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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. I'm having problems. Brief history: This 10g used to home a betta at 75 F, pH 7.2, KH 40. The water always came from the tap. After he died, I tore down the tank. Bleached. Rinsed. Sun dried. Now I'm putting in a new substrate of baked clay (safe t sorb), with a little bit of laterite. Two small dragon stones. Water came from the garden hose. After a few days of getting rid of the finer particles of the clay, I added prime and a few hours later, I tested the water. 70 F. KH 0, pH 6, and there was about 0.5ppm ammonia, 5-10ppm nitrates. I did a water change, removing water down to the substrate level. Replaced with tap water. Ammonia is just a fraction above 0 (small tint of green that is lighter than the chart). Nitrates 5-10ppm. pH 7.2. KH 40. A couple of hours later, pH dropping. An hour after that, pH still dropping, now around 6.5. KH is still 40. What could be altering the pH? pH out of the tap is 7.2, but I haven't done a test after a few hours of sitting. The substrate shouldn't do this. The stones shouldn't. I wouldn't think laterite would. Could the water supply have changed that much? The nitrates are present in the tap as well at the same levels. That wasn't the case back in February when I was setting up the tank for the betta. I was getting 0 nitrates at the beginning. Why would KH be 0 in one test and back to 40 the next? Faulty test, or can KH be altered? Any suggestions? I'm not sure I can cycle the tank with the pH that low.
  3. I recently noticed in my 29 gal planted tank the PH was dropping from 7 to 6.4 and my KH was dropping from 80 to 40 in 7-10 days. The prior month it had been fairly stable with PH of 7.2-7.0 and KH of 80 (climbed to 120 when I was on vacation & no water change). NO2 is 0, NO3 is 25-50, GH is 300. Tap water is 300 GH, 7.2 PH and 80 KH. The fish don't seem to be in stress but I was confused as to why all of a sudden this was happening. I have been keeping a spreadsheet of various aquarium activities by date since I started the tank in May. Looking back it seems my PH and KH have been dropping since I started feeding a home made 'snello' for my snails and shrimp. I generally feed the "snello" once a week after a water change with the exception of last week where I made a mistake and feed twice (PH hit 6.4, KH 40). This jello mixture has quite a bit of Calcium Carbonate in it which I am assuming is lowering the KH. I am thinking I will change the feeding schedule to be two days before the gravel vacume/water change to limit the time the remnants are in the tank. That make sense or am I still missing the culprit?
  4. Ive got a Taiwan bee tank wich requires a 4 to 6 degrees GH and a zero KH. So I use Salty shrimp GH booster with my RODI but I feel like my Amano and Snails are lacking calcium for their shells. Any advice. Does adding wondershells raise GH without KH?
  5. My new co-op test strips show my KH as only 40, in both my main tank almost no water changes) and the QT tank daily water changes 25% and in a jug of Primed tapwater that is @ 12 hours old. This is puzzling to me because I'm used to API strips saying my KH is high--my memory says it was usually 180 and the only photo I found showed at least 120 if not 180. I guess I'll have to buy another set of API strips and compare them side by side to know for sure, but if it is really only KH 40, should I do anything to change it? Then..... I tried to look at the city water quality report for answers, but it doesn't list KH in any form I recognize. And to add to my confusion, its values for GH seem at odds with everything I know about my water. I live in a limestone region with hard water as identifiably by looking at glasses, coffee pots, fish tank water lines, etc. My GH has always been the highest color on API and on Co-Op test strips, but according to the city report GH in ppm (as CaCO3) averages only 128. According to another site (that sells water softeners!), my city averages 218ppm. Basically I want to know if my water dangerously low in KH, whether it is hard enough for livebearers to breed and whether it has enough calcium in it for my mystery snail. Per the city water report calcium is 46ppm. Any explanations/feedback welcome. And in case it matters, the rest of my parameters are: Nitrate: 10 Nitrite: 0 pH: 7.2
  6. 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!
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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!
  14. Hello everyone, I’m getting some new guppies and cherry shrimp in. The tank I’m planning on putting them in is a 29g which has been up and running for over 2 years and seems to be cycled. I tested the water today, PH was 8.2 ,no ammonia or nitrite, and 10ppm nitrate with a GH of over 215.8ppm and a KH of 196.9ppm. I tested the KH and GH straight out of the tap and had the same readings. Is this too much hardness and too high of a ph in the water that would be harmful to the guppies and cherry shrimp???
  15. I added coral to ALL my tanks! I added a bit at a time not to over do it all at once. 10G got 1 pound , 20 gallon 1 pound, 40G 2 pounds and the 5G has a little less than half a pound.. I added it after water changes. the 5 G has some in the filter and a bit in the tank. I am thinking he needs more in his tank. The PH is still dropping to around 6.6 - 6.8 ish... I have hard water. 280... Should I add more? Wait??? ugh.. I do water changes every 2 weeks sometimes every 3 weeks if all is good chemistry and looks wise.
