Should I Increase My Kh/gh

CMB
  • #1
I'm currently in the middle of cycling my tank and I have recently started testing my water. Last I tested I had a PH of about 7, but my KH and GH are both really low (according to the apI test kit, on the high end of the 0-3 range or 38 ppm). Here are the fish I'm thinking of keeping:

AquStockImage.png
Would you guys recommend that I try to increase my GH and Kh (in a way that doesn't affect PH), or would you just leave it? My biggest concern is about keeping a stable PH once I add fish. If you think I should increase GH or KH, how would you recommend doing this?
 
TexasDomer
  • #2
I would increase your KH to keep your pH stable, and your GH since you're keeping platies (if you weren't keeping platies, I'd say leave your GH be). Increasing these will likely increase your pH, but you don't need to worry about that - it won't hurt your fish and the higher pH is fine for them.

You could use buffers like Seachem's Equilibrium or Replenish for GH (depends on if you're keeping plants for which one to use) and their Alkalinity buffer. Alternatively, you can put crushed coral or limestone in your filter or in the tank.

You have a stocking issue if you'd like to discuss it
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I would increase your KH to keep your pH stable, and your GH since you're keeping platies (if you weren't keeping platies, I'd say leave your GH be). Increasing these will likely increase your pH, but you don't need to worry about that - it won't hurt your fish and the higher pH is fine for them.

You could use buffers like Seachem's Equilibrium or Replenish for GH (depends on if you're keeping plants for which one to use) and their Alkalinity buffer. Alternatively, you can put crushed coral or limestone in your filter or in the tank.

You have a stocking issue if you'd like to discuss it

Alright, I will try buffering the GH/PH. If I use crushed corral, can I just put it into my filter and not have to add new chemicals in every water change ? This sounds easier than dealing with chemicals every week.

I've got a problem with my stocking? I thought that I'd finally figured out the perfect plan, but I would love any advice on how to make my aquarium better for the fish.
 
TexasDomer
  • #4
Yes, that'll work for the crushed coral.

Just the pearl gouramis really - they should be in temps warmer than some of your other fish. What about swapping them out with honey gourami or a pair of thicklips or a single dwarf gourami?
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Yes, that'll work for the crushed coral.

Just the pearl gouramis really - they should be in temps warmer than some of your other fish. What about swapping them out with honey gourami or a pair of thicklips or a single dwarf gourami?

I do like honey gouramis, but Pearls are some of my favorite fish. I was thinking of keeping the tank at 74 or 75 degrees, and I have read that Pearls can be kept at 75 degrees on several sites. Is it possible for Pearls to thrive in these temperatures? If I can't keep the Pearls, are there any really smart, similarly sized upper dwelling fish that might work in my tank?
 
TexasDomer
  • #6
A lot of sites give bad info, so watch out for that.


Trichopodus leeriI summary page

You also don't want to keep fish at the extreme ends of their range, so 75 F is too low. Higher than that is too high for the neons (and ideally the Bolivians and platies too).

If you don't like the other gouramis, what about something like hatchetfish?

Or you could change your stocking to this:

15-20x Striped kuhlI loaches (not the black ones - they need cooler water)
4x Pearl gourami
20x Cardinal tetra
4x German blue ram or a warm water dwarf cichlid species (some Apistos would look nice)
5x Male guppies or 10x male endlers (should be safe from being eaten, just don't get any large cichlids)
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
A lot of sites give bad info, so watch out for that.


Trichopodus leeriI summary page

You also don't want to keep fish at the extreme ends of their range, so 75 F is too low. Higher than that is too high for the neons (and ideally the Bolivians and platies too).

If you don't like the other gouramis, what about something like hatchetfish?

Or you could change your stocking to this:

15-20x Striped kuhlI loaches (not the black ones - they need cooler water)
4x Pearl gourami
20x Cardinal tetra
4x German blue ram or a warm water dwarf cichlid species (some Apistos would look nice)
5x Male guppies or 10x male endlers (should be safe from being eaten, just don't get any large cichlids)

Hmm, I'll have to think about this. I'm not ready to redo the whole tank to keep the Pearls (I love the Bolivan Rams and KuhlI Loaches), so I'll look for some decent alternatives. Also, I just tested my water, and the PH is up to 8! The GH and KH are still the same, and I'm not sure why it keeps going up. Could it be because of surface agitation? I have a large filter running, and it is aimed to create lots of surface agitation.
 
TexasDomer
  • #8
No, that shouldn't affect your pH.

Did you test the water in your tap or your tank? Do you have any rocks in your tank? Did you just do a water change?
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
No, that shouldn't affect your pH.

Did you test the water in your tap or your tank? Do you have any rocks in your tank? Did you just do a water change?

I tested the water in my tank. I have tested the water coming out of my tap, the PH is around 6.4. When I tested it after it sat in my tank for a couple of days, it was 7. I have a bare 20 gallon tank with a filter and heater. I haven't added any substrate, and I don't have any decorations yet, it will be my quarantine tank ( I will put some PVC in when I get fish). I added Tetra SafeStart on Wednesday, and have been dosing with ammonia to cycle. I have not done any water changes yet, I won't do this until I am almost ready to get fish.
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
. What about swapping them out with honey gourami or a pair of thicklips or a single dwarf gourami?

To return to the topic of the Gouramis, I think that I will get either a trio to small group of honeys, or a trio of thicklip gouramis. Which one, in your experience, has shown more personality and willingness to interact with its owner?
 
TexasDomer
  • #11
I think both can be interactive. Thicklips are a bit less timid than honeys to my knowledge, so they may be the better choice for you.

For the pH, it could just be the CO2 gassing off, which will increase the pH, though it is strange that it jumped that high after a few days - normally it jumps in a day or so.
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I think both can be interactive. Thicklips are a bit less timid than honeys to my knowledge, so they may be the better choice for you.

For the pH, it could just be the CO2 gassing off, which will increase the pH, though it is strange that it jumped that high after a few days - normally it jumps in a day or so.

Alright, then I'll do a trio of Thicklips. Also, do you think that I could also add a pair of keyhole cichlids to this setup? I had earlier decided to replace them with Bolivian Rams, but now I'm thinking maybe I can do both.

Do you think that the PH will go down with time, or will it probably stay up at around 8? Will it change when I add fish/plants?
 
TexasDomer
  • #13
Since you also have the kuhlis on the bottom, I might lower the rams to 2 if you're going to add 2 keyholes.

The pH shouldn't change with fish or plants unless you are really bad at keeping up with water changes (please don't be ), but we can't know for sure about changing over time unless we know more about your tank.

Did you use the strips or separate liquid tests to get your GH and KH? Any driftwood in the tank?
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Since you also have the kuhlis on the bottom, I might lower the rams to 2 if you're going to add 2 keyholes.

The pH shouldn't change with fish or plants unless you are really bad at keeping up with water changes (please don't be ), but we can't know for sure about changing over time unless we know more about your tank.

Did you use the strips or separate liquid tests to get your GH and KH? Any driftwood in the tank?

I have read that rams tend to be social, and that they display better coloration and personality in groups. Will it be a problem for them if I keep just the one pair? Will they be less fun to watch? I guess that 6 cichlids (even dwarf cichlids) don't have enough room to each form their own territory in the bottom of my tank. Its funny to think that a 3" fish needs so much room.

I definitely plan to do regular (weekly) water changes.

No, there's no Driftwood in the tank, it's currently bare. I am using a liquid test kit, I have heard test strips are unreliable. I think that my PH is dropping a little. Yesterday it was 7.8, today it was about 7.6.
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I just noticed that you said you "might lower the rams," not that it would definitely be a bad idea to keep them as a group of 4. Does this mean that it might be possible to keep all 6 dwarf cichlids? How risky would it be to have all of them in the tank? What could go wrong? How likely is it that keeping so many bottom dwellers could actually work? Is there anything that I could do to improve the odds of success (like maybe buying the kuhlI loaches first or something)? I would love to keep the group of Bolivian Rams (they look so cute in groups) and add 2 Keyholes, but only if they could get along (with only minimal squabbling ). Sorry for all of the questions, this is my first fish tank, and I hate to admit it, but I don't really know what I'm doing yet.
 
