I'm having a hard time believing my KH is 1...

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by QQQUUUUAADDD, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    I just received my API GH & KH test kit. I tested my GH and it's 5. OK. I then went on and tested my KH. I read 1. I only needed to add one drop of the liquid solution to make it yellow. It expires in 2017 so... maybe my water just can't buffer? Should I add some crushed coral?
  2. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I recently found a similar issue. The ph in one of my tanks was dropping with no explanation and after testing I came up with 1 kh and 2 gh, I figure the plants or snails were using the carbonates because my tap is only 2.5 kh and 3.5 gh.

    I added a handfull of crushed coral to my filter and then another handfull a week later and now my kh is 3.5 gh 4.5 and ph stable at 7.4 like the rest of my tanks.

    I would definitely get the kh up, you are very vulnerable to ph swings with it that low, I'd start with a small handful if this is your 29g and test every day, after a couple days if it hasn't come up add another. Be aware that your ph will also come up as well but it should do so slowly.

  3. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the reply Matt. I'll get some crushed coral ASAP. Does Petsmart carry it?

    My pH has dropped to 6.6 from the mid-7s. I bet my Amazonian fish are loving the low pH but they're not loving the pH swings. I need to get that crushed coral!

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  4. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    No problem, I got mine from my lfs, they sell it in a bin by the pound. I can't recall having seen it at either petsmart or petco but I wasn't looking for it there either. I would try a lfs, I got a ton for $3, I would imagine the big stores would have it bagged as a cichlid substrate so you should be able to get it, probably just more expensive.

    True, they're probably appreciating the acidity, they probably won't appreciate it so much if they got a big pwc and the ph shot up. :) Thats whats good about the crushed coral, it does it rather slowly, the procedure I described I did earlier was in a fully stocked tank including 6 juvenile angels and not a single fish was bothered in any way I could see.

  5. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    Hmmm... I guess I'll take a look at my Petsmart. They may have it in the marine supply section.
  6. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I forgot to mention this and I don't know how important it is but I rinsed the heck out of mine. I was afraid of either salt getting in the water or the dust from the coral raising kh too fast. I wanted it only releasing calcium carbonate as a direct result of the acidic water.
  7. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    I didn't have time to run out to Petsmart so I got some baking soda. Do you know how many teaspoons it requires to raise one degree of KH using baking soda in a 30 gallon tank? Baking soda is temporary until I get crushed coral.
  8. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I've never used baking soda, I didn't like that it instantly changes the chemistry of the tank. I'd be afraid of raising it too quickly and causing a big swing.
  9. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    Hmmm... I guess I'll just have to try it out. I don't want to wait any longer. I may be able to grab some crushed coral tomorrow. I'll update you after I use the baking soda.
  10. JRC3Well Known MemberMember

    My tapwater has a KH of 3-4 degrees. I tried aragonite as substrate and added 20lbs of crushed coral to my brackish water mixing vessel and pumped my water directly through it all week with no increase in KH. ???

    2 years ago I slowly added sodium bicarbonate and am now able to keep my KH around 12-14 degrees. My tap water PH is always 7.8 and my vessel and tank water buffers around 8.3. I add about 3-3.5 teaspoons of baking soda to my 32g Big Brute mixing vessel to get those numbers...I would say I'm treating about 28 gallons of actual water change water in it.

    Btw, I test with both an API and Tetra test kit with identical results.
  11. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    If I recall correctly I think the op went with baking soda and sustained some losses. :( May have gotten added too quickly.
  12. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    There are multiple factors to having a tank depleted of carbonate. Running out to purchase a product isn't always the best option until you have a full understanding of the situation.

    Test the KH of your untreated source water.

    If it is also low, then obviously you will need to use something. Baking soda, crushed shells or crushed coral are the most common.

    If, on the other hand, your source water has enough carbonate, then there is something in the tank depleting it. Here's where it can get tricky. Until the cause within the tank is resolved even crushed coral will have a difficult time helping.
  13. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Crushed coral or shells are not water soluble. You'll need a catalyst like CO2 injection to make them mix with water. It may work initially but it will stop working after awhile.

    For baking soda you can use this calculator.

    You can raise 1 or 2 dKH per day to minimize shock.
  14. JRC3Well Known MemberMember

    I raised mine over a few month period. I did this nearly 2 years ago and everything has gone excellent since.

    Going too quickly will cause osmotic shock and cause some deaths. Osmosis has to do with a fishes ability to maintain body fluid levels and also to release toxins. A fast change in total disolved solids will upset that process and may kill the fish.
  15. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Wouldn't that depend on pH?
  16. beginnerValued MemberMember

    you certainly could add something to the filtration system to add hardness to the tank water or you could change more water more often. that's what i'd do
  17. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, that too. :)
  18. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Isn't water considered the "universal solvent". ;)
  19. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Baking soda is instantaneous and you do need to be careful with it. I agree with what dena said about needing to figure out what has happened to the carbonate. You might be going thru a bit of a variant on a mini cycle. Using a very small pinch of baking soda should do the trick if you are.
  20. beginnerValued MemberMember


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