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About Me

  1. The pH in my 60 gallon tank keeps dropping. It will stay at about 7.2-7.4 for a while and then, when I check again a few days later, it will have dropped to about 6.0! I add baking soda to get the pH back up and it works for a week or so and then the same thing happens again. Anyone seen this? And how can I stabilize my pH?
  2. Hi everyone. I'm working on getting harder water in my tank. I'm using RO water with Seachem Alkaline Buffer and Equilibrium. I'm trying to get a pH of 7-7.5. I was away for a weekend recently, so the tank went 2 weeks without a water change. Thought I'd test parameters before changing water, out of curiosity. My gH was 8 and kH was 6, more or less as expected, and my pH was 6.6. All tests were liquid API tests. I did NOT expect to find a pH under 7 with the kH still so high. My understanding is the kH will buffer the pH quickly up to 7 or so, then more slowly towards and above 8. How could my kH have remained that high but the pH so low? I really don't know what to make of it.
  3. Hi all, As my tank comes towards the end of its cycle (yes I have been checking my water daily, yes people on this forum said I probably shouldn't because it would drive me crazy, no I do not regret it. My ammonia spiked and dipped and my nitrite spiked and is dipping now, so the end is near), I realize there are two things I have not paid enough attention to: KH and GH I purchased the API water tester for gh and kh and it took 6 drops for the kh to change to whatever the specific color needed to be and it took 12 drops for the gh. I understand that means my water is hard. That is about all I understand though (and I should have known, my bar soap doesn't last hardly at all). What does it all mean?! And how do I find a reliable source to find out what parameters each type of fish needs? I was browsing the web to try to see if the fish I wanted all had similar water parameters and, my goodness, no two websites for one specie listed the same parameters. It only adds to my confusion about gh/kh honestly. I guess--since my water is hard, should I try to add water softener? Is adding driftwood best, or peat moss to my filter, it other methods? I am hoping to get gourami & tetra (haven't committed to specific species yet), kuhli loaches, and maybe otos or corys that don't mind warm water to my tank.
  4. Hello, I'm looking for help understanding what super low KH means and how a PH crash works. I started my first tank (29G) two weeks ago. Initial readings for PH/ KH were about 7/4, but would drop to 6/0 over the course of a couple days without a water change (there's driftwood and fluval stratum in the tank). The GH would remain around 5. I'd like to keep Honey Gourami and Kuhli Loaches which I've read do well in softer water- but the PH crash thing worries me. It seems like any alternative to raising the KH also raises the PH and if PH gets too high, then the parameters aren't right for the gourami and kuhli loaches. I've read that KH is a buffer for PH but I don't completely understand what this means- particularly in relation to a PH crash. And does a higher KH mean a higher PH or is that only if you're taking active steps to raise one or the other? (such as a buffer). And is it possible to raise KH without raising PH? What causes a PH crash exactly? When my readings were showing KH at 0 and PH dropping I panic bought crushed coral and have since bought Alkaline Buffer (this was before I landed on Honey Gouramis and Kuhli Loaches as my fish of choice). I also got droplet kits for PH and KH/GH (I had been using a strip kit). I put a handful or so of crushed coral into my HOB. I have not yet opened the Alkaline Buffer. The handful of crushed coral kept my PH levels consistent at 7, KH at 2, and GH at 5 for about a week and through 2 water changes (one about 50% on about 70%). However, after another 70% water change and adding some plants yesterday, it read PH 7.2, KH 3, and GH 6, which is getting out of the range of the fish I'd like to keep. The levels are now back to 7/2/5. Am I messing around with the tank too much? Should I take out the crushed coral and see where the parameters land without any boosts? Or should I try the Alkaline Buffer? Do I need to give up on softer water fish to raise my KH and thus my PH? Any kind of guidance would be much appreciated. -Chris
  5. I need to get my pH down, but increase GH and KH. Everything I'm finding online indicates that it's not possible to do both. (For what it's worth, I used pH Down yesterday to get the pH from 7.8 to 7.3. Only 3 hours later, it was back to 7.8.) Any idea how I can simultaneously decrease pH, and increase GH and KH?
