alternative to alkaline regulator

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jroe263

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My tap water has a low KH but higher GH which I know leads to instability in the ph.

I've been adding alkaline regulator but wondering if there's alternatives or if changing substrate make more sense to avoid having to buy the regulator every so often.
 

Dom90

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I would not alter KH with chemicals as it is risky and fish can suddenly go into osmotic shock and possibly die. A better way is to change to substrate that contains aragonite that will hold the KH steady. Lower KH can also cause a pH crash and that would be very bad.


 

hampalong

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Low KH just means soft water. You can increase it, or hold it steady, with bicarb- baking soda. Use a tiny amount till you know how strong it is, and adjust a little at a time. You only need a KH of 2 or 3 to keep the pH stable.

Or you can use specially mixed 'MalawI Salts' and such, to increase hardness. It safe to do slowly, but it's important for waterchange water to be similar to tank water. Coral Sand/Gravel or crushed oyster shell will buffer the KH up a bit, or at least prevent it from going lower, depending on how much you use.
 

Dom90

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Crushed coral and aragonite work also for holding pH stable.


 
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jroe263

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I've experienced the pH crash twice and have been treating with alkaline regulator, raising the KH to about 6. While it has been working, I don't like having to add it with every water change among the 1-2 other times a month that's recommended.

I have a sand substrate currently. If I were to consider crushed coral or aragonite, would you recommend replacing all the sand? Are coral & aragonite ok for my cories?

Thanks!
 

Dom90

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You will need to use sand that has aragonite in its composition. I'm using CaribSea African Cichlid mix. It's basically what I described, sand with aragonite.


 

Dom90

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Here's a pic so you can see how small the granules are
ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1436652437.224894.jpg


 
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