GH, KH, and pH - Page 2

CindiL

Thank you for the specific plan! I'll see what I can find tomorrow and get it added ASAP! Do I need to do a water change when I add it?

No, you can just do your normal water change routine to keep nitrates below 20.

Do rinse it well though as it is usually dusty!
 

LJC6780

Thank you everyone!
 

LJC6780

Well Petco didn't have anything on the list today. I'll have to hit up Petsmart tomorrow.
 

CindiL

Petsmart has the TopFin brand in with their other substrates, it says crushed coral/aragonite or similar. Also, look in the betta area as they usually carry those smaller containers of crushed shells.
 

LJC6780

Ok ... my levels have slowly risen to 5/4 and 5/3. I just got some Replenish today and dosed the tanks.

How often do I need to dose?
Do I keep dosing until the harness is to a certain level?
How long do I wait to test after dosing?

I've recently lost some cories for unknown reasons and wondering if my hardness is to blame. It seems the cycle failed or stalled in my 38g also ... slowly returning.
 

Aquaphobia

You'll need to keep testing and dosing. That stuff gets used up by the nitrifying bacteria during the cycle and also by plants. And life. Life uses up carbonates
 

CindiL

Ok ... my levels have slowly risen to 5/4 and 5/3. I just got some Replenish today and dosed the tanks.

How often do I need to dose?
Do I keep dosing until the harness is to a certain level?
How long do I wait to test after dosing?

Replenish is a great product and will raise your GH. If this is for your livebearer tank I'd raise it up to about 150ppm or 9-10 drops. This is where I always keep my tanks and I also have sterbaI cories, oto's, rummy nose and glow light tetras in addition to my guppies and they all do great.

Once my GH is up where I want it, I just add it in with water changes at a cap ful per 5 gallon approximately and adjust it once in the tank if need be.

You don't have to wait long to test it, 15 minutes should be plenty with the filter running

I've recently lost some cories for unknown reasons and wondering if my hardness is to blame. It seems the cycle failed or stalled in my 38g also ... slowly returning.

Did you get the shells then also? Replenish is mineral salts and will not raise your KH or carbonates you need mineral carbonates to do that which you have in baking soda or Seachem Alkaline buffer or just by adding the shells if you bought those. The shells also increase your GH but it wouldn't be enough for the livebearers so I think that its good you're using it too.
 

LJC6780

Did you get the shells then also? Replenish is mineral salts and will not raise your KH or carbonates you need mineral carbonates to do that which you have in baking soda or Seachem Alkaline buffer or just by adding the shells if you bought those. The shells also increase your GH but it wouldn't be enough for the livebearers so I think that its good you're using it too.

I got the CaribSea aragonite. Crushed coral and shells. I've got it in a media cartridge in the 20gal HOB and in a mesh bag in a tray with my Matrix in my canister for the 38 gal.
 

CindiL

You want GH to be as high as your highest mineral requiring fish, so your livebearers. You want GH to be in the 9-10 drop range. Your snails will appreciate the minerals too and will have nice hard shells.

KH needs to be at 4-5 tops. Did you get shells?
 

LJC6780

You want GH to be as high as your highest mineral requiring fish, so your livebearers. You want GH to be in the 9-10 drop range. Your snails will appreciate the minerals too and will have nice hard shells.

KH needs to be at 4-5 tops. Did you get shells?

I didn't get separate shells but there are shells in the aragonite.
 

LJC6780

Ok I've updated my parameters in my app so I'll be sure to stay in that range once I get there!

How much do I dose at a time? Like do I go for the total jump right away or do I need to slowly increase over a period of time?
 

CindiL

On the KH I meant 4-5 minimum, not tops

I think I'd increase GH by a couple degrees a day. To bring bare water with 0 GH up to 160ppm or 9 drops I use 1ml per gallon so if you're starting with half of that already at 4 drops then you would need 1 ml per every 2 gallons or a capful for every 10 gallons. I'm just guessing here but I'd say 2 capfuls for your 20 and 4 for your 38. I'd put in one capful in the 20 today and another tomorrow and a couple in the 38g today and one tomorrow and one the day after. Then after that you'll just add it in for only the amount of water you're changing out, 1 capful for 10g.

Does that help or did I just confuse things? ha ha
Just test it as you go.....
 

LJC6780

On the KH I meant 4-5 minimum, not tops

I think I'd increase GH by a couple degrees a day. To bring bare water with 0 GH up to 160ppm or 9 drops I use 1ml per gallon so if you're starting with half of that already at 4 drops then you would need 1 ml per every 2 gallons or a capful for every 10 gallons. I'm just guessing here but I'd say 2 capfuls for your 20 and 4 for your 38. I'd put in one capful in the 20 today and another tomorrow and a couple in the 38g today and one tomorrow and one the day after. Then after that you'll just add it in for only the amount of water you're changing out, 1 capful for 10g.

