Kh and ph problem - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Kh and ph problem

This is my first post in this forum so I may be posting this in the wrong place. I've asked this question in 2 other forums and still no answer. I have 2 tanks a 29 gallon low tech and a 10 gallon hospital tank that I have neon tetras recovering from columnaris in. Here's my problem. My tap water comes right out the tap at a ph of 7.4 and a kh of 5-6dkh. After 24 hours with an air pump ph is 8.2 and kh is 10. This is all good and well but in the 29 gallon ph is 7.4 with a kh of 3dkh and the 10 gallon has a ph of 7.8 with a kh of 5dkh. After just days the kh decreases significantly and that leads to the lh to drop. I have nothing that could lower ph like peat moss or driftwood (because my 10 gallon is empty since its a hospital tank and my 29 gallon is pretty empty except for a crypt and some guppies) and the nitrate in the 10 gallon is only 10ppm and nitrate in 29 gallon is 20ppm. I live in Franklin Kentucky and all the water reports say hard water which I know. I don't want to have to use crushed coral because a 10 kh should be enough. So my question is why is my kh and ph decreasing at such a rapid rate?
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 09:45 PM
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GH would be a more important reading to know.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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GH would be a more important reading to know.
gh is 10 after 24 hours. Gh is still 10.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 12:04 AM
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Hi @439394929,

The only thing that is going to drop your KH are acids.

If the 10 gallon is a bare bottom tank with water, and your KH is dropping, then I would say it might not be cycled (and you are in the middle of it).

In the 29 gallon, if it is an inert (does not release anything) substrate i.e. gravel, and all you have is a crypt and some guppies and the tank is cycled, then maybe post a picture. If the tank is extremely dirty, this may do it: if your bacterial population is blooming and you are having a mini-cycle; however, if the crypt is growing well and the fish are extremely healthy, then it may be your titration solution (i.e. your test kit).

Your water should not double your KH or increase it by 5 degrees just by degassing. The test kit measures alkalinity, and the only way to increase that is with salts that you have to add - the only thing that 24 hours is doing is off-gassing your gases - this should not affect the salt concentration.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @439394929,

The only thing that is going to drop your KH are acids.

If the 10 gallon is a bare bottom tank with water, and your KH is dropping, then I would say it might not be cycled (and you are in the middle of it).

In the 29 gallon, if it is an inert (does not release anything) substrate i.e. gravel, and all you have is a crypt and some guppies and the tank is cycled, then maybe post a picture. If the tank is extremely dirty, this may do it: if your bacterial population is blooming and you are having a mini-cycle; however, if the crypt is growing well and the fish are extremely healthy, then it may be your titration solution (i.e. your test kit).

Your water should not double your KH or increase it by 5 degrees just by degassing. The test kit measures alkalinity, and the only way to increase that is with salts that you have to add - the only thing that 24 hours is doing is off-gassing your gases - this should not affect the salt concentration.

Josh
The 10 gall is cycled because I used seeded filter media and it measures 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and nitrate is always below 40. I didn't mean to put kh is 10 after 24 hours it stays at 5 my bad. I use eco complete which Is inert and I don't put any chemicals to change water. The crypt is growing new leaves so its doing good and the guppies are breeding. The neon tetras got sick because I got a sick one at petsmart.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @439394929,

The only thing that is going to drop your KH are acids.

If the 10 gallon is a bare bottom tank with water, and your KH is dropping, then I would say it might not be cycled (and you are in the middle of it).

In the 29 gallon, if it is an inert (does not release anything) substrate i.e. gravel, and all you have is a crypt and some guppies and the tank is cycled, then maybe post a picture. If the tank is extremely dirty, this may do it: if your bacterial population is blooming and you are having a mini-cycle; however, if the crypt is growing well and the fish are extremely healthy, then it may be your titration solution (i.e. your test kit).

Your water should not double your KH or increase it by 5 degrees just by degassing. The test kit measures alkalinity, and the only way to increase that is with salts that you have to add - the only thing that 24 hours is doing is off-gassing your gases - this should not affect the salt concentration.

Josh
The 10 gall is cycled because I used seeded filter media and it measures 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and nitrate is always below 40. I didn't mean to put kh is 10 after 24 hours it stays at 5 my bad. I use eco complete which Is inert and I don't put any chemicals to change water. The crypt is growing new leaves so its doing good and the guppies are breeding. The neon tetras got sick because I got a sick one at petsmart.
also yes the 10 gal is bare bottom ill send pics if u want of the 29 gal
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 02:45 AM
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I honestly don't see anything concerning about those levels.... my bigger concern would be whether or not there's a TDS difference between tanks and tap. Perhaps upping the amount of water changes could help? Could either do larger water changes or more frequent ones?
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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I honestly don't see anything concerning about those levels.... my bigger concern would be whether or not there's a TDS difference between tanks and tap. Perhaps upping the amount of water changes could help? Could either do larger water changes or more frequent ones?
I do 50% water changes weekly. I'm just confused why the kh decreases and ph decrease so fast because everything else I've read says that a 4 kh is good enough and I have a 5 kh yet it still isn't a good enough buffer.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 05:15 AM
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Well, more than just KH controls pH... so again, I can't see an issue with the pH levels, even if they do differ. At 50% water changes though, that is kind of odd that the KH would be changing that much that quickly...

