Bring up carbonate hardness (KH) levels?

FishLuver

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My Carbonate Hardness (KH) tests 0-40. I read that very low KH will result in rapid changes in pH levels, which in turn can cause stress on the fish (disease).
Anyone know about this?

If this is correct, how can I bring up the levels of my KH?

Thanks
 

bass master

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Carbonate forms a buffer system where it will basically neutralize any excess amounts of H+ or OH- which will stabilize pH, but it will also push the pH towards 8.2. So as long as you dont overdo it and add too much, your fish (Im referring to your specific fish being all livebearers) will adjust to the pH as long as it increases slowly with the KH. A KH of 60-100 should be fine in most cases. Adding crushed coral to your tank is a pretty effective method as long as you dont add too much, sea shells, limestone, and marble can also be used and will act more slowly. All will slowly leach Calcium carbonate into the water which will increase both your KH and overall water hardness, so keep that in mind.
 
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FishLuver

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Thats what I was worried about. If I add KH, the GH will go up too. My GH is already 180. Is it harmful if it goes up too?
Is it normal to have a KH of 0 and GH of 180?
 

Nutter

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Your livebearers would be ok with the raise in GH as long as it is done slowly. The Angels would be more sensitive to the rise in GH but I know lots of people around my area that raise Angels in water with a GH over 210.

I'm pretty sure that using limestone raises both the KH & the GH. You can use Baking Soda to raise the KH without effecting the GH. That would require a seperate container/tank to prepare the water in first though to make sure the parameters matched what was already in the tank. I'm not a fan of the baking soda method. I think you would be better off using limestone. Add a little bit each week & keep a very close eye on the water parameters for a week after adding it. With your KH being so low, a little bit of limestone might do alot for the PH.

What test are you using for the KH? eg: API liquid KH test.
 

bass master

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my bad, I didnt see any of the other fish in the aquarium other than the livebearers, didnt think to scroll over.

+1 to everything nutter said, baking soda is the only way I know of to raise KH independent of GH, although a little goes a long way so you would need to dilute it before adding it to your tank or it would shoot straight up to 8.2, I agree adding some source of calcium carbonate would be the best solution
 
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FishLuver

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my bad, I didnt see any of the other fish in the aquarium other than the livebearers, didnt think to scroll over.

+1 to everything nutter said, baking soda is the only way I know of to raise KH independent of GH, although a little goes a long way so you would need to dilute it before adding it to your tank or it would shoot straight up to 8.2, I agree adding some source of calcium carbonate would be the best solution
How much baking soda would you recommend for a 46g ?
And how often?
 

bass master

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Baking soda should stay in the water pretty well, only add more to treat the water you change. I have personally never used baking soda in an aquarium because it is simply so strong. I am also a little bit suspicious the effect extra sodium in the water would have on fish that are somewhat intolerant of hard water. If you do decide to try it, here is a good calculator for dosing baking soda:


I think it would be wise to dilute the baking soda into water before adding it to your tank, but I dont have any experience there, maybe someone who does can give more info on that. Personally, I think calcium carbonate would be the safer bet and would be easier to manage, but thats your decision.
 
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