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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Current levels of tank
5 gallon tank
Amm: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5ppm
gH: 171ppm
kH: below 17ppm
pH: 6.8
Temp 77F
My issue: recently got an RO system and changed out my water 1/3 is RO 2/3 is TAP. Thought RO would get rid of my issue that my gH reliably climbs to above 200ppm once added to tank. Tap gH is 143ppm.

1 day ago gH of my aquarium was 161ppm
Today gH is 171ppm
I havent changed any water in 3 days.
Here are the full contents of my tank

Contents: ~15 RCS, crypts, dwarf sag, flourish tabs, imagitarium black sand substrate(silica pretty sure), bamboo wood, sponge filter, HOB aqueon quietflow filter (media is matrix, cuprisorb, porous ceramics, and sponge), baffle intake using brown pantyhose, glass feeder dish, airstone, 2 suction cup clamps for tubing, one thermometer

yesterday I removed the air stone and the cuprisorb filter media in order to test them as the culprits. No change in gH in the test water for either.
2 weeks ago I did a 100% water change to get my gH down and the tap watr I added (before I had the RO system) was 143gH ppm at the start, and over the course of a week it rose to 200+ ppm.
I use the API gH test kit.
PLEASE HELP!!!!!
1026471
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yes I did a test a while ago levels did not change! The test consisted of dechlorinated tap water in a jug with a layer of substrate. It is silica
I had the same issue with gH when I was using another substate as well, I changed substrate about 3 weeks ago
QUOTE="AVN, post: 11403058, member: 57002"]
Have you checked if your substrate is inert?
[/QUOTE]
 

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171ppm isn't that bad. That's moderately hard water, I'm not exactly sure the exact conversion but isn't that around 5 or 6 gH?

I think your RO system might be removing just the kH. Unless it is an RO/DI system it will not filter out the ions that make up gH. If it is one of those carbon RO filters you probably just stripped the water of kH but not the minerals that make up gH.

Have you tested the water out of the filter before it hits your tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for helping me out here... 171ppm according to the API test kit would be 10, when the top cap for red cherry shrimp is 8. Which is why I'm so frantic to get the issue fixed!!
I test the RO water and it reads 0 gH so I'm not too sure what to think, it's just very frustrating because my tap parameters are ideal for RCS but for some reason the gH will just keep climbing. Before buying the RO unit when I would just use tap water the gH would get to be i think the highest I ever saw it was 14 so over 200ppm.
im just really at a loss as to what is causing this apparent issue :(


171ppm isn't that bad. That's moderately hard water, I'm not exactly sure the exact conversion but isn't that around 5 or 6 gH?

I think your RO system might be removing just the kH. Unless it is an RO/DI system it will not filter out the ions that make up gH. If it is one of those carbon RO filters you probably just stripped the water of kH but not the minerals that make up gH.

Have you tested the water out of the filter before it hits your tank?
 

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Oh wow that is a lot higher than expected. I was expecting 200ppm to be around 8 but it seems to be more like 10. That's kind of weird since your pH and kH are really good out of the tap. If we go down and check everything we might discover the cause of your rising gH.

Something that it could be is that your water is actually very hard, full of dissolved minerals. It takes some time in a solution of 6.8 pH for calcium and magnesium to dissolve into your water. This could be rising your gH over time but it shouldn't be a big issue if you are using 100% RO/DI water.

Do you have a test of the tap water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
so sorry thought I put tap params!!!

TAP WATER
gH 143ppm (so 8)

KH 125ppm (about 5 or 6)

Amm, nitrite, nitrate: 0

Ph 7.4

Another notable reading is that the pH of the RO water is 6.2
 

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They're buffering each other my dude

Your tap parameters are pretty good on their own already. That is on the high end of what is recommended but you can push the pH, kH, and gH down with a softener. If you wanted to balance the parameters yourself I think starting with fully filtered water is easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry I don't mean to sound stupid but what does that mean? Like the RO water is preventing the gH from going down? When i started replacing with RO the gH was at about 11 and is now down to 9 im sorry I'm very confused...
They're buffering each other my dude
Sorry just saw your edited part, I'm sorry if it seems like im beating a dead horse, so it is possible for me to use my tap water after all? I'm just really confused because the gH would rise even when I was not adding any RO water
They're buffering each other my dude

Your tap parameters are pretty good on their own already. That is on the high end of what is recommended but you can push the pH, kH, and gH down with a softener. If you wanted to balance the parameters yourself I think starting with fully filtered water is easier.
 

