Proper KH, GH, and PH level for a planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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Proper KH, GH, and PH level for a planted tank?

Recently i have a major melt down (literally) of all the plants in my tank, they literally melted down to the stem after about 3 weeks and created a huge mess in my tank which I still trying to clean up. So I went to my local planted aquarium store (they specialize in aquarium plants and only sells fish on the side, the opposite of a typical fish store). I talked to one of the person who work there and they ask a bunch questions on the type of plants, substrate, water parameters, etc. And they think the problem is my water hardness. Our city tap water is very soft, with kH and GH both below 3 and probably in the 1-2 range (base on results from test strips from petsmart). He recommends me to use ADA Bright K to raise the hardness in my tank to make it more suitable for plants, and use an acid buffer to help lower and stablize the pH at the same time. However, after he learned that I am using seachem flourish and excel as fertilizer in my tank, he back away from the Bright K and told me the ADA product does not mix well with seachem and might create bigger problem if I use them together. Instead, he recommend me look at seachem's own product line for GH and KH, the seachem lab auqavitro carbonate and aquavitro minealize (they do not carry these as they are mostly only carry ADA product lines).

Anyone have experience using the aquavitro carbonate and minealize to raise kh and gh? Or have any other recommendation for raising kh and gh for my tank?

The store clerk recommends a kh of 3-4 and gh of 5-6 (or the other way around, I might get the two mixed up), and along with an acid buffer to keep water slightly acidic in the upper 6s. Any insight on the proper level of kh, gh, and ph?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 05:26 AM
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 05:34 AM
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It all depends on the plants and livestock you want. I keep neocaridina and amano shrimp, nerite snails, and Pogostemon helferi, Microanthius monte carlo, Anubis nana, and xmas moss. The plants arnt too picky; but the shrimp need minerals and a decent kh to molt, so I keep my ph around 6.5-6.8, kh around 4, gh around 8. I highly recomend Salty shrimp gh/kh+. I use that to get RO or tap water up to those aformentioned levels, snd I add a pinch mid week between weekly WCs to keep the levels up as the shrimp, snails and plants use up the Ca and Mg, and to compinasate for the way my substrate buffers ph ank kh down.

To be honest though, consistancy is keey. Most plants can handle a wide variety of water parameters, they just want them to atay stable. Frequent ans rapid wings are a problem.

Good luck!

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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It all depends on the plants and livestock you want. I keep neocaridina and amano shrimp, nerite snails, and Pogostemon helferi, Microanthius monte carlo, Anubis nana, and xmas moss. The plants arnt too picky; but the shrimp need minerals and a decent kh to molt, so I keep my ph around 6.5-6.8, kh around 4, gh around 8. I highly recomend Salty shrimp gh/kh+. I use that to get RO or tap water up to those aformentioned levels, snd I add a pinch mid week between weekly WCs to keep the levels up as the shrimp, snails and plants use up the Ca and Mg, and to compinasate for the way my substrate buffers ph ank kh down.

To be honest though, consistancy is keey. Most plants can handle a wide variety of water parameters, they just want them to atay stable. Frequent ans rapid wings are a problem.

Good luck!

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I think this could also explains why all 5 of my ghost shrimps died within 12 hrs after adding to my tank. Is the salty shrimp gh/kh+ safe for fish and plants. I probably will look into getting some for my tank.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 12:28 PM
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2 things:
1)Did you aclimate this shrimp at all? Like add a little tank water to the bag bit by bit so the shrimp could get used to the new temp and water chemistry?
2)Yes, Salty Shrimp is totally plant and fish safe. It is made for remineralizing water for planted shrimp tanks.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Science Seuss View Post
2 things:
1)Did you aclimate this shrimp at all? Like add a little tank water to the bag bit by bit so the shrimp could get used to the new temp and water chemistry?
2)Yes, Salty Shrimp is totally plant and fish safe. It is made for remineralizing water for planted shrimp tanks.

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Yes, I did, I even test both the water from the store (petsmart) and my water before I added them since i know they are very sensitive to parameter change, everything was very close, the only thing my API test kit is the hardness, so this might be the main cause. They also did not eat at all once in my tank, they were running around and exploring my tank once they get in, but the next morning 2 dead, and by noon, another dead, and before nightfall the other two are gone as well. I heard they have to be constantly eating, not sure if they can starve to death in less than 1 day due to stress.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Science Seuss View Post
It all depends on the plants and livestock you want. I keep neocaridina and amano shrimp, nerite snails, and Pogostemon helferi, Microanthius monte carlo, Anubis nana, and xmas moss. The plants arnt too picky; but the shrimp need minerals and a decent kh to molt, so I keep my ph around 6.5-6.8, kh around 4, gh around 8. I highly recomend Salty shrimp gh/kh+. I use that to get RO or tap water up to those aformentioned levels, snd I add a pinch mid week between weekly WCs to keep the levels up as the shrimp, snails and plants use up the Ca and Mg, and to compinasate for the way my substrate buffers ph ank kh down.

To be honest though, consistancy is keey. Most plants can handle a wide variety of water parameters, they just want them to atay stable. Frequent ans rapid wings are a problem.

Good luck!

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
Does the salty shrimp gh/kh+ raise the water ph? Do I need to use it along with an acid buffer to lower my ph?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 08:21 PM
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It will raise you pH slightly. Again, I want to emphasize that the most important thing you can do is try to establish and maintain stable water parameters. Adding buffers and materials can get problematic as it often causes large swings.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for your help. I will order some salty shrimp and adjustable my water slowly and see what happens, I probably wont get any more plants except what survived in my tank for a while until I can get a stable kg/gh/ph going.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2018, 08:53 PM
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Your GH is low enough that you should use a GH booster. There are two basic types, sulfate and chloride. For plants I prefer sulfate GH boosters because they supply calcium, magnesium , and sulfur. These are three of the macro nutrients plants need and shrimp do need the calcium. Chloride provide the calcium and magnesium and chlorine. Chlorine is a micro nutrient and plants don't need much. Furthermore tap water is frequently treated with chlorine so you probably have it in your tap water.

Two examples of sulfate GH booster are Seachem Equilibrium and Nilocg GH booster (Aquarium Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics). Salty shrimp is an example of chloride GH booster. All GH boosters are shrimp safe as long as you follow the instructions on the bottle. I would aim for a GH level of 4 degrees for now.

Note Seachem Comprehensive does contain calcium and magnesium but at levels too low for shrimp and sometimes no even enough for plants. Seachem comprehensive has very low levels of several nutrients so in the long run I would recommend using Thrive aquarium fertilizer (avalable on Nilocg.com. Note that I also don't recommend ADA fertilizer products. Why?, they don't list what is in the bottle. When plant deficiency issues are suspected it is very helpful to know what is in the bottle.

KH is not necessary for plants. KH is not a plant nutrient. However the interaction of plants and fertilizer can make you water acidic and large PH changes can be harmful to animals. KH can stabilize the PH. A very good KH additive to tanks is sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Add enough for a KH of one right now. And adjust the level as needed to keep the PH stable. Add GH and KH once a week as needed to keep your PH, GH, and KH stable.
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