Kh Is 0...want To Raise Using Baking Soda...a Couple Of Questions (i Tried Searching)

Tsukkomu

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i got my GH+KH kit today. and i have a whole new set of problems now. my GH is 7 which i'm fine with...but my kH is 0. or at least it takes 1 drop to instantly turn blue. i'm wanting to raise my kH to be closer to my GH...certainly not 0.

i know i can use baking soda. but i also know that baking soda raises pH as well. my pH is 7.2....my tank is a 5 gallon.

how dramatic of an increase in pH will baking soda produce? and how soon after adding baking soda will my kH go up? i'm playing around with 5 gallons of water (not my aquarium)....and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda saw my pH go up to 7.6....but my kH is still 0...or a single drop to change to blue.

is there a time period that kH slowly rises after adding baking soda? i believe i read somewhere adding baking soda wouldn't do anything to kH unless the pH was over 8...but perhaps i am remembering that wrong. i can not find in my history where i may or may not have read that.

i'm really trying my best to understand all of this before doctoring my water. but it's all quite daunting.

the kH of my tap water is 0, just to clarify....i'm interested in using Seachem buffers but it's all, as i said, quite daunting.

what exactly are the negatives of having a nonexistant kH? obviously the very real possibility of pH crash...but i've read the kH feeds the nitrifying bacteria..what effect does 0 kH have on the nitryfing bacteria?

thank you. i feel really stupid. normally i am able to read and research and understand really easily. but this has me quite lost.
 
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Tsukkomu

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a betta and a mystery snail...plants.

perhaps i don't...which is why i haven't done anything. and am just learning at this point. i'm gathering all the information....what i have read that freaked me out was the nitrifying bacteria consume kH...and so i assumed a kH of 0 was bad. but i don't know. i'm really trying to understand everything.

if doctoring my water is not needed....if a kH of 0 is perfectly fine for the inhabitants, the plants, the BB...then i don't. but more than anything i am trying to understand....so i don't feel stupid.

i'm under the assumption a kH of 0 is bad.
 

Kathryn Crook

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a betta and a mystery snail...plants.

perhaps i don't...which is why i haven't done anything. and am just learning at this point. i'm gathering all the information....what i have read that freaked me out was the nitrifying bacteria consume kH...and so i assumed a kH of 0 was bad. but i don't know. i'm really trying to understand everything.

if doctoring my water is not needed....if a kH of 0 is perfectly fine for the inhabitants, the plants, the BB...then i don't. but more than anything i am trying to understand....so i don't feel stupid.

i'm under the assumption a kH of 0 is bad.
What is your PH?
 
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Tsukkomu

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a perfect 7.

is a kH of 0 bad? or...i don't know if it's 0 but it turns blue with 1 drop. what effect does that low of a kH have on plants and the nitryfing bacteria?
 
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It's a point of contention among aquarists. Some think 0 (or low) KH is bad, others think that a few degrees (4 or so) is necessary. I tend to straddle the fence a bit: anywhere between 0-4 is fine. If you'd like to compromise, I'd choose 2-3.

It's important to note that fish do not directly require carbonates for any biological purpose. The purpose of carbonates in the water is to provide a buffer of sorts against sharp decreases/increases in pH. Ultimately the disagreement lies in whether the day-to-day fluctuations in pH as well as the changes in pH between water changes in aquariums are significant to fish health to warrant buffering.

I think it's important to note that pH in itself is a "proxy" for a lot of other biochemical processes. That is, a lot of reactions inside a tank can affect it and buffering for pH in itself may not resolve an underlying causative process that may in itself have negative effects on fish.

Example: KH affects pH (higher carbonate concentration typically leads to a more alkaline pH), and both KH and pH separately affect osmoregulation in fish. If you suddenly increased your KH from 2 to 18, your pH may well likely jump from 7.5 to 9.0, and you might likely kill most of your fish. If you measured solely for pH, it may appear that pH in itself killed your fish, but on the balance of probabilities it's more likely that the sudden, drastic change in KH induced osmotic shock.

KH can feed nitrifying bacteria, but they can also utilise carbon dioxide. Adding additional carbonates, I find, is more necessary (sometimes not at all) while cycling as you're attempting to culture significant growth of nitrifying microorganisms that may not be met by a latent supply of carbon dioxide.