  6. Hi all, I am trying to assess my water balance to determine if I need corrective action. It seems my Ph is on the low side and KH and GH are not quite in sync with each other. I live in Tucson, AZ where the tap water is VERY hard, so I use RO for water exchanges and top offs. Fish (4 Denison's, 1 Congo Tetra, 1 Gold bristle nose Pleco - 60 gal tank) seem to be doing fine, plants look like they could be a bit more vibrant. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Here are my water parameters from the Tank, Tap and RO: Tank: Ph = 6.4 KH = 4 dKH GH = 8 dGH Nitrite = 0 ppm Nitrate = 5 ppm Ammonia = 0-0.25 ppm CO2 = 35-40 ppm Tap: Ph = 8.0 KH = 6 dKH GH = 17-18 dGH RO: Ph = 7.0 KH = 0 dKH GH = 0 dGH C
  7. I'm having some problems with super high pH. My tap water initially reads at a pH of 7.2 with a KH of 19 (woah, right?). It's well water that goes through 2 house filters and a softener. After 24-48 hours, the pH reads and stabilizes at pH 8.3, which I think is WAY too high for fish and/or plants. Even when I mix in some parts reverse osmosis water (pH 7, KH 2), the tank water still gets up to pH 8.3. I have 5 small Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus and one small Anubias Golden. Is this pH too high if I plan to be putting in guppies (I think so)? Is this pH going to hurt my Neocaridina shrimp (blue velvets)? I'll take any guidance I can get!
  8. I am trying to figure out why my PH, KH, and GH differs from my aquarium, tap water, and my aged water (45 gallon Brute trash can).Tap:PH - 8.2KH - 6GH - 3Aged water:PH - 7.5KH - 6GH - 3Aquarium:PH - 8.2KH - 6GH - 14My tap and aquarium PH are both 8.2, however the PH of my aged water is 7.5. The GH in my tap and aged water are both 3, but it is 14 in my aquarium. The KH is the same across all 3. I did all the tests using a API test kit and did them multiple times to insure they were accurate.I keep a Flowerhorn and noticed he gets really stressed out after water changes (30% weekly). My aged water is also heated to match the aquarium temp. He is kept in a bare bottom tank (no substrate )differs from my aquarium, tap water, and my aged water (
  9. Hi ~ I decided to purchase the API GH & KH kit to ensure that my readings are accurate. I am a bit concerned by the following difference between this test kit and the Tetra Easy strips readings (which I struggle with sometimes) KH (7 drops) = 7 degrees or 125.3 ppm GH (12 drops) 12 degrees or 214.8 PPM (YIKES) *** Should I be worried about this? if so what do I do? I have a wonder shell in the aquarium, should I remove it? My PH is between 7.3 -7.4 ppm My Ammonia suddenly went up from yesterday to 0.25-0.30 ppm so I am going to do a water change to deal with that.
  10. Hi all, hoping you can help me out. I have a new 20 gallon long tank that I'm cycling. It's got Miracle Grow Nature's Care soil with a sand cap. I've got a bunch of plants in there that I got locally. I have some dragon rock and a small piece of drift wood. I live in New England. My tap water is extremely soft (maybe 1 drop each, if that, on the API GH/KH test kit) and is about a 7.2 PH. Before adding the plants I believe my PH was staying consistent in the tank and the GH/KH were both increased to whatever 2-3 drops calculates to (maybe due to the dragon rock?). I've noticed the nitrogen cycle seems to have stalled and my water PH is reading at the bottom of the API test kit scale (so 6.0 or below). I've read dying plants can cause that.. but I've also read plants in general can pull minerals out of the water. I think there are some dead leaves in there, but I don't see anyting that is a big decaying mess (although I do have problems with the soil generating tons of gas under the sand still). Should I be waiting to see if things stabilize more? Or should I be adding something? I was planning on adding some crushed coral, but I don't want the PH to go up to 8+... since I want to keep a community tank with Corys, maybe some tetras, and then either a Gourami or something else. Any advice is welcome. TIA!
  11. Hello! I have just started using live plants in my aquariums. I have put quite a few in most of my tanks. I have a questions that I am hopeing someone can help me with. In my tap water I have really high KH (179ppm or 10 degrees) I have 0 GH though, when I test the GH with the API drops, it doesn't even go the ogrange color, it just turns green when I put the first drop in. This must be a rare problem to have becasue finding answers online has been super hard! I need to know if it is nessisary to my plants and fish to raise my GH and if so how can I raise that without raising my KH? I have a few betta (in seperate tanks) and bristlenose Plecos and a bunch of different low light plants. My PH is 8-8.2 (if that matters) and I never see any swing in it really.
