Understanding pH, KH, GH in Home Aqauriums

OnTheFly
  • #41
Liquid test kit. kh level is the key to controlling PH swings. PH is pretty easy to stabilize when you understand what you have in your tap.
 
KRiggz
  • #42
So I tested and my KH is very low. Turns bright blue after 1 drop and doesn't turn yellow at all. Basically I have no KH or very very little. You suggest I use Seachem Replenish with the Alkaline and Acid buffer.. I feel it would be much easier to control our betta tank but dosing in the large one I'll do it if I have to but I wasn't planning on buying 3 different bottles of water modifiers. Is there anything else to use that is acid based to prevent the pH from raising but also raises KH? And the Seachem Replenish is for adding key nutrients back into the water (GH) right? Calcium, Magnesium, ECT.
 
Over It
  • #43
You can try using just the Alkaline Buffer to raise your KH. It only raised my PH form 6.8 to 7.2, but I also raise my KH from 2 to 6-7. It might be ok, but I can't say how much it will raise your PH since you have less KH than I do.

Yes, the GH is how much minerals you have in your water. Did you test your GH? You might not need the Replenish if you have a good GH level.

I use both the Alkaline Buffer and Replenish in all of my tanks (2-5.5 gal Betta tanks, a 29 Gal. and 36 Gal.) it's really not that bad. For the larger tanks I use 3/4 teaspoon of the Alkaline Buffer and 1 1/2 capfulls of the Replenish for each 25% water change.
 
KRiggz
  • #44
The place I went only had test strips for multiple different things and a singular liquid KH test kit. I'll get the GH next time I go but I'm focused on getting some KH in our water. I'm scared to use alkaline buffers because of how high my pH is out the tap..

Are there any ways to add KH without affecting pH
 
Over It
  • #45
Well unfortunately I don't know about anything that will raise your KH without raising your PH for sure.
You could look into something else that will lower your PH. I think I read that peat moss or driftwood would lower it naturally, but don't quote me on that.
 
KRiggz
  • #46
Yes tannins do. I have 3 pieces of wood. But driftwood isn't a solid way because doing water changes removes tannins making pH higher then once they continue leeching out will drop it again. I guess I can try the Seachem Alkaline + Acid buffer. The hardest/most confusing part of getting the right mix and figuring out dosages. We have a 10 Gallon and 55 Gallon and until we rehome the Pleco very frequent water changes are in order.
 
Over It
  • #47
Getting the dose right is a bit daunting at first, but once you get it right you can just add the same amount when you do a water change. It took me a few tries to get it right, but now that I have them where I want them and got the dose down, I can just add it to the new water when doing water changes without having to test everything. The only time I test now is if I am doing a larger water change than usual, or maybe once a week just to make sure the levels are staying steady and I still have the correct dosages.

I've never had to lower my PH so I'm sorry I can't help much with that.
 
OnTheFly
  • #48
Yes tannins do. I have 3 pieces of wood. But driftwood isn't a solid way because doing water changes removes tannins making pH higher then once they continue leeching out will drop it again. I guess I can try the Seachem Alkaline + Acid buffer. The hardest/most confusing part of getting the right mix and figuring out dosages. We have a 10 Gallon and 55 Gallon and until we rehome the Pleco very frequent water changes are in order.
I am of the opinion that dumping chemicals is a bad PH swing waiting to happen at some point. This may not be a solution for you, but I think it is a very safe thing to try. My fish sure like it. My well water is ridiculously hard so most of my tanks are live-bearer tanks and they are all happy. I also have a small tank I use for GBRs and cardinals and they are doing well. This water is mostly R.O. water with a bit of my well in the mix. I am targeting stable PH around 7.4 and kh around 6 to make that stability much more likely. Anyway, I have found driftwood mostly ineffective. It's just way too slow and as you say the next WC takes out any progress. But peat seems to work quicker but gently. I use a bit of my well water to add buffers. I think you could use some crushed coral to add buffers gently and bump the KH. You could mix some in your substrate or if you don't prefer that look put some in the filter in a media bag. A large HOB helps make this possible. I have been using the jiffy peat pots that are used for starting plant seedlings. They are inexpensive but a bag of peat would be even cheaper. You can find them at a garden center or home hardware supply store / Wal-Mart most of the year. You can place a few in the filter box. I even put a few aquarium plants in the peat pots. I haven't hidden them in the substrate yet but will eventually. You can also place peat, or the jiffy peat pots in a media bag and keep the mess down some. It all settles down anyway. I believe this is working because I keep my stocking reasonable and huge WCs are not needed to control nitrates so far. If I were you I would start with a 5G bucket of your tap. Check PH and hardness immediately, then after 24HRS to see what you are working with. If it swings too wildly you can adjust your WC plan. I wouldn't get overly worried about your PH though. I would get it stable and stock fish that prefer or tolerate the water well. You can gradually try to adjust the PH. Don't try to fix everything in a couple days.
 
Zahc
  • #49
As OnTheFly said above, adding crushed coral or cuttlebone to your tank/filter is a easy, effective, cheap and safe way to raise your KH, but it can also slightly raise your pH and usually GH. If you go this route, add it slowly and monitor your pH and KH regularly until you get the satisfied readings (4-5dKH is a good minimum and will keep it stable). You don't want to add to much to quickly and have a big pH raise, and you need to be careful during water changes as your tap and tank will have slightly different pH readings.