  16. Hi all, Been testing my water before getting live plants and fish.. Kind of concerned about having high KH of 18, my PH is 7.6 and GH is 4. I wanting to keep cold water fish and some live plants. Will the plants survive that high of KH, like java fern and petite anubis.
  17. KH 4 GH 4 ph 7 would you consider that soft water ?
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. I am wondering if I am doing something wrong when it comes to testing my KH. I am using the API test kit and the first drop is a really light blue, the second drop goes almost clear to VERY pale yellow. I know its supposed to go from blue to yellow but is it a certain "shade" of yellow? So per that reading I have a KH of 2?? I added a 3rd drop and it became a readable shade of yellow... but that was just to see what would happen I have posted my struggle with keeping the KH in my 5 gallon pea puffer tank to even a reading level. Water changes keep my PH up but not my KH. I have a small wonder shell in there and keep one in at all times. I purchased coral from ACO but not sure if or how to use it. He is doing well, eating swimming enjoying life. Plants are thriving as well. I am afraid to do anything but wondering if I "should" do something. I don't have equilibrium but can easily get some if that is what is recommended. ALL my other tanks are fine KH wise. Here are the parameters for reference purposes: PH 7.0 (FYI rest of my tanks are ALL 7.4) KH 2 (on the ACO strip big fat 0!) GH 14 (or on the ACO strip 300) Ammonia 0 Nitrate: 20 Nitrites: 0 Temp 78.2
  22. hello! im having KH/PH issues—- I’m not a newbie, but new house with new tap water is blowing my mind!!! I have very low KH from my tap but very hard water (hardest readable on test strips)and PH at about 7.0 depending on the day. I’ve been getting PH swings throughout the day that I’ve been tracking for 3 weeks. My ph is swinging from 6.5 to 7.6 throughout the day most days (starting 3 days after water change) Yikes! I’m thinking I must need more KH- but how can I get it? water changes are only lasting me about 1-2 days, then I’m readying nearly 0 KH in my tank. So I guess a water change won’t be my best bet. Crushed Coral? Seachem’s Equilibrium? I have 1 lb of crushed coral currently mixed into my gravel, but should I use more? No room in my filter to add it, unless I toss one of my 2 sponges out (AC50) this is happening in my 29 gallon. any help would be greatly appreciated!
  23. So I'm running pressurized CO2 on my Fluval V. This is my first attempt at pressurized Co2 (I've done DIY before). I put a drop checker in on the opposite side of my diffuser, and it's still reading blue (low CO2). I'm currently running almost 3 BPS and thought that might be a little much and was surprised to see the drop checker reading "low" still. I'm on well water and the KH is at 19dKH (340.1ppm) - will having a high KH effect the drop checkers reading ability?
  24. I am new to hobby so I never paid much attention to KH, but in my search to discover why I can no longer effectively keep floating plants, I have been testing and analyzing my water a thoroughly and discovered my KH is basically non-existent. I haven't bought the liquid test kit for KH yet, but on both the Tetra and the Coop test strips I test consistently with a brightly colored zero indication. I was surprised because with my limited knowledge of GH and KH I assumed having hard water meant I would have in the least some registerable amounts of KH. I mean I don't even have just hard water, I have SUPER hard water. Coop test strips give me a royal purple every time 😂 I am pretty sure my water is basically a brick out of the tap. So adding crushed coral or wonder shells sound counterintuitive to me when all I want is registerable KH. And just to remove any tank factors out of the equation, the KH is non-existent out of the tap. So weekly water changes seem to do nothing but add zero to zero. Now on to PH concerns...currently I am running peat moss in my tank and the lovely thing about KH being on hiatus, I can lower my PH pretty easily. PH is around 6.8, down from my normal average of 7.4. It actually only took me, maybe two weeks to get there approximately. And my concern is that maybe I shouldn't be playing with PH if I have no KH. It feels like I got in a car to drive in a city with no traffic lights? So while on one hand I can go as I please, the danger of something going horribly wrong is possible as well, unfortunately. So basically I guess my questions are whether I should just keep doing what I am doing regardless of KH absence? Can you just supplement KH without adding more brick to my brick water? And should I even be adding peat if I don't have KH on the premises to police?
  25. Using this chart I calculated the CO2 in my tapwater. My KH is off the charts (test strips) while my pH is pretty low. The only reason I could think of was high CO2 since CO2 lowers the pH and hightens the capacity of carbonates in the water. My question is wether this CO2 is available for my plants and wether it might harm my fish. I don't have any problems with my fish right now, but they are all pretty hardy. I do get a lot of growth, even on my anubias, though my java moss struggles.
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