Help..someone Please Help


New member
One of my kids split the pickling lime in the fish tank. it has corals and fish. my husband is out of town and I need some help. i do not know what to do can someone please help!! It was not diluted but our tank is 135 gallons do i need to do a quick water change??? Will it harm the fish??


New member
could be very bad! I would do a water change of, at least 30 gallons, (not much more though)

Also, post int he chemistry section. You will get more responses there
Was it limewater, or the powder itself? How much was spilled?

Water changes. And measure your pH - do water changes until it's normal again. If you're not sure how, ask and we can help.


Reef Monkey
Premium Member
I agree 100% with the water changes, but that may not be enough to bring down the PH. Do you have a way to measure the PH, like a PH probe or a PH test kit? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, look for some sort of box near the tank with a digital display and a wire that runs into the tank (it may run on batteries or A/C power). There's a good chance that's a PH meter. If you can find something like that, we're in luck. Let us know what it's reading.

Probably the best way to bring down PH in an emergency is using plain carbonated water (like you can find at the grocery store in the booze aisle). Preferrably, look for something that just lists water and CO2 as ingredients. Now, do not add this if you don't have a way to monitor the tank's PH. If we can confirm the PH, however, the carbonated water can be added slowly to the tank until it brings the PH down below 8.5.


New member
Yes, you'll need to be able to test the pH to treat the problem, or to even know if there is a problem in the first place.

Depending on how much lime got into the tank and in what form, it may not have been enough to raise your pH to a level where you have to worry about it, but first you'll need a way to measure your pH.
Either with a meter or probe like mentioned above or with a chemical testkit.

If you can measure your pH and it is 8.5-8.6 or lower then don't worry about it.
If it's higher than that you'll need to lower it until it gets down into the range somewhere between 7.8 to 8.6

For a tank that size you can add half a cup of white distilled vinegar to drop the pH by about .2-.3
Add it to the sump and let it circulate for a few minutes.
Measure the pH again and repeat if necessary.

Btw, I probably don't need to tell you this, but if the lime was in powder form and is sitting in a pile on the bottom of the tank, siphon out as much of it as you can.

Luckily, it's only an overdose of lime and not the end of the world, but next time it may be a fatal chemical that gets spilled so it might be in your best interest to get all chemicals/suppliments (and even fishfood) put up in a cabinet away from little hands. ;)


New member
Normally, you don't want to do anything QUICK in a reef tank. In your situation, QUICK is needed. A large water change immediately. You also need to be able to test your pH, quickly and probably often, over the next day or so. Here's a great link to how to handle the situation of an overdose and how to handle the ph change. This article seems to have been written just for you!! Keep us informed and please, don't hesitate to ask any quesitons!!


Reef Monkey
Premium Member
Notice that article actually suggested not doing water changes. Personally, I don't see how it could hurt (and Randy didn't specifically say that it would), but the point of the article is that the lime itself doesn't really do the damage, it's the increased PH that's the potential killer. I overdosed limewater in a 10g tank once (PH close to 10.0), and even a 50% water change seemed to do very little. A little bit of soda water had an immediate impact, though.


New member
Vinegar or soda water would quickly neutralize the boosted pH. I guess that explains why water changes wouldn't be that effective actually. You'd have to do an almost 100% water change to replace all the high pH water with new water of the correct pH, in order for it to have a serious impact on dropping the very high pH.


Staff member
RC Mod
Limewater has a natural ph of 12, but it falls rapidly, so don't overdose with the remedy. You want a ph of 7.9-8.3.

Water willl cloud, but this will clear.

What you will have to contend with eventually from this incident is clogging of your pipes and pumps, rather like hardening of the arteries. Lay in a good supply of white vinegar, like 4-8 gallons, and if you have a pump stop, you may need to do some fast soaking and clearing. Hoses can be cleared by running ribbed hose up them and jostling it about. So have supplies and have a plan. The tank will probably survive this, maybe without much damage, if you can steady down that ph.


Bogus Information Expert
Premium Member
Lots of good responses. I'd op for visiting the store and buying several bottles of soda water. Test the pH, and if high, add about a cup at a time until the pH is close to 8.0-8.5. Give it a little time, about 20 minutes, between measurement or additions. If the water is cloudy, and you have a canister filter, try running that in addition.