Balancing out kH and pH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Balancing out kH and pH

Hi there,

I am having issues getting my parameters to stabalize. The tank has been running for two months now. Below you will find everything in the tank. I've been losing fish the past couple of days. I lost all of the guppies I had. I'm not sure what's going on.

Plants
-- Jungle Vals
-- Amazon Swords
-- Ludwigia Repens

Fish
-- 20 Cherry Red Shrimp
-- 03 Platy
-- 05 Cories
-- 08 Neon Tetra
-- 01 Bristlenose Pleco
-- 01 MTS

Yesterday, my parameters were as follows

pH -- 6.0
Ammonia -- .50
Nitrite -- .0
Nitrate -- 5.0
Temp -- 76

Now, before you all freak out, I recently had an outbreak of ICH, finally got rid of that. After that is when I lost the guppies.

I recently bought a kH test kit to measure that. I was dosing it like it said, but it never started out blue. I got to 4 drops and was able to actually tell it was yellow.

I use a DIY CO2 system which consists of Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, and of course water.

What does a guy do? I have never had so much issues.

Here are some current views of my tank
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Last edited by mcdanielnc89; 09-01-2016 at 02:16 AM. Reason: Added pictures
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post #2 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdanielnc89 View Post
Yesterday, my parameters were as follows
pH -- 6.0
Ammonia -- .50
Nitrite -- .0
Nitrate -- 5.0
Temp -- 76
Your ph is too low. What will balance it I can't say without a picture.
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post #3 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Yes. I know my pH is way too low. It's staying at this too. What kind of pictures would you like. I can get some up.
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post #4 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 01:14 AM
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Yes. I know my pH is way too low. It's staying at this too. What kind of pictures would you like. I can get some up.
A full front view with the fish in it too.
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post #5 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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A full front view with the fish in it too.
I have added two aquarium photos to the first thread. Below I also added the test parameters.
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post #6 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 02:24 AM
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What is the substrate?


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post #7 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 02:32 AM
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Seachem Alkaline Buffer will increase you KH and your pH. Where I used to live my KH was 0.5. I used to add a little.
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post #8 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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What is the substrate?
Play Sand
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post #9 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 09:01 PM
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I think Gh Booster dosed .25 tsp daily for 1 week and then weekly plus Potassium Nitrate .5 tsp weekly would help. Also iron chelated would help ludwiga to maintain its red coller. At greenleafaquarium You can buy Gh for $5 and Potassium nitrate for $3, Iron chelated $8. Shipping around $7
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post #10 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 09:11 PM
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What size tank is this and how many guppies did you have and loose? Any other fish that you've lost?

I wouldnt worry about your ph and kh so much right now while you're getting any discernible ammonia readings. My guess is the fish are dead due to ammonia poisoning. In the 2 months that the tank has been up and running have you been testing the water parameters? Can you confirm the tank ever completed the initial nitrogen cycle? With such a high ammonia reading and such a low nitrate reading my guess is the tank is still cycling.
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post #11 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
What size tank is this and how many guppies did you have and loose? Any other fish that you've lost?

I wouldnt worry about your ph and kh so much right now while you're getting any discernible ammonia readings. My guess is the fish are dead due to ammonia poisoning. In the 2 months that the tank has been up and running have you been testing the water parameters? Can you confirm the tank ever completed the initial nitrogen cycle? With such a high ammonia reading and such a low nitrate reading my guess is the tank is still cycling.
I initially had 10 guppies, 4 platies, 6 cories, 2 rubber lip pleco as well. Then I got Ich, so 1 platy, both plecos, and 6 guppies didn't make it through that. Now, I'm having this issue.

Quote:
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I think Gh Booster dosed .25 tsp daily for 1 week and then weekly plus Potassium Nitrate .5 tsp weekly would help. Also iron chelated would help ludwiga to maintain its red coller. At greenleafaquarium You can buy Gh for $5 and Potassium nitrate for $3, Iron chelated $8. Shipping around $7
So, Dose a Gh booster alone for a week, then the Gh booster and potassium nitrate for a week as well?
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post #12 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Also, here all of the parameters that I have logged.