Besides the fish getting sick due to introducing one that was sick, do you notice any issues with the fish otherwise due to the differences in ph and KH?
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 05:27 AM
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gh is 10 after 24 hours. Gh is still 10.
With a GH of 10, after water has set for 24hrs absorbing co2 from atmosphere a PH8 and KH5 not out of line.

You'd better off to put a small bag of peat/leaves in your change water anyway, especially for the neons hospital tank water changes.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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gh is 10 after 24 hours. Gh is still 10.
With a GH of 10, after water has set for 24hrs absorbing co2 from atmosphere a PH8 and KH5 not out of line.

You'd better off to put a small bag of peat/leaves in your change water anyway, especially for the neons hospital tank water changes.
that's not the problem I'm fine with ph of 8 and kh of 5 but the problem is the kh and ph decreases so fast in the tank in the span of days. The neons are good they've been raised in local water because my LFS keeps them in tap water as well.
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 01:37 PM
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also yes the 10 gal is bare bottom ill send pics if u want of the 29 gal
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The 10 gall is cycled because I used seeded filter media and it measures 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and nitrate is always below 40. I didn't mean to put kh is 10 after 24 hours it stays at 5 my bad. I use eco complete which Is inert and I don't put any chemicals to change water. The crypt is growing new leaves so its doing good and the guppies are breeding. The neon tetras got sick because I got a sick one at petsmart.
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that's not the problem I'm fine with ph of 8 and kh of 5 but the problem is the kh and ph decreases so fast in the tank in the span of days. The neons are good they've been raised in local water because my LFS keeps them in tap water as well.
I am glad it stays at 5 .

Is the 1 crypt giant? If you are not co2 injected, I wonder (and maybe someone can weigh in here) if the crypt is utilizing your carbonates as a co2 source.

To drop a couple KH in a few days is large.

However, let's say that your each drop of your test kit has a 10 PPM change on the color for KH.

If you are testing in at 5dkh, that is about 80 ppm ... so it's possible that you are maybe triggering the color change at 72 ppm (even though it reas 80) ... and so when you test in a few days and you at at 3dkh, you are at about 50 ppm ... it may actually be that you are actually 50 (provided both of the test tubes were filled to the 5mL mark identically - we are humans) ... even a mL difference could skew your test.

So the dKH difference may only be 1 ... and I wouldn't be worried about that.

If the plant is healthy, the fish are breeding, and the large concern is understanding why the test is yielding bizarre data, then we can look at the test itself - because the system is healthy.

Note that I simplified the ppm numbers to "about" to go along with the 10 ppm increment. Each degree is 17.8 ppm.

Cheers,

Josh
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 08:09 PM
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Sorry but your neons are not fine with a PH of 8 and a GH of 10 being dumped in on them with water changes. Read up on both PH and osmotic shock. Itís probably why your neons are sick to begin with.

Those shifts happening in your tank slowly over the coarse of days not going to bother them. When you dump that water in at change time is what is bothering your fish, environmental stressors caused by you and then secondary infections setting in. Keep changing your hospital tank with that water and your neons are never going to recover, your shocking the fish over and over again every time you change water.

Itís your job as aquarium keeper need to make sure your change water matches the tanks water as close as possible. If that means prepping your change water with a little peat etc to get organic acids back in the water thatís what you have to do.
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry but your neons are not fine with a PH of 8 and a GH of 10 being dumped in on them with water changes. Read up on both PH and osmotic shock. It’s probably why your neons are sick to begin with.

Those shifts happening in your tank slowly over the coarse of days not going to bother them. When you dump that water in at change time is what is bothering your fish, environmental stressors caused by you and then secondary infections setting in. Keep changing your hospital tank with that water and your neons are never going to recover, your shocking the fish over and over again every time you change water.

It’s your job as aquarium keeper need to make sure your change water matches the tanks water as close as possible. If that means prepping your change water with a little peat etc to get organic acids back in the water that’s what you have to do.
You need to do your research. These neon tetras have been raised in local waters for years. Ive been using tap water the whole time and so has the lfs. The fish aren't even sick anymore I'm just keeping in the tank until I figure out the kh and ph problem. Like I said the reason they got sick is I took a risk and bought fish at petsmart and when I was acclimating the fish I saw a patch on one of the neons. What shifts are you talking about? How am I shocking the fish if I'm using the same water I filled the tank with and that I'm using for water changes? You have to realize a lot of fishkeepers are keeping fish out of their normal ph and gh ranges because they've been slowly acclimated to them and now they thrive in these 'abnormal' ranges. If I needed help with neon tetra care then I would have made a post on that.
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Well, more than just KH controls pH... so again, I can't see an issue with the pH levels, even if they do differ. At 50% water changes though, that is kind of odd that the KH would be changing that much that quickly...

Besides the fish getting sick due to introducing one that was sick, do you notice any issues with the fish otherwise due to the differences in ph and KH?
No not so far. The guppies are breeding and they are on the move constantly. I just tested the water and kh is 3dkh and ph is 7.8. The last water change was only 4 days ago and yet the kh has dropped by 2dkh and the ph has dropped by .4.
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