Tap Water Parameters seem to have super low kh

Tylerdg27

My tap water parameters seem to have super low kh...

GH - 7
KH - 2-3?
PH - 7.2
Ammonia - .25ppm
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 0

What should I do about the KH if anything??
 

Momgoose56

My tap water parameters seem to have super low kh...

GH - 7
KH - 2-3?
PH - 7.2
Ammonia - .25ppm
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 0

What should I do about the KH if anything??
Compare your tap KH with your tank KH after it's been running in there a couple days. Do the same with your pH.
KH is the carbonate hardness. With a KH below 4 or 5 you can have pH instability. You can raise your KH by adding Calcium Carbonate in the form of crushed coral, limestone chips, Texas holey rock, Aragonite (nice as a substrate), or dolomite. You can add them directly to your filter overflow chamber in a fine mesh bag or as part of your substrate. Crushed Coral can pack down tightly as a substrate though, and can trap waste and debris making it hard to remove. I'd recommend putting it in the filter overflow.
 

Tylerdg27

Compare your tap KH with your tank KH after it's been running in there a couple days. Do the same with your pH.
KH is the carbonate hardness. With a KH below 4 or 5 you can have pH instability. You can raise your KH by adding Calcium Carbonate in the form of crushed coral, limestone chips, Texas holey rock, Aragonite (nice as a substrate), or dolomite. You can add them directly to your filter overflow chamber in a fine mesh bag or as part of your substrate. Crushed Coral can pack down tightly as a substrate though, and can trap waste and debris making it hard to remove. I'd recommend putting it in the filter overflow.

Ive had it running for 2 days so far, the GH and KH have stayed the same. I have the fluval stratum substrate that lowers ph. My ph from tap is 7.2 after it gases off, the tanks at a 6.6 ph. I believe I read this substrate absorbs KH though.
 

Momgoose56

Ive had it running for 2 days so far, the GH and KH have stayed the same. I have the fluval stratum substrate that lowers ph. My ph from tap is 7.2 after it gases off, the tanks at a 6.6 ph. I believe I read this substrate absorbs KH though.
Okay, one of the above solid calcium carbonates should help raise your KH AND raise your pH and stabilize it. The average amount you'd add to your filter overflow is 1 cup per 30 gallons of tank water. You can add more if it fits. Adding more doesn't raise the KH or pH higher, it just raises it faster. The process is slow with any amount so doesn't stress fish. The nice thing about using "rock" to raise KH and/or pH is that it's a permanent fix and you don't have to keep adding, measuring, monitoring constantly. Just check your KH once a month and about every 3 months take the mesh bag out of the filter, squish and grind the rocks against each other and rinse in some treated tap water or old water from the tank during water changes. This exposes new surfaces and grinds off slime, muck or excess bacterial growth that can prevent the calcium carbonate from reacting with acids in the water. IF you want to add it to your substrate, because water flow is slower in the tank than in the filter, you'd add 1 pound calcium carbonate source per 10 gallons of tank water.
 

goldface

My KH normally doesn't even register. You'll be fine. Aquasoil tends to buffer pH to about 6.6.
 

Momgoose56

My KH normally doesn't even register. You'll be fine. Aquasoil tends to buffer pH to about 6.6.
scarface, obviously his aquasoil isn't buffering his water enough because of the extremely low KH. His pH is gassing out from 7.2 from tap to 6.6 in the tank.
Tylerdg27 Look at the pH/KH needs of the fish you are going to get and see what is ideal for that particular species. Gouramis, African Cichlids and several other species would do poorly in a low KH/pH environment.
 

goldface

scarface, obviously his aquasoil isn't buffering his water enough because of the extremely low KH. His pH is gassing out from 7.2 from tap to 6.6 in the tank.
Tylerdg27 Look at the pH/KH needs of the fish you are going to get and see what is ideal for that particular species. Gouramis, African Cichlids and several other species would do poorly in a low KH/pH environment.
Until recently, I lived in NYC which is known for having very soft water, and as I said, KH usually doesn't even register. Unless, the OP is keeping very sensitive fish with very specific water parameter requirements, I wouldn't worry about it. If the OP's current stocking is fine, why change anything? And yes, aquasoil does tend to buffer the water to the acidic side which is not a bad thing.
 