Does that help or did I just confuse things? ha ha
Just test it as you go.....

No, that helps! I planned on testing again tomorrow before dosing again just to see where I am ... and I do well with a plan ... so thank you for explaining it out!

So what is a healthy range for the KH to stay in?
 

Dragones5150918

There is really no ideal range for kh. The higher the kh the more stable your ph will be. 4 to 5 dkh is the minimum you want to keep your ph stable. Lower then that, it can start to fall with in a few days and if not caught in time, can crash your ph.

The best way to look at kh is, the higher the kh, the less your ph will allow your ph to fluctuate.
 

LJC6780

Ok I'm pretty sure I did something wrong. I tested the 38 gallon and its up to 13/4 and the 20 is 9/3.

Do I need to do a water change to lower the 13 or do I just leave it alone and let it drop on its own?
 

CindiL

Is the 13 the GH or KH?

Isn't that your livebearer tank? I'd leave it be if it is

How do the fish look?
 

LJC6780

Is the 13 the GH or KH?

Isn't that your livebearer tank? I'd leave it be if it is

How do the fish look?

GH/KH respectively. It's my community/snails. My 20 has guppies/fry. Fish look fine except 1 Cory that has looked bad for the last few days. Lost 2 the other day but store replaced them.
 

CindiL

I'd leave the 20 gallon as it is, you could do a 25% water change on the 38 if you have the time.

The KH will continue to go up some as the shells slowly dissolve.
 

LJC6780

I'd leave the 20 gallon as it is, you could do a 25% water change on the 38 if you have the time.

The KH will continue to go up some as the shells slowly dissolve.

I'll do a water change later on then and hope that helps.

Surely one of these days soon the water will all level out and quit getting out of whack!
 

Dcchillin

Hey guys, back with another noob question.

I just bought myself a GH/KH test kit. The tests were easy enough, its just interpreting the results that i'm having some issues with.

GH tested at 1dkh, or 18ppm.
KH tested at 8-9dkh, or about 150 ppm

I guess the most obvious question is which result goes for which test? I would assume KH uses the dkh reading, but I know when I had strips before it was measured in ppm. Same question for GH.

Past that how about interpreting these results? I've read KH is pretty much PH stability, so with it being that high it doesn't really seem like a bad thing, other than the fact my PH is locked around 8.2.

GH is a little more perplexing to me. It seems pretty low, and i'm on a well with a softener so I guess that's to be expected. Knowing as little as I do, I would think a low GH would be a good thing, but I've read it really depends on the fish/plants.

Thanks guys!
 

Rivermonster

What fish and plants do you have?

You can find a table of conversions from dkh to ppm on the internet.
 

Dcchillin

Its an empty tank at the moment, waiting for the cycle to finish since I killed a pleco in the beginning not knowing what I was doing. Cycle is almost finished, and I'm getting some java fern and maybe another low light plant or two from a buddy tomorrow. The kit I got(API) has dkh and ppm next to each other, was curious if there were any general rules or guidelines.
 

KarainSD

I have very similar results for my water, also softened as my city water is very hard well water. The kh is a bit higher from the tap, I've chosen to have an RO unit installed in my kitchen. Now I use half tap water and half RO water which brings my ph down to 7.6 or so. My fish and plants all seem to do pretty well, so far.
I have a planted tank with Cardinals tetras and RCS which are supposed to be sensitive to water conditions- I've had them in there for a few weeks and everyone seems to be doing OK with these parameters.
I have Java fern, pennywort, moneywort, Anubias, aponogeten, Java moss, and water sprite. Their growth has slowed a bit because I cut back on my flourish and excel dosing to let my critters settle in, but while the tank was cycling they all grew like crazy.
This is a new tank though, so I can't speak as to how things will be long term- though my other tank with barbs and danios has been up for 5 months with no problems.
 

Dragones5150918

1dGH is really super low, and most fish can not live in it. General Hardness deals with the osmotic process fish have, which is the mineral content in water....IE Magnesium, iron, Zinc, etc. Water softeners uses a type of salt that captures the mineral solids, and release water that lacks them. Also sometimes the sodium content is also higher depending on what kind of softening pellets used. Now, sometimes the kitchen sink is off the softened line, and I suggest you check to see if it is. Most of the time a ulitiy sink is off the line as well. I would suggest you look around your place and see if there is a line not on the softener, and test the gh of that. After you find it and test, please post the results.

