GH/KH and PH??
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GH/KH and PH??

This is a discussion on GH/KH and PH?? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have multiple betta tanks and recently lost 3 within two weeks. I have figured out it was because of PH shock. I tested ...

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Old 07-05-2009, 12:02 PM   #1
 
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GH/KH and PH??

I have multiple betta tanks and recently lost 3 within two weeks. I have figured out it was because of PH shock. I tested my GH/KH levels today,my gh is soft (okay for bettas) and my kh is very very low (bad for bettas). Which as you probably know,can cause rapid PH changes,and possibly death in some.

So I was wondering how to raise my KH without affecting the PH too much? Most of my tanks are between 7.0 and 7.4. My cycled 10 gallon is rather high at 7.8. I think I will leave that tank alone.

Only ones who seem happy with current water conditions is my Panda Corys. They even had a baby on me,so I know they are happy.

I was considering using a mix of bottled water (after testing multiple brands to see who has the levels im looking for) and tap water. Is this a good idea?

For conditoner,do i add same amount for the whole mix of water or just treat the tap?

I am so confused.

Okay now I am reading about adding crushed coral to the tanks. Anyone done this?

Any help is appreciated.

Last edited by fishyinpa; 07-05-2009 at 12:21 PM..
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:25 PM   #2
 
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What was it that made you suspect pH shock? Did you test the pH? Do you regularly test it to see if it's fluctuating?

Generally, the pH in an aquarium will gradually lower (become more acidic) due to the biological processes at work in the tank. If the water has a pH buffer capability (due to the hardness) it will prevent the pH from lowering until such time as the buffering capacity is reached, then the pH will drop significantly because there is nothing to prevent this. But if your hardness is minimal such that there is no effective buffering, the pH lowering will be slow, not sudden.

My tap water is very soft, scarcely any gH or kH but I never had pH fluctuations in my tanks (pH runs 6.2 to 6.5 with the diurnal shift). When I first set up a new tank, I notice that after a couple of months, the pH will slowly drop; I'm talking of a change of maybe .2 in a month. When it gets down to 6.2 or 6.4, where I like it because of my soft acidic water fish, I put about half a cup of dolomite gravel in a nylon bag in the upper filter basket to add a bit of mineral. This has (for 10+ years) maintained a stable pH, or at any rate the pH has never fluctuated which is probably a more accurate statement. If you start adding coral or dolomite (both do the same) it will raise the pH, and if it is between 7.0 and 7.4 I would not want it higher for bettas or any acidic-water fish.

There is a lot of useful info on this topic here: Beginner FAQ: Water Chemistry including how to alter hardness, etc., safely.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
 
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Hmm okay thanks Byron. I tested the tanks of the fish that died,their pH was between 7.8 and 8.0. All my other tanks (which I changed at a different time from those three) are between 7.0 and 7.4. My cycled tank is at 7.8,but being cycled he has no issues with it.

For the month of June we had nothing but rain. Quite literally. We did not have one full day of sunshine at all. So I was thinking maybe I changed those three fishes water after a particularly large amount of rainfall. I cant remember now though.

I got three new bettas, and they have been acting strangely. The one I tested his water and his pH was quite high (7.8-8.0) so I changed that out and now its low again,he is happy. So I am not sure if the place we got our water from is messing with it,the plumbing here,but our tap pH does seem to change quite a bit.

Thanks again. Maybe I am off my mark here,but its a thought. I rather not mess with chemicals and their tanks,so if you think just leave them be,I will. Maybe I will just test the tap each time before I do a wc.
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:51 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishyinpa View Post
Hmm okay thanks Byron. I tested the tanks of the fish that died,their pH was between 7.8 and 8.0. All my other tanks (which I changed at a different time from those three) are between 7.0 and 7.4. My cycled tank is at 7.8,but being cycled he has no issues with it.

For the month of June we had nothing but rain. Quite literally. We did not have one full day of sunshine at all. So I was thinking maybe I changed those three fishes water after a particularly large amount of rainfall. I cant remember now though.

I got three new bettas, and they have been acting strangely. The one I tested his water and his pH was quite high (7.8-8.0) so I changed that out and now its low again,he is happy. So I am not sure if the place we got our water from is messing with it,the plumbing here,but our tap pH does seem to change quite a bit.

Thanks again. Maybe I am off my mark here,but its a thought. I rather not mess with chemicals and their tanks,so if you think just leave them be,I will. Maybe I will just test the tap each time before I do a wc.
If I'm understanding correctly, the culprit seems to be your tap water; the pH is fluctuating. If that is the case, yes, I wold suggest testing it before each pwc. Assuming the tank pH remains stable on its own, you could adjust the tap water before adding it (not in the tank). The tank's buffer will keep it steady. Years ago I had to resort to this, only in reverse; the tap water plummeted to below 6 and I had to raise it before I could add the water. As long as the change is done to the water before it goes into the aquarium, I think it's safe. If others think this is problematical, I'm sure they will let us know. If the concensus is that this is not good, you could always mix bottled water with the tap water as you questioned in the original post.

I certainly would not fiddle with the hardness with coral, that will definitely raise the pH in the tank.

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Old 07-05-2009, 08:09 PM   #5
 
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Yeah,I dont want to mess up the balance of my tanks. Everyone seems healthy and happy now,rather keep them that way!! Other than my newbies having issues. So yeah I will test it each time before a wc. I bought several different brands of bottled water,going to test them and see what they say.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:03 PM   #6
 
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Okay so the two waters from walmart were a no. Zero KH. The one from the one supermarket down the road,KH was good,80 or 4.4 something....but the GH was very high,so its really hard water. Not sure I want to mix that. Also the pH was very low,6.4. *sigh* next!!
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:02 PM   #7
 
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Just a rambling thought I want to throw out there for consideration. I bought the GH/KH kit and after testing multiple times I determined that my water is BEYOND hard. It was crazy how many drops I had to add before I saw the color change. My line of thinking was that I'd have to work with the water I had because while I could have done bottled water for my 6gl betta tanks there was no way I was going to do bottled water on my 100gl display.
So I said to heck with the GH/KH numbers and simply decided to ignore it. My fish are doing just fine (as they always have) even though nearly all them are said to require water parameters which Byron maintains in his tanks. I've since shelved my GH/KH kit.
My ph is stable at 7.8 with a diurnal shift of 8.0.
I suppose my question is: Can fishyinpa concentrate on obtaining a water source that has a stable PH and not worry about the GH/KH?? My betta does fine in my hard water.
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:26 PM   #8
 
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Hmm...I can try!! I have ignored the gh/kh for longest time(since I cycled Fishys tank,yay). But after some of my fish died, I went a lil nuts trying to figure out what happened to them. May not have been the best thing to do,my brain is on overload now. Way too much information. Makes ya mad at yaself for not doing good in chemistry class lol!!

I did notice though,I have written down in a notebook from when I was testing Fishys water everyday during cycling,that the kh was at a good range. So maybe with all the rain we had it messed things up.

So on that note, I think I will just test the pH,ignore gh/kh (makes my brