Halp! I've fallen into a forum hole! KH+pH+ what the hell do I do= 😆🔫 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Halp! I've fallen into a forum hole! KH+pH+ what the hell do I do= 😆🔫

First let me apologize for starting a new thread. I do not posses an advanced skill set with forums. Please believe I have spent a considerable amount of time on your basic Google search and with this forum as well. I would have posted this on an existing thread if I knew how. My hope is that I find a few (I would be grateful for just one) who has successfully navigated my current set of conditions

I am currently running two nano tanks. First a fluval 6 gallon edge, I replaced the standard factory 21 LED lamp with the 42 LED offered on the larger model, it is modertly(???) planted; Java fern, Anubis, anacharis, 2 Marino moss balls, and a bright green algae that feels like velour to the touch growing on the spider wood in the plant. Standard aqua clear filter: sponge, activated carbon, ceramic bio media. I have recently also added Seachem Purigen
On this tank I use Seachem Prime, for water changes, flourish once a week, and flourish excel daily.

The second, 5 gallon Fluval chi is lightly planted with 3 moss balls and hair grass. I don't use any of the flourish in this tank

Of course like the addicts you all are so too have I become! I want more!!! I need more! Bigger, brighter, more dense until I'm on a special hybrid episode of tanked and hoarders. So I've purchased the
-12 gallon edge (to the more experienced reader: try to refrain here from raging on about these tanks. Your critique is most likely well founded and just but they're beautiful archeticually designed tanks and that is something we should all be pushing for!)
-Seachem fluorite 15 pound black sand substrate
-GLA mini Co2 regulator with selnoid, check valve, and bubble counter (FIRST ATTEMPT EVER WITH Co2)
-Rhinox glass diffuser
None of it is set up yet as I'm waiting to hear back from an aquascaping service.

If you're still reading this, God bless you, my current concern is my water parameters. Ive recently moved to Northwest Florida and now live with the worst water quality in the country (no seriously, we're rated the worst) and don't know how to proceed with the new tank set up.

My water parameters straight out of the tap are:
pH: 6.8
GH: 30
KH: 40

Same water "aged" (declorinated and sitting in water change bucket with no aeration) for 48hrs and the pH is 7.5-7.8

The Fluval 6 gallon edge readings are:
pH 7.0-7.2 (due to driftwood???)
GH: 30
KH: 40
Ammonia:0
Nitrites:0
Nitrate: 40-80
Temp: 78

Fluval 5 gallon Chi:
pH: 6.6-6.8 ( it is in final stage of cycle and have been managing pH shifts with daily water changes)
GH: 0
KH: 0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: .5
Nitrates: 80
Temp: 78

Sooooo finally(!) I ask this: concerning the new 12 gallon edge with Co2 (remember it's my first venture into pumped in Co2) do I go down the road of the acid this and buffer that or do I just give it a shot with what I've been doing and see how it all turns out???
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 02:44 AM
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Stability is more important than ideal parameters IMO. I would't mess with buffers and that kind of stuff because it can cause swings in parameters, i would just go with it and see how it goes. Hopefully others can chime in as well, I am not the most experienced aquarist.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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@sohankpatel that's what I've always read and have followed. The water here just seems crazy. Soft with a high pH, etc, etc. I didn't mention it in my original post as it was long enough as is but I did have a sudden pH crash in my Fluval edge 6 gallon and by sudden I mean I woke up one day to a lot of dead fish in an established yet not "old tank". I'm really good and careful with my maintence and test often with an api master kit.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 05:19 AM
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What units are you using to report the GH and KH?
To quote my math teacher from (mumble... mumble years ago): "Always include the units, no matter what you are doing."
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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@Diana thank you! I was trying to be as thorough as possible to give an exact picture of what's going on. All the test results came from using the api master test with exception to the KH and GH. Those results were based from the api 5 in one test strip.
KH: 40 ppm (api website also shows dKH 2.2)
GH: 30 ppm (api website also shows dGH 1.7)
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 06:25 PM
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I've learned that simply adding a filter, substrate, CO2, and plants will all change your water chemistry. So with that in mind, once your tank is set up, you can bet it will have different numbers regarding pH, KH, etc. So IMHO, get your tank running, and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 06:58 PM
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I'm not clear what your concern is? That your tap water is too soft? The pH of it?

Not going to take much CO2 on that tank with the stock light. You mention "brighter" are you doing a retrofit?

If you are doing a CO2/High light tank you'll probably want to read up on fertilizers, PPS Pro and Estimative Index are popular.