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No it's my fault for being dum and lazy.

Basically it looks to me like you are mixing filtered water with an acidic pH with tap water with high carbonate and calcium content. That will explain why your low reading rises gradually. Without kH to buffer your filtered water pH the minerals that we test as gH eventually dissolve into the water column
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, so what I am understanding right now (i cant thank you enough for your help):
RO water is useless for my tank?
should I just begin to replace the water that is currently in my tank with dechlorinated tap water?

I am still confused though as to why I had the issue of gH rising before I was even mixing the RO with the tap water (before I even had the RO unit).

would it ever be possible for me to get lower gH than 8 with my tap water?

Sorry for all these question... it's just that I want to have a thriving RCS colony for a few years, maybe add a caridinia colony, until I become knowledgeable enough for my dream shrimp Cardinals (Sulawesi) :)
No it's my fault for being dum and lazy.

Basically it looks to me like you are mixing filtered water with an acidic pH with tap water with high carbonate and calcium content. That will explain why your low reading rises gradually. Without kH to buffer your filtered water pH the minerals that we test as gH eventually dissolve into the water column
 

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No quite the contrary actually. Because you want to tweak your water parameters, having filtered water makes it easy.

If you plan on replacing large amounts of water to reset, do it gradually. Don't do a 100% change all at once.

First you identify the range you want to be at, in your case for Neos I'm assuming you want somewhere around pH 7 kH 2 gH 4. It doesn't have to be exact as these can vary as long as they are in balance with each other. I have Neos in that and I also have Neos in pH 7.6 kH 5 gH 8 planted tank. I see practically no difference in the colonies.

Now you can approach it a few different ways. You could use 100% filtered water and add kH and gH minerals to it to create a solution to introduce into your water changes. This allows you to better control your water.

You could do what you've been doing, mixing filtered and tap water but in different ratios. If you mix your low pH filtered water with just a little bit of your high gH water you can find some sort of balance. You can also introduce supplementary minerals as needed to bring kH up. kH will keep your pH from getting too low.

As for your mystery gH rising, that source is yet to be identified but maybe we can figure it out with more insight
 

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Im going to ask a dum dum question.. do you top off with RO before doing a water change? I find the level in my 5G drops pretty quickly over the week, especially since I added an airstone which I also see you have, and if the top is off, which it looks like you also have open tank. This means evaporation... concentration of the remaining solutes, then you add more water which also has solutes, net result = total rise in solutes in tank over time. A rise of 10ppm seems very reasonable for evaporation.

Also, I like your bamboo tube condominiums!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Whoo my lots to consider, my tank is actually closed top!! I think the angle is weird because i didnt want to catch a reflection of myself in the photo.... but I don't usually have a lot of evaporation and I've never topped off, I would only replace water during a WC but this does make a lot of sense!!
and thankyou :) ive had them in tanks for almost a year now so the baby shrimp love snacking on them
Im going to ask a dum dum question.. do you top off with RO before doing a water change? I find the level in my 5G drops pretty quickly over the week, especially since I added an airstone which I also see you have, and if the top is off, which it looks like you also have open tank. This means evaporation... concentration of the remaining solutes, then you add more water which also has solutes, net result = total rise in solutes in tank over time. A rise of 10ppm seems very reasonable for evaporation.

Also, I like your bamboo tube condominiums!
Api liquid test kit!
Are you using test strips or liquid kits?


People have raised cherry shrimp in water as high as 24 GH from what I've heard.... so....... your water is "fine"! Besides the fact it's tap....
I have a very interesting update... right now i have an experiment going with one bucket just an airstone
one small tabk using a filter with cuprisorb.
Airstone bucket has been at 8 gH (143 ppm?) for 2 days now.
Cuprisorb bucket started at 8 gH (143ppm) and is now much lower like lower than 100ppm?????
Looks like this
1026495

i feel like I should add my cuprisorb media back to the tank asap but why wouldit be lowering gH? Could it somehow be the source of my problems? Seachem does not reccomend it for continued use however I don't trust my college's pipes so I use it as regular media... could this be my issue and now that I've taken it out maybe it was "buffering" all these heavy metals and now I might just have to wait out the spike?
or should I just add it back in?
Another small note, after I removed the cuprisorb (2 days ago) and the gH theoretically rose I noticed 2 shrimp molts.
No quite the contrary actually. Because you want to tweak your water parameters, having filtered water makes it easy.

