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Cycle bump? My pH increased?

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I'm not sure what is going on with my tank, it's definitely not an emergency but it's a bit strange. Yesterday I noticed my two orandas bottom sitting in the corner of my aquarium. They usually sleep together in the corners of the tank but they never normally rest on the substrate. When I walked up to the tank they seemed to "wake up" and start swimming around normally, but then I would find them on the bottom again. Last night I started a water change and ran the usual tests with the results ammonia=0.25ppm, nitrite=0ppm, nitrate=5-10ppm, and surprisingly my pH had increased from it's usual 8.0 to somewhere between 8.2-8.4. My pH is usually very stable so I was surprised to see a test result that was different from my normal reading. I also am a bit worried about the slight ammonia reading because all of my filters have been fully cycled for about 4-5 months now. I did however move my two HOB filters and my sponge filter as well as my old sand substrate to a new aquarium several weeks ago but the transition seemed to go smoothly and the test parameters always came out in the normal safe ranges. A little over two weeks ago I cracked the bottom pane of glass in my 29 gallon and I had to move my 2" goldfish into the 60 gallon with my three other goldfish, but with weekly 80% water changes everything in the tank has seemed fine. 

 

I performed a 90% water change last night after testing the water and now the fish are acting normally again. The pH in the tank is back to where it normally is and I can't figure out what could have caused the pH to increase? I'm guessing the change in pH is what caused my fish to bottom sit. The pH of the water out of my tap is 8.0 like it normally is. 

The only things I have changed in the tank recently is adding a fairly large piece of driftwood, but I thought that driftwood would acidify water if anything, not make it more basic? I also added some pothos plants to my HOB filters and planted a couple aquatic plants in the aquarium (2 anubias, some elodea, and some wisteria). Another oddity was that my nitrates were only 5-10ppm. Normally by the time I am due for the weekly 80% water change my nitrates are around 20ppm (this was true even before I added the small 2" fish to the main tank). I kind of attributed this to the addition of the plants but the pothos hasn't even had time to grow aquatic roots yet and I don't think my small amount of aquatic plants would be able to remove 10ppm nitrate from the water? The lower nitrates may be because I inadvertently fed my fish more sparsely this week.  

I really can't think of anything else that has changed, and I'm going to keep a close eye on my water params and do a water change whenever I need to but I'm a little worried I'm going through some type of cycle bump. 

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What do you use to test your water?   Do you always test at the same time of day?  In ponds, you typically get the highest pH reading late in the day and the lowest in the morning.  These can be a full pH unit apart.  You should have a similar (but smaller) pH swing in an aquarium.

 

Test pH just before dark today and first thing in the morning tomorrow, and see if they change.

 

I don't know where the ammonia comes from, but ammonia toxicity increases with pH.  You can protect your fish with a full tank dose of Prime every second day.

 

I know high nitrite can lower pH.  I don't know if that has anything to do with your situation.

 

How often do you clean your filter and how do you clean it?

 

If it fits your schedule, do two 50% changes a week instead of one very large change.  Your fish will like that better.

 

 

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UGH! It's ICH!  :thumbdown  I don't know what I added to the tank that could have been contaminated with ich, but they all definitely have it. Doesn't explain the pH change or ammonia, but it explains the bottom sitting. I noticed it when I saw Mango flashing and rubbing against the sand. I'm really annoyed at myself. 

I'll make a new thread in the disease and diagnosis forum later when I can properly fill out the questionnaire, but for now I removed the plants, did a 90% WC, bumped the temp a little bit (from 72-74, I will continue bumping it over the next couple days) and raised salinity to 0.1%. I also turned on their bubble wall that I had previously turned off to help increase oxygenation in the tank. Poor fishies :ill  

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