Quote:
7/10/16
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 0
--Ammonia -- .50
--pH -- 7.6
--Temp -- 73

7/15/16
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 10
--Ammonia -- .25
--pH --7.4
--Temp -- 79

7/20/16
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 0
--Ammonia -- .25
--pH --7.6
--Temp -- 78

7/25/16
--Nitrite -- .25
--Nitrate -- 40
--Ammonia -- .50
--pH -- 7.1
--Temp -- 77

7/30/16
--Nitrite --.50
--Nitrate -- 40
--Ammonia -- 1.0
--pH-- 6.8
--Temp -- 76

08/05/16
--Nitrite -- 5.0
--Nitrate -- 40
--Ammonia -- .25
--pH -- 6.8
--Temp -- 78

08/10/16
--Nitrite -- .50
--Nitrate -- 5.0
--Ammonia -- .25
--pH -- 7.0
--Temp --- 81

08/15/16
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 0
--Ammonia -- .25
--pH -- 6.0
--Temp --- 81

08/20/16
--Nitrite -- .50
--Nitrate -- 5.0
--Ammonia -- .25
--pH -- 6.6
--Temp --- 81

08/29/16
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 5.0
--Ammonia -- .50
--pH -- 6.0
--Temp -- 75

08/31/2015
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 5.0
--Ammonia -- 2.0
--pH -- 6.0
--Temp --- 75
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post #13 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 11:12 PM
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Looks like your tank isn't cycled and ammonia is your issue not your water hardness.
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post #14 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdanielnc89 View Post
08/31/2015
--Nitrite -- 0
--Nitrate -- 5.0
--Ammonia -- 2.0
--pH -- 6.0
--Temp --- 75
Definitely not finished cycling. API stress coat will help the fish deal with the ammonia. Use Seachem Prime to bring the ammonia down. Use Marineland Bio-spira speed the cycling up.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdanielnc89 View Post
So, Dose a Gh booster alone for a week, then the Gh booster and potassium nitrate for a week as well?
No! Dose gh and potassium nitrate (KNO3) together. Wait a week or longer to dose KNO3 if nitrates above 20. Nitrates range 10 - 20 ppm
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post #15 of 333 (permalink) Old 09-02-2016, 12:13 AM
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Are your pH readings from a de-gassed water sample since you are using CO2.

As others have said seems like ammonia content is the problem.

Does a cycle stall without enough NH3, sure it will.
With that low of pH total ammonia reading are almost all NH4.
Does BB process NH4, I am unsure, someone will chime in.
I doubt it since there are complaints of cycling a low pH tank.

IMO raise KH by adding CaCO3 to about 2-3 dKH.
CaCO3 is not very soluble but in low pH it will dissolve.
Another alternative would be CaSO4(gypsum) food grade from a brew store, dissolves a little better.
Both of these will make a white cloud for about 6 hours to raise 2 dKH.
Reduce CO2 output to half of what you use now.
Raise pH to 7.2 to 7.5 and complete cycle first.
Once cycled you adjust total water hardness with WC's.

KH test kit for very low KH.
Use 10ml sample each drop is .5 dKH
Use 20ml sample each drop is .25 dKH
If 1 drop in 20ml doesn't show a light blue hue, don't bother wasting drops.

Do you know the GH of your tank water?
That can be raised with MgSO4.7H2O(epsom salt/magnesium sulfate)
This stuff dissolves quite readily without clouding.

I only mention these compounds since they are cheap and locally available in most places.
$3 to $5 per pound is typical.

Note of caution: when you raise the pH your water will become more toxic (NH4 back to NH3) to your existing livestock.
These large alkalinity changes are also not easy on livestock.

Regarding ICH: Could be possible that ammonia stressed fish are more susceptible to many illnesses.

If this water is from the tap it may need to be always mineralized depending on livestock choices.


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