If you plan on replacing large amounts of water to reset, do it gradually. Don't do a 100% change all at once.

First you identify the range you want to be at, in your case for Neos I'm assuming you want somewhere around pH 7 kH 2 gH 4. It doesn't have to be exact as these can vary as long as they are in balance with each other. I have Neos in that and I also have Neos in pH 7.6 kH 5 gH 8 planted tank. I see practically no difference in the colonies.

Now you can approach it a few different ways. You could use 100% filtered water and add kH and gH minerals to it to create a solution to introduce into your water changes. This allows you to better control your water.

You could do what you've been doing, mixing filtered and tap water but in different ratios. If you mix your low pH filtered water with just a little bit of your high gH water you can find some sort of balance. You can also introduce supplementary minerals as needed to bring kH up. kH will keep your pH from getting too low.

As for your mystery gH rising, that source is yet to be identified but maybe we can figure it out with more insight
 

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May I ask why you are using cuprisorb at all on your filter? Usually it's reserved for removing contaminants like heavy metals and copper.

Maybe it's doing something extra?

This is from seachem's website under "will Cuprisorb affect kH and Gh?"

"Under ordinary circumstances of use, no it will not. CupriSorb™ preferentially absorbs metals and does not release any components capable of altering KH or pH. However, in the case of gross overdoses in water with an exceptionally low GH which does not actually contain any metals, CupriSorb™ can have a minor but noticeable impact on GH. This occurs because, in the absence of copper and other metals, CupriSorb™ is capable of binding to calcium instead. Under ordinary circumstances of use, this change either does not occur (as the CupriSorb™ preferentially binds to metals) or is so small as to be undetectable to both test kits and aquarium inhabitants."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, I guess it does not explain the original issue but could explain the 10ppm increase? Good that I removed it then, I researched cuprisorb back when I was using just tap water... this is good to know I guess its good that I removed it??
Maybe I can run it to aerate tap water in a bucket before a WC.
hope that now I removed it things might start going back to normal if I start changing out water?
May I ask why you are using cuprisorb at all on your filter? Usually it's reserved for removing contaminants like heavy metals and copper.

Maybe it's doing something extra?

This is from seachem's website under "will Cuprisorb affect kH and Gh?"

"Under ordinary circumstances of use, no it will not. CupriSorb™ preferentially absorbs metals and does not release any components capable of altering KH or pH. However, in the case of gross overdoses in water with an exceptionally low GH which does not actually contain any metals, CupriSorb™ can have a minor but noticeable impact on GH. This occurs because, in the absence of copper and other metals, CupriSorb™ is capable of binding to calcium instead. Under ordinary circumstances of use, this change either does not occur (as the CupriSorb™ preferentially binds to metals) or is so small as to be undetectable to both test kits and aquarium inhabitants."
The reason I put it in originally is because I was having copper related deaths with the first members of my colony. After purchasing and adding cuprisorb every shrimp survived and breeding boomed so I just decided to keep it in there
 

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Well there you have your answer. Because you have no more heavy metal in your tank, cuprisorb is binding to calcium in the water and raising your gH.

The lack of kH fails to buffer your pH, your pH falls and dissolves even more calcium ions into your water raising your gH even further

That's my best guess
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ohhh okay that does make sense!!! Wow glad that got figured out thank you so much for helping me out. My shrimp thank you as well!!

Well there you have your answer. Because you have literally no heavy metal in your tank, cuprisorb is binding to calcium in the water and raising your gH.
 

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It's just a guess. Try some stuff out and see if it fixes the problem.

1) remove cuprisorb unless you absolutely need to filter out copper again
2) do water changes with RO water and remineralizers OR mix tap/RO water until your parameters are where you want them
3) add kH or gH minerals as necessary to bring kH or gH up to your required ppm

Things should stabilize for you when you after a few water changes
 
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