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About Me

  1. I have a very basic working understanding of pH, KH and GH. However there's something I don't understand so either I've misunderstood something or there's a gap in my knowledge. So as I understand: pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. GH is the measure of how much dissolved minerals there are. KH is the measure of how much calcium there is specifically. As KH goes up so does pH and vice versa right? And as biological processes happen (bacteria and plant growth etc) calcium gets used up and therefore the pH and KH goes down right? So here is my confusion, it's often recommended to add sources of calcium such as crushed coral, aragonite sand, wonder shells etc to either the substrate or the filter or wherever. My understanding is this is to act as a buffer to stop the pH/KH getting too low and to make sure the plants and creatures that need calcium have it right? But what then stops this just making the pH too high? As far as I can tell people just add it in without worrying about dosing amounts etc, they just use for example crushed coral as the substrate right? Not weighing it out or anything. I have really hard tap water (like 8.4ish) but it seems to lower fairly rapidly in my tank (lots of plants, wood, algae, aquarium soil) and seems to settle to around 7.2 which I like as it's fairly neutral and most fish seem to do alright in this. I try and do small water changes to keep it stable but say I go away for a few weeks and I want to stop the pH crashing I would need to add a buffer right? But then wouldn't this just make my water too high a pH, at least until the plants etc bring it down again? Or is it like the calcium only dissolves into the water when the pH starts to drop thus keeping it from getting too high? Feel like there's a piece of the puzzle I'm missing here.
  2. So, I've been using API 5 in 1 test strips for a while. I recently got some 6 in 1 strips from Aquarium Co-op. Today, I tested and my GH was 300 ppm. It's normally 30 ppm. So, I looked in the API can and found one last lonely test strip, tested my water and ... 30 ppm. I tested again with the Aquarium Co-op strip and got 300 ppm again. All the other tests on the strip are reasonably well matched. Has anyone else run across this?
  3. We have a 40g planted tank that has been up for a month. Currently, it has 1 mystery snail, 1 amano shrimp, and 4 neocaridina shrimp. We also have a rice sized pea puffer who is in the quarantine tank, since I wanted to dose it for parasites. Puffer is going in his own tank (that has yet to be set up). The water parameters are as follows: pH: 7.5 gH: 300ish? (co op test strip) kH: 40ppm (2.25~dkH) (both coop strip and API kH test) nitrates: 5ppm (might be due to fertilizer) nitrites: 0 ammonia: 0 According to the water company: gH: 289 TDS: 410 pH: 7.8 We have cast iron pipes and get water mostly from surface water and ground water (from what I can research, but Ohio makes it REALLY hard to find information about your specific water source when you live in an apartment). I noticed over the past several weeks, that the pH drops an entire point with nothing in the tank but plants over the course of a week and from my research, it seems all fish but especially inverts are sensitive to pH fluctuations, but many also need higher kH than I have. I read mixed reporting about using baking soda to raise kH (as it is claimed it doesn't raise pH). I attempted to raise the kH of my tank (before adding the shrimp) to 6dkH, but it most certainly rose the pH of my tank to 7.8. I did a 75% water change to get the parameters back to normal. The stock we have has been here for 8 days. From the initial stocking we have lost 1 amano shrimp and a bamboo shrimp. After the 1st amano died, we haven't seen the second, however I haven't had any ammonia spikes so I have chosen to closely monitor the water rather than stress out the shrimp looking for the amano. Should I be concerned about the lack of kH? Is there something I can do to help stabilize my kH and pH without making it higher than it already is? I have been doing water changes every few days because the pH drops. What pH stabilizer would you recommend? To note, the pea puffer in quarantine has no live plants, substrate. etc in order to facilitate cleaning and making sure not to complicate things further (for me, the new fish keeper). This pH flux doesn't happen, nor does the kH deplete quickly. Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
  4. I'm just figuring out GH & KH and could use some direction. With the API Test Kit I have a KH of 5 and GH of 25. Which, if I'm right, means I have super hard water. What does that mean for keeping fish? I believe it means shrimp are out of the question. I have fish now that are fine, but going forward do I need to adjust it at all? Use distilled or RO water? How would either of those affect my KG? How would a water softener (for the whole house) affect fish keeping? Generally, what do I need to know or do any this high GH? TIA
  5. I'm getting my first-ever shrimp this weekend! 🙂 They're juvenile neocaridina. I'll be dividing them into 2 tanks, in case 1 tank has a problem I can't detect. I've got all my ducks in a row, with 1 exception. I don't understand how concerned I should be about GH. Currently, 1 tank has GH 13, and the other is GH 19. Good? Bad? Why?