Very large and regular water changes also work, as the new water adds more calcium and re buffers your pH for a while. It's a much more time consuming way to keep a stable pH with a low KH, and not as safe, but shocking fish during water changes is near impossible aslong as the temperature doesn't fluctuate to much.
 
KRiggz
  • #50
Ok. Thanks for all the great advice. I may have tested incorrectly because I didn't understand how to do it. I took samples into my LFS and this is what they showed me

10 Gallon:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
pH: 8
KH: 8

55 Gallon:
Ammonia: .25ppm (I feed Pleco zucchinI which is why there's Ammonia and I've removed and done a PWC since then)
Nitrite: 0
pH: 7.8
KH: 8

So now apparently I need the reverse action. How do I remove excessively large amounts of KH from my tap before water changes?
 
OnTheFly
  • #51
Adding a bit of R.O. or distilled water is probably the safest method. I wouldn't drop it a lot if your PH is swinging around already. You actually don't have that much kh, but should have plenty to keep the PH stable. I am curious about your previous kh tests. There is considerable difference between a 2 and 8 reading.
 
KRiggz
  • #52
Well I didn't have ANY reading. I put 10 drops in and it kept getting a darker blue instead of a bright yellow.. Sorry if there's obvious answers to this we had a long night taking care of a 3 week old kitten that got brought to us around midnight.

1. What is considered "high" and "low" for KH?
2. Is my reading of 8 KH safe and ok for our fish?
3. If the KH is at 8 why does the pH still fluctuate by as much as .4-.6?
4. Should I be trying to add KH, Remove KH, or simply leave it alone.
5. How to prevent pH swings if our KH is already high enough?
 
OnTheFly
  • #53
Well I didn't have ANY reading. I put 10 drops in and it kept getting a darker blue instead of a bright yellow.. Sorry if there's obvious answers to this we had a long night taking care of a 3 week old kitten that got brought to us around midnight.

1. What is considered "high" and "low" for KH?
2. Is my reading of 8 KH safe and ok for our fish?
3. If the KH is at 8 why does the pH still fluctuate by as much as .4-.6?
4. Should I be trying to add KH, Remove KH, or simply leave it alone.
5. How to prevent pH swings if our KH is already high enough?

I would leave it alone and record readings for awhile. See if the size of the WC truly affects the tank PH swing 24hrs later. 8 kh is safe for most fish. About 5-6 kh is generally considered to be high enough to keep PH pretty stable. I run 6 KH in my my lower PH tank. (7.2-7.4PH with R.O. in the mix). My high PH tanks (8.3PH) have a kh around 25 because of my well. Very healthy tanks but I;m not trying to keep discus and neons in those tanks. Just live-bearers, a few high PH tolerant tetras, corys, betta, and an angel. You are not going to get advice from me on dumping chemicals as it seems far from necessary based on the info so far. Somebody else will have to do that. Hope this helped some.
 
KRiggz
  • #54
I would leave it alone and record readings for awhile. See if the size of the WC truly affects the tank PH swing 24hrs later. 8 kh is safe for most fish. About 5-6 kh is generally considered to be high enough to keep PH pretty stable. I run 6 KH in my my lower PH tank. (7.2-7.4PH with R.O. in the mix). My high PH tanks (8.3PH) have a kh around 25 because of my well. Very healthy tanks but I;m not trying to keep discus and neons in those tanks. Just live-bearers, a few high PH tolerant tetras, corys, betta, and an angel. You are not going to get advice from me on dumping chemicals as it seems far from necessary based on the info so far. Somebody else will have to do that. Hope this helped some.
Ok. The only thing is I don't have money/time/transportation to go-to the pet store every time I have to do a water change especially with the Pleco. I'm trying to get 1-2 30 gallon barrels so I can fill them up and let them sit so they have time to settle for water changes. I'll do the test. I think cause the pH comes high out the tap and lowers once it's added to the tank and sits I'll just have to start doing that so while it sits the pH will lower.
 
OnTheFly
  • #55
Ok. The only thing is I don't have money/time/transportation to go-to the pet store every time I have to do a water change especially with the Pleco. I'm trying to get 1-2 30 gallon barrels so I can fill them up and let them sit so they have time to settle for water changes. I'll do the test. I think cause the pH comes high out the tap and lowers once it's added to the tank and sits I'll just have to start doing that so while it sits the pH will lower.
If you are going to try to manage gh you will need an API test kit eventually. They cost about $7. If it is affecting your fish then aging water at least overnight to gas off would be helpful. And do smaller WCs perhaps. Acid is a by product of the nitrogen cycle. Perhaps the pleco is adding to your bio-load and PH swing to some degree? I am betting you could do a smaller WC if you re-home him. (depending on his current size).
 
KRiggz
  • #56
The Pleco is about 7" now. His bioload is pretty massive. I have an API KH test kit but was confused how to use it at first.
 
KRiggz
  • #57
Besides letting the water sit is there anything else.
 
KRiggz
  • #59
I've seen it. My best option I think is getting a huge barrel and letting it sit then testing it to make sure if matches the tank. I'm only going to do very small water changes on the 10 gallon because I recently got a bunch of free stuff from someone and got an Anubias a baby Anubia and 2 baby Java Ferns but there was 3 snails got pretty beat up during transport cause I didn't know they were in the bag but they're all alive and thriving. Do live plants help prevent pH swings ?
 
GloriaJ
  • #60
Reading and following to look for solutions for my tank!
 

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