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Arm & Hammer (NEED HELP BAD)


O. vulgaris
Jul 9, 2006
I need halp bad! I cant get a PH buffer so I have to make my own. I hear it can be made from arm & hammer because it is sodium bicarbonate. Is this true? Are there additional ingredients needed? Is it safe to add the aquarium? Heeeeelp!!!
Thales suggestion to add oxygen is a good one, but be careful that the octopus can't get into the bubbles or get hold of the tubing.

I remember being told at the NRCC that they used something like baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, as a buffer, but I don't think it was the baking soda we buy for cooking. Baking soda from the grocery may have other additives - not sure about this one.

Hi Tako,

What you want to use is Kalkwasser which is a solution of Calcium Hydroxide in water. This stuff, used properly, will raise your pH and the calcium level in your tank. Many aquarists have found that the cheapest way to do this is to use a product called "Pickling Lime" (used in home canning). You can get a pretty good grounding in Kalkwasser, CaOH, and pickling lime here:
SimplifiedReefKeeping.com is for sale | HugeDomains

I'm no expert, but I recall reading that baking soda is not a good idea because of the complexities of saltwater chemistry.

If you'd like to develop a deeper understanding of this topic you can find a number of articles here:
Reef Central Online Community

Basically yours,

I cant find your tank history. Can you give me a summary so I can give you helpful advice?

I wouldn't add Kalk because you don't need the calcium and the danger of overdosing is very real.

I am not a big fan of using anything to muck with the pH in a tank because it usually ends up bouncing the levels up and down and what I think we are after is stability.

Oh- Nancy, I wanted him to add o2 to the water sample before he tested it. It seem like there is no sump so gas exchange may be part of the problem. But, without knowing the details of the tank (and I looked for a while but cant seem to find any consolidated info) I am really just taking pot shots. :smile:
I have a smaller tank where I've been trying out some of the ideas I've read about for what influences pH. I have two calibrated PinPoint monitors with continual read out on that tank, so I can see what's happening all day long. Adding a bubbler or other source of oxygen to a tank like that does raise the pH, but it's not good for an octo to have bubbles added to the tank.

Tako-Poke's pH is pretty low (even allowing for some margin of error) for an octopus so he might try water changes or whatever else works.
Akyu and W. managed to keep little Ossie in an uncycled tank until the natural end of her life, and this was done through water changes.

Nick, the iimportant thing is to closely watch your octopus. Is he still eating and behaving normally?

You could always add the bubbles in an air lift tube that comes out of the surface of the water. All you need is airline down a bigger 'riser tube' and an air pump. As the bubbles rise in the larger tube they also draw water up and aid greatly in gas exchange. Since the bubbles don't mix in the water column, they just burst at the surface and should pose no threat to an ceph.

Definitely on the water changes - I think more for the nitrate/nitrite than the pH. I get the feeling that Nick shouldn't get caught up in the pH adjustment spiral when there seem to be more pressing matters and water changes should solve both. :smile:
I took a sample of some bubbly water (it was the closest thing to airated because I dont have an airstone) and the pH was still the same. I do have an air pump and I might try your idea for an airlift. I added baking soda and it did nothing then later that night I added amquel+ neither did anything for pH or nitrates. The only thing that the amquel did was make my octopus go crazy and ram his head into the glass! Im planning to do a water change later today, but how much should I? As for the octos behavior it is definatey different. He just sits there perched on top of a rock doing nothing. He doesnt even care that hes in broad daylight with no hiding spot! He is mostly a mix of white and brown with blue tint on the underbelly and around the gills. He hasnt eaten in two days. When I put my hand in the water for a sample he turned his coloration into somthing like that of a zebras! At least hes still aware of potential predators I guess...
Nick, what's the situation with water changes? - think you need to start that right away. Do you have fresh sea water on hand or do you need to go get it? Like Thales says, forget about everything but water changes. A water change would help your pH, too.

This doesn't sound good with your octopus. Unless you can turn this around quickly, you might consider returning him to the place where you found him.

Don't use any more Amquel - you're not using tap water and Amquel, are you?

I would start with about a 50% water change right now, because it doesn't sound good for the octopus. After that maybe 25% daily water changes until you get things under control. I wouldn't add any more chemicals to your tank. Water changes are the way to go... maybe another member with more experience has a different suggestion, but at least a 25% change now!
Why did you add amquel? It isn't for pH or nitrates.
Please don't add anything to your tank, without a sound strategy you are just going to muck things up more.
What kind of test kit are you using to measure pH?
I let the octo go. But only until I can get a water change done. I made him an artificial cave near the shore so I can get him later. He looked so sickly. I hope he doesnt leave the cave though. I made it hard for him to try. Ill do a fifty percent change when my dad gets home. And I wont add any amquel. It says it is for getting rid of amonia nitrates and nitrites on the bottle though. Oh and im using tetra tests to measure pH.
At least he has better water quality - but does he have access to any food?

And I think you'll have to continue these water changes daily for some time.

If the octopus is no longer in the tank, maybe you should do 100% water change and start over... it is probably your best chance. Good luck and thank you for caring enough for the octopus that you valued his/her health over keeping it in the tank.

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