  6. Dear community, I have a fluval flex 123 litre tank which has been running for around 18 months now. It is fully planted with a fairly large piece of mopani. All the fish are happy in a soft acidic environment so i was not too concerned with PH of 6.4 a few weeks back. This tank is beautifully over filtered as standard & i have a seperate internal UV filter with venturi running as well The tank gets a 25% water change fortnightly, the gravel is vacuumed as best as possible. all the fish are healthy & happy. I was running 50/50 RO/Tap but on noticing low KH started leaving the RO out & just using tap. Here in Norfolk UK the tap water is liquid rock, super hard. I thought that maybe the trumpet snails were stripping carbonates out? I am having real problems with KH & PH. The KH is 0 & the PH is around 6.0. I have tried adding seachem equilibrium to get the KH up but i think i could add tubs full & get nowhere. I did a tap only 50% water chage which brought the KH & PH up to nicer levels but within a few days both were back to low levels with KH at 0. I am concerned with no KH the PH can swing wildly but thankfully all fish are healthy & not stressed. At this point i am considering the only solution being to strip the tank down, throw away the substrate which is 2.5 inches of aquasoil topped with a half inch of gravel. Thus getting rid of the snails. I can’t think of another way but am reluctant due to the beautiful mature swords & lotus. So here i am reaching out to you guys for help, all suggestions will be gratefully received. I’m sure i have left out some technical details that may be required for a reasoned response so please ask anything. I would rather avoid having to add vast quantities of chemical. Many thanks for reading this post.
  7. My tap water is soft. 30 TDS. 1st photo Tap that sat overnight. 2nd My regular tanks that have Driftwood and/or catappa leaves 3rd My Shrimp tank after adding Baking soda to raise Kh back up. Wood and catappa I was given 2 nerite snails. I'd like to add a few snails and leaf litter to a couple tanks. In my shrimp tank I also use Aqueon Shrimp Essentials for minerals and have success w/molt and babies . I'm concerned that about Ph craziness and how I can at least maintain a Ph of 6.8. Is Seachem Equilibrium something I should consider or other additives ? I know its not good to chase parameters but these are rather low. It's been great for breeding my cory metae and bristlenose but w/wood and leaves I worry it will get too low.
  8. I have been setting up my first tank in about 10-12 years. I have a question or three about water hardness. These are the numbers in question. PH=7.4 not very concerned about that. GH= 3 or 3 drops with ATI test. KH= 3or 3 drops on same ATI test. I would consider this fairly soft. My main concern is the buffering ability of KH. That and a lot of fish/shrimp say they need harder water. I have 2 questions. 1. should I try to raise the hardness of my water? I have read that crushed coral can raise it nice and slow. I like slow. 2. if I do raise it, how do I go about keeping it from crashing when I do water changes? Thanks in advance for any advice, and yes I tried the search function. I am terrible at searching.
