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How to lower GH/ tank issues

14423 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  klawfran3
Hi there,
I recently set up what I wanted to be a planted 20 g blackwater riparium. I took a PH, GH, and KH test. Ph is 7.4 (I'll be lowering that with catappa leaves and detritus) which I know is a little high, but the KH is 2 and the GH is 12! my city tap water is GH 9 so I know my tank is probably raising it (using sand and rocks, those are definitely a factor) but even still the GH is way too high for the tank. I'm planning on adding neons to it. How do I go about lowering it? I know RO and distilled are the ways most use but I don't really have access to that for cheap at all. I heard the API water softening pillows would do this? I can top off the tank evaporation with distilled water since that's not too expensive (and will help reduce the amount of waterchanges since the GH won't raise as quick) but a full waterchange/ whole tank full of distilled will be a good bit of money for me. Would the almond leaves I'm putting in reduce the GH too? I'm frustrated because the GH is so unbelievebly high and I can't find much to solve my problem.


Also off topic but the water is cloudy even though it's been set up a few days which is making me a bit uncomfortable too, since usually anything in it that is floating should have settled by now. I am not dosing ammonia or anything and have added a whole mature filter sponge to it so I know it's not in the middle of a cycle. Waterchanges don't seem to help with it either which is annoying as hell.
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IIRC there are a few ion removal products but they would be inconsistent (leading to fluctuating parameters) and potentially affect other mineral nutrients. 12 dGH is probably fine for neons, especially if they're from Florida. Only surefire way to lower GH and keep it stable is with RO/DI.
 

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you think it would be okay for neons/glowlights? Granted those are some of the cheapest fish out there, 75-99c per fish so it wouldn't be a big monetary loss, I'd just feel bad because they are living creatures. I was thinking of adding cherries or kuhli loaches to it sometime too but I'm also a little worried it could hurt them. The PH is going lower since the almond leaves just got here today, and they're already starting to leach into the tank, and it's at 7.1 now. I'm guessing it should teeter off t around 6.2 or so.


I tested the rocks with vinegar, they are inert, I saw no reaction whatsoever with them. I'm stumped on what could be affecting the level.
I'd say it's at the upper end of their range. The captive-bred ones from Florida will be accustomed to the harder water. Cherry shrimp are fine in 12 dGH.

Vinegar test isn't a sure-fire thing. Only way to know for sure is to place them into an inert bucket with some water, and measure the TDS/hardness.
 
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