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Old 11-12-2012, 10:17 PM   #1
Jim_PA
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Low PH, KH & GH


PH out of the tap is 8.0

PH in my tank is 6, without CO2 on. I think my substarte causes it to drop.
KH in my tank is around 1 or less dkh
GH in my tank is around 1 or less

I think these are a bit low overall for the health of my tank plants & fish. What are everyone thoughts?
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:41 PM   #2
Diana
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Yes, IMO those are pretty low.

Here is how I handle that problem.

1) My tap water also comes out of the tap with a high pH (highest 7s to low 8s mostly), but GH and KH are usually about 4-5 degrees, though they dropped to about 3 degrees this summer.

2) Most of my fish are fine with that, but I do have a Lake Tanganyikan tank, and some livebearers that prefer harder water.

3) Most of my tanks have substrates that remove the KH from the water and this allows the pH to drop to 'off the chart low'.

Set up the tank (set up 1 or 2) with water that is prepared with extra minerals. I use baking soda for KH and Seachem Equilibrium or Barr's GH Booster for GH.
1 teaspoon of baking soda per 30 gallons of water will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.
If you do not want to add sodium to your tanks then you can use potassium bicarbonate to add carbonates.
GH Boosters will have on the label the dosing. Make the water suit the fish.

For soft water fish I do not add any minerals, but you might want to keep the GH and KH about 3 German degrees of hardness, to be sure there are enough minerals for plants and fish. The nitrifying bacteria use carbonates, and some plants can get carbon from carbonates.

Through the week the substrates that remove the KH (set up 3) can work so fast that I need to add more. I just sprinkle the baking soda into the tank where the filter flow is the strongest, and most of it dissolves before it hits the bottom. Over the years these substrates finally quit, and the tank holds stable through the week. The newer ones sure gobble it up, though.

I also keep coral sand and oyster shell grit in the filters of the hard water tanks (1 and 2). I use nylon stockings as media bags. These materials dissolve too slowly to use during water changes, but are good through the week to add just a trace of minerals as might be used by the plants. Keeps the GH and KH right where I want it. (unless the substrate steals the KH).
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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If I remember correctly from one of your previous posts, you had some sort of calcined clay - type substrate (can't remember the specific type).

Diana pretty much covered it - these substrates have a high CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity), and are known to strip hardness out of the water when it's first set up. Eventually it will 'fill up', and your tank will stabilize.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Yes, IMO those are pretty low.

Here is how I handle that problem.

1) My tap water also comes out of the tap with a high pH (highest 7s to low 8s mostly), but GH and KH are usually about 4-5 degrees, though they dropped to about 3 degrees this summer.

2) Most of my fish are fine with that, but I do have a Lake Tanganyikan tank, and some livebearers that prefer harder water.

3) Most of my tanks have substrates that remove the KH from the water and this allows the pH to drop to 'off the chart low'.

Set up the tank (set up 1 or 2) with water that is prepared with extra minerals. I use baking soda for KH and Seachem Equilibrium or Barr's GH Booster for GH.
1 teaspoon of baking soda per 30 gallons of water will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.
If you do not want to add sodium to your tanks then you can use potassium bicarbonate to add carbonates.
GH Boosters will have on the label the dosing. Make the water suit the fish.

For soft water fish I do not add any minerals, but you might want to keep the GH and KH about 3 German degrees of hardness, to be sure there are enough minerals for plants and fish. The nitrifying bacteria use carbonates, and some plants can get carbon from carbonates.

Through the week the substrates that remove the KH (set up 3) can work so fast that I need to add more. I just sprinkle the baking soda into the tank where the filter flow is the strongest, and most of it dissolves before it hits the bottom. Over the years these substrates finally quit, and the tank holds stable through the week. The newer ones sure gobble it up, though.

I also keep coral sand and oyster shell grit in the filters of the hard water tanks (1 and 2). I use nylon stockings as media bags. These materials dissolve too slowly to use during water changes, but are good through the week to add just a trace of minerals as might be used by the plants. Keeps the GH and KH right where I want it. (unless the substrate steals the KH).
Thank you for the advise, this really seem to help, my PH, KH & GH seem very stable now. My GH is rather high now, but not sure if I should worry about that or not.

PH is 7.2
dKH is 3
dGH is 12
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_PA View Post
PH out of the tap is 8.0

PH in my tank is 6, without CO2 on. I think my substarte causes it to drop.
KH in my tank is around 1 or less dkh
GH in my tank is around 1 or less

I think these are a bit low overall for the health of my tank plants & fish. What are everyone thoughts?
Hello Jim...

Unless you keep and breed rare fish, then you don't need to fret over pH, hardness or any of that. The vast majority of aquarium fish will adapt to the vast majority of public water supplies.

Just treat the new water for ammonia, chlorine and chloramine. Once the tank is established (cycled), then set up a sound tank maintenance routine that includes large, weekly water changes and your fish and plants will be fine.

No need to make things complicated.

B
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello Jim...

Unless you keep and breed rare fish, then you don't need to fret over pH, hardness or any of that. The vast majority of aquarium fish will adapt to the vast majority of public water supplies.

Just treat the new water for ammonia, chlorine and chloramine. Once the tank is established (cycled), then set up a sound tank maintenance routine that includes large, weekly water changes and your fish and plants will be fine.

No need to make things complicated.

B
This type of advice is PRECISELY how so many new hobbyist's wind up with sick,dead fishes.
Keeping fishes that thrive in soft water, in hard,alkaline water, or vice versa,,, is often why the fishes die prematurely.
Most of the common fishes for example Livebearer's,,, will do better in alkaline water over the long haul ,and fair poorly in soft acidic water.
Tetra species ,another common species,,, much prefer softer water.
I agree with you regarding keeping thing's simple,,
Keep those fishes that thrive in hard water in hard water,and keep soft water species in soft water.
How's that for simple?
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
This type of advice is PRECISELY how so many new hobbyist's wind up with sick,dead fishes.
Keeping fishes that thrive in soft water, in hard,alkaline water, or vice versa,,, is often why the fishes die prematurely.
Most of the common fishes for example Livebearer's,,, will do better in alkaline water over the long haul ,and fair poorly in soft acidic water.
Tetra species ,another common species,,, much prefer softer water.
I agree with you regarding keeping thing's simple,,
Keep those fishes that thrive in hard water in hard water,and keep soft water species in soft water.
How's that for simple?
I agree with this for the most part. It is important to note however, that many fish nowdays are tank raised and very well might adjust to a variety of water conditions. That said, IMO, one should still seriously consider their out of the tap water parameters and how they relate to the fishes natural environment. For example, I have hard water and would not even concider keeping South American Cichlids but I am going to set up an African tank. I also have Otos in a few tanks and they have adjusted fine to my hard water even though they are wild caught and come frome softer water. The point I am attempting to make is that as responsable fish keepers, we should be educated in the needs of our animals and use this knowledge to make good decisions.
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