Tylerdg27

scarface, obviously his aquasoil isn't buffering his water enough because of the extremely low KH. His pH is gassing out from 7.2 from tap to 6.6 in the tank.
Tylerdg27 Look at the pH/KH needs of the fish you are going to get and see what is ideal for that particular species. Gouramis, African Cichlids and several other species would do poorly in a low KH/pH environment.

Oh I think you misunderstood it, my tap reads a ph of 8 straight from the tap, after it sits a little bit it lowers to 7.2, my actual aquarium I'm trying to cycle that's been running 2 days is sitting at 6.6. I'm just trying to make sure that it won't fluctuate once its cycled

So If I understand this correctly... I should be ok with having low KH because my substrate will keep it on the stable acid side of things? and since my KH is lower it will take longer for the substrate to lose its buffer?
 

Momgoose56

So If I understand this correctly... I should be ok with having low KH because my substrate will keep it on the stable acid side of things? and since my KH is lower it will take longer for the substrate to lose its buffer?
Who are you asking? You tank pH is fluctuating because your water has very little buffering capacity (KH). Cycling your tank won't change the buffering capacity of your water. Carbonates will. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3-I'm tired of writing it out lol!)-which is what many domestic water treatment plants use as part of their buffering treatment-will increase your waters buffering capacity (KH) AND keep your pH from plummeting from 8.0 to 6.6 in a couple of days. Most likely, it will keep your pH around the 7.2-7.6 range. No fish will tolerate a pH drop of 1.4 points in two or even 3 days. Contrary to the statement by scarface, Buffers tend to prevent pH changes in water, they don't "buffer to the acidic side". If aquasoil has a tendency to lower pH, it is not "buffering" it is "acidifying". What you want in your tank is for your pH to remain stable from one water change to the next. A buffer (CaCO3 is one) will help do that. It won't keep your pH right at 8.0 but it will prevent it from crashing like it does now.
 

Tylerdg27

I think the PH is 8 straight out of the faucet because it has gases that release off ( which would be me sitting water out for like 20 mins for it to release) making it 7.2, so it would be a slight decrease from 7.2 to 6.6, (which ive only had this tank running 2 hours but from google research its (fluval stratum) dropping everyone elses to 6.5-6.6 ph as well. I guess when I do a water change it would be probably increased just slighlty since its only like 1/4 the water column being changed. I'm just trying to figure out if for any reason the 6.6 area would swing too much or not I guess just sitting in the aquarium?? 7.2 to 6.6 is .6, 1/4 the water (25% waterchange??) would raise it to 6.75 ph??
 

goldface

Well, as I've said, I have 0 kH when I lived in NYC. I don't use any buffers, and my ph remains stable. NYC water is known for being very soft. Someone once called it being almost RO. Yet, I've had no problems with pH crashing as a result of low kH. In fact, the only time it crashed was using Kordon Amquel and Novauqa Plus water conditioners, which I've found many people having similar experiences with. And again, from my experience, aquasoil will buffer, lower, your pH to aroung 6.6. This is not a bad thing in most cases.
 

Momgoose56

I think the PH is 8 straight out of the faucet because it has gases that release off ( which would be me sitting water out for like 20 mins for it to release) making it 7.2, so it would be a slight decrease from 7.2 to 6.6, (which ive only had this tank running 2 hours but from google research its (fluval stratum) dropping everyone elses to 6.5-6.6 ph as well. I guess when I do a water change it would be probably increased just slighlty since its only like 1/4 the water column being changed. I'm just trying to figure out if for any reason the 6.6 area would swing too much or not I guess just sitting in the aquarium?? 7.2 to 6.6 is .6, 1/4 the water (25% waterchange??) would raise it to 6.75 ph??
Most fish do not tolerate a pH drop of more than .4 in 24 hours very well. You're fish won't do well over time with repeated pH swings that big, in either direction. Your original question was "what can I do about the KH...". You have that information now. It's up to you what you do with it.

Well, as I've said, I have 0 kH when I lived in NYC. I don't use any buffers, and my ph remains stable. NYC water is known for being very soft. Someone once called it being almost RO. Yet, I've had no problems with pH crashing as a result of low kH. In fact, the only time it crashed was using Kordon Amquel and Novauqa Plus water conditioners, which I've found many people having similar experiences with. And again, from my experience, aquasoil will buffer, lower, your pH to aroung 6.6. This is not a bad thing in most cases.
OMG
 

goldface

I believe he shouldn't bother messing with his KH, especially since he's using aquasoil which brings it down to 6.6, and you believe otherwise. I am not confused as you seem to imply on my profile post. If this is how you're going to react, then I am done here.
 