  9. I need to buffer my water for some fish I am getting from an aquarium shop local. I was told to use crushed coral or aragonite sand. But I only have african cichlid sand on hand. I assume it does the same thing, caribsea african cichlid mix white sand. It buffers KH and Ph. But I also have to buffer the Gh. Hmm
  10. I am using the API GH&KH test kit and simply do not understand it. I followed directions exactly but with GH the water in the test tube was never orange but it did change to green with added drops...how green should it be to determine the level? hint of green, really green, etc.? Similar with KH water was never blue but did change to yellow but again, how yellow should it be? Now what? GH took ~6 drops, KH took ~9 drops, how does that translate on the chart? The Master Test Kit is so much easier to work with. TIA
  11. So, I'm new to fishkeeping -- I started in February and cycled for a few weeks before adding 6 neon tetras (which are all doing great) to my 10 gallon tank. It has a few plants (anubias, a few stems, and some dwarf sagg that is starting to carpet) and gravel substrate (no driftwood). I attached the anubias to a small rock I found (and boiled). I think it is quartz or an agate and it didn't seem to change the water parameters for the first two months. However, in the last few weeks I've developed some weird problems: 1) I have low PH (6.3-6.6) even though my tap water is 7.0. I can't raise it above 6.6, which is frustrating because I'd like to add guppies or other fish that might need a neutral PH. 2) My tank has developed very high GH (the very purple square on the aquarium co-op test strips) even though my tap water is VERY soft (nothing registers on the test strips). I've confirmed these parameters with 3 brands of test strips, and have confirmed the PH readings with the strips and liquid test kit. Also, GH is very high while KH is low (it barely shows up on the test strips) The only things I add to the water are Seachem Prime, a variety of fish foods, Easy Green (per instructions), and a few Aquarium Co-op root tabs (when I started). I added 0.7 pounds of crushed coral to the substrate when I began and ran a small bag of it in my filter for a week several weeks ago -- still, the PH stayed at 6.6. I'll admit there are reasons for acids in there -- I let the tank get dirty for the first 1-2 months thinking it would fertilize the plants (not realizing that 4-5 small plants don't need all that fertilizer). That said, I've changed my ways and after some major (60-80%) water changes and cleaning I'm gravel-vacing now. I've always done a ton of water changes on this tank to keep the nitrates down to 20-40 (sometimes 3 or more 30% water changes a week). I'm so confused because it seems like low PH is usually associated with low hardness. My PH is low but GH has been very high for a few weeks now and KH is relatively low (barely registers on the test strips). What could be going on? How can lower the GH and raise the PH? Thanks!
  12. KH 4 GH 4 ph 7 would you consider that soft water ?
  13. I've been researching and planning a 10 gallon shell dweller tank. I know they prefer water with higher pH, GH, and KH. I finally got some test strip to check the latter 2. I checked my betta tank and tap water. pH is about 7-7.2 KH is 40 GH is probably 60 (I'm not good with color shade matching) All 3 of these values are not ideal for African cichlids. I've researched methods such as crushed coral to raise these values. But it doesn't last. Then I read about CaribSea African cichlid sand that supposedly keeps the values where they need to be for the life of the aquarium. Then I read about aragonite. Then I read about oolite Aragonite. I think I'm just confused and overwhelmed by this. Can someone share some wisdom here? Either experience with shell dwellers, any of these products, and whether or not it really does maintain levels for the life of the tank.
  14. I have a guppy breeding tank and KH is vary low and I am have guppy with bent spines how could I raise KH I was thinking marine salt.
  15. 300+ GH, 0 KH, and 6.4 PH Nitrates 25 Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Chlorine 0 Temp 74-76 20 gal tank Water varies only slightly and I check everyday. Do I need to do something to my water or is this an acceptable combination for Emerald Corydoras? I have just started a few plants but am adding more. My tank has been cycled now for several months. TIA for your help.
  16. I recently moved to the Puget Sound, Washington area and my water is PH 6.8 GH 0 KH 80 I have never had to deal with SUCH SOFT water before! I will be adding crushed coral, but do I also combine it with Seachem Equilibrium and Wonder Shells? I had to place all of my fish before I moved, so I am essentially starting over :o( Not fun!! So far, I have bought a lot of plants and I will be water testing, with each addition, as my tanks cycle. Any advice dealing with "GH 0" water ? ~ I need help! Thank you!!
