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pH Question: New House, Different Water


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Hello, everyone. I just had a quick question about pH and I was hoping I could get some help.

I moved out of my parent's house recently, and got my first apartment, which is exciting! The fish handled the move well, which is good. I think it was harder on me than them! I have a group of Kuhli loaches in a 20 gallon, and I'm looking to add more loaches and new species to the tank soon.

However, before I can do that, I noticed a problem I didn't account for when I moved. You see, my parents lived on a well, and so the water came out of the tap at a pH of 8, and while I never tested the hardness, I know it's probably hard water. The new place I moved into has municipal water, so it has a pH of 7 and is much likely going to be much softer than the well water.

My question is, how do I transition the water in the tank from the old water to the new water? In the short term, I can always just fill up jugs of well water to use for water changes. But going forward, should I mix the new water with the old water to slowly bring down the pH? I know people usually recommend to not "chase pH", and that it is often better to leave it alone, which I have agreed with. But in this case, where I will have to change the pH eventually no matter what, how gradually should I do it? And what about the hardness, should that cause any issues? I know Kuhlis are sometimes sensitive to changes in water quality, how careful do I need to be with them?

Thanks in advance for the help and advice!

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Hi Troy, 

Honestly if I were in your shoes I wouldn't chase the pH but a transition is in order.

You could do as you suggested you could, bring some water from your parents and then when doing water change one, use 75% parents water, 25% yours. Next time 50/50, then 25/75 etc.

I did this with some Otos in QT recently I asked to take some of the LFS's water and put them in there with 75% LFS water 25% mine, over the coming days I just kept changing out water (all mine not lfs water though) and eventually of course it probably was all mine. So you can try it that way too. 

There are ways to adjust hardness if it's really necessary but pH shouldn't be an issue in the long run especially if you're keeping species that don't require it. 

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I wouldn't necessarily assume the city water is softer.  I am on city water, and my water is basically liquid granite.  You may want to test both and compare.


As far as the gradual change, and I will say this could be wrong, but I would think small water changes every few days would slowly add more and more of the new water to the tank.  That should equate to something of a drip acclimation style approach to getting the swimmers accustomed to new water.

I will also say my kuhlis seem to have no problem with my rock hard acid of tap water. 

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