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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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KH hazards

O.K. I know this one belongs in water parameters. I've scanned and read through 17 pages of the 3,202 soon to be 3,203 threads! I know its here already. I wish the search function here worked like the ask.com site

Can higher KH levels affect the plants in a negative way in general terms?
Species specific groups or types?
I'm still wrapping my noodle around the whole stick the pH kit in the cabinet thing. (I'm sure I'll get there)
I'm using AM controllers and rather than changing my initial set points I raised the KH levels in the tanks to increase CO2 levels. Currently to 8dKH in both tanks. Can the increased amount of sodium bicarbonate affect the plant growth, algae development?


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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
I raised the KH levels in the tanks to increase CO2 levels.
Hold the phone! It doesn't work like that. Your CO2 level will not change by altering the KH. 30ppm of CO2 is 30ppm regardless of KH, the KH change will effect the pH correspondingly, so you just shift places on the chart. You still need to drop ~1 pH point from wherever you start.

Don't add KH anyway... lower is better, pretty much all around. Correspondingly, don't try to lower KH artificially unless you want to use RO water and all the hassles that entails. Keeping your parameters stable is better than trying to reach an ideal. If you want more CO2, then you need to actually add more CO2 or otherwise retain it within the water better.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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??? altering the KH raises the waters pH. The set points in my controller are pH based a higher pH requires the injection of more CO2 to drive the pH down or I'm totally lost.

Already using R O as my well water is a dirty rock. This post was placed to better understand it all. If "lower is better, pretty much all around" great! I'm back to the wrapping the noodle thing again. When folks post KH is irrelevant for the most part and post 3dGH, 1-2dKH, PH 6.8 are those statements correct with 30ppm CO2 present? Or is the given PH after the CO2 gasses out?


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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 08:13 AM
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With a controller, if you leave it alone and increase the pH of the water via KH addition, yes, you'll get more CO2. So in that regard you're right, but the way you wrote that out made it seem to me that you thought adding KH itself would change your CO2 concentration, which is often how people think, out of confusion. I was trying to clarify that point, but I realize now that I misinterpreted your statement.

In any case, if you want more CO2, just adjust your controller, do not increase your pH just so you don't have to change your controller's setting, that's silly, bad, don't do it. Don't alter water parameters when you don't need to.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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O.K. I'm trying to balance my learned behaviors of fish keeping (species pH ranges,etc) with the additional parameters of plant needs.
(I was editing my last post when the string updated)


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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
When folks post KH is irrelevant for the most part and post 3dGH, 1-2dKH, PH 6.8 are those statements correct with 30ppm CO2 present? Or is the given PH after the CO2 gasses out?
Yes, that would be the pH with very little CO2. With my ~1 dKH water the pH is at or below 6.0 when CO2 is at proper concentration.

I'd tell you to totally ignore pH, but since you're using a pH controller it actually matters. The same reason the pH/KH/CO2 chart totally fails to work properly will also effect your pH controller, so it's always prone to difficulties.

If you're customizing your water already, using RO, then a KH of 1-3 is fine. There really is no need to boost it any higher, GH of ~3 is good too.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Pterophyllum scalare scalare - Angelfish 77 - 83F, pH 5.0 - 7.0, 4 - 13 dh
Injected CO2 driving down the pH below 5 won't affect the fish? Because the mineral content remains the same?


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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 08:38 AM
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I have never had an issue with low KH/pH/GH water with any fish, including Angelfish. The low TDS water prompts fairly consistent spawning of most species I've kept (that will readily spawn in captivity).

Yes, because the TDS/GH/KH, etc remain the same, the CO2 induced pH drop does not effect fish in the same way as one caused by a KH change. Now, if the pH is below 5, then you've probably killed your fish with CO2 by then anyway.

In any case, water that makes plants happy will make fish happy.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx for the input! I'll adjust back the set points over the next water change cycle. I've been setting my water to 3dKH in the holding tank as that gives me a stable pH in my low tech tank of 6.8 pH (not calibrated) without the gas.


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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imeridian View Post
I have never had an issue with low KH/pH/GH water with any fish, including Angelfish. The low TDS water prompts fairly consistent spawning of most species I've kept (that will readily spawn in captivity).

Yes, because the TDS/GH/KH, etc remain the same, the CO2 induced pH drop does not effect fish in the same way as one caused by a KH change. Now, if the pH is below 5, then you've probably killed your fish with CO2 by then anyway.

In any case, water that makes plants happy will make fish happy.
The charts I've downloaded (like the one posted here) begin scaling @ 6 pH. That said at 1 dKH CO2 is already at 30ppm. Amazing to me in this situation how I looked at this "through a straw" in that I saw my target range and disregarded the remaining chart and the ppm relationship.
So, now that I fixed my brain absorption problem and correct the water parameters if by a fluke of equipment failure (or another instance of brain fade) empty CO2 tank the lights are on but no gas is present the pH won't rise to a level that would be hazardous to the species I keep.
That gets it right this time doesn't it?
I'm blaming my stubbornness on understanding this to years of 'eyeballing' pH range with regard to fish health as w/o plants GH/KH contents didn't come into play. (easier than admitting I may be on the dumber side of life) API and other companies still don't address gh, kh as important enough to include it in their MASTER KITS.

On another note related to my use of R O, does Kent freshwater R O Right doing both GH & KH address planted tank mineral needs to a high enough degree in very soft water conditions? Seachem Equilibrium (been using it) is GH adjusting only as is Grumpys GH Booster. (using it now) Are these a better product choice than RO Right for addressing plant mineral needs?
I questioned this several times as Kent doesn't list content percentages.


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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 07:41 PM
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Seems like you have it now.

I'd not bother with the Kent RO right, GH booster will cover your GH needs, your trace/micro mix will cover anything else and baking soda works just grand for increasing KH.

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imeridian View Post
Seems like you have it now.

I'd not bother with the Kent RO right, GH booster will cover your GH needs, your trace/micro mix will cover anything else and baking soda works just grand for increasing KH.
Borderline guru for somebody with a wimpy pretty blue flower for an avatar
LOL (just kidding saw a comment in another post) thanks a bunch for walking me through this.


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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Glass is easier to clean on the lids every week. Tanks are doing GREAT! Maintaining 5dGH and 2dKH. Thanx imeridian I"m happy with the changes and the results.


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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Happiness is fleeting sometimes or when reality strikes

Took about a month to see the all changes lowered KH values bring. Plants are fine but snails, shrimp, clams and mussels are eliminated from the system over time. Great info if you want to clear them out of a tank.
The pH reading is not a false reading when CO2 induced. The water is still acidic below a pH of 7.0 and that Ive confirmed three ways. After realizing my inverts were gone / dead I made contact with the site Chemical Engineer at work and the Florida International University in Miami where my daughter is majoring in chemical engineering. (Actually contacted my daughter) She graduates this year with her four year degree. She did enjoy my ignorant question greatly. So,,, while lowered water hardness including KH reduction may work for soft water fish and be fine for plants there are tradeoffs.


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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 09:24 PM
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I wish <1 KH and <6 pH really did wipe out snails, but it doesn't (in my tank).

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