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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Preface: I used the search button and found a number of ways to increase hardness, but nothing that I'm very comfortable with. Coming from a fish breeding background, I've always been told that trying to alter PH/KH of tap water with chemicals is an exercise in futility for the long term.

I have a high tech tank (4wpg, auto CO2 injection) and am struggling with keeping the water hard enough. The CO2 hardly ever comes on because the PH dives so quickly.

For now, I stuck some crushed coral in my canister filter, but it seems to be having only a minimal effect. Is there a recommended dosage? I only put a handful in. How can I keep a 4-5 degree level of hardness with any level of consistency? I guess I'm looking for something a little more specific than "toss some baking soda or calcium carbonate." Anyone?



My Tap Water:
PH: 7.4
Hardness: 0.5 - 1.0 degrees
TDS: 75ppm

My Tank:
40 Gallon Breeder
4 x 39 watt HO T5 6500k
Eheim 2128 Canister Filter
Pressurized CO2 with Neptune PH Controller
 

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kh is low or gh?
 

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Baking soda for kH and the directions are in my Guide.

Calcium chloride and Epsom salts for gH and again the dosing is in my Guide.

Using these basic chemicals it's very easy to raise the hardness. It's very easy to increase the hardness chemically but very hard to lower it.
 

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Before you add anything why not ask yourself why you don't want a lower pH. If you add CO2 you can be sure the pH will drop, but the fish aren't affected by that. If your pH dropped to 5.5 it would not be a problem. So, maybe just resetting the pH controller would be the best plan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do I need to make baking soda/calcium chloride/epsom salts part of my regular dosing routine or dose only after water changes?
 

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I'm with Hoppy, just shoot for a lower pH. Set up a drop checker and measure the pH when you reach 30 ppm CO2 and set your monitor to shut off at that pH.
 

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Low pH. I have cardinals and crypts in a tank with CO2, 0 kH, 2gH. pH has been down into the low 4's with no ill effects. Nowadays it rests around 5.5 and everything is happy. Don't worry about a low pH unless you are trying to keep fish that need it higher.
 

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I agree as well. I have a kh of 1 and gh of 2 and my pH is 5.9....for over a year now. I have never seen better growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well then, I'll give it a shot. I did a water change last night, and didn't dose for GH or KH. I will leave the crushed coral in my filter, though.
 

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A KH < 1 and you're asking for problems IMO. The water is susceptible to Ph swings with no buffering. May not be an issue if you're on top of things, but you can't get slack. I would reverse the question and ask why WOULD you keep a Ph in the 5s unless the fish need it? It's pretty darn easy to add some baking soda to raise the Kh.

Ask to when to add the baking soda/calcium chloride/epsom salt, it only needs to be done at water changes. Dose the tank initially to get the Kh & Gh where you want it and then each water change. Does in small amounts till you know how much you need.

I keep my Kh around 5 and Ph around 6.8. To each his own.

David
 

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A KH < 1 and you're asking for problems IMO. The water is susceptible to Ph swings with no buffering. May not be an issue if you're on top of things, but you can't get slack. I would reverse the question and ask why WOULD you keep a Ph in the 5s unless the fish need it? It's pretty darn easy to add some baking soda to raise the Kh.

Ask to when to add the baking soda/calcium chloride/epsom salt, it only needs to be done at water changes. Dose the tank initially to get the Kh & Gh where you want it and then each water change. Does in small amounts till you know how much you need.

I keep my Kh around 5 and Ph around 6.8. To each his own.

David
Many South American fish come from water that is very soft and has a low pH. In my case it's easier to use the soft water instead of adding hardness back to it. That's just an extra step that is not necessary. The plants and fish are both natural to this type of water.

Sure fish can adapt to a variety of water conditions, but why would you make them if you already have water that they are evolutionarily adapted to.

If you are concerned about pH swings, I wouldn't be. Soft water requires less CO2 to produce the "required swing" as hard water does therefore overdosing is a near impossibility. Also due to the fact that the soft water will not "bounce" to a higher pH when CO2 is stopped, you can turn the CO2 off at night saving you both money and worry.
 
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