Advice for low KH

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GeorgyGirl76

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Hello everyone,
May I have some advice on what to do please? My 60 gallon cycled low tech lightly planted tank is stocked with 7 Bloodfin Tetra, 7 White and Gold Mountain Minnow, 3 Albino Corydora, 1 Bushynose Pleco, and as far as I have seen - 1 Pond Snail.

I check my water every single day with API Master Test Kit, as well as Tetra test strips for the KH/GH. Everything has been in tip top shape, until the last couple of days. First, I've noticed my KH dropped from a consistent 120ppm, down to 80ppm, and since last night and this morning, its now at 40ppm. My PH is 7.6, that hasn't changed at all. No other parameters have changed, the ammonia has always read zero, the GH has always read 75ppm. Today my nitrates are at 20ppm (before fertilizing plants, they ran 5.0ppm), which should be taken care of when I do my weekly water change on Fridays. I get my water from my local Aquarium shop. My nitrites are at 0 today, but I did throw in 5ML of Prime yesterday because I wanted to lower the nitrites. I am only feeding my fish once a day now, cutting back from 2-3 times. I do believe that some days I was overfeeding.

The only thing that I've done differently in the last week was I used a full dose of ThriveS plant fertilizer to help out the plants that I have in a gravel substrate. Could that be the cause of my KH plummeting?? All my fish look good and are acting normal. What can I do to raise that KH? I know without a good amount of KH, it can cause an unstable PH, which obviously I wouldn't want. Should I do crushed coral in the HOB filter? What do you recommend?? Thank you!
 
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Zach72202

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For a quick kH boost, you can use baking soda, but finding out why your kH is dropping is the challenge. I am not familiar with fertilizers, so I do not know. But for raising kH long term you can use the crushed coral too, aragonite, cuttlebone (this is very slow release though), another uncommon one you don't see mentioned is limestone. It adds calcium and carbonate, so it raises kH and gH. Depends on your area, you may find it locally, like me, in Michigan, it is basically a limestone slate in the northern 1/3rd of the lower peninsula.

The only thing I could think of is that something is using that kH as a buffer via an addition of an acid. By chance did you add any driftwood or catappa leaves? Anything organic that could add tannins?

Good Luck! Sorry I couldn't provide all answers!
 
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GeorgyGirl76

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Thank you for your reply and suggestions! I do have a small piece of driftwood in there, that's been in the tank since almost day one. I do not have catappa leaves.
I am in Florida, and I just did a Google search and it doesn't seem like limestone is for sale around me, unless I want to buy it by the ton. I will have to keep an eye out for it, when I hit up some stores.
I think I am going to either try crushed coral or aragonite, both of which are very available around here. I am too scared to do the baking soda method, from reading up on it, it sounds like if you don't have experience with his method, it's easy to cause the PH to raise too fast.
 
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