I will tell you that most fish can not live in that soft of gh. It will interrupt their osmotic process, which will eventually lead to organ failure and death. When people talk about soft water fish, they are referring to lower kh, not gh.
 

KarainSD

I have very similar results for my water, also softened as my city water is very hard well water. The kh is a bit higher from the tap, I've chosen to have an RO unit installed in my kitchen. Now I use half tap water and half RO water which brings my ph down to 7.6 or so. My fish and plants all seem to do pretty well, so far.
I have a planted tank with Cardinals tetras and RCS which are supposed to be sensitive to water conditions- I've had them in there for a few weeks and everyone seems to be doing OK with these parameters.
I have Java fern, pennywort, moneywort, Anubias, aponogeten, Java moss, and water sprite. Their growth has slowed a bit because I cut back on my flourish and excel dosing to let my critters settle in, but while the tank was cycling they all grew like crazy.
This is a new tank though, so I can't speak as to how things will be long term- though my other tank with barbs and danios has been up for 5 months with no problems.
I should clarify that my gh is around 3dh when it gets to the tank, sorry wasn't paying close enough attention there.
 

aquatickeeper

If you get livebearers or african cichlids, make sure that the hardness is a minimum of 10 DGH (10 drops)
 

Dcchillin

The water in my tank is out of the kitchen sink, so with a GH that low I would assume it is a softened line. Its a small house so I would assume theyre all on the softener since all water faucets are within about 15 feet of the softener. Should I just purchase RO water from the local shop and start using that in my tank exclusively? My ph stays in the 8.2 range and now add in the excessively low GH and high KH it would seem that using water sourced outside my home might simplify things?
 

Dragones5150918

What about the out side faucet? I don't think that would be on it.....
 

ChapouJunior

The water in my tank is out of the kitchen sink, so with a GH that low I would assume it is a softened line. Its a small house so I would assume theyre all on the softener since all water faucets are within about 15 feet of the softener. Should I just purchase RO water from the local shop and start using that in my tank exclusively? My ph stays in the 8.2 range and now add in the excessively low GH and high KH it would seem that using water sourced outside my home might simplify things?

I have the same problem you have. My KH and GH are super low in my tap water. I bought a Seachem's replenish for the GH, really good stuff, only 8$ (Canada) and it treats 1000gallons. One capful in my 20 gallons raise my gh to 20 to around 180ppm (which is a good range for the gh). GH is really important for fishes. Like guppies for example, they need around 180ppm or higher to be at there full osmotic process and be healthy. For the high KH tho (if it becomes a problem and you want your ph to go down) I would suggest RO water. Or ph down (but that's not recommended)
 

Dcchillin

tested outside water, and the results I wouldnt really call better. GH was at like 27 dh and the kh was at about 20, although the PH was much better in the 7.4 range.
 

Dragones5150918

My suggestion then is to use room and your out side water for your tank. I do not recommend you to keep using your softened water. Do as 50/50 with out side water and ro. If you use straight ro, you will have to remineralize it and do kh issue prevention.
 

Dcchillin

Ya I just tested a bit of RO water I had because I wasn't sure if it was completely void of everything or not. Of course GH and KH were 0 sooo, not really a good option anywhere. So I should just do maybe a 50% swap with water that is half RO half outside? The issue is I'm about 2/3 the way through the cycle (NH .25, NO2 down to .5 from 3.5 yesterday, and NO3 jumped from 5-80 yesterday) so I'm finally making progress and don't want to have to restart.
 

Dragones5150918

Yeah, your almost cycled, so I would hold off on a water change a bit longer. Yes I do suggest about a 50/50 using half RO and half out side tap water. It should cut your testing results of your out side water in half. So gh will be about 18dGH and kh around 10dKH. Also if your PH is lower out side, while we wait for your tank to finish it's cycle, can you get a glass jar or a cup, fill it with the out side water, aerated it, and test the ph of it at the one hour mark, again at the 2 hour mark, 12 hour, and 24 hour to see if the ph moves at all? This is to see if your water company adds additives to your water that changes your PH. If there is, it just might be better for you to go to straight ro water, because the amount of steps would be less at water changes. Please let me know your findings on this.
 

BeesKnees

I'm a little concerned by your gH readings.
In the UK the sodium level in drinking water shouldn't exceed 200 ppm.
If your incoming water is 480ppm gH then the softener will be adding 220 ppm sodium to remove the calcium and magnesium. That's a very high sodium level if you are drinking it.
 

