7s, no problems at all and I've seen people keep tank raised moorii at 7.0 without a problem.

To go into more detail on acclimation, what I like to do receiving shipped fish is test the ph in the shipping bags when I get them so I know what I'm dealing with. If it's close enough to the ph in their target tank I just float the bags long enough to equalize temperature (like 5 minutes) then net them into the tank.

If shipping water ph is way low, that usually means ammonia in the bags and I'll get them into a bucket or tub quick as possible with ph in the bucket high enough to be safer but as close as reasonable to the bag ph-- in other words, if water in shipping bags of African cichlids was to test in low 6s I'd want to get them into water near 7 pretty quickly, then start raising ph from there up to my target ph.

If water in the bags is more than just a few tenths higher than my tank, I'll set up the bucket to match the ph in the bag water, then gradually lower it to my target ph before transferring them into the tank.

Most of that is just being cautious, which there's nothing wrong with doing and better safe than sorry. But, like I say (and as the link in my post above shows), all else being equal in terms of water quality, most fish can actually handle quick ph changes within reason and when I used to keep tanks at different ph-- not to an extreme, but one tank 7.2 and another 7.8, for example-- when needed I could move fish from one to another without issues.

...A lot of the issues people have with ph swings come from things like how it affects nitrifying bacteria which operate differently (more efficient) at ph in the mid 7s to about 8 compared to the low 7s or lower, and how ammonia changes chemically from low ph to high ph (or the other way around). There's technically something of a trade-off in that lower ph means less efficient bacteria but more ammonia in its safer form while higher ph (up to the high 7s, low 8s) means more efficient bacteria, but ammonia in a more toxic form-- which is why adding higher ph water from your tank to a shipping bag with low ph and ammonia can be hard on the fish, thus the reason for transferring them to a bucket of clean water for acclimation.

So, it's not that fish can't handle ph changes in themselves, it's complications to the conditions in a limited tank (or bag) environment that can bother them. In other words, in agreement with the article, I found that moving a fish from one healthy tank at 7.2 to another healthy tank at 7.6 or so (or the other way around) didn't bother my fish and I've received shipped fish previously kept in the 8s and with a little time in an acclimation bucket as described above, put them into one of my tanks at 7.4-7.6 with no problem at all.

There could be some exceptions with more sensitive fish, some ram cichlids, or B. cupido, for example, but it's been over 20 years since I kept those types.
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