GH, KH, pH totally out of balance

fitishka

New Member
Member
Messages
28
Reaction score
3
Experience
Just started
I have my tank since beginning of February. It’s cycled, killing bunch of fish on the way :( Had to read and study lots of information, so i feel better now. Anyhow, my tank looks much healthier and happier now but not entirely there yet. I change 25% of water twice a week. I have literally zero of Amonnia, Nitrare and Nitrates per test strips so that’s good. Now, my pH is constantly dropping below 6.2 ( I have to use pH increase solution and tablets), my CH is literally zero all the time and my GH over the roof, way to high. My tap water and Petco water do not have that problem. About a week ago I added seashells, not sure if that is good idea in my case.
My question is, how do I simultaneously can increase pH and CH and lower GH?
 

MacZ

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,843
Reaction score
2,892
Location
Central Europe
Experience
More than 10 years
I am a bit confused.
In a cycled tank the nitrates should not be at zero. Something seems off there. Also, how do you measure the ammonia?

Calcium in the form of shells or limestone usually should do the trick. But the GH is strange. Is your water possibly a bit salty?

Can you test your tap water and your tank water for a direct comparison please (need all readings as accurate as possible), and maybe post a picture of the tank? Possibly there is something in there that leaches something into the water.
 

kippielynn

Active Member
Member
Messages
142
Reaction score
39
Experience
Just started
Without knowing what kind fish you have hard to say what levels are best for them, but I have some thoughts for what it is worth.

This is just in my experience, the test strips are not as accurate. I had them as well but got some weird readings so opted for a liquid test kit for when I do my important tests. The strips are a good gut check but are not as detailed when cycling.

You mentioned no nitrates and I am still a neeb, but I read for a tank to be cycled, you need to have some nitrates in acceptable levels. If you have none, I do not think your tank is cycled yet. Freshwater Fish Tank Cycling - How to Prepare for New Fish

When it comes to CH(KH), GH and pH - I have a similar problem and have been reading up on this. I have really hard water (GH) too and that has a synergistic relationship with pH. The higher the GH, the higher the pH usually. I think the most important thing I read is that keeping the pH stable, no big swings, is the most important. I found this too because it was odd that your pH is low and GH high- I tihnk it may be the shells :

'How can I raise my GH and/or KH?
The following measurements are approximate; use a test kit to verify you've achieved the intended results.

To raise both GH and KH simultaneously, add calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Two teaspoons per 50 Liters of water will increase both the KH and GH by about 4 dH. Alternatively, add some sea shells, coral, limestone, marble chips, etc. to your filter.

'

Ways to lower pH safely could be using driftwood or Indian almond leaves - but people debate if even effective. The consensus I have seen is not to use chemical additives (like pH up or down) unless you really need to. It is odd that your pH is low while GH is high. My issue is similar in that I have a mildly high pH but too high GH.

List all your stats on the questionnaire so others can help more:) Good luck!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
OP
fitishka

fitishka

New Member
Member
Messages
28
Reaction score
3
Experience
Just started
For ammonia I use Seacham Ammonia Alert thing. It’s inside of the water and supposed to change color if Ammonia is too high. Just tested tap water and tank water. My KH in tank got better today looks like to about 40 just like tap water, maybe seashells are working? Here is complete reading as of now. tap water: GH 30, KH 40, pH 7. Tank water GH 180, KH 40, pH 6.5 ( but that’s chemically induced pH, the real one would drop). I do know about nitrates, I think test strips just not showing it. I had huge nitrite spike 2-3 weeks ago, I missed it and it killed 5 fish, so I believe my tank is cycled. I could be wrong on that. But cycled or not, does it effect pH, GH, Kh? Attaching aquarium picture as requested :)

kippielynn said:
Without knowing what kind fish you have hard to say what levels are best for them, but I have some thoughts for what it is worth.

This is just in my experience, the test strips are not as accurate. I had them as well but got some weird readings so opted for a liquid test kit for when I do my important tests. The strips are a good gut check but are not as detailed when cycling.

You mentioned no nitrates and I am still a neeb, but I read for a tank to be cycled, you need to have some nitrates in acceptable levels. If you have none, I do not think your tank is cycled yet. Freshwater Fish Tank Cycling - How to Prepare for New Fish

When it comes to CH(KH), GH and pH - I have a similar problem and have been reading up on this. I have really hard water (GH) too and that has a synergistic relationship with pH. The higher the GH, the higher the pH usually. I think the most important thing I read is that keeping the pH stable, no big swings, is the most important. I found this too because it was odd that your pH is low and GH high- I tihnk it may be the shells :

'How can I raise my GH and/or KH?
The following measurements are approximate; use a test kit to verify you've achieved the intended results.