Dcchillin

Yeah, your almost cycled, so I would hold off on a water change a bit longer. Yes I do suggest about a 50/50 using half RO and half out side tap water. It should cut your testing results of your out side water in half. So gh will be about 18dGH and kh around 10dKH. Also if your PH is lower out side, while we wait for your tank to finish it's cycle, can you get a glass jar or a cup, fill it with the out side water, aerated it, and test the ph of it at the one hour mark, again at the 2 hour mark, 12 hour, and 24 hour to see if the ph moves at all? This is to see if your water company adds additives to your water that changes your PH. If there is, it just might be better for you to go to straight ro water, because the amount of steps would be less at water changes. Please let me know your findings on this.

Should I wait until the tank is cycled to change the water? I am adding plants tonight as my friend gave me a bag with some java fern and moss. As for the ph concerns, the water comes directly from a well on my property, so there shouldn't be any additives outside of my softener.

BeesKnees, I appreciate the concern, and it is a valid point. But this isn't my first house on a well and I do not drink well water, softened or not. I purchase bottle water for my consumption, the exception being cooking.
 

Dragones5150918

Oh, plants do make a difference. I would do about a 50% change just to get the sodium down. Otherwise you might have worse leaf melt then should happen when planting new plants. I would also add more bacteria right after to make sure you don't loose any. After a 24 to 36 hours, do another, to keep dropping the sodium. Then before you add fish, do a 75% water change to finish off the sodium in the tank.

As for you being on well water, that explains your kh and gh. Your well must be deep into limestone. I'm actually relieve that it's well water and not city water. I would still use Prime when you use the well water. Even though there should not be any chlormine or chlorine, it should still have heavy metals in it, so it's better to be safe then sorry.
 

Dcchillin

Ok, so you recommend doing a half water change tonight as I'm planting, then do another tomorrow or sunday afternoon?

As far as adding bacteria, I have ceramic pellets from the same buddy inserted behind my filter. That was my original source of bacteria, so I should have a decent colony in the filter. I do not have any bacteria outside of the pellets, filter element, or tank water unfortunately, so I'm not sure how I would add after the water change.

I also do not have prime, because I figure well water wouldnt need it. I do have Neutral Regulator although the instructions leads me to believe that is just for chlorine, chloramine, and PH adjusts.
 

Dragones5150918

Yeah, that sounds right on the water changes.

If you get a bacterial supplement, like Stability, or even Tetra Safe Start Plus will work. Just add the amount of the volume of your tank right after you add Prime, you would add the bacteria. In my opinion, I prefer stability or SeaChem Aqua Vitro Seed. Has a pretty good shelf life, and always good to have on hand just incase something happens and you loose your cycle (such as a power loss).

I always recommend to have something that removes Chlormine, chlorine, and heavy metals, and can make ammonia and nitrite safe on hand for problems that can occur. Again such as a power loss and you loose your cycle.
 

Dcchillin

Ok, for tonight though I am stuck without any of those chemicals as I live about a half hour from the nearest shop. The neutral regulator removes everything but the heavy metals if I'm reading it right, so will I be ok tonight to do a half/half water change after I plant and scape without the chemicals?
 

Dragones5150918

Yeah, you should be. The heavy metals should not effect the plants.....Fish on the other hand......

For the plants, the sodium will be an issue, and that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.
 

Dcchillin

Ok, I was planning on taking about half of the water out to have a bit more room to work while scaping, then refilling with the new water after. That should remove a decent amount of sodium once the new water is in correct?
 

Dragones5150918

Yes, it will drop the sodium in half.
 

Dcchillin

really appreciate the continued help dragon, I just cleaned the rocks and am going to test the tank then get to work!
 

iZaO Jnr

Ok, for tonight though I am stuck without any of those chemicals as I live about a half hour from the nearest shop. The neutral regulator removes everything but the heavy metals if I'm reading it right, so will I be ok tonight to do a half/half water change after I plant and scape without the chemicals?

I would recommend an even further greater WC. Get the temp matched, and mix up a 75% if you're confident enough.
 

Dcchillin

I do have some tank water with these plants, so there will be some bacteria there. The temp match will be the hard part, as the outside water is a bit chilly lol.
 

KarainSD

I think the fear of sodium from water softeners is a bit overstated. I have a very healthy planted tank - using the softened water cut with RO water- I've experienced virtually no melt and my plants have been in there for a couple of months now, . Ive had fish for 6 months, all very healthy, and had fish for a couple of years using straight tap water when I was in high school. Just my two cents worth.

Using the unsoftened water may be the best route since your softened water has such low gh, but I wouldn't worry too much about your plants instantly melting due to the softened water already in your tank.
 

Dcchillin

thanks karain! relieved a bit of stress
 

Dcchillin

Well, nitrites hit 0, NH is at about .25 so looks like my cycle is wrapping up. Being fishless for another week I'm going to try to keep it going with food alone. wish me luck.
 

Dragones5150918

Good luck!
 

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