65 Gallon Tank High PH, low KH and GH tap water

GouramiGary

Hey,
I am very confused what to do, my tap water has a high ph, low KH and low GH.

My 65 gallon tank water parameters (after we moved it 3 days ago):
ph: 7,4 - 7,5
KH: 3
GH: Can't read because test doesn't turn red with the first drop, so most likely 0?

60 gallon tank (before we moved it):
01.10.21:
ph: 7,5
KH: 3
GH: 6

05.05.22:
ph 7,5 - 7,7
GH: 2 (but only a slight greenish color)
KH: 3

My own tap water test:
Ph: 7,9-8
KH: 3
GH: 0 (doesnt turn red, just turns yellow with the first drop).

Tap water readers from the waterworks:
Ph: 7,7 - 8,2
Lime: 16-20
Alkalinity: 0,6-0,8
dH: 2,5 - 3

Our tank contains a lot of stones (mostly seriry-stone and seiru-stone look-alike)
Some driftwood.
a LOT of plants
No co2
2 good filters (eheim ecco) and one fluval 407 with matrix.

Fishes and shrimps:
* 2 honey gourami
* 3 pygmy gourami
* 5 bamboo shrimp
* 11 pygmy corydoras
* 11 cardinal tetra
* 5 kuhli loaches
* 9 amano shrims
* 3 unplanned micro crabs, we probably got them hitchhiking when we bought plants

We haven't really had many fish deaths or illnesses, but we have lost some over time. During the 2 years we had the aquarium we lost 5 corydoras, 5 neocardinia shrimp, 1 honey gourami (Illness), 3 cardinal tetras (over a year ago - most likely overfeeding), 2 kohl loaches.
The PH itself seems really stable even with a low KH.
Our bamboo shrimps seems to thrive - no deaths, showing normal behavior, one had eggs (even though it can't hatch).
Though we had problems keeping other smaller shrimps (neocardinia, amano shrimp) - we now feed them with mineral from dennerle
We are usually at around 0 - 10 nitrates (yes our tanks are cycled).

We love this hobby, and we love aquascaping and fish. But we want to create healthy aquariums for the fish. And our dream would be to keep different types of fish. I really want a betta, but they need a ph of 7. Idk what to do. How is it even possible to get a lower ph when the Kh is so low? Also how can I get a heather GH level? We do have 4 other tanks with light, filtration and everything, but now we are really discourages because it doesnt seem like it's possible to make a good tank for fish. :/

Can i use crushed corals, limestone, co2 and so on to fix this? I am very confused, also I am very afraid of my fish not having a healthy tank.
If I lower the ph wouldn't the KH also drop? If I add GH/KH+ while lowering the PH make the PH unstable? Is it even possible to add crushed seashells, and limestone to raise the hardness of the water a bit, but then get something that lowers the ph? Will that lower the KH?
 

Frank the Fish guy

You have soft water as your source. That's great. It is easy to add hardness, but hard to take it out.

Your pH is not high. It is normal. The water reaches equilibrium with the air at that sets the pH. You have great water for fish. You should not tinker with the KH/pH.

Now since your source water has 0 GH this is a problem for keeping fish. There are many salts available to add some general hardness back in. The exact amount is not critical, but having zero is a problem for many animals.

There are some soft water fish adapted to 0 GH, but they actually are fine with some hardness. Hard water fish on the other hand do not survive in 0 GH water as they need the hardness to function. You have some of both kinds of animals.

May I suggest: sera mineral salt | sera


Peace
 

GouramiGary

You have soft water as your source. That's great. It is easy to add hardness, but hard to take it out.

Your pH is not high. It is normal. The water reaches equilibrium with the air at that sets the pH. You have great water for fish. You should not tinker with the KH/pH.

Now since your source water has 0 GH this is a problem for keeping fish. There are many salts available to add some general hardness back in. The exact amount is not critical, but having zero is a problem for many animals.

There are some soft water fish adapted to 0 GH, but they actually are fine with some hardness. Hard water fish on the other hand do not survive in 0 GH water as they need the hardness to function. You have some of both kinds of animals.

May I suggest: sera mineral salt | sera


Peace
Hey, thanks for the help :) I can see that I've had 6 GH earlier on tests, also we do have 2 cuttlefish bones added in the soil. Since the aquarium already moved, and were filled with 80 % new water that may be the reason why we have 0 GH as of now? I took the test again and it currently needs 2 drops to turn green (tetra test) indicating 2 GH. Since Ive already read some low gh results (from time to time over a long period) I will buy the sera mineral salt, so I have it just in case, I will test it regularly. What gh level should I go for?

I actually thought the ph was good too, because tinkering with ph is probably easy to get fluctuating ph and that stresses and also can kill fish. So I believe that a steady PH is better than setting it down. And I don't have too much buffer capacity at 2 - 3 KH. But does this indicate that I shouldn't get fish like betta at all? Or lets say we wanted guppies, how would I be able to keep them? Or is that possible ? Is it possible for a betta to have a good life in a tank with 7,5 ph and not between 6,5 - 7 ? I really wish to own different fish, but then I would have to lower the ph? Also ofc. add GH, but I will fix that. :)
 

Frank the Fish guy

Don't worry about the exact numbers. Keep some KH an GH in the water, shoot 5 for both. pH just need to not be extreme in either direction. Keep it between 6 and 8 and the water will be fine. Swings in pH happen naturally and fish are adapted to them. Yes your Beta will be fine in your water.
 