To raise both GH and KH simultaneously, add calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Two teaspoons per 50 Liters of water will increase both the KH and GH by about 4 dH. Alternatively, add some sea shells, coral, limestone, marble chips, etc. to your filter.

'

Ways to lower pH safely could be using driftwood or Indian almond leaves - but people debate if even effective. The consensus I have seen is not to use chemical additives (like pH up or down) unless you really need to. It is odd that your pH is low while GH is high. My issue is similar in that I have a mildly high pH but too high GH.

List all your stats on the questionnaire so others can help more:) Good luck!
Thank you for your post. Yes I read a lot on this topic too. But I need to increase pH and Kh and lower GH at the same time and I can’t find an answer to that dilemma
 

Attachments

MacZ

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,843
Reaction score
2,892
Location
Central Europe
Experience
More than 10 years
fitishka said:
For ammonia I use Seacham Ammonia Alert thing. It’s inside of the water and supposed to change color if Ammonia is too high. Just tested tap water and tank water. My KH in tank got better today looks like to about 40 just like tap water, maybe seashells are working? Here is complete reading as of now. tap water: GH 30, KH 40, pH 7. Tank water GH 180, KH 40, pH 6.5 ( but that’s chemically induced pH, the real one would drop). I do know about nitrates, I think test strips just not showing it. I had huge nitrite spike 2-3 weeks ago, I missed it and it killed 5 fish, so I believe my tank is cycled. I could be wrong on that. But cycled or not, does it effect pH, GH, Kh?
I am very certain now, that there is something in your tank making the pH drop, which you tried to counterbalance with the shells and now your water parameters are totally out of whack.
Ist there driftwood in your tank? As I said, it would be best if you just take a pic and post it here.

And yes, the nitrogen compounds can affect the pH (not GH and KH though).
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
OP
fitishka

fitishka

New Member
Member
Messages
28
Reaction score
3
Experience
Just started
MacZ said:
I am very certain now, that there is something in your tank making the pH drop, which you tried to counterbalance with the shells and now your water parameters are totally out of whack.
Ist there driftwood in your tank? As I said, it would be best if you just take a pic and post it here.

And yes, the nitrogen compounds can affect the pH (not GH and KH though).
I posted the picture... here it is again :). No driftwoods. Plastic decorations, blue gravel, white seashells spread on top, two live plants. Could I have high GH because I used too much water conditioner?
 

Attachments

MacZ

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,843
Reaction score
2,892
Location
Central Europe
Experience
More than 10 years
fitishka said:
I posted the picture... here it is again :). No driftwoods. Plastic decorations, blue gravel, white seashells spread on top, two live plants. Could I have high GH because I used too much water conditioner?
I hadn't seen the pic anywhere.

Ok, my theory:

At first the tank wasn't cycled and ammonia lowers pH. Without something buffering the GH the pH goes down further.
Then you added the shells and pushed the GH building up a buffer.

I would recommend first removing all the shells, then do a series of waterchanges until you have changed all the water over the course of 2-3 days. You should then have a low hardness and medium 6 pH, that should both be stable.

Also, I don't think the water conditioners have raised the GH much.
 

kippielynn

Active Member
Member
Messages
142
Reaction score
39
Experience
Just started
I agree with above, I think it is the shells. I like your tank set up as well :)
 

saltwater60

Well Known
Member
Messages
3,033
Reaction score
1,706
If you have no fish in the tank as it appears. I’d drain all the water and replace it with tap water. By tap water what do you mean by source. Is it well water? Well water can change dramatically this time of year with run off of the well is not properly dug or sealed. If it’s a well inspect your well for your safety and your fish!!
Ammonia has a high ph so I’m not sure why people are saying it will cause your ph to drop. A ph drop is normal during a cycle but that seems low.
How did you cycle your tank. Get rid of what you have as far as test kits and get an api mater test kit from amazon for $16.00.
Shells will buffer your ph up slightly, slowly, and harmlessly so is doesn’t make sense to remove them if you want your ph higher. Crushed shells and crushed corals will likely do a better job.
Stop using the ph up as that’s a dangerous product unless you’re very careful.
Get a real GH and KH test kit. Strips suck and the colors bleed onto each other IMO.
GH is general hardness and doesn’t have much impact on ph. KH is carbonate hardness and directly effects your ph. Your ph up may only raise ph and not KH so that might be the cause of your wild ph swings and fish deaths.
I’d do a 100% water change, keep the shells, get the test kits, and get some snails(nerite 4-5), and a fish or two. Then monitor your cycle very closely to see if you’re actually cycled.
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
206
Guests online
2,914
Total visitors
3,120

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom