Soft Water With High Ph How Do I

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish and Invertebrates' started by taramare, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. taramareNew MemberMember

    Hi, looking for advice. It’s a long one.

    I can’t seem to keep ghost shrimp alive and snails appear to have issues as well.

    I have a 20gal 2 year old established tank, heater at 76°

    4 neon tetra, 3 (different species) corys & a Nerite snail

    One small stunted amazon sword plant & a piece of driftwood. The rest is artificial. If I keep too much light on, the tank gets that brown fuzz stuff.

    I experimented with veggies, but the white Cory was the only one eating them, she is a piggy and will eat anything & does good with her little algae wafer & leftover fish food.

    I had a lot of trouble balancing the ph, and wound up with very tannin water from the (boiled...) driftwood which I did not really like. Did a few huge water changes which raised the ph again. My tap water is about 7.8.

    Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrate 40
    Current ph 7.6

    I have been adding acid buffer at this point. Which went really bad when I didn’t pre mix it recently & lost my serpae tetra & little nerite. 90% water change & QT in a bucket... lesson learned. I have, and do, also use distilled water mixed with my treated tap water (seachem prime) which does help.

    I really want this tank to support invertebrates, but the ph goes up when I add calcium (I had no idea the snail would actually snack on a people calcium vitamin!). I had to take drastic measures when he started trying to stay out of the water, did some reading in here & used super glue to fill his cone where his flesh was visible.

    I’ve been through dozens of ghost shrimp. Sometimes a few will last a month or longer, but most disappear within days.

    I do toss less than 1/2 a dose of plant envy in there about twice a month for my little plant. Again... has calcium.

    How can I add calcium to the water without increasing the ph?
  2. -Mak-

    -Mak-Well Known MemberMember

    I would not use buffers, they can cause swings.

    To alter hardness and ph, you'll need to know your GH and KH, which come in an API kit.

    GH is the general hardness, and calcium contributes to this, along with magnesium and some other minerals.
    KH is carbonate hardness, and is made up of mostly calcium carbonate

    KH buffers ph, and the higher the KH the higher the ph and the harder it is to modify ph. Crushed coral, oyster shell, cuttlebone, basically any shells from a once-living organism will increase KH, so you don't want those things.

    GH is independent of ph, so GH is what you want to raise. Probably the most common calcium supplement is calcium sulfate. You can buy a pound of it for a few dollars on or any dry fertilizer website.
  3. OP

    taramareNew MemberMember

    I’ll definitely get my hands on a gh and kh kit, and thanks so much for the info on the calcium sulfate!
    After years of goldfish, this tropical tank thing is crazy, just when I think I’ve nailed down one thing, another pops up!
  4. -Mak-

    -Mak-Well Known MemberMember

    Glad to help!

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