High kh from pool filter sand!
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:53 AM   #1
Hardstuff
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High kh from pool filter sand!


I was wondering can someone give me some insight on the effects of high kh. I should have tested kh , I may have tested for gh & I figured I was ok. I now have a kh of 8 or 9! I cannot lower it. Should I try to lower the ph with buffers? . I have never used buffers before.. I am extremely disappointed in the pool filter sand. My substrate is mostly Flourite I added some pool filter sand to help anchor my plants since I am running RMTS. It helped in that regard. What are the problems I may run into , say high ph fish scratching & do some plants not enjoy high kh? I am use to having total control of my water that I make using R/O water that I remineralize. Without a digital ph meter I really do not know how high my ph is. I do understand that fish get use to ph changes but if they are kept outside their ideal range maybe that could be a problem.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:00 AM   #2
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First off, you sure the source is your sand? No rocks in your tank, and have you double-checked your tap water if that's what you're using?

If you're sure it's the sand, then it sounds like you don't have pure silica-based sand, there's possibly some calcium carbonate-based substrate mixed in there somewhere. If that's the case, I'd be tempted to re-do the substrate just so it doesn't keep your parameters swinging every time you do a water change. :/

If you're used to reconsituting RO water, why aren't you doing that any more? That could be a solution.

I wouldn't start adding chemicals to try and bring your kH/pH down... it's really hard to maintain stability in a tank when you start chemically altering the water- especially when it comes time to do water changes.

If you can nail down the source of your kH to determine whether or not you can expect your parameters to remain stable, you can work with this high kH, though. Most plants don't mind, and you can just select livestock that suited to harder water.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:15 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for your reply . Well I can tell you for sure thats its the pool filter sand. I checked a small batch using r/o water with no kh booster & sure enough that small little container with just a tablespoon of pool filter sand is exactly what my tank kh is. I am use to mixing my own r/o water & making what ever kh & gh I want. Like I said the substrate is Flourite & that substrate never alters ph / kh. So I just need feed back on this. My fish seem pretty healthy although they have an occasional scratch . I did qt them & they would scratch a little in the other tank without pool filter sand. I am still not sure if its parasites but for now I am keeping a close eye on them to see if the problem gets worse. But the plants are growing well & I wanted & akaline tank anyway but I wanted it to be my numbers not locked in on a given kh. I am surprised more people have not posted kh issues using pool filter sand. Maybe some sands vary. I use r/o water so tap water is a not the issue. I check kh & Gh every time I mix.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:52 AM   #4
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SCRATCHING fish- I missed that in your first post! That sounds like ich. :/ Ich is an external parasite that is extremely contagious and can quickly kill fish.

It's possible that just the rapid water parameter shift when you added the PFS caused some damage and the fish are scratching because of that... but it's more likely that at least one of your fish arrived carrying the parasite, and the water parameter shift weakend the fish to the point that it triggered an outbreak.

As I said previously, if your water parameters are stable now, then you can definitely work with them.

However, it also sounds like you need to treat your fish for ich. Lots of commercial meds available for ich. Or salt and heat, though the plants often don't appreciate that approach as much.
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:20 AM   #5
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It sounds like you are really jumping to conclusions on the scratching. The fish were in qt for 3 weeks & showed no spots. They appear healthy, & breath normal & show normal activity. It is unwise to medicate & stress fish without proper cause. It is a myth that sudden stress causes an ick out brake. The parasites cannot live without a host after 3 or 4 weeks. I have had ick in the past & I know exactly what to look for. I qt all my fish. To heat a tank & add salt to a well established tank with happy healthy looking fish is unwise. Fish scratching can have many causes. We are also getting off topic. The original question was pertaining to problems with plants & fish with high kh !