If you do wish to increase KH, t takes 1.14 grams (approximately 1/4 teaspoon) to increase the KH of 10 gallons of water by 1 dKH. I would only do so gradually to avoid osmostic shock: a conservative estimate is half a dKH per day.
 

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Kh (from my understanding) is only a concern if you have a PH problem...which I dont think you have.
 
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Tsukkomu

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Kh (from my understanding) is only a concern if you have a PH problem...which I dont think you have.
no i don't have a pH problem. i test it maybe every 4 days and it is always 7. i guess i got freaked out by reading about kH feeding nitryfing bacteria.

Minnowette, will kH go up automatically? or after adding baking soda...will it be a period of time to see it rise? i'm just curious.
 

Kathryn Crook

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Tbh? Im avoiding GH and KH kits cuz I have no interest in panicking, lol. Im struggling with high PH in my water to prepare for shrimp and Im trying to narrow down the culprit.

I want to do it naturally, thru deadwood, or peat moss or something like that...adding chems here and there like baking soda or vinegar is a quick fix and causes spikes...or so Ive heard.

Im still learning the process too!
 

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Minnowette, will kH go up automatically? or after adding baking soda...will it be a period of time to see it rise? i'm just curious.
KH will not increase unless you have a crushed coral, limestone or another calcium carbonate-based item in the tank.

Baking soda does have a high rate of solubility, but I would advise dissolving it in a small container of water before adding it just to avoid it clumping. It should have a noticeable effect within 20-40 minutes (depending on water circulation rate).

I had a feeling of deja vu while writing my response, turns out, there was a very similar thread the other day!

Here is @Jocelyn Adelman's response in that thread: she generally endorses a higher KH (4 or so) to aid in stability. She's a wonderfully insightful contributor, so you can't go wrong with her advice.

My post is below hers with some extracts from various planted tank authorities. As you can see, it is subject to a bit of contention.
 
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Tsukkomu

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KH will not increase unless you have a crushed coral, limestone or another calcium carbonate-based item in the tank.

Baking soda does have a high rate of solubility, but I would advise dissolving it in a small container of water before adding it just to avoid it clumping. It should have a noticeable effect within 20-40 minutes (depending on water circulation rate).

I had a feeling of deja vu while writing my response, turns out, there was a very similar thread the other day!

Here is @Jocelyn Adelman's response in that thread: she generally endorses a higher KH (4 or so) to aid in stability. She's a wonderfully insightful contributor, so you can't go wrong with her advice.

My post is below hers with some extracts from various planted tank authorities. As you can see, it is subject to a bit of contention.
so basically i don't even need to worry about kH..fish are fine. plants are fine. and weekly water changes is all i need to worry about as long as my gH and pH stay constant.
 

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so basically i don't even need to worry about kH..fish are fine. plants are fine. and weekly water changes is all i need to worry about as long as my and stay constant.
That's what I gather as well. If you do experience significant pH changes (it might happen, each tank tends to stabilise/fluctuate differently), and you feel that these pH changes are too drastic, then you can certainly dose baking soda for a few dKH to aid in stability.

If you do decide to raise KH, it's also important - when doing routine water changes - to raise the KH of your new water before adding it to the tank.

In my case, I have relatively low KH: 2 or 3 at most. I toyed with the idea of raising it higher, but after reading the scientific literature and reading some information provided by planted tank authorities, I've largely come to the thinking that "0 KH is fine, 4 KH is fine, it likely doesn't matter too much."
 
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Tsukkomu

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That's what I gather as well. If you do experience significant pH changes (it might happen, each tank tends to stabilise/fluctuate differently), and you feel that these pH changes are too drastic, then you can certainly dose baking soda for a few dKH to aid in stability.

If you do decide to raise KH, it's also important - when doing routine water changes - to raise the KH of your new water before adding it to the tank.

In my case, I have relatively low KH: 2 or 3 at most. I toyed with the idea of raising it higher, but after reading the scientific literature and reading some information provided by planted tank authorities, I've largely come to the thinking that "0 KH is fine, 4 KH is fine, it likely doesn't matter too much."
Thank you so much! I see you basically said a lot of this in the thread you pointed me to. I must not of paid attention to it in the search results because it was about salt water.

