Carbonate Hardness KH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Carbonate Hardness KH

My question is in regards to manipulation of kH or carbonate hardness. My tap water kH is roughly 4, while my tank tests at 2 to 3. ( I have driftwood in the tank.) I use the API KH/GH drop test to test the water. I just began my pressurized CO2 injection and have had trouble obtaining optimal CO2 levels due to the fact that my kH is low. I added sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, which was helpful in raising my tanks kH. My question is....1. Is there another natural way to raise my kH, without having to had baking soda? 2. How often should I be adding baking soda to my fishtank water? 3. Will baking soda affect my red cherry and amano shrimp? Thank you for your time.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 07:54 AM
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A calcium carbonate based sand or rock will slowly dissolve in your tank adding carbonate hardness to your system. Baking soda will give more precision and ability to control levels however.

You should add it as often as is necessary based on your test results. It shouldn't get used very quickly so you'll probably only have to add it after water changes.

Not sure about the shrimp, never kept them.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 10:23 AM
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I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. CO2 dissolves in soft water just as easily as harder water. If you can't achieve acceptable levels of CO2 then I would look at the "bubble rate", the efficiency of your reactor, and/or the amount of surface turbulence.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 10:21 PM
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It sounds like your CO2 that's being injected into your tank is not being dissolved properly, which doesn't have to do with KH. Try some different methods of diffusing your CO2 (like injecting it into a power head) and you should get more dissolved CO2 in your tank that way.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'm calculating my CO2 levels by the pH vs kH chart. Based off of that chart it indicates my levels are low. My pH is 6.8 and my kH is 1 to 2. If I am able to raise my kH then my CO2 levels will increase. Is there a test to measure CO2 directly?Thank you.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-10-2010, 11:52 PM
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The pH/kH/CO2 relationship can only work if carbonates are the only buffer that are in your aquarium water. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and as such, you cannot use this relationship to measure your CO2 levels accurately.

The best way is to use a drop checker with a known kH reference solution. Many people like using a 4 dkH reference solution so that the drop checker indicator solution (bromothymol blue) will turn green when ~30 ppm of CO2 is achieved.

Anthony


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-11-2010, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothSailor View Post
If I am able to raise my kH then my CO2 levels will increase.
That isn't correct. The only way to increase the CO2 level in the water is to dose more CO2 - a higher bubble rate or a more efficient reactor. KH has no effect at all on the amount of CO2 in the water. It does affect the pH, but not the ppm of CO2.

If using that chart shows you have low ppm of CO2, you can be sure you do have very low CO2. The chart consistently gives too high a number for ppm of CO2 because of the other stuff in the water that affect pH. I used to get 70-100 ppm of CO2 using that chart, when I actually had more like 10-15 ppm. A drop checker is the only economical way to even come close to an accurate measure of CO2 in the water.

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