Gh Levels High - Will They Kill My Fish? Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Charles B, May 29, 2018.

  1. Charles BNew MemberMember


    I have just gotten my 20-gallon hexagon aquarium going 3 days ago. I have:

    2 Angelfish
    2 Black Phantom Tetras
    3 Serpae Tetras
    2 Male Guppies
    3 Silver Tip Tetras

    Along with those fish, I have a piece of driftwood and a variation of multiple plants.


    Nitrate: 0.00
    Nitrite: 0.00-0.5
    pH: 7.00
    KH: 0-40
    GH: 180.... (yeah, I don't know why it's so high)
    Ammonia: (Not sure at this time, I do not have the testing kit right now, even though this is vital)

    My two angelfish have been breathing extremely heavily ever since I put them into my tank. Just starting this morning, one of them was trying to breathe air at the top of the tank. I've attempted everything I've found online in order to gain more oxygen, but this is not helping. After trying that, I thought that the GH levels were doing this to my fish, as they are extremely high. I've tried to find more research on this, but I have had no success.

    All my fish are breathing somewhat heavily, but nowhere near as much as much my angelfish.

    Is the high GH levels causing this? If so, how do I fix it?

    Thank you!
  2. NavyChief20

    NavyChief20Well Known MemberMember

    180 ppm? thats medium hardness
  3. OP

    Charles BNew MemberMember

    GH is the only parameter I'm not familiar with. So, I was looking online for different information about it and it should be between 4-12...? That's why I'm confused, haha.
  4. bryangar

    bryangarWell Known MemberMember

    No, what’s causing this is the lack of a cycle. You still have nitrite and no nitrate, you don’t know what your ammonia is but i’m sure its high.
    -angelfish get too big for a 20 gallon.
    -tetras need 6+ fish in their group to school around.
    -guppies are small but heavy waste producers and will overrun your tank with fry if you have M/F.
    Your tank is definitely overstocked. I would do an immediate 50% water change using Prime. Then continue doing daily water changes until you have a cycle.
    Kh and Gh levels don’t really matter as many fish can adapt to a wide variety of parameters.
  5. NLindsey921

    NLindsey921Well Known MemberMember

    There are different test. One meassures ppm and one measures drops. It sounds like you are using test strips which are incredibly inaccurate. Most on here recommend the api master test kit.
  6. OP

    Charles BNew MemberMember

    Thank you so much for the help. Things will definitely be changing in my aquarium, making it less stocked today. I guess I shouldn't be relying on the staff members of a quality fish store around my place as they said a school of 2-3 tetras would be perfectly fine.
  7. NavyChief20

    NavyChief20Well Known MemberMember

    so it depends if you are talking dH units or ppm.

    Degrees PPM (Parts per million) Softness/Hardness

    0 – 4 (dH) 0 - 70 ppm Very soft

    4 – 8 (dH) 70 - 140 ppm Soft

    8 – 12 (dH) 140 - 210 ppm Medium

    12 – 18 (dH) 210 - 320 ppm Medium-Hard

    18 – 30 (dH) 320 - 530 ppm Hard

    30+ (dH) 530 + ppm Very Hard

    Diffrent fish prefer a diffrent hardness which usually goes towards comfort and spawning. Avoid the extremes. Also GH and pH are directly proportional in fluid systems. This means high pH is going to be higher GH. Hence what you see in many cichlid tanks a 8.0+ pH with a medium to hard water.
  8. Rtessy

    RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Nitrite poisoning stops fish from being able to absorb oxygen into their blood streams properly, as does ammonia poisoning. Do an immediate 50% water change, and don't forget the dechlorinator. Good luck!

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