I don't see a drop checker on your list, while super slow to respond to changes I personally find comfort in them. Visual Insurance?


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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@Calestus Most concerned about the pH swings in my local water and being that I'm new to Co2, was wondering how it will affect things. Just trying to be as prepared as possible. Fluval lists the lighting output at 7600k and am only planning on running a 24oz paintball tank. Just don't want to spend all the time and money on creating a beautiful tank and wake up to find a lot of dead fish. Also, good eye! The dropper is the one thing I've yet to purchase. The one thing that's influencing me here, and maybe needlessly, is the difficulty I have with reading some of the greens and yellows on the api master test (ex: pH-6.8~7.2, and ammonia 0~.25) and don't want to get stuck with a similar issue.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 10:34 PM
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Don't worry about pH swings with CO2. They don't seem to affect fish unless they are extreme. The KH of the water will affect how much pH swings with CO2. The lower the KH the greater the swing.

Your levels are very low so It might be good to increase them a little. There is some debate about what should be considered minimum KH levels. A number of sources I've see have a minimum of 4 dKH. I run my tank at about 5-6. I try to keep GH at about the same level. Other people prefer different parameters.

You can increase KH by adding http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064GZPU4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00. You can use http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002A5WQA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 to increase GH.

Make changes gradually as you do water changes. As said earlier, sudden changes are worse than parameters being a little off.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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@Argus sounds like you're for going down the alter route. What are you thoughts then about using Seachem Acid and Alkaline buffer to achieve this?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pattern8 View Post
@Argus sounds like you're for going down the alter route. What are you thoughts then about using Seachem Acid and Alkaline buffer to achieve this?
I have no direct experience with those products. From the description, they are for hard water. From your GH and KH numbers it looks like you have very soft water. So, they don't seem appropriate.

At one time I did try to manage pH with API PH Down. That turned out to be a very bad idea. The adjustment didn't last very long, and I ended up killing fish with the abrupt changes.

Equilibrium and potassium bicarbonate actually remineralize soft water. I use them with RO water because my tap water is full of junk.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 07:03 AM
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GH and KH of only a couple of degrees are pretty low.
I would add enough Seachem Equilibrium for GH, bring it up to at least 3 degrees (close to 60 ppm)
I would add enough sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or potassium bicarbonate to bring the KH up to 3 degrees. (also, close to 60 ppm).

GH is a test that measures the calcium and magnesium, which are required minerals for plants and fish.
KH acts like a buffer and will stabilize the pH enough so that when you add CO2 the pH will rise and fall about 1 unit when you add the right amount of CO2. This will be about 30ppm of CO2.

Nitrifying bacteria get their carbon from the carbonates. If the KH drops too low the nitrifying bacteria slow down. While you are getting the tank set up and growing the bacteria you want the KH to stay high, even if later you will be keeping softer water fish.

Some substrates (ADA products, Montmorillonite clays) will remove the carbonate from the water, the drop in KH allows the pH to drop. This may be OK for the fish and plants, but is not so good for the nitrifying bacteria. In a thriving planted tank the plants will be removing most of the nitrogen anyway, so this is not so important, unless something happens and the plants are not doing their job. The nitrifying bacteria are not able to perk up so fast, so the ammonia may not be removed as fast as it needs to be. Watch out for rising ammonia in a tank where the KH is low, and the pH is under about 6.5.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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@Diana so it looks like I will definitely be needing to order Seachem Equillibrium. On a suggestion I received before I started this thread I purchased Seachem alkaline buffer and acid buffer. As nothing is waiting to be started I haven't begun to use anything yet. A previous reply from a user suggested they may not be for me. Thoughts?
Would be nice if I could use all the products I've aquired to achieve my ideal conditions but at this point I've already invested quite a bit in this little set up. So if I need to toss aside anything and replace it with something else so be it.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 03:19 PM
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You can use the alkaline buffer to raise KH. I have both alkaline and acid buffers but do not use the acid buffer any longer. It does lower PH but at the same time it lowers KH. If you use enough of both in the proper ratio it eventually lowers PH more than it lowers KH but it is hard to predict how much effect it will have. It is far more healthy for fish and plants to just find one simple method and stick to it.

I mix Equilibrium to raise my GH to 5 or 6 degrees and add alkaline buffer to raise my KH to 4 or 5 degrees and leave it at that. My PH starts out at about 8.0 and with co2 it comes down to 6.8. Plants and fish are thriving. Don't worry about PH.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2015, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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@keymastr thank you! I've have ordered equilibrium and its on its way. I hope to start set up next week!
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