  12. Happy Sunday! I just got an API gh/kh test kit and really have no idea how to interpret the results. I know this question was probably posed a million times before, but I can't find what I need. I don't have any idea what my gh/kh results mean and how to improve the condition of my tank. Right now, I just have cherry shrimp, a Nerite snail and bladder snails in my planted 10g. But I would like to add pea puffers and move the others to another tank. I do small routine water changes to keep the nitrates around 20. Tank is two months old. Here are my levels: Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrates ~20 Ph 7.4 Now for what I don't understand: Kh 4 drops or 71.6 (I think that means 3-6 °) Gh 12 drops or 214.8 (I think that means above 11°) From what I gather, I need to lower the gh but I don't want to throw off the whole tank. The ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and pH have been so stable for weeks. What do you think and what should I do?
  13. My readings are good accept my alkalinity is low. How do I add alkalinity without changing the others?
  14. I was wondering if it's possible to crush 'crushed coral' into a powder to increase surface area when trying to raise KH? I've had crushed coral in my tanks for a bit now and I can't seem to get my KH higher than a 2. Has anyone tried to do this before and if so, what was the result? Also I assume that the dosing would be much smaller? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, -BisScottie
  15. Hello, I have a 3-year old, 15 gallon nano tank. It contains 1 betta, 6 otocinclus cat fish, and 2 amano shrimp. My parameters are: ph 6.8 - 7.0, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 5ppm, gh 179 ppm, and kh 35.8 ppm. Water temp is 78 degrees. I do biweekly water changes and dose with Aquarium Co-op Easy Green, Iron, and root tabs. My tank is heavily planted with low maintenance plants (anubias, java fern, swords, crypts) and I do not use CO2 injection. Here is my question: How do I raise the KH to a more acceptable level without increasing the water hardness/GH? I have SeaChem Equilibrium, but do not know how to dose my tank enough to raise the KH without raising the GH. I do not want to use RO water. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
  16. I have a 20g planted community; it is pretty well planted and is stocked with 2 honey gouramis, 6 lamb chop rasboras, 10 green neon tetra, 1 reticulated hillstream, bunch of snails, a few Amanos and around 6 cherry shrimp. I have some wonder shell in the tank, and run a HOB plus an air stone. Today the water numbers were pH 7.6, 0 ammonia and nitrite and 10 nitrate. I tested gH and kH for the first time today and I am confused about the results, based on the instructions with the API test kit for those. It seems to show 2 for kH and 214.8 for gH. Does that sound right? Thanks for the help!
  17. Please correct me where I'm wrong, or where I'm not not necessarily right about something. For context, I am building a 30gal guppy/ghost shrimp in a planted potted aquarium. I am using a liquid plant fertilizer and fish food while I cycle the tank to increase it's nitrite levels until I buy all my plants. I also have a DIY co2 system I'll be using later. I've been doing research the past week or so now, and I'd like some help pulling all these threads I've got going in my head together. There's a lot I mention here, so I don't expect a full response by any means! pH is the measurement of ionized hydrogen particles in the water. The more ionized particles in the water means the pH will be lower. Acidic particles exchange electrons more readily with the alkali particles around them. If a fish naturally has a high metabolism (versus that of a cichlid, for example), then it makes sense that they can more readily process the acids present in the water. Thus, it leads me to believe that fish with a faster metabolism can process more acids with fewer minerals in the water (softer & more acidic water). Cichlids on the other hand, from what I've read, prefer hard water, and don't react well to acidic/reactive solutions -- they much prefer more stable alkaline environments. Is this accurate? From what I can gather, the alkali metals (minerals in the water) are what neutralize the acidic nitrites and convert them into nitrates. It makes sense to me that if fish and plants lack these specific metals then they have no way of metabolizing / neutralizing the acids in the water. This also explains the general malaise of fish in mineral deficient water. KH, as far as I understand it, is both a total amount and also a ratio of carbonates vs bicarbonates in the water. KH describes how hard or soft the water in the aquarium is. Acidic water is often accommodated by soft water, and alkaline is accommodated by hard water. What is the typical golden ratio between carbonates and bicarbonates? What is a healthy total amount of this ratio in an aquarium? GH, as far as I understand it, is, again, the measurement of the ratio and the total amount of magnesium and calcium suspended in the water of the aquarium. Are carbonates & bicarbonates directly relative to the amount of Magnesium and calcium (among other minerals) in the water? From what I have read, carbonate is produced by magnesium, and bicarbonate is produced by calcium (crushed coral). Is it as simple as this?