More than likely it is possible they could have gill flukes but by now they would have had more problems than they do. After a while they will lay on the bottom & breath heavy & gasp at the surface. They do not show any of this, but I am keeping an eye out. My first choice would be prazi not any ick meds! But again until I see real problems I would refrain from meds. People tend to jump to conclusions & use meds for wrong diagnoses .. Ick is very obvious & ick should go away forever if people would just qt their fish, but most do not.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:15 AM   #6
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I find there are lots of reasons for flashing. One big one is when the water changes more than they like. Ich would be among the later things I would suspect.
Meanwhile the high KH is not likely to be a big thing if it settles somewhere. I have really high GH and KH without problems.
I am somewhat surprised to hear it coming from pool filter sand. I was under the impression there were pretty close standards for filter sand to avoid all kinds of problems getting the pool water adjusted. High KH would really mess with getting the water right in pools. Maybe a bit of a cheap brand or such? Overall I find getting the pool squared away is much more difficult that doing the tank what with the size and weather being such factors.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:11 AM   #7
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I use pool filter sand #20 in 3 tanks and buffer my ro water to specific specs the tank water is so balanced I really don't need to check it because the readings are always the same.
I did occur some flashing in 1 tank because I was changing to much water and the fish were stressing.
I have also dealt with flukes there almost hard to avoid at any big lfs.
I have not measured kh for a long time now but now I'm more curious since you fell certain its from the sand did you use # 20 pool filter sand ?
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:27 AM   #8
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Pool filter sand CANT raise kh at all so it's definately not the sand.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:30 AM   #9
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I used quickrete pool filter sand #1153. I hate to break the news but it does. OR MY KH TEST KIT IS FAULTY! Since I have been making water for years & my kh levels have been stable in all my tanks except my new 55 NPT tank with RMT! The only difference is the pool filter sand. I tested a batch on the side with r/o water with no Kh in a small container & sure enough the kh was sky high!!! I even went over all my other tanks & double checked those tanks & they all seemed dead on with the kh test kit. Before anybody says its my test kit , that is simply not true. I have never had a problem before.. I keep adding water without kh to the 55 & the kh keeps rising. I believe its stressing my fish at this point. I may have to start changing larger amounts, but I am starting to get worried at this point. The tank has been doing well but the fish seem to be acting indifferent to the chemistry of late & the only thing thats changing is my kh is rising.

Is the Quickrete pool filter sand the correct stuff or is there different pool filter sands?? Maybe even though I remineralize my r/o water the r/o water is pulling some base out?? Maybe over time the small amount thats in the tank will neutralize???? Insight anyone ?
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:20 AM   #10
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I would suspect it being the quickcrete brand might be affecting the numbers. Maybe its not entirely all silica sand. I forget the brand I used, but I'm certain it wasn't quickcrete.

Have you tested the sand in tap water in the bucket? I would go to your local pool filter supply store and get a bag of their store brand and try your luck.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:48 AM   #11
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Thanks for your reply: As stated I tested a small batch , meaning just about a tablespoon worth with pure r/o water & the Kh was sky high as I stated earlier. There seems to be no way out of this! My only hope is that every few days performing small water changes I MAY be able to neutralize what ever buffer they are using. I believe unless my r/o is spitting out Kh that there is no other possibility. That little test sample raised my kh way up. Normally I would get zero with an r/o sample straight up. I wish I never added the stuff. The whole point of having a tank like this is low effort, not working at it every day!
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:28 AM   #12
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I have a 5 gallon batch of fresh water ready now. Kh 0, Gh3. Current tank values are Kh10, Gh11. At one point I had it down to Kh8, Gh10. My goal for this tank is Kh5, Gh8. I will try 3 or 4 small water changes a week & maybe some light gravel vacs to suck out a little of the tiny layer that does not even cover 20% of the substrate! It is just a dusting but enough to cause some damage!
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelub View Post
I would suspect it being the quickcrete brand might be affecting the numbers. Maybe its not entirely all silica sand. I forget the brand I used, but I'm certain it wasn't quickcrete.

Have you tested the sand in tap water in the bucket? I would go to your local pool filter supply store and get a bag of their store brand and try your luck.
I to suspect its the kind of sand your using #20 is the base standart for pools and has not created any problems for me.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:07 PM   #14
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Have you tried acid on this stuff?
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:17 AM   #15
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I am surprised that any pool filter sand would do this.
However, you have one that does. :-(

I would do the best you can to remove it from the tank. A very small trace may remain, and that little bit might be OK, but I would remove all visible bits, even if you are wasting some of the Flourite.

There is a slightly different material.
It is sold as a base for the Cool Deck or Desert Frontier Pool deck surface by Stegmeir.
The sand is a ground dolomite called Deck Sand.
I tested a tablespoon in a cup of water, and it sure sent the readings skyward!
Dolomite is a shiny, sparkly white material. I am almost positive dolomite is calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. I get this at a masonry store. They sell rock, concrete supplies and similar materials.

The local swimming pool stores sell 20 and 30 mesh sand for pool filters, and it has always been a silica based sand. I can get other sizes of silica sand at masonry stores, too. One of the brand names is Lapis Lustre.
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