TexasDomer
  • #16
I have read that rams tend to be social, and that they display better coloration and personality in groups. Will it be a problem for them if I keep just the one pair? Will they be less fun to watch? I guess that 6 cichlids (even dwarf cichlids) don't have enough room to each form their own territory in the bottom of my tank. Its funny to think that a 3" fish needs so much room.

I definitely plan to do regular (weekly) water changes.

No, there's no Driftwood in the tank, it's currently bare. I am using a liquid test kit, I have heard test strips are unreliable. I think that my PH is dropping a little. Yesterday it was 7.8, today it was about 7.6.

It's not a problem to keep them in a pair, I would just go with 2 instead of 4 if you also want keyholes. If you can leave the keyholes out, 4 Bolivians would be great.

It's not just that it's 6 dwarf cichlids, but it's two separate species, and you already have a bottom dweller in the kuhlis.

That's really weird that it jumped to 8 and is now going back down.

I just noticed that you said you "might lower the rams," not that it would definitely be a bad idea to keep them as a group of 4. Does this mean that it might be possible to keep all 6 dwarf cichlids? How risky would it be to have all of them in the tank? What could go wrong? How likely is it that keeping so many bottom dwellers could actually work? Is there anything that I could do to improve the odds of success (like maybe buying the kuhlI loaches first or something)? I would love to keep the group of Bolivian Rams (they look so cute in groups) and add 2 Keyholes, but only if they could get along (with only minimal squabbling ). Sorry for all of the questions, this is my first fish tank, and I hate to admit it, but I don't really know what I'm doing yet.

I would just go with two rams if you want the keyholes. If you didn't have the kuhlis, it might be better/easier to do the 6 dwarf cichlids, but I wouldn't want to put so many bottom dwellers that occupy caves in the same tank.

The worst that would happen is physical aggression. I think stress and overcrowding and jostling for caves is more likely though.

I prefer to understock, so that I provide the best environments for the fish. Sure, you can cram many fish into a tank, but that's not best for the fish.
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
It's not a problem to keep them in a pair, I would just go with 2 instead of 4 if you also want keyholes. If you can leave the keyholes out, 4 Bolivians would be great.

It's not just that it's 6 dwarf cichlids, but it's two separate species, and you already have a bottom dweller in the kuhlis.

That's really weird that it jumped to 8 and is now going back down.



I would just go with two rams if you want the keyholes. If you didn't have the kuhlis, it might be better/easier to do the 6 dwarf cichlids, but I wouldn't want to put so many bottom dwellers that occupy caves in the same tank.

The worst that would happen is physical aggression. I think stress and overcrowding and jostling for caves is more likely though.

I prefer to understock, so that I provide the best environments for the fish. Sure, you can cram many fish into a tank, but that's not best for the fish.

I know, I can't figure out what is going on with my water. I think that I'll watch and see for now, and not mess with it until its a bit lower.

I was so focused on aggression that I didn't even think of overcroading. I know how bad overcroading can be for fish in the long run, so I'll just stick with 2 of each. Also, am I overcrowded as is? Do you think that I should keep less kuhlI loaches so that the bottom dwellers have more room?
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
After doing some research, I think that I'll get rid of the 6 black kuhlis and just keep 12 striped ones (or maybe even 10 striped, 2 black since they can just hang out together). I didn't consider how many fish were in the bottom, thanks so much for pointing it out to me. Here's my current stocking plan:

AquStockImage.png
The honey gouramis are standins for the thicklips, since I couldn't find them on AqAdvisor. Bonus, it looks like this leaves me some room to put more upper dwelling fish in, if I find any that I like. Thank you so much for all of your help!
 
TexasDomer
  • #19
I don't think it'd be a problem to keep the 6 black kuhlis. Since you already have kuhlis, a few more won't make much of a difference, and they prefer company. The more, the merrier! (in most cases...). I'd aI'm for at least 6 blacks if you get them though.

The keyholes and rams will spend some time in the mid and upper parts of the tank, so they'll help fill it too.
 
CMB
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
In that case, I think that I'll start with just getting around 12 kuhlis (not at the same time, of course ), and see how that looks to determine if I want more. Thank you so much for all of your help and advice. Next week, hopefully I'll be able to start getting the actual fish!!!!
 
TexasDomer
  • #21
Happy to help! Keep us updated!
 

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