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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Very high KH

My 20 gallon has been fine, and i don't generally bother checking the water on it. But being that i'm setting up my first planted tank i decided to do a full check of all the water parameters.

This is using the API testing supplies
PH - 7.5
GH - 1 drop
KH - 13!!! drops

We do have a softener, so i decided to draw and sample some of the un-softened water.

GH - 15
KH -13

I'm going to finish filling the tank with distilled water to lower the KH, but is there any way to lower the KH, short of doing all my future water changed with DI or RO water?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 10:04 PM
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Id like to know too, I just got a real test kit for KH and am blown away, it took me 18 drops to change the color!! My GH is 12 drops.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 10:16 PM
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RO/DI is really the only option to get water hardness down. If you live in an area with clean air, abundant rainfalls, and a way to store water, well there is another option.

Using the pre-softener water might be better for plants and other inhabitants. Yes it is very hard, but you can find fish and plants that will thrive (if you add CO2).

My kH is 10, and I can grow many plants. I am sure there are folks out there with higher kH and good success. 18 is a bit on the high side.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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actually there's something i hadn't thought about.

i do collect rainwater for watering potted plants around the house.
I am a tad concerned about non-detectable toxic chemicals in it, but i'll go pull a test on that and see what i get.

edit:
Not sure how well the rainwater would work:
PH - 6.0
GH - 2
KH - 2

I should put a clean bucket under the spout next time it rains. That one has probably been contaminated with plant fertilizers and various mosquito larvae killing poisons.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 10:56 PM
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My GH and KH are rather high, both over 20. One is ~23 and the other is ~28, keep forgetting which is which. I've been going with 50/50 tap/rodi and my plants are all doing ok so far.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 11:00 PM
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My water from the tap is
kH - 19
gH - 24

I do what WP said, and use R/O water if it needs softened, but I've never had a need except for my discus tank. I have multiple others that I used straight tap water and have had no problems.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-07-2009, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herefisheefishee View Post
actually there's something i hadn't thought about.

i do collect rainwater for watering potted plants around the house.
I am a tad concerned about non-detectable toxic chemicals in it, but i'll go pull a test on that and see what i get.

edit:
Not sure how well the rainwater would work:
PH - 6.0
GH - 2
KH - 2
Should work fine. Where I live, it only rains a couple of times Nov-Mar or Apr, so it's not a good option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by herefisheefishee View Post
I should put a clean bucket under the spout next time it rains. That one has probably been contaminated with plant fertilizers and various mosquito larvae killing poisons.
You should. Plant fertilizer won't be an issue, mosquito killing poisons = bad. You could run it through an activated charcoal filter to remove most airborne pollutants and stuff from your roof.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 12:36 AM
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For the most part, even potentially "contaminated" rainwater will be fine for plants, maybe not so much for your fish. I have some government studies where (fast growing) aquatic plants were used to clean up TNT residue with great success.

As for KH in general, if what you have is working for you, then keep it stable. A low KH is preferable, but not necessary. It will allow you to grow certain "soft water" plants, but most plants will grow well in any KH. A lower KH will allow CO2 to dissolve more easily into a tank as well. Something to think about...or not, if you've got everything under control.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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Alright guys, thanks for all the tips.
Because it's an empty tank that i don't even have fully filled i figured i had some leeway to play around. So i dumped 2 capfuls of PH down in it. As i'd expected the PH didn't move but my KH dropped to 10. So i guess i could just chemically force it lower.

If i finish filling the tank and get everything where i want it, would that be plausible to just use PH down to lower the KH when i do water changes?

I'll get some clean rainwater and see if the test changes, but I would think the water is more acidic then i would want. I also live in the Hudson valley region of NY, so all the crap in the air from NYC blows right over me, which leaves me greatly questioning how fish safe that water would be.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2009, 04:35 PM
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Adding products like "PH down" to your tank is not recommended. They will not lower the kH (it doesn't work that way unfortunately). They might mess with your tests and make you believe they do. They are phosphate based buffers that temporarily lower pH (unless the buffering capacity in your water is stronger).

Personally I don't see how these products would be beneficial to use under any circumstances. But there are plenty of folks who think their particular fish needs a pH 7.1 to thrive, so I don't see them disappearing from LFS shelves anytime soon.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Overall i was more worried about the hardness then the PH, but i followed your advice and just let it go.

Most of my plants came in friday so i planted most of it and floated some of the other stuff, saturday i set up a DIY co2 system using beer yeast, give me some decent bubbles.

After the CO2 the PH dropped to about 7.2, plants look fine under the light. Surprisingly enough some ranunculus started a new leaf formation, and one of the plants i had floating dropped a 2" root streamer so it's getting planted today.

I'm not going to worry about it, i'll let the plants grow for a week or 2 then gradually add some fish.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 02:34 PM
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I still get conflicting info on this.

Houston KH runs about 10-13 also.


Every time I ask a local "high-end" LFS what they do for tap water treatment
on their tanks, I get the same answer ........... NOTHING

Half just add a good de-chlorinator and the other half just run thru some
simple carbon filter to remove chlorine.


I keep getting told as long as water parameters are stable, the fish should adjust.

Local Discus shop has his "soft water loving" discus, thriving in our liquid rock.
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