Question about KH and GH

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by KMissy88, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. KMissy88

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    Hi everyone, I'm trying to set my tank for a pair of rams. I did a water test and my GH is way too hard so I got some driftwood to gently lower it, and I also noticed my KH is in the low range. I read that that's bad if you have live plants, which I do.

    So, my question is, is there something I can do to gently lower it like shells without making my water any harder?

  2. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    What are the exact test results? Can you post them please along with your peramaters (PH and stuff) please.
  3. OP

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    Oh, sure! Let's see, it's a 10 gallon with live plants and now a piece of driftwood. The water hardness is around the 300 range. The KH is at 40 and the pH is 6.8.

  4. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Oh CindiL GH issue for joooooo

    Rams are in the cichlid family, and they like higher pH then 6.5. I'm pretty sure your 6.5 is due to your low KH. That is really low and can cause bigger crashes in your PH.

    So please answer these questions so Cindi can guide you better in the GH and and we both can help you with your KH.

    What size tank?
    Is it cycled and if cycled, when did it finish?
    What is your GH and KH from your water source? (tap)
    Is there anything else in the tank besides plants (fish, shrimp, snails, etc)?
    Are you using test strips or liquid test like API Master Test Kit?
    What is your other peramaters (nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia)?

  5. OP

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    I have a 10 gallon

    Is it cycled and if cycled, when did it finish? - I've had it running for years
    What is your GH and KH from your water source? (tap) I'm not sure about the tap KH but we have very hard water here

    Is there anything else in the tank besides plants (fish, shrimp, snails, etc)? I have some neons, corries, glow light tetras

    Are you using test strips or liquid test like API Master Test Kit? I got a strip from the fish store that you dip in the tank for a few seconds. they just have their logo on it

    What is your other peramaters (nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia)?the test didn't have ammonia on it, but the nitrate was around 20 and the nitrite looked to be close to 0

    hope this is okay. I'm new at water testing stuff
  6. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Do you use your tap water to fill your tank?
  7. OP

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    Yeah, with water conditioner
  8. sunshine2012

    sunshine2012Valued MemberMember

    Also how many of each fish are in the 10 gallon? You could be overstocked.
  9. OP

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    Overstocked huh? Does that make the KH lower? Lets see I have 9 neons, i think 4 glowlights, the ram pair and 4 corries
  10. OP

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    Should I move some of my plants to other tanks so they don't shock the pH at night?
  11. Dragones5150918

    Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Plants don't do anything to the pH. Actually your kh affects your pH. You are over stocked though.
  12. Dondomingo

    DondomingoWell Known MemberMember

    Actually not entirely, In some cases plants can affect PH depending on how stocked with plants, how much light spectrum, light hours and your KH levels as you mentioned.

    Since you can have hard water (high GH) with low KH (Carbonate hardness) which in turn creates a lower PH than most people with hard water (high GH/KH) because your water can still possibly lack enough calcium carbonate to buffer the PH.

    So if by chance you lack enough KH to stabilize the PH, as plants as take in the Co2 and give off O2 during light phase, it can dip the PH same in reverse when the lights go off and fish give off Co2.

    Overall, personally, stability is the most important issue. Is the PH swinging during lights on and off. Test this a few hours into light and again a few hours into dark. If no swinging is happening then your fine.

    Fish will inevitable acclimate to a stable PH as long as it's close enough to their natural habitat. I wouldn't mess with things that cause PH swings unless you are specifically keeping fish that requires super high or low PH and your water is needing treatment. Which means you'll have to work on methods to establish that environment.

    Another not so common problem with heavy planted tanks is plants do take up O2 as well. So at night, you could potentially have fish and plants competing. Fish gasping for air at night time. Air stones ran at night can some times rectify this.

    You can always lower your fish load which will lower the O2 requirements in a small tank. (You'll find that larger tanks generally swing less in levels over the tiny tanks)

    If you still having PH swinging problems then there's many solutions. I'd work on buffering your KH which if done properly will stabilize your tap waters natural PH. They sale powdered calcium carbonate, oyster shells, and more to do the job.

    I might be a little rusty, so I'll always defer to the others.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  13. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi1

    Your 10g tank is too small I'm sorry to say to house those Rams. At a minimum you would want a 20g tank, they can get very territorial, especially if they mate. Also, your neons require cooler temperatures then the Rams which if you're referring to German blue Rams need a minimum of 80 up to 86 degrees. They are hard fish to keep alive even in the most ideal situations. They do like soft water like you thought but I would be more concerned about the stocking situation. Do you have room for a larger tank? If so, I would upgrade but would not add any more fish then what you have. Tetras also prefer "softer" water. How are they all doing in your hard water? Most soft water fish can adapt to harder water, the opposite is harder, keeping hard water fish in soft.

    Your KH is concerning. It would be good to know your tap KH. How often and how much water do you change out a week? Yes, stocking can effect your KH because the nitrogen cycle is acidic so the more fish you have, the bigger toll it will take on an already low KH. The best thing you can do for KH is to add in minerals as mentioned above. Crushed coral, aragonite, limestone, any type of sea shell, oyster shell, cuttlebone. As your ph drops, these slowly disintegrate carbonates into the water column holding your PH. They will probably increase it some but I would not worry about this.

    Lastly, I would pick up an API Liquid Master Test Kit. It's time if you have kept your tank for years :). Once you understand the readings you'll be glad you have it and for the money it is well worth the cost as you get hundreds of readings out of it.
  14. OP

    KMissy88New MemberMember

    Okay thanks for all the info. It's interesting. I've had my glowlights forever and they're doing pretty well. I don't have any room for a larger tank so I just won't add anyone new
  15. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Well, at a minimum I would add in some crushed coral or seashells either onto your substrate or into a media bag and then put that into your hob.

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