  17. I've tested my water out of my tap and it only measures between 0 to 25ppm I usually use wonder shells and equilibrium to harden the water. I have recently "restarted" my 75g aquarium after a couple years of it sitting empty I power washed and cleaned it and filled it with water from my tap and treated with fritz complete. The only things in the tank when I measured it was 2 medium sponge filters and 2 aqueon heaters otherwise it was an empty tank and it measured over 300 ppm. Very confused as to what could cause this I have 2 10g tanks and a 29g and none of them have this issue any ideas what this could be?
  18. I have ANOTHER pH question! I want to add a snail to my 5 gallon planted betta tank, but from what I understand, low pH can be tough on snails, particularly their shells. My pH is currently 6.4, due to the fluval stratum I have as substrate. I was thinking of using crushed coral to raised the pH as recommended on another thread by a member here, but I have a few questions. Can I put the crushed coral in the filter instead of in the actual tank, so it's not visible? I like the way the stratum looks and I'd prefer not to have it on top if possible. Second, how quickly will the crushed coral raise the pH, and is there a way to control how high it goes? I don't want to raise it too quickly and hurt my fish, and I don't want it to go too high. mans any snail recommendations for a 5 gallon (I would prefer it not be able to reproduce) would be appreciated also! Thank you!
  19. Tank tested is a 55 gallon lightly planted (just added Anubias Barteri and Scarlet Temple a few weeks ago. The tank has been running for about 2 years with occasional gravel vacuum and top offs (no water changes). My GH is through the roof. The GH in my tap water is 4 drops. My tap water has chloramine. I don't use prime or other conditioners prior to adding. I let the water sit for minimum of 24hrs, and have done things this way for years. I do add Flourish, and recently began adding trace. The substrate is eco-complete black, about 2-3 inches deep. So here are parameters. All tests done with API liquid tests. pH 7.8 Ammonia 0 ppm Nitrite 0 ppm Nitrate 40 ppm KH 4 to 5 drops (starts to turn color at 4, fully changes at 5) GH 28 drops phosphate .5 ppm The article, The Fish Keeper’s Guide to pH, GH, and KH, suggests that reducing water changes would make the tank more acidic and help reduce GH. Clearly not in my case.
  20. Chemistry done on April 4th 20G Temp 79.1, Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 5.0; GH 14 and KH 5 (current load 6 fish 2 snails, 3 shrimp) 5G Temp 77.5, Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0.25; Nitrate 8.0; GH 8 and KH 4 (1 Pea puffer) I was testing my tanks this morning and ALL of them PH and KH have dropped I have had PH in ALL of them consistent 7.4 for MONTHS.. I even did them on April 4th and my PH was 7.4 (in 20G and 5G) and KH 20G = 5 and 5 Gallon = 4. The PH in my tap water is also 7.4 and I use tap water (with prime) to do water changes. Temp is 79 in both tanks I did a water change/clean on the 5 G on Sunday (30%) and 20G I cleaned/changed 20% before I added 5 new fish from QT. Even my QT tank PH has dropped to the mid 6's where it used to be like all the others @ 7.4 What happened? What did I do wrong? Do I fix it? or leave it.
  21. 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?
  22. Hi, I've been doing some reading about GH and osmoregulation and I'm a bit confused about the role GH plays in water. Could you put a brackish fish like a figure 8 puffer in high GH water (e.g. 12-20 dGH) and have them thrive as if the water was brackish? Thank you
  23. 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.
  24. 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?
  25. I'm running water changes through an r/o system and can barely get the gh/kh back up to suitable levels. Gh =25ppm kh= 80 ppm barely, and the ph hangs around 7. Any tips on raising these levels suitable to maintain guppies and snails in same tank.
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