Water Buffers.. Plants... Kh Gh.. Help!

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Jen514Ab, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. Jen514AbValued MemberMember

    Hello All-

    So after weeks and weeks of buying plant after plant.. only having everything turn to mush within a week.... it was brought to my attention by someone in a reputable aquarium store to test my water hardness. I went home and tested it... and I basically have no KH and low GH. the PH is currently at about 6.5-6.5 since adding new driftwood... previously it was a bit higher. Turns out NYC water is just seriously lacking in hardness.

    The GH in my tank is higher than the GH from the tap.. probably because I have some crushed coral in my filter.

    I have a betta fish.. who seems to be doing fine all along.. had him for 1.5 months. However I want live plants! I think I need to raise my water hardness.. KH and GH to make this happen I believe. I have been dosing Flourish Comprehensive.. but that's no help.

    What is the best way to do this? I had a limestone sand that.. when I previously had it in while cycling the tank.. raised my PH to the 8's. Which is too high I think... but if needed I can add a bit of that to raise my PH to 7 or 7.2 BUT... I've heard that rocks and natural things ONLY increase GH and not KH??

    I've read baking soda to raise KH? is that safe?... how much and how often? I want my tank to be stable. But its only a 5 gallon.. so I do water changes once a week.

    While cycling (before I got the fish) my plants started doing more ok because I was hardly doing any water changes... and the crushed coral kept the PH high and stable. The issue with the coral is that it takes TOO long to work for such a small tank.. by the time it brings it up to where it needs to be.... a week has gone by and I'm due for another water change. I think I am better off with adding the sand.. which seems to counteract the driftwood quickly. But I don't know if this fixed my KH problem?

    Anyone know about this subject? There are a lot of seachem products out there... alkaline buffer... equilibrium... natural regulator? What should I go with? Plain ol' baking soda?

    How do I turn such soft water into something more stable in a 5 gallon tank?

  2. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    The crushed coral should be raising your KH more than GH. Same for rocks and limestone sand. Seachem sells a product called Carbonate under their aquavitro line, it boosts KH specifically for planted tanks while affecting ph less I believe, because it's made of potassium bicarbonate and not calcium carbonate. My LFS has it, not sure if yours would though. A tiny sprinkle of baking soda will also increase your KH.

    For GH you can buy a GH booster such as the one Nilocg sells, I use it for my 0 KH 0 GH water.

    Plants do need a higher GH mostly for the magnesium and calcium content, they don't really care about KH though. But, even if your water is soft, your plants shouldn't die so rapidly. Even if plants melt, if their rhizome, crown, or stem is still intact, they usually grow back.
  3. Jen514AbValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the info. Same thing the guy in the fish store said actually.. the plants need the GH.. not particularly the KH. I don't think the Crushed coral has done anything to my KH. The tank KH and water straight from the tap are both almost none. The GH in my tank is a bit higher.

    I think I will add some of that limestone sand I have. It seems to raise the PH fast... which I need. I will add it very slowly obviously to not shock the fish. But I need something to raise the PH faster than over the course of a week or two.. which is how long the coral takes. My tap is 7.0 PH.. but when I do a water change the tank quickly drops to 6.6 ish due to the driftwood.. and the coral won't work until weeks in which I can't have.. because by that time its time for another water change. The limestone sand will counteract my driftwood at the same "pace" if you know what I mean? Which I hope will bring my PH to a 7.0 which will make my water that I am changing equal to my tap water.

    While I was cycling my tank.. I had my PH at like... 7.4 ish.. and my plants were doing well.

    The guy in the fish store mentioned Flourish "Trace" to me... I'm confused about what Trace would actually give me? Does it provide some of the minerals my soft water is lacking?

    Thanks for the tip on the Seachem Carbonate product.. I'll look into that. Not sure if I've seen in anywhere.. but I also never looked.
  4. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Flourish comprehensive pretty much already has everything that flourish trace does, besides like 0.000008% vanadium and a couple other trace minerals. Unnecessary if you already have flourish IMO.
  5. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Flourish trace is micros, won't raise gH by much, gH booster is better to replenish minerals. I believe seachem has replenish for ro/di water, can use that for gH, or the nilocg gH booster which is designed for plants.

    KH maintains your ph. I use alkaline buffer with every water change (dose for the new water going in, I keep mine around 6. (Had a ph crash last summer and lost about 15 fish). When raising your in do it slowly, a quick raise in kH will skyrocket ph too quickly... 1tsp per 20gal raises kH by about three (I think, directions on bottle). I wouldn't raise it by more then that per day...maybe a first dose, skip a day, and then a second dose. You want your in to be a minimum of 4.
    After the initial boost you just dose on the new water going in.

    I haven't tried the aquavitro product so can't comment on it....
  6. Jen514AbValued MemberMember

    hey all.. just to piggy back on this original convo. I ran some test this weekend on my tap water with certain solutions. Here is what I've learned and some of my dilemmas:

    The KH coming out of my tap is 0. Yellow on the first drop.
    The GH from the tap is very low... turns color on the 2nd drop.

    Seems that the GH in my tank has risen a bit over the last week after adding Seiryu stone. However... since I do partial weekly water changes and its only a 5 gallon tank.. I bought Seachem's Equilibrium to add a little GH to the new water going in when I do water changes. I think this seems like a good plan right? Haven't done it yet.

    My challenge is now the KH. My PH does fluctuate over the course of each week. When I first do the water change its 7.0 and then by the next day or two it could be around 6.6-6.8... then in a few days it goes up again because of the crushed coral....the changes are not super sudden... but I would like to keep it stable at around 7.0 give or take.

    I haven't purchases any products, but tried baking soda in my 5 gallon bucket and my PH sky rockets. Many say that baking soda will not cause ph to rise that drastically... but I think when you have zero KH to begin with.. it does. My tap water is 7.0 PH... and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda raises KH only to 1 drop.. and the PH goes from 7.0- 7.8.

    I want to keep my ph at 7.0 but raise my KH so that it stabilizes at 7.0. How can I do this? I've read that I need to combine Alkaline Buffer with Acid buffer? Do you think the product suggested above ... Aquavitro KH Carbonate will do the trick? Has anyone ever tried that product or alkaline and acid buffer together?
  7. anirocWell Known MemberMember

    I used AquaVitro KH; I finished a bottle in 3 weeks (180 gallon tank). It has Potassium bicarbonate. I now use Potassium bicarbonate powder ($5 for 300g) and make my own solution. It will also increase the pH, just not so much as Sodium bicarbonate but K is much better for plants than Na.

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