RayClem

A pH between 6.5 and 7.5 is essentially "neutral". Some species like hard water with pH over 8.0. Others like soft water with pH levels below 7. Your water is pretty soft and the pH is just slightly over 7.0, so you are just fine for what most people call a community tank.

Your water would not be ideal for livebearers like guppies and platies. It would also not be good for African Rift Lake Cichlids, sometimes called mnbuna. They like water that is harder and more alkaline.

You might also have a problem with snails should you decide to add them to the tank. Their shells are composed largely of calcium which is in short supply in soft water like yours. Unlike snails, shrimp have shells comprised of chitin which is a carbohydrate related to cellulose. Thus, they do not need high calcium levels. They should be fine in your water.
 

OhioFishKeeper

My hardness is creeping up, along with pH, while KH is remaining stable. This morning the pH 7.9-8 daily, KH 4, GH 11. I stepped up my water changes to 20% daily.

My tap water is KH 4, GH 4. It appears the oyster shell undergravel addition is causing the GH to rise.

2.5 gallon, undergravel, heated, plants, Betta, and a Mystery Snail. Everything in the tank seems to be thriving. I think the Betta has grown, enhanced it's coloring, and has become fearless of me working on the tank (testing, cleaning, water changes).

My Testing Log
 

Frank the Fish guy

Usually evaporation causes GH to rise in the aquarium over time. The salts in the water don't evaporate, so when you replenish the evaporated water the concentrations go up.

Meanwhile, KH is used in the bio filter so does not build up.

This is natural and is what happens in nature too.

If you want to reset the GH, then you have to do a 100% water change with new soft water at some point.

If you have access to water with GH=0, it is great for aquariums since you can use that to top off from evaporation without raising the GH.

I am lucky to have GH=0 well water. So does the OP!
 

Nopsu

I have the same kind of water, ~ 7.8 pH 2KH 2GH from tap.
I add the suggested sera mineral salt with water changes whenever my GH in tank goes under 5 to keep it aroubd 5-6 and got pretty stable 7.6 pH in the tank. I got some crushed coral within my gravel but it has not raised the hardness much at all over the years and the test for tank water shows KH3.

I have 2 kinds of tetras and snails and rarely have deaths.

Stable values are usually the key
 

RayClem

Usually evaporation causes GH to rise in the aquarium over time. The salts in the water don't evaporate, so when you replenish the evaporated water the concentrations go up.

Meanwhile, KH is used in the bio filter so does not build up.

This is natural and is what happens in nature too.

If you want to reset the GH, then you have to do a 100% water change with new soft water at some point.

If you have access to water with GH=0, it is great for aquariums since you can use that to top off from evaporation without raising the GH.

I am lucky to have GH=0 well water. So does the OP!

Doing a 100% water change is a bad idea. Yes, it will reduce the ionic concentration in the water, but your tank inhabitants will not appreciate the osmotic shock. Large swings in pH and hardness are very stressful to fish and plants. The fluids within their cells have to maintain an equilibrium with ion concentrations in the water in which they live. If they are subjected to large swings in water quality, their bodies must adjust. That is very stressful.

Instead, do partial water changes often enough to keep the water quality stable. I cannot tell you how much or how often. You will have to figure that out from your testing.
 

OhioFishKeeper

Stepping up the water changes has brought the GH down to 9 this morning. Thanks for the advice. I'll keep it up for a while and remember this when it happens again.

I leave for vacation tomorrow night for one week. I have been doing 10% per day water changes. In preparation for leaving, the last two days I stepped it up to 20% per day. My plan is to change 20% twice per day today and tomorrow before I leave...so 40%, but split up 12 hours apart.

I bought an automatic feeder and will give the betta smaller than average meals every other day. He'll get to eat some, but less than half of what he's used to. Normally he eats once per day. He'll get three smaller meals total over the week I'm away. Keeping water quality in mind.

My goal is to get the nitrates down to 10ppm or less by tomorrow night, so when I come back they will hopefully not be above 40ppm. Immediate water change when I get back.
 

RayClem

Using the automatic feeder is not necessary. Your fish will easily accommodate a week without food while you are gone. Now if you are going to be gone much longer than that, it is helpful to have someone to feed the fish and top off the water level every couple of days.
 

OhioFishKeeper

Using the automatic feeder is not necessary. Your fish will easily accommodate a week without food while you are gone. Now if you are going to be gone much longer than that, it is helpful to have someone to feed the fish and top off the water level every couple of days.

I know he'd be okay without it. But I figure a few pellets every other day will keep him from getting skinny and won't pollute the water too much. He has put on a good amount of weight since I bought him...thickened all the way through to the tail. I'd hate to see him go back to being petco emaciated.

I haven't cleaned the glass for two weeks...leaving that for the mystery snail to munch on. I'll give him a couple of small blanched spinach leaves before I head out.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
11
Views
575
KaiChow
  • Robert Morrison
  • pH
Replies
19
Views
422
Robert Morrison
  • angelcraze
  • pH
Replies
8
Views
634
Momgoose56
  • Question
  • Smojak
  • pH
Replies
5
Views
372
Utar
  • Maplekiwi
  • pH
Replies
5
Views
85
SparkyJones

Random Great Thread!

New Aquarium pH Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom