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Sodium bisulfate to reduce PH?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Joshaeus, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Joshaeus

    Joshaeus New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi everyone! I am getting back into the aquarium hobby after months of bad depression, and I really want to set up a 10 gallon black water tank. I am far from decided on exactly what I will be keeping it (dwarf cichlids? licorice gouramies? unusual tetras? so many options...), but I wanted some advice on how to reduce the PH of a blackwater tank. In the past, when I had my licorice gouramies, I would use a very dilute mixture of 1/8th tsp pure sodium bisulfate in about a cup of distilled water, and used a few milliliters of this mixture per gallon of distilled water to get a PH in the low to mid 4's. Is this actually safe for fish? If not, how else can I lower the PH without playing with substances that can severely burn me? Thanks :)
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    It works, but is not the best option IMHO, especially if you intend to breed blackwater species. It lowers the pH but increases the electrical conductivity. Many fish will not breed if the conductivity is too high.

    If I understand your post correctly, you use distilled water in the aquarium and then modify the pH of this low hardness water. I use sphagnum peat (from a garden shop) instead of inorganic chemicals. I pass the water through it until I get a pH near where I want it. Realize that in very soft water (with no buffers) pH values aren't especially stable. Peat has the advantage that it adds humic and fulvic acids that seem to encourage breeding. I then use the peat-treated water with regular water changes. Adding chemicals directly to an aquarium can be dangerous to fish if too much is added by accident.
    dw1305 likes this.
  3. Joshaeus

    Joshaeus New Member 5 Year Member

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    OK! Thanks. The licorice gourami tanks never had a TDS above about 20 ppm while I was doing this, but I'll look into using the peat moss.