Should I try to lower my GH? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Should I try to lower my GH?

I don't have the room or money to do RO water then remineralize it or I would. My tap is hard well water which is GH: 9, kH: 10, PH 7.5, and nitrate and nitrites both at 0ppm, ammonia .50ppm.

My tank water read out at PH: 8.2, kH: 9, GH took 14 drops in the api test kit and the chart only goes to 12 so I'm not sure on the value of that other than high lol, ammonia: .25ppm, nitrate: 10ppm, nitrite: 0ppm.

It's moderately-heavily planted, 155g, co2 injection, no added ferts aside from osmocote plus root tabs, for fauna it's a community tank consisting of guppies, oto catfish, bronze cories, neon tetras, glowlight tetras, and some other small tetras, some snails and a good size colony of cherry shrimp. I have not experienced any issues with molting or fish dying however I did realize that my snails never get very old/large before dying yet the population never dies off. I was considering adding a media bag of sphagnum moss to my sump in hopes of lowering the GH if it's necessary. I already have a large piece of driftwood in the tank.

Last edited by Rusty Shackelford; 03-03-2019 at 04:05 AM. Reason: Tested tap for ammonia.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 06:34 AM
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I was considering adding a media bag of sphagnum moss to my sump in hopes of lowering the GH if it's necessary. I already have a large piece of driftwood in the tank.
Sphagum moss can lower PH,Some people believe hard water always has a high PH. So they believe a drop in PH will mean the GH is lower. It doesn't work that way.

The moss releases tannins (a mix of organic acids) into the water this will reduce PH and it will also lower KH. But the calcium and magnesium that the GH test detects is still there in the water. Furthermore the the affect is temporary. Eventually the moss runs out of tannins and will need to be replaced.

API does sell some water softening pillow that would work, but for 155 gallon tank the you would probably be replacing them frequently So what is more expensive an RO system or frequent purchases of items that only work for a short period of time? Also if the tank is running well it may not be worth the time and money to lower GH
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 02:20 PM
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I would not consider a GH of 14 to be that bad. I have been getting 14-15dGH out of my tap for a few years now. Kh runs around 8 degrees. My ph, fully degassed is around 7.8
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, so far i haven't had any adverse effects from it so maybe it's best to leave it if it's not broken. Any suggestions on what to do about my ammonia levels? with the levels in my tap being .5ppm seems like fighting a losing battle. In my sump i have bio balls that the water is constantly running over but never submersed, then k2 movin bed under that, then some heavy open cell foam for water polishing, would more media be a good idea or am i always gonna be stuck around .25ppm with such high levels in my well water? Also any suggestions on decent media? space isn't an issue i still have lots of sump space left, I have a tank set up where i used fluval biomax but that gets expensive and cost is a factor at the moment.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 09:59 PM
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I wouldn't worry about the GH - I've read about people successfully breeding shrimp in GH of 20+.

As for the ammonia - that's definitely an area of concern. I'd recommend aging the change water with an ammonia-removing product, and also add some nitrifying bacteria to accelerate the process of converting ammonia-->nitrite-->nitrate. Anything that adds surface area will act as media for the bacteria... more driftwood would work great.
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