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How to lower GH/ tank issues

14437 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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I believe it is Koke stone in the aquarium, but I could be off. I'm not really able to remove it without destroying the hardscape and plants in the tank. I put in some of those water polishing pads into the filter and they seem to be working a bit, but I'll take your advice and leave it alone otherwise for the next few days.

And I was hoping it wouldn't have to come to that. I don't really have a source for RO or DI water that isn't a few bucks a gallon. I was just wondering if there was some sort of filter insert I could use that removes the ions from the water.
Would adding plants/peat help at all? I'm turning it into a riparium so I'll have a lot of roots soaking nutrients from the water column.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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.
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

As you can see I haven't added the riparium planters yet, I'm still trying to figure them out heh. You can also see the tank is a bit cloudy too, I'm hoping that clears up in a day or two. I added water polishing pads and they did a bit of a job but it's still very visible.

I have guava and almond leaves soaking, anubias, crypts, and java fern. All low light plants that would do okay in a blackwater setup. The almond leaves have been in there for an hour or so and are already making the water faintly tea colored. I'm hoping they at least make the water slightly softer, someone I read online said that tannins "break down" or absorb the ions. I don't know if I believe that though.

plants going as riparium plants are dwarf palm, maidenhair fern, peace lily, and polka dot plant, and I'll be adding some duckweed and water spangles too. I'm going to have some pitcher plants hang off the back, they'll get a separate water since aquarium water will kill them, but they've gotten too big for their terrarium. They're actually the sole reason I'm starting up this tank, so they have more room to grow. I just want them to look pretty growing over an aquarium too ;).
What I was planning on stocking before I noticed the absurdly hard water are 7 neons, 7 glowlights, a betta, and a bunch of cherries.

I'm thinking add a peat bag ot water softening bag to the filter, toss in a few more leaves, and check and see how it affects the water. If they end up making the GH go down I'll probably toss in a leaf to the bucket whenever I do a waterchange and let it soak overnight, which would bring the GH to a lower level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Dang, well I guess it'll just be a simulated blackwater setup then ;)
If people are saying that the fish I'm planning on keeping should be fine than I guess I won't worry about it too much, since having to mess with DI/ RO water plus the tap water constantly seems like a bit more effort than I need. I'm trying to make this almost a "set it and forget it" tank with as low tech/maintenance as possible, save the water changes, cleaning, and feeding.

Also if anyone wants to suggest any fish that would work with this level of GH that would be most helpful, I'm dumping neons off the list even though they're my favorite fish. And probably glowlights too, although I've heard they're pretty hardy and could probably withstand it easily.
PH-6.8-7
KH 2
GH 12
 
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