I really appreciate you!!!

So my bacteria are just fine with a low kH. This is why I freaked out about kH. I read the BB feeds off kH.
 

Kathryn Crook

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Thank you so much! I see you basically said a lot of this in the thread you pointed me to. I must not of paid attention to it in the search results because it was about salt water.

I really appreciate you!!!

So my bacteria are just fine with a low kH. This is why I freaked out about kH. I read the BB feeds off kH.
I think its most important to just watch your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels unless you have a sensitive fish to PH. Most ppl here dont even talk about KH/GH unless theres a PH problem for more “high maintence critters”.
 

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What kind of substrate are you using?

The reason I ask is because that is really the only reason to worry about KH.

A KH around 4deg. makes it hard of the pH to swing.

If you are using sand, gravel, or an inactive plant substrate then don’t bother with KH.

I use fluval stratum and it is known to swing the pH into the acidic range. I use RO water which means the KH is nonexistent. To compensate I add RO replenishment solution to the water and mix with a little well water. The well water has a very high KH (and a crazy high pH). This helps keep the pH more stable through the week.

Using CO2 can also cause pH swings. So here KH would be beneficial as well.
 

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As long as your ph is remaining stable I wouldn’t be too concerned... however, I would recommend measuring ph at different times throughout the day... middle of the night/1-2 hrs prior to lights on, and again middle of your photoperiod.
If you are seeing swings, you can try doing more frequent/larger wc to help with stability. If it won’t hold the. I would recommend adding buffers... coral in your filter works, has to be replaced every so often (varies from tank to tank). While considered more “natural” I don’t like it for 2 reasons... 1) don’t always have an hob or space in the hob 2) prefer to add and forget about it, dot like to recheck things to see if needs to be changed, etc.
I use alkaline buffer, my tap is kh2... have had losses from a ph swing (randomly was out late and decided to check tank, had some unexplained losses, in the middle of night... huge drop, back to normal next day. Monitored for a few days to see if results stayed the same... each night I was having drops and losing fish...
That being said this particular tank was also slightly overstocked and heavily planted at the time, could also be factors.
Many use baking soda instead of alkaline buffer, I have heard it’s not as stable, but have never tested it myself so can’t really comment much on it.

I have a handful of tanks with a kH of 0-2, most others I buffer to about 5. 3 is usually considered borderline for stability. (Over 30 tanks)
I’m not a “water tester”... ie... every so often I’ll check parameters, but I don’t enjoy having to alkaline buffer works for me in that I know how much is my wc and how much I am adding, consistent results.

Some tanks I would advocate a higher kH, but not all. Just monitor the ph for a few weeks (again, I stress at different times of day/night) for stability. If there’s a swing, then you can consider bumping up the kH.
 

Celestialpearl

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Tbh? Im avoiding GH and KH kits cuz I have no interest in panicking, lol. Im struggling with high PH in my water to prepare for shrimp and Im trying to narrow down the culprit.

I want to do it naturally, thru deadwood, or peat moss or something like that...adding chems here and there like baking soda or vinegar is a quick fix and causes spikes...or so Ive heard.

Im still learning the process too!
Adding chemicals to water to change the pH can and in my experience does cause drastic spikes and for short term as the pH generally stabilizes back to basic.

If I want to change the pH it’s easier to start with RO and then add normal water and remineralizer. This I have found to be both the easiest way to adjust pH and the safest because I can keep conditions stable in the tank. If I need to top off water I use RO which is inert. It doesn’t add any minerals back to the water to swing the pH. The only way I change pH is by changing the ratio of water mixture.

The changes in pH more often cause more trouble than what it is worth due to the stress it puts on the fish and eventually in your case shrimp. Sometimes we can’t get the fish we want until we can get them into the conditions they need. Other times they can thrive in waters that are not typically considered their normal range but thrive because the water is clean and stable. Such is the case of the Celestial pearl danio. When it came into trade it was considered soft water only but people were able to breed them in hard water disproving the soft water idea.

To this I suggest a RO system if you can afford one. Or try shrimp that can handle hard water. If you were thinking cherry shrimp I’ve honestly heard they can handle a range of pH from 7-8.
 
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