Need a bit of help: Gh kh and pH are low - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Need a bit of help: Gh kh and pH are low

Hello, I’m new to the hobby (about 9 months) and have a 29 gallon community tank. I’m having a bit of trouble with my gh kh being so low both at 1 degree and my pH is at 6.4 maybe lower. My tap runs at t 1dkh for kh and 3dkh for gh. I’m using fluval stratum which is supposed to keep pH at mid 6ish but is it supposed to drop gh and kh? I’ve noticed my snail is a bit translucent which is an indicator of low calcium and probably other trace minerals. It’s a planted tank and I have driftwood in it (tried to boil and soak as much tannins as I could out) I’ve recently added a small bag of aragonite inside my hob which I was told adds calcium carbonate which intern raises kh??? Does anyone have any insight on what I can do to level my pH around 7 and get my gh and kh a few degrees up or is it ok?

Stocking list includes:
14zebra danios
1 dwarf gourami
5 Corydoras
1clown pleco

Recent tank malfunction made me have to move 4 Amano Shrimp and a gold nugget pleco into this tank as well but won’t be staying long term.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 01:48 PM
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FSS is a buffering substrate intended to keep sensitive shrimp species. It lowers the carbonates in the water, which lowers the pH. It is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. The use of tap water and adding carbonates will eventually exhaust this buffering effect.. sooner than later. Most people that use a buffering substrate use RO/DI water only to preserve the effects as long as possible. The use of calcium carbonate will eventually raise the KH and maintain a neutral pH. The more acidic the water is, the quicker the calcium carbonate will dissolve into the water column. To raise KH quickly, you can use baking soda.

As for your GH, that can be raised by using GH boosters that contain calcium and magnesium (and some have potassium depending on manufacturer). Plants will consume GH and it should be added during water changes.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 02:34 PM
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Aqua...

I think you're making fish keeping more complicated than it really needs to be. Unless your goal is to breed and keep rare fish species, you don't need to keep track of the pH, hardness or any of the chemistry end of things, unless you're extremely interested in that sort of thing. The fish you have are basic species from the local pet store, so they only require a steady water chemistry, not a specific chemistry if you get my meaning. Add some floating plants like Anacharis or Hornwort. These will help keep the water clean between water changes. Then, simply work up to the point you remove and replace most of the tank water every week. This will guarantee level water parameters and a healthy environment for your fish and plants.

Keep things simpler and you'll be more successful.

M

"The fish keeping hobby is very simple. Just change out a lot of water, a lot of the time!"
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MultiTankGuy View Post
Aqua...

I think you're making fish keeping more complicated than it really needs to be. Unless your goal is to breed and keep rare fish species, you don't need to keep track of the pH, hardness or any of the chemistry end of things, unless you're extremely interested in that sort of thing. The fish you have are basic species from the local pet store, so they only require a steady water chemistry, not a specific chemistry if you get my meaning. Add some floating plants like Anacharis or Hornwort. These will help keep the water clean between water changes. Then, simply work up to the point you remove and replace most of the tank water every week. This will guarantee level water parameters and a healthy environment for your fish and plants.

Keep things simpler and you'll be more successful.

M
While you are correct about the fish not needing specific hardness/pH, the plants will certainly appreciate the higher KH in a low tech environment.. unless you are only growing mosses. If you don't need soft water for certain shrimps, then a KH of 6-8 would be ideal. CO2 levels are low enough as it is in a low tech tank, KH is about the only way to increase these levels when in equilibrium with the atmosphere.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 08:34 PM
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mad...

If this is a basic, low tech tank like the majority of us keep, the easy to grow plants will be fine in water with a steady pH of between an acidic 6 and a basic 8.5. Feed the fish a balanced diet and they'll feed the plants and use some simple lighting like strips from the local hardware store and you're good to go. Making the hobby into a chemistry lesson and fretting over things that aren't easy to change, just takes some of the fun out of fish keeping. But, if that's your thing, then fine.

M

"The fish keeping hobby is very simple. Just change out a lot of water, a lot of the time!"
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MultiTankGuy View Post
mad...

Making the hobby into a chemistry lesson and fretting over things that aren't easy to change, just takes some of the fun out of fish keeping. But, if that's your thing, then fine.

M
I would hardly call my advice a chemistry lesson. The OP has taken KH/GH readings, so maybe I'm guilty of assuming that he is interested in learning about his water parameters. Sure, you can do the whole Walstad thing and let nature take it's course and maybe get lucky and grow out some healthy plants without a lot of work or thought put into it but that's not what the question was about. There is apparently a concern about his calcium levels and I recommended a GH booster. I also recommended some baking soda to raise KH levels because it's not doing any harm, especially with that particular substrate lowering it down to 1 degree until it loses it's buffering capability.

I didn't throw out formulas and whatnot to show why low KH (1dkh or less) has such a limited amount of dissolved CO2 and why simply raising KH has nothing but a positive effect on such potential CO2 levels. Apparently the OP has taken the steps to raise KH with the use of calcium carbonate.

0 KH water (RODI) CO2 levels = .44 ppm Water with a pH of 8.2 and a KH of 18 = 3.4 ppm This assumes you are creating good surface agitation for gas exchange.

Me knowing what my parameters are and being able to make a few simple changes to get positive results is my idea of fun. I like to tweak things, it keeps me engaged and keeps things from becoming stale in my life. So yeah, it's my thing I guess. What isn't my thing is having someone trying to discredit my advice in a passive aggressive way because they think that their way is better. You are also assuming as much as I am that the OP cares one way or the other. I'm not saying your way is a bad way to keep fish/plants. People have been doing it this way for ages because it just works. I tend to think more along the lines of this mentality in my outdoor gardens. Feed the soil, let the soil feed the plants. With aquatics, I take a more technical approach as mentioned. The OP can decide what method suits them best.
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