  18. Hi all, I have hard water (at least 300 ppm according to the Tetra test strip). Unfortunately I don’t know what makes up the hardness. I checked the board of water supply’s water report but it didn’t mention either component. I’ve found saltwater tests for calcium and magnesium but not freshwater. Anyone know of any testing mechanism for these two components, or does it matter?
  19. I set up co2 on my angelfish tank and prior to setup ph was 7.2 kh was around 120ppm I believe and after a week of co2 ph 6.0 kh 0 and I'm not sure why, drop checker stays green and I'm running 28ppm co2 4 drops per second 55 gallon aquarium
  20. Hi My earlier reading for general hardness was 8 and kh was 6. I put crushed coral in hang on back filter and the GH went to 10 in 3 days but KH stayed at 6. Added API Aquarium salt as well. how to naturally increase KH to 8. any recommendations please.
  21. Well, after my tilapia nightmare a while back I have left my big tanks full of water and daphnia and some guppy grass to really get all that stuff balanced out. They are outside (tucson arizona), so it does save me a bill this winter for heating all that. From the water come the alge, from the alge come the daphnia, and from the daphnia come the guppies. Well, food chain wise. In plans for the spring i put a 3 something gallon tank on my office desk to breed out guppies and start the fish cycle over again. -- Today I saw little fry swimming around. While I have added guppies to water before and saw more appear, this is the first "up close" experience I have had with the tiniest of fry. I can see why grown guppies would see these fry guys as delicious marshmallows. Hopefully the fry that learn how to hide in some guppy grass will be the strong ones. Currently have a 3.something gallon tank on my desk. It has duckweed and waterlettuce of some variety on top. Guppy grass for low-mid covering, and hydroton (superheated clay pellets) as substrate. Mainly it was a "grab whats in the garden, add water and guppies, mix in daphnia daily" tank. So far the results are pretty good, with some screw ups along the way. Mainly the thing i overlooked coming into a smaller tank environment was that the ph 'style' changes. Outside I will get sometimes even as much as a 1.5 ph swing between dawn and sunset. But the PH in a smaller tank has a harder time 'swinging' back up (less acidic) I think. Some guppies started swimming funny, so I got the test strips out. I had gotten some neat $3 guppies from petsm--err, "not LFS" to make sure I wasn't going to add to potential tragedy by having paid shipping on them if they die. Well, they died. But they taught me that a good pinch of baking soda will help the tank in a few ways, and provide near instant relief for guppies getting "burnt" by people who let their PH get to 6 before they notice the guppies don't look right. I didn't want to just dump a clump of baking soda in there, as crazy ph swings are bad, but i did put in 2gsp (good sized pinches) of baking soda every 12-18 hours or so. This was actually probably more than i should have, but i noticed if i put it in slowly enough for the 'baking soda water' to form on one side, the fish all immediately swam toward it to be in it. So i think there is some truth to the idea of 'it helps'. I had to do this over the next few days, as the ph would come back up to 6 almost daily. Nothing else looked out of place on the test strip, only ph seemed to be stubborn. More daily doses of baking soda. the PH leveled out after about 5 days of this, stays at about 7.4 now, and has a "tiny swing" between morning and night. So, whew, water safety achieved. Id like it to be lower, around 8.2ish as this is better for a few reasons i have planned... I ordered from some place online Dwarf Baby Tears - to carpet the hydroton 2 Marimo Moss balls -- to be furniture on the carpet Wondershell -- because I believe in wonder Easy fry and small fish food, in a convenient squeeze bottle - just in case my fry are more hungry than I anticipate Easy green 'all in one' fertilizer - because I'm sure the plants will need a squirt or two, right now i detect no nitrates. 😕 I can at least go catch "the best" guppies and throw them in this tank to preserve their looks over time. The err, 'fancy breeder box' i guess it is. I put extra daphnia in the tank when i noticed fry. Just to minify their chances of getting eaten. I believe that the guppies do need to eat "some" of the fry as the natural process would allow, but I don't know enough about ethics from the perspective of a fish to know what I am talking about there really. Best I can do is say "they seem to do that" and allow it. I don't want them all to be gobbled up! With the carpeting plant and midrange plants and top floaters I hope that its a good combination for stability. Pictures attached of the tank as it is now. If its not a disaster I will upload it when it gets planted, and when it stabilizes.
