Ph/gh/kh Guidance

  1. I

    IndigoTJo Well Known Member Member

    Hello there, I am battling low ph/kh. I have a well planted 55g tank. It also has 2 granite caves, slate, malaysian driftwood, shells, and a man-made limestone look-a-like (petco). I use a penguin 70g filter with sponges only.

    My ph from tap is 7.0 or 7.2 I have some sitting out degassing to test, but only 12 hrs. Should I be degassing tank water too before testing?

    Tank water Ph reads between 6.0 and 6.4 (it was 6.0 orginally), Kh <1, and a Gh 28.

    I add prime, flourish, and special blend weekly. I add kent's calcium daily for my snails.

    I put approx 1 cup of crushed coral in my tank on Saturday and added some large shells in the substrate Thursday. I have read it takes awhile for crushed coral to work it's magic; however, I am worried that so far the results have been negligable.

    I am also confused as to how my Kh is so low when I have been adding Kent's Calcium daily for a few months now. I do 30% water changes weekly.

    I had a Nitrate spike last week so I have been doing daily 30% water changes. It finally read at 40ppm this morning. I would like to see 20ppm, should I do daily changes still or go back to weekly?

    Sorry for so many questions I just want to get my fishes in a higher Ph. A few of my fish prefer 7.0 - 7.5 so I would ideally like to bring my tank slowly up to 7.0 or 7.2 without using more daily/weekly additives if I don't need to. Thank you very much in advance for you help!
  2. OP

    IndigoTJo Well Known Member Member

    Is there anything else I could be doing?
  3. Sarcasm Included

    Sarcasm Included Well Known Member Member

    You can use aragonite sand for substrate, or just mix it in with the substrate. More expensive would be to replace the look alike limestone with real Texas holey rock.
    Most important, get your nitrates where you want them and stop all the large water changes. You need to be doing small water changes to allow the buffers to build up, the large water changes are removing the buffers as fast as they can build up.
  4. OP

    IndigoTJo Well Known Member Member

    So should I do a 50% change to get it down more and call it good? I thought with my tap water at 7.0 it wouldn't matter, guess I was wrong.
  5. Sarcasm Included

    Sarcasm Included Well Known Member Member

    20ppm is fine depending on how fast your tank is generating nitrates. If your seeing 20ppm a week or more, that I would look at reducing stock. If your generating under 10ppm a week, than you are good to go.
  6. -Mak-

    -Mak- Well Known Member Member

    You're adding calcium (Ca), not calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Calcium carbonate is what increases ph and buffers water. Calcium contributes to GH, which is also why your GH is extremely high.
  7. sfsamm

    sfsamm Well Known Member Member

    -Mak- is correct, the calcium you are adding is why your gH is so high. The coral will raise your kH and generally takes a few days to level out where it's going to stay. If you haven't added enough coral it won't have as much of an impact. Also you'll still need to monitor your kH to determine how often you need to add new coral. Did you add coral in the filter? If you have added it as part of the substrate it will take significantly longer to raise kH and may not be as effective. In a 55 gallon tank I'd start with 1-2 cups of coral in the filter and increase as needed from there.