Tylerdg27

I definitely did not mean to start an argument , I will just monitor the ph during the entire cycle and see if it remains stable, if so I will just do smaller more frequent water changes slowly and try that out. Also just trying to learn the process for a larger aquarium in the near future as well
 

Momgoose56

I definitely did not mean to start an argument , I will just monitor the ph during the entire cycle and see if it remains stable, if so I will just do smaller more frequent water changes slowly and try that out. Also just trying to learn the process for a larger aquarium in the near future as well
Not your problem OR your fault when two other people have a difference of opinion. I'm just sorry YOU got conflicting information. But you know HOW to raise your KH now. That's what you asked right? When you figure out exactly how your water is acting, you can figure out what you want to do and find fish that fit that! I have high KH/GH and pH of 8.2 from the tap that gasses to 7.8. SO I have African Cichlids. My brother raises and shows Discus (he lives near us so similar water and Discus hate it), but I don't want to mess with that whole RO mess. Good Luck! Post pictures etc. when you do get fish.
 

Tylerdg27

Not your problem OR your fault when two other people have a difference of opinion. I'm just sorry YOU got conflicting information. But you know HOW to raise your KH now. That's what you asked right? When you figure out exactly how your water is acting, you can figure out what you want to do and find fish that fit that! I have high KH/GH and pH of 8.2 from the tap that gasses to 7.8. SO I have African Cichlids. My brother raises and shows Discus (he lives near us so similar water and Discus hate it), but I don't want to mess with that whole RO mess. Good Luck! Post pictures etc. when you do get fish.
The internets back and forth as well, I think this substrate does somehow buffer the ph (online says 6.5-6.6) so maybe it will remain mostly stable, it says it does it by stripping the KH on purpose (lower kh lower the ph) but I guess I will just have to see. I will probably just buffer a bigger aquarium though, seems like it would be a lot easier to just do that. I just plan to get a betta and some pygmy cories for this one, but will def post pics when it finally cycles and I figure this out fully
 

goldface

The internets back and forth as well, I think this substrate does somehow buffer the ph (online says 6.5-6.6) so maybe it will remain mostly stable, it says it does it by stripping the KH on purpose (lower kh lower the ph)
That is correct. Your pH will obviously fluctuate every water change, and that's okay. Fish won't just turn over and die.
 

Tylerdg27

What KH would you say would be "stable"? I retested the KH of both tap water that's been sitting out and the aquarium.... It seems the aquarium is actually sitting at 0 kh ( the substrate stripped it ) And the tap water is a 3 KH. Is 3 still too low though???
 

Wraithen

What KH would you say would be "stable"? I retested the KH of both tap water that's been sitting out and the aquarium.... It seems the aquarium is actually sitting at 0 kh ( the substrate stripped it ) And the tap water is a 3 KH. Is 3 still too low though???
If your substrate didn't strip it your cycle would anyway. I'm with scarface. Get soft water fish and enjoy the fact you can keep them without buying equipment unlike 90 percent of the country. I wouldn't bother stabilizing it further. 7.2 down to 6.6 is probably a mixture of more off gassing (it can take 24 hours) and your substrate. My fish are tolerating artificial ph swing greater than 1.0 twice daily. I would, however, let your water sit out overnight before water changes so you can be as close as possible and you should be good. Just know that if you plan on keeping fish or snails, you will have to add things to your water. The same goes for some plants.

If you want a stable kh with that soil, you would have to shoot for a ph of 7.8 with enough of whatever to keep up with your soil and cycle until your soil loses its buffer capacity.
 

Momgoose56

What KH would you say would be "stable"? I retested the KH of both tap water that's been sitting out and the aquarium.... It seems the aquarium is actually sitting at 0 kh ( the substrate stripped it ) And the tap water is a 3 KH. Is 3 still too low though???
3 is low but better than 0. I believe that substrate softens water by stripping it of carbonates which lowers pH significantly. Not great for most fish if your kh is already low. I think it raises your GH as well.
 

