sholud i Increse my Kh ?? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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sholud i Increse my Kh ??

Hi, Just getting back in the hobby after a long break and have a 15gal (57L) fluval flex tank, Filter: inbuilt back sump with foam, took activated carbon out, added about an extra cup and a half of ceramic noodles to the sump section in the back section of the tank. Heater 100watt. Temp 25.5DegC (78F) My journey so far:

(? for tests when i didn't have a test kit for it at the time.)

24Hr Rested Tap water: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 7.8, Kh 3-4, Gh 4, TDS 108

Day 1: Started FISH-LESS cycle without any substrate, conditioned water, added 60 drops of Dr Tim's Ammonium chloride for a final tank concentration of 3ppm (no GH/KH test kit yet).

Day 6: No change so far before substrate added, added ADA Amazonia substrate, small amount of timber (10 inch long), and stone (tested in water for 48hrs and no change to ph, no reaction to Vinegar test)

Day 7: Ammonia 3, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 6.4, Kh ?, Gh ?, TDS ?

Day 9: Started using Seachem Stability daily, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ph 6.3, Kh ?, Gh ?, TDS 80ppm
Added Christmas moss and 1 tropica Sword

Day 11: Seachem stability day 3, Ammonia 2, Nitrite 0.25, Nitrate 0, Ph 6.3, Kh ?, Gh ?, TDS 80ppm.
Worried about the low ph and thought my KH was low (still no KH test Kit ) and its effect on the cycling so added 1/4 teaspoon pure sodium bicarbonate, this brought the PH up to 6.9 (surprised at such a large jump) was hoping to only use it while cycling the tank to keep the Ph between 6.4-7 than stop when i do my big water change once cycled.

Day 12: Seachem stability day 4 (Gh/Kh test kit finally arrived)
Ammonia 2, Nitrite 0.5, Nitrate 0, Ph 6.9, Kh <1, Gh 2, TDS 83ppm

So i am worried that the PH will keep dropping to 6.2 or lower once cycled especially since i intend on adding low level Co2, and the Low Kh will affect the cherry shrimp and chilli rasabora that i intend to get once cycled, should i raise my Kh ? if so what would increase it and not take the Ph into the high 7's or 8's ? Just water changes? Will the Substrate keep dropping the Kh/Ph as much or is the initial buffering more significant?
I'm trying to get it all settled before i start adding the live fish/shrimp

P.S. I'm also adding hair grass, monte carlo and using flourish comprehensive fertilizer.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thanks
David
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 12:55 AM
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Water changes will help by replenishing the carbonates/bicarbonates. It's fine to use baking soda or potassium bicarbonate to bump it up a couple degrees like you are. I'd try to maintain a KH between 3-4 dKH while cycling. I wouldn't worry over pH. You just need enough KH to keep nitrifying bacteria chugging along. You can look into different forms of calcium carbonate to harden the water long term. Simply adding crushed coral to filter will help.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 02:09 AM
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My first question is where is your kh going?

If your ph stays in the low sixes you are looking at ammonium not ammonia. Pack it full of plants and you are headed the right way. Floaters should be a go to unless you are trying for higher light


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 02:10 AM
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I re read. Aqua soil will strip kh. That is what is happening. What is your end goal?


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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well my Kh isn't currently going anywhere as it cant get any lower, my ideal is ph 6.5 and Kh 3-6, Gh 4
Really i just want something stable and suitable for plants, cherry shrimp and chilly rasabora with minimal fussing.
Going to try no more sodium bicarbonate and put crushed coral in the filter ??
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 03:36 AM
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You get finer control with baking soda then with coral. Your numbers are looking good and many people would love to have your water. Now is a good time to add some plants so that you can get over the initial melt / aclimation and be ready for shrimp sooner.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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A Kh of less than 1 is good ?!? I agree my tap water is good, just once itís buffered by the ada substrate it goes to <1. I though that low was bad for cycling, plants and shrimp?


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenTank81 View Post
A Kh of less than 1 is good ?!? I agree my tap water is good, just once itís buffered by the ada substrate it goes to <1. I though that low was bad for cycling, plants and shrimp?
With additional kH, as per posts above.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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ohh ok thanks, i will try the crushed coral then, and good idea about the plants will get them in asap
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 01:09 PM
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I was recommending crushed coral in the filter in addition to adding baking soda to target 3-4 dKH. ADA substrate is best used for CRS and other Caridina species. It is meant to soften water by reducing KH. It's just doing what it is supposed to. The problem is, many people want to keep Neocaridinas in such tanks. They are forced to use tap water and other forms of carbonates to raise KH to a suitable range for these shrimps. If you were to use R/O or distilled water from the start, you could keep the more sensitive species of shrimps without worrying over cycling the tank. Your pH would stay low enough to where ammonia wouldn't be an issue. It would be in NH4 form (ammonium) and you would never see nitrites or nitrates. Even though ADA leeches ammonia for a month or so, it wouldn't be an issue with say a pH of 6. You could add such shrimps right away if you wanted, although it's still recommended to allow the tank time to mature to help build up biofilm for shrimps to feed off of.

As for keeping Neos and other fish, the best thing you can do is continue using baking soda and cycle your tank as you normally would. You will eventually wear out the buffering of the substrate with the excess of carbonates from both your tap source and the baking soda. Your pH will eventually stay near neutral... which is where you want it for keeping these particular shrimps. Add the crushed coral to the filter if you want. You can always remove it later on. This should help during the initial phases when water is still somewhat acidic, helping to speed up the dissolution of calcium carbonate.

Last edited by madcrafted; 05-26-2018 at 01:24 PM. Reason: added info
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 08:11 PM
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i have the same tank and substrate, and the exact same issue.

my kh and gh out of the tap is less than 1 degree - it's like RO water. i always added baking soda to new water to get my kh around 3, but after a day the Amazonia would buffer it down to zero. I ended up buying some oysters (I love steamed oysters) and adding a few crushed shells into a filter bag and threw it in the first compartment. I still baking soda to new water, but my kh has stabilized to about 3-4 since i started doing it. it's totally possible that something else caused it, but it worked for me.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thanks everyone, good to know Iím on the right direction and itís worked for someone else, since my tap water has a ph 7.8 kh 3-4 I wonít treat the tap water but Iíll add the crushed coral for the time being in the filter and use baking soda if needed to keep things stable in the tank


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