Need to adjust high KH and pH down? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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Question Need to adjust high KH and pH down?

I got a Tetra Laborett test kit, I've never tested water before.

My tap water and all my tanks test as follows. (I confirmed this by bringing water to Petco and letting them test it as well [they used quick dip sticks] with the same results)

GH 4dH
KH 16dH
pH 8.5-9
NH3 Nitrite 0
N02 Nitrate 0

Temp 81-85 degrees F (Summer in TX, I'm not buying a chiller)

After I moved here a few years ago, I have had more trouble with my fish. I had previously attributed it to spending less time caring for them because of my kids, but after this water test I suspect it may be more because of the high KH/pH here. From what I read, anything above 10dH KH is uncomfortable for any fish. I am currently keeping common goldfish, guppies, silver & dalmatian mollies, tiger shrimp, and RCS.

Should I be worrying about getting the KH/pH values down?
RO Water doesn't seem like the best idea with it's price and my already fairly low GH. (And I've got about 2000 gallons of water with fish in it....)
All of my tanks have considerable amounts of wood already in them, with no effect on the tap water. It's clearly very buffered.
Would adding peat help in this situation? or will it too be unable to overcome the high KH buffer?

Would one of the Seachem addatives be good for this situation?
http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...Regulator.html
http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pagesNeutralRegulator.html
http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...Regulator.html

Any ideas or suggestions?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 01:45 PM
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Leave water alone and inject Co2.

Need to get PH down.
Injecting Co2 will lower PH.

Temps are too high.
Get a fan blowing across tank top. Will drop temps to under 80 easy.

Dip sticks are useless testing. IMO
Get a GOOD liquid drop test kit and retest.

Doubting you really have KH of 16, Texas KH seems to run about 8-10 everywhere.


Every really good fish store or aquarium service company I have asked
says to not start jacking with your water. Work with what you have or
you'll be in a never ending back and forth chase trying adjust water parameters.

Just run water thru good carbon filter and inject Co2 bring down and stabilize PH.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 04:05 PM
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I'm curious about how the water gets such a high KH without also getting a high GH. Is it the water supply company adding something to raise the KH/pH? I think that is the most extreme case I have read about.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarn View Post
Leave water alone and inject Co2.

Need to get PH down.
Injecting Co2 will lower PH.
I'm not buying CO2 setups for all my tanks, and certainly not my goldfish pond. :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarn View Post
Temps are too high.
Get a fan blowing across tank top. Will drop temps to under 80 easy.
The tanks are in an insulated garage. When it peaks at 100 degrees outside, the tanks peak at 85, and that's with a high CFM computer fan running on the same timer as the lights. I just got upgrade lights from AHS today. Hopefully having the ballasts outside the hood (once I get them installed) will lower the temp a few degrees, but I doubt it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarn View Post
Dip sticks are useless testing. IMO
Get a GOOD liquid drop test kit and retest.
Only the single Petco test was with dipsticks. I only used it to confirm roughly the same numbers I was getting with my Tetra liquid drop test kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarn View Post
Doubting you really have KH of 16, Texas KH seems to run about 8-10 everywhere.
I'm pretty sure most cities get their water from lakes/rivers. I, however, don't actually live in the city. A very small town provides my water, and I believe it comes from wells. This means the water is pulled directly from the Limestone. Limestone is composed mostly of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3). KH specifically measures Calcium Carbonate. Thus it makes sense to me that the value is high in my water, and also higher than water sourced from rivers/lakes where the water isn't being forced through this rock.

I also happen to have the 2008 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report right here, although the pertinent tests were all run in 2006:
2006 Bicarbonate = 460 ppm
2006 pH = 8.1
2006 Total Alkalinity as CaCO3 = 377 ppm (according to this converter 17.9 ppm = 1 KH, that's a KH of 21, even higher than the 16 I'm seeing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarn View Post
Every really good fish store or aquarium service company I have asked
says to not start jacking with your water. Work with what you have or
you'll be in a never ending back and forth chase trying adjust water parameters.

Just run water thru good carbon filter and inject Co2 bring down and stabilize PH.
This is probably sound advice, except I'm not up for the cost and maintenance involved with CO2, and I'm worried that with a pH of 8.5+ I'm going to have some fairly unhappy fish and shrimp. I'd like them to thrive, not just survive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I'm curious about how the water gets such a high KH without also getting a high GH. Is it the water supply company adding something to raise the KH/pH? I think that is the most extreme case I have read about.
After reading everything I could find on this in the last couple weeks, here's the only reasoning I cone come up with on this.
I think my water is sourced from wells. Thus, the water is sucked right through the Limestone, dissolving it. Limestone = Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), and carbonates and bicarbonates are what KH tests measure, thus explaining the high value. The GH measures calcium and magnesium salts. This is not the same as KH and there doesn't seem to be any interdependance between them. So my water just happens to be soft.
It's not much, but it's all I've got so far.

Now my brain hurts.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 11:43 PM
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Try peat filters. Your only other option besides RO, distilled, rain water and organics is dumping acid into the tank, which might be more of a hassle to keep stable. If I was in your situation, I might just tune my stocking to the water I'm stuck with, but I'm a big proponent of RO. You only need to add a little GH booster to get somewhere around 4 degrees, like 1/4tspn per 5gl RO/DI.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 04:39 AM
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KH is the carbonates, and GH is mostly calcium. So, calcium carbonate adds both KH and GH. That is what I was referring to. Water reports generally give the alkalinity as ppm of calcium carbonate, even if there is no calcium in the water. But, water companies keep the pH of their water high to stop copper piping erosion problems, and other reasons that I'm not familiar with. I'm not sure what they add to the water to raise the KH and pH, but they do add something. As I recall soda ash is one of the things they add - sodium carbonate. Since that is a generality, of course not all water companies add the same stuff or the same amount of it.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 03:24 AM
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Sodium hexametaphosphate


The city water supply in my area adds from time to time 2.5 ppm Sodium hexametaphosphate { (NaPO3)6 } to help keep the pipes clean. I wonder if your water company is using it too.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 12:12 AM
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If this is for a goldfish pond, should it be fine for them?

For more sensitive fish, RO or rain water is the only way to reduce KH, GH, PH.
You can get a rain water collection barrel.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-04-2009, 02:25 PM
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I'm a bit surprised nobody stressed out you have Goldfish at 81/85 F. That's too hot for them, and they will appear tired and starved for oxygen. I know because i also have goldfish and they struggle in summer (and the current heat wave).

I add some blocks of ice to try and keep the temprature below 82F at least during the warmest hours, and reduce the lighting period. Mollies won't mind high hardness/temperatures, but goldfish really struggle. Needless to say, i will not keep Goldfish anymore, they deserve colder temps. And a chiller costs a fortune.

Your GH and KH values may be reversed. Double check, and if your kH is really that high then that explains your high pH. Are you sure your tanks AND tap water have the same physical parameters?? that's weird also. Why would municipal authorites add Carbonates to supply water? High carbonates encourages that ugly white crust buildup on sanitary appliances...

Another reason for your high kH/pH may be you have too much aeration or carbonate rich substrate (rocks that fizzle when exposed to acids). Test your substrate and/or rock decors, if they fizzle when you add a little HCL (muriatic acid), take them out.

Hope this helps!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezcry4t3d View Post
I'm not buying CO2 setups for all my tanks, and certainly not my goldfish pond. :

I agree adding C02 just to lower pH is just silly and has not been thought out very well.

Adding peat moss or oak leaves will lower pH pretty well just google there's several easy ways to do it (I do it with a pre-mix tank).

To raise pH just add a small bag of crushed coral to your filter.

- Brad

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