Tylerdg27

If your substrate didn't strip it your cycle would anyway. I'm with scarface. Get soft water fish and enjoy the fact you can keep them without buying equipment unlike 90 percent of the country. I wouldn't bother stabilizing it further. 7.2 down to 6.6 is probably a mixture of more off gassing (it can take 24 hours) and your substrate. My fish are tolerating artificial ph swing greater than 1.0 twice daily. I would, however, let your water sit out overnight before water changes so you can be as close as possible and you should be good. Just know that if you plan on keeping fish or snails, you will have to add things to your water. The same goes for some plants.

If you want a stable kh with that soil, you would have to shoot for a ph of 7.8 with enough of whatever to keep up with your soil and cycle until your soil loses its buffer capacity.
What would I need to add to the water to keep fish? I understand keeping snails in acidic water is bad due to their shells being calcium, but if I'm keeping acidic fish what would I need to add?

3 is low but better than 0. I believe that substrate softens water by stripping it of carbonates which lowers pH significantly. Not great for most fish if your kh is already low. I think it raises your GH as well.
Do you think if I got an Inert substrate when I get a larger aquarium it would be stable at all if I just used the tap water without adding anything at all?
 

Wraithen

What would I need to add to the water to keep fish? I understand keeping snails in acidic water is bad due to their shells being calcium, but if I'm keeping acidic fish what would I need to add?
Nothing.

If you used an inert substrate you would have the same ph as now, it would just take a week for the cycle to use it up instead of hours like you have now. Maybe. There was a member here who started with discus and his swung from 7.4 down to 6.4 overnight. He just committed to changing water every 4 days. That was purely to keep his cycle from stalling out initially. Once it was stable he could coast a little longer without issue. The closer to 7.0, the less likely you will notice a reaction from your fish. Going from 7.4 to 6.4 is a completely different planet than going 8.4 to 7.4
 

Momgoose56

What would I need to add to the water to keep fish? I understand keeping snails in acidic water is bad due to their shells being calcium, but if I'm keeping acidic fish what would I need to add?


Do you think if I got an Inert substrate when I get a larger aquarium it would be stable at all if I just used the tap water without adding anything at all?
The thing is, your pH is going from 8.0 to 6.6 (probably because of the type of aquasoil in your tank) in your tank in what, 48 hours? Outside your tank, it's not as much of a drop (8 to 7.2) without that particular substrate. With a different substrate (aquasoil has some that don't acidify the water I believe) you could mitigate that with smaller, more frequent water changes. I told you how to raise your KH and stabilize your pH in the current tank with solid CaCO3. Where on the planet do you live? What is your GH? It almost sounds like you have RO water or naturally soft water coming into your house that is buffered with something like soda ash and gasses off quickly. You can probably obtain a local water quality report from your water company that tells you what minerals and contaminants are in your water. If you're on the east coast of the US, many places have the same issue and just keep fish that like soft acidic water, like discus, some bettas, some tetras etc.
 

Tylerdg27

The thing is, your pH is going from 8.0 to 6.6 (probably because of the type of aquasoil in your tank) in your tank in what, 48 hours? Outside your tank, it's not as much of a drop (8 to 7.2) without that particular substrate. With a different substrate (aquasoil has some that don't acidify the water I believe) you could mitigate that with smaller, more frequent water changes. I told you how to raise your KH and stabilize your pH in the current tank with solid CaCO3. Where on the planet do you live? What is your GH? It almost sounds like you have RO water or naturally soft water coming into your house that is buffered with something like soda ash and gasses off quickly. You can probably obtain a local water quality report from your water company that tells you what minerals and contaminants are in your water. If you're on the east coast of the US, many places have the same issue and just keep fish that like soft acidic water, like discus, some bettas, some tetras etc.
My gh is 7, my ph this morning tested 7.6 in my water that’s been sitting a bucket aerated for a day now this morning l, so it fluctuated from 8 from tap to 7.2 now 7.6
 

Momgoose56

My gh is 7, my ph this morning tested 7.6 in my water that’s been sitting a bucket aerated for a day now this morning l, so it fluctuated from 8 from tap to 7.2 now 7.6
That would be fine for almost any aquarium fish. Water changes wouldn't cause much of a swing with that. It's the 8.0 to 6.6 that needs stabilization.
 

Tylerdg27

That would be fine for almost any aquarium fish. Water changes wouldn't cause much of a swing with that. It's the 8.0 to 6.6 that needs stabilization.
Oh ok it’s definitey the substrate that purposely drops it to 6.6, I think most of the soils for plants do that.. but as long as my tap is good with gh 7 and kh 3 with the swing between 8 and 7 it sounds good to me
 

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