GH, KH, Fish, and Plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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GH, KH, Fish, and Plants

I've read conflicting answers on this online, so thought I'd come here and get some opinions. Are gh and kh equally important to fish and plants that prefer soft/hard water, or does one parameter or the other have more of an affect? Or is tds more the number you need to look at?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JustJen View Post
I've read conflicting answers on this online, so thought I'd come here and get some opinions. Are gh and kh equally important to fish and plants that prefer soft/hard water, or does one parameter or the other have more of an affect? Or is tds more the number you need to look at?
Hi JustJen,

Per Tom Barr he doesn't worry about dKH as long as there is sufficient so the PH doesn't crash when using CO2; he does try to maintain about 4.0 dGH.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Roy! I have a kh of 19 - my ph doesn't BUDGE. lol! GH is only 4 though.

Last edited by JustJen; 08-25-2016 at 02:38 PM. Reason: correction
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JustJen View Post
I've read conflicting answers on this online, so thought I'd come here and get some opinions. Are gh and kh equally important to fish and plants that prefer soft/hard water, or does one parameter or the other have more of an affect? Or is tds more the number you need to look at?
I would say you couldn't have soft water if gh and kh were high. So I would say they are just as important.
My GH and KH are both pretty high right out of the tap ~20 degrees. I mix water with RO to get it "softer".
My Kh still is around 6 and my PH will not budge with tannins/peat.

I think the KH and GH are most important with shrimp when certain ones need soft acidic water or others that would like harder water.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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That's where my question came in - both are not high in my tanks. My GH is pretty low low (4), while KH is very high (19). I've had good luck with a lot of fish that are softer water fish (rams, angels, neons, other tetras, etc), which just got me to wondering if I was giving too much weight to the KH. My ram supplier had said something to that effect, but when I started looking online, I just wasn't really finding an answer either way.

I do keep shrimp, but only neos, amanos, and vampire shrimp. I haven't and won't try crystals or anything of that sort in my water. The answer to this question won't change what I do - I already don't make any attempts to alter my water and I pretty well am able to keep all of the fish I want to keep. Was just curious from a personal knowledge standpoint if there was a difference in how the two reading affect the inhabitants of the tank.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 05:11 PM
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Quite rare for the two (kH and GH) to be that far apart. If both are coming from limestone-type rocks in the area then they are nearly equal. Your numbers suggest something else dissolving. Makes me wonder if the kH is something other than bicarbonate - perhaps phosphates. I'd recommend doing a phosphate test.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 07:27 PM
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... my PH will not budge with tannins/peat...
Could you elaborate? Will not budge from what pH measurement? Will not budge with what form/quantity of peat in how much volume of water over what time period?

If, for example, we start with a pH of 6.0 and add some peat granules to the filter of a 55g we shouldn't expect the pH to drop at all, ever. (In fact, without any other interventions the pH will rise.)

On the other hand, if we start with a pH of 8.0 and add a few handfuls of fresh peat straight into the water of a 10g tank (wrapped in netting to cut down on the mess) we should expect the pH to drop at least to neutral over the next few days/couple of weeks.

I notice a troubling trend in modern aquarium keepers, where the measure of welfare seems to be steeped solely in terms of survival: if the fishes live, things are good, if the fishes die, things are bad. It is an inappropriate position to take. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Like I said - that's why I was curious how the two differed as far as their effect on the plants and fish because most everything I can find talks about the two readings as more or less moving in conjunction with each other, and they are drastically different in my tanks. Whatever is causing the kh reading is certainly an effective buffer - even mixing RO with tap water at greater than 50% results in a ph that is back at 8 within a couple of days. Very early on I tried altering my water, but very quickly gave that idea up!

I'll pick up a phosphate test kit and get back to you!

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Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
Quite rare for the two (kH and GH) to be that far apart. If both are coming from limestone-type rocks in the area then they are nearly equal. Your numbers suggest something else dissolving. Makes me wonder if the kH is something other than bicarbonate - perhaps phosphates. I'd recommend doing a phosphate test.
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