  22. My heavily planted livebearer & snail 36g is off to a roaring start! Babies are everywhere (really hope some of them get eaten!) and everyone seems active and happy. I have pretty soft, neutral tap water, so I bought a huge sack of crushed coral at the outset and have been tossing in a small handful with weekly 25% water changes. So now my tank's GH is way higher (about 200ppm) than my tap water (about 80ppm). But the KH only seems to get lower no matter what I do! I just did a water change a couple days ago and I'm already back at about 20-30ppm KH (tap is about 40-50ppm KH), and this is even after adding some pieces of cuttlebone and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. pH is now about 7.4 so I don't want to add more and risk a huge pH spike. What should I do? Another water change? Just keep chucking in crushed coral and relax? Ironically, my betta tank and my pea puffer tank both seem to have higher, about tap-water levels of KH and I haven't added anything to it. Pea puffer tank even has a big ol piece of mopani wood still leeching tannins. Backwards land out here.
  23. So my tank KH is 3 (tap is generally around 5) and I'm looking to buffer the KH a bit for my live bearers. Water changes don't seem to be able to increase it and I don't want to do large water changes all the time. I have media bags and aragonite. Am I better off putting the media bags below my imagitarium black sand substrate or putting some in a smaller media bag in my filter? I don't want to litter the substrate with it because I want my Corys to be able to happily sift through the sand. I just didn't know if it would still buffer the KH if it's buried under the sand. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks!
  24. So I have done a little research to learn what exactly is in my tap water. The issue that has prompted this is consistently higher nitrates, neutral pH and very low Kh and Gh. Visible symptoms include algae growing on leaves of slow growing plants. Here is what I have found... Tap water API tests: pH 7.0, nitrates 5, Kh 2, Gh 2 Here is some information I found online regarding our municipal tap water... "The Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ Water Treatment Plant uses a pretreatment process called Actiflo, which is a high-rate clarification unit. Micro-Sand, Polymer, and Poly-Aluminum Chloride are added to the raw water as it enters the pretreatment units to begin the coagulation process. After mixing, the solids are removed by the pretreatment process. The water is allowed to settle up to 4 hours and then it is filtered. After filtration, Sodium Hypochlorite, Fluoride and Phosphate are added and the pH is adjusted using liquid lime. Fluoride is added to promote stronger teeth, and Phosphate helps to prevent pipe corrosion in the distribution system. Solids that are removed from the raw water are de-watered and eventually reapplied to farmland in Rowan County." So according to the attached chart... Alkalinity 24.3ppm = Kh 1.3 Hardness 24.5ppm = Gh 1.5 What I need to figure out is how to raise Kh and Gh, or add more minerals to my water, without raising my pH. I read that crushed coral will help, but won't that raise the pH as well?
  25. I guess this sort-of follows Cory's video from 3 years ago comparing API Freshwater Master Test Kit and Tetra 7-in-1 strips. I bought the API GH & KH tests, too. My tank has been set up for almost a month. I'm a scientist, so I test anything and everything (my spreadsheet has 58 lines of test results over a 26-day period). I have consistently found that the API and Tetra tests of water hardness are inconsistent. API: GH = 0-1 degree (0-17 ppm), KH = 2 degrees (17-36 ppm) Tetra: GH = 50 ppm, KH = 0 ppm. Does anyone know why they are so inconsistent? They're basically opposite (I have triple-checked that I'm looking at them correctly). I'm not seeing crazy pH swings in my tank. It's a 17-gallon, running pressurized CO2 at 1-3bps, with ADA Amazonia aquasoil. pH runs 6.2-6.4 consistently. The lowest I've ever measured it is 6.0, and the highest is 6.6. Most of the plants are still adjusting, but the most interesting case is my Pogostemon helferi. I bought a tissue culture and a potted version and both arrived in awesome condition; the former has completely melted over 3 weeks and the latter is slowly petering out since it arrived about 2 weeks ago. I let it acclimate in its pot, and just planted it in the substrate today. I suspect it will die. Cory mentioned once that P. helferi needs hard water. (Darn. I really love that stupid plant.) Other plants seem ok so far: Eleocharis vivipara, Eleocharis 'Belem' (dwarf hair grass), Ludwigia arcuata, buce and anubias, H. pinnatifida, A. reineckii 'Mini', dwarf baby tears (tissue culture version had no roots, Cory's potted version seems ok though). I dose Easy Green (2 pumps once a week), but I am considering adding Seachem Equilibrium (might buy potassium & calcium test kits first, if I can find them). So I guess it is safe to say my water is "very soft" and I don't need to know the exact level...but I just wonder why the two different tests are so different and whether anyone has experienced a similar observation.
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