How Can I Improve My Water Quality (ph And Hardness)?

AustinS

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Now that I have over a year of fishkeeping experience under my belt, I would really like to improve the water quality of my aquarium to better suit my fish. I just tested my water and got these results:

pH: 8.0ppm
ammonia: 0.0ppm
nitrite: 0.0ppm
nitrate: 10.0ppm
kH: 5°
gH: 12°

In my aquarium I have these fish:

9 neon tetras
8 silvertip tetras
1 bristlenose pleco

It's a 29 gal planted aquarium with a big piece of driftwood if that helps in any way.

Based on the recommendations of my test kit and, my pH and water hardness readings are too high (should be pH 5.5 - 7.5, gH 3° - 6°). What is the best way to make the water better suited to my fish? I want to give my fish the best quality of life I can. Thanks!
 

Fahn

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Don't chase numbers, fish prefer stability over the "perfect" water parameters. Trust me, the fish will be fine.
 
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AustinS

AustinS

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I just figured if I could improve the water for them then why shouldn't I, if something isn't dead that doesn't mean it's 100% happy and healthy. I see your points though, stability makes sense. I wouldn't wanna stress them out.
 

nikm128

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AustinS said:
I just figured if I could improve the water for them then why shouldn't I, if something isn't dead that doesn't mean it's 100% happy and healthy. I see your points though, stability makes sense. I wouldn't wanna stress them out.
Think of it like this, you feel absolutely amazing if it's 65 degrees inside, but you don't mind too much if it's a bit warmer or cooler. Now say your AC/Heater is really hard to adjust. Someone figures out it's a bit warmer than you like so they start trying to make it perfect but miss by a little every try. Now you're very uncomfortable and stressed out with all the swings.
 

david1978

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And the particular fish you have aren't that fussy as per specific water conditions. Some fish are or for breeding purposes but then you just use rodI water and remineralize it to what to want. That's about the only way to accurately and consistently keep altered water conditions.
 
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AustinS

AustinS

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nikm128 said:
Think of it like this, you feel absolutely amazing if it's 65 degrees inside, but you don't mind too much if it's a bit warmer or cooler. Now say your AC/Heater is really hard to adjust. Someone figures out it's a bit warmer than you like so they start trying to make it perfect but miss by a little every try. Now you're very uncomfortable and stressed out with all the swings.
That makes sense, I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, Thanks!
 

Islandvic

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My neon tetras and serpae tetras have been perfectly fine in my 7.8pH water over the past year.

They have grown and colored up nicely.

It is better to have hard water with buffering ability and a stable pH vs. soft water with little buffering capacity and fluctuating pH, in my opinion.





Most fish adapt very well to water parameters as long as they are stable a d don't fluctuate drastically
 

Holeinthehead

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AustinS said:
Now that I have over a year of fishkeeping experience under my belt, I would really like to improve the water quality of my aquarium to better suit my fish. I just tested my water and got these results:

pH: 8.0ppm
ammonia: 0.0ppm
nitrite: 0.0ppm
nitrate: 10.0ppm
kH: 5°
gH: 12°

In my aquarium I have these fish:

9 neon tetras
8 silvertip tetras
1 bristlenose pleco

It's a 29 gal planted aquarium with a big piece of driftwood if that helps in any way.

Based on the recommendations of my test kit and, my pH and water hardness readings are too high (should be pH 5.5 - 7.5, gH 3° - 6°). What is the best way to make the water better suited to my fish? I want to give my fish the best quality of life I can. Thanks!
Leave it
 

YATT

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Double check your pH by taking a sample to the fish store. Maybe it’ll give you peace of mind.

After a year and they are doing ok, I wouldn’t worry.
 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

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Since its been a year and they're fine, I say leave it. But if in the future you decide to do another aquarium, you can use peat moss, very efficient.
 

DavidFishMan

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I also say leave it. Is the water in your area have a high PH or is something in your tank raising the PH such as the substrate or rocks?
But if you want to get your PH down a little buy some Seachem discus buffer. It works very well and you can put some in when you do a water change.
 

eagledriver

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I totally agree with the other comments suggesting that you leave it alone. Many years ago, I made a seriously rookie mistake and decided to make a pH adjustment. Too much, too quick. I woke up the next morning with a tank full of dead fish. If you absolutely insist on adjusting the pH, do it VERY SLOOOOOWLY!
 

GoldieRescue

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AustinS said:
I just figured if I could improve the water for them then why shouldn't I, if something isn't dead that doesn't mean it's 100% happy and healthy. I see your points though, stability makes sense. I wouldn't wanna stress them out.
Well you are right to some degree, just because the fish are thriving does not mean they are happy. If you are breeding fish, some types won’t breed unless water conditions are at their preferred levels. If you have no interest in breeding and the fish are not sick and growing as they should then it's best to leave well enough alone.

The only way to move PH way down and lower hard water (I have tried it all) is to get a small 3-Stage Portable Aquarium-Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System to temporary (when you need it) hook up to your faucet to gathering RO Water in a bin or bucket for later water changes. You only have to replace half the water to see the difference so the fish still have some minerals to live correctly. I have done this and it works great. Brings down PH to a nice 7 from 8.4 and makes TDS go down to 100 from 600. A TDS meter is cheap to buy so you can check your water digitally. It works great but I caution while changing over water to RO your beneficial bacteria will need to adjust very, very slowly or it will crash and have to reestablish it’s self in the new conditions of the water.

In my experience RO is a pain because it’s a very slow drip and about 3 gallons is wasted per 1 gallon of RO water. If it’s a smaller tank like 30 gallons it might be fine but for larger tanks what a pain it is and a lot of wasted water is hard to comprehend (water bill). Being my patio pond is 200 gallons I went back to faucet water.

That being said my fish have not spawned at all in high PH and high TDS. Also because of the hard water they are more susceptible to diseases and more sensitive to water issues. The hard water and high PH can cause many problems including with slime coats and when medicating. Since you have high PH and Hard water also keep in mind if you ever have to medicate, some medicines are more toxic to fish in High PH and hard water and some just don’t work in High Ph and Hard water. Hope this helps explain better and gives you a better idea if you should make changes or not.
 

Kwig

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I had very hard, mineralised water like that in Las Vegas. I'm in Redmond, WA now with very soft, acidic water. I'd rather have the hard water. Soft water fish adjust better to hard water than the other way around. I also feel like my plants and crustaceans did better too with ample minerals. I used distilled water for top offs because it's so dry there the evaporation rate was crazy. Up here, the pH can crash once the minerals are utilized if you're not doing weekly water changes.

I always tell people the goal is to have it match your faucet water. Stability is key.
 

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