How can I increase gh and kh without increasing ph?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by Kgoyette, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Hi everyone, im currently cycling my 20gal long. My ph of my well water after aeration (48hrs) is 8.0, gh 53, and kh 3, according to my api tests. Not sure why its so soft, we dont use a softener of any kind.
    Im hoping to house 2 kribs in the tank after cycling. As i understand it, they can adapt to that ph but id like to get the buffering capacity up. Seeing that the ph is already high, if i added a limestone rock, would that raise the gh and kh without increasing the ph any further? Open to any and all suggestions but Id like to avoid using chemical buffers and such.
     
  2. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

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    The kribs like soft water, so you don't need to worry about increasing GH. It wouldn't hurt to bring your KH up though, just so your pH is more stable.
     
  3. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Thats great news! How can i bring my kh up without increasing the ph?
     
  4. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

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    If your GH is 53ppm that is extremely high and will need reduced. Or have you given the GH and KH in different units?
     
  5. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Api test said for both kh and gh i got....3dKH , 53.7 ppm gh/kh both took 3 drops to get me the reading..which i believe means its soft, no?
     
  6. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

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    Sorry I meant degrees, not ppm.

    So your GH and KH are both 3(degrees) which is very soft, and ideal for Kribs. GH is of no consequence, and a KH of 3 should be fine. It will be replenished with every water change, and as long as your tank is not heavily stocked it shouldn't decrease much below 3. My tapwater has a KH of 2 and weekly water changes are enough to maintain this...
     
  7. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Awesome, i was worried that my ph may swing too much with the low kh. And the ph of 8 will be ok as well? Im only looking to put a pair of kribs in the 20 long and not going to try for frys. How much of a water change do you do, 25% weekly?
     
  8. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

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    Let the rate of nitrate buildup dictate your water changes. At least 25% weekly, more if required to bring nitrates back down.

    Chances are your pair of Kribs will...
    1) be frightened because there are no dither fish in the tank (no fish means they're all hiding, which means there's danger about...)
    2) breed (when you have dithers).
     
  9. chromedome52

    chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

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    If you are looking to breed common Kribs, you need to lower the pH below 7.0, or your sex ratios will be severely skewed. I would not do this chemically, but naturally with almond or oak leaves, or peat fibers in the filter. I also use sphagnum moss, but you have to be careful as this can drop the pH a lot with fairly soft water.

    Sorry, I wrote this before your post saying you don't want to spawn.
     
  10. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    What level should the nitrates be at ideally once a proper wc has been done?(forgive me, this is my first time at trying to set up a tank....properly)

    so you would recommend dither fish, anything in particular with the high ph? I also want to make sure i dont overload the tank..my filter is an aqueon 50..
     
  11. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Stupid question but can i keep 2 of the same sex, for some reason i was thinking i had to have a pair?
     
  12. chromedome52

    chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

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    Ignore the pH. It is artificially high because your water is so soft. Even a low KH makes it appear high in soft water, and I disagree that GH is not relevant; I consider that more important than pH.
     
  13. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

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    Hi, welcome to fishlore

    I think your KH of 53ppm is borderline. Keep a close eye on your ph. Maybe test twice a week for the first month to make sure it is not dropping.

    GH, KH and PH are all intertwined, its hard to bring up one without the other. You can bring up GH alone with calcium chloride and KH and PH with calcium carbonates. Most mineral rocks, sand substrates will bring up all three. The only way I know of to increase KH and not GH and PH is by using Seachem's alkaline and acid buffers together which you had mentioned you don't want to use.

    I also think GH is very important. People mistakenly often think soft water fish means little to no GH which is just not true. (I am not saying anyone here is saying that,) just a common misconception I wanted to point out. You always want to have positive mineral cations in your water. With two fish your GH is probably ok but make sure to do decent sized water changes to replenish this each week.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  14. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Thank you for all the great responses! So much to learn!

    Does anyone know, if i were to add a rock such as limestone or a dead coral, would it raise my ph much more than where i already am? (8) or does it kind of cease adding at a certain point?
     
  15. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

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    They generally don't rise above 8.2. I think crushed coral is a good option.
     
  16. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Will i be able to tell if my ph is or isnt stable during the fishless cycling that im currently doing? Or will i not know until i put fish in? i will pick up some crushed coral just in case.
     
  17. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

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    Cycling is probably a good test because it uses up carbonates quickly depending on how much you are dosing. I think a small amount of coral is good anyways, even if its just a 1/4 cup in the filter or scattered in the substrate. I don't think it would be enough to do much to your ph from where it already is at but if ph was to start dropping it would dissolve the coral and hold it steady.

    I have seen quite a few people here have ph crashes at around your KH or less and then they end up having to cycle all over again because by the time they've caught it, a large amount of nitrifying bacteria has died off. This may not happen to you but I figure better safe than sorry with a little coral.

    Regarding cycling, do you have any other tanks running right now?
     
  18. OP
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    Kgoyette

    KgoyetteNew MemberMember

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    Thanks for the detailed response, i dont have any other tanks. I do have a real dead, dried large coral that i could try? Or would that not work as well as crushed? I just started the cycling process yesterday, added somewhere between 3-4ppm pure ammonia.

    if for some reason i did have a crash at some point, would the bacteria in the filter, which has a biomax insert, be killed as well?
     
  19. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

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    Someone else will have to give their ok on the dead coral you have.....I am assuming this is different then the crushed shell itself in the bags? As in maybe just the outer part? I do not know much about coral other than its raises gh, kh and ph lol.

    As far as crashes and bio-media and other populated areas of the tank it comes down to how far down it drops and how long its there before you catch it. Usually I think people see rising levels of ammonia and thats how they catch it.
    Annie424 had a couple crashes in the beginning of her tank setup I think, so maybe she'll have something to add to this.
     
  20. Annie424

    Annie424Well Known MemberMember

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    Hi Kgoyette. I had a pH crash due to low KH about 2 months ago. There was literally no warning. My tank was fully cycled, and going good for at least 6 weeks or so. Then BAM - the pH went from the usual 7.6 to below 6.4 in a matter of less than 24 hours. Probably less than 18 hours, actually. All was good the night before, and when I came home from work the next day things were really bad. I lost my female betta, and it took over 2 weeks before my nitrites lowered from being pinned at the top of the chart to zero. My KH is normally 3 drops, GH was normally between 9-10 drops with the API tester. Bear in mind, this was my newest tank - I'd had another for close to a year and still have had no problems other than somewhat higher nitrates than I'd like. Both tanks test almost exactly the same. I have the same filter, substrate, bioload, plants, etc. in each tank. Why the newer setup crashed and the older one didn't...I have no idea. I have since added crushed coral to each filter bag. The GH/KH has only risen one drop, but the pH has gone up from 7.6 to around 8.2. Which I don't really like at all, but it's better than having everything die and throwing the cycle out. My only clue that something had gone horribly wrong was coming home to find my betta alternating between swimming sideways at the top of the tank and being sucked up against the filter intake. I immediately tested the water and found the pH had dropped like crazy. I did a huge water change right away, but it wasn't enough and she died within a few hours. Then it took close to 2 weeks before my nitrite levels were safe. I'm very lucky my invertebrates did not die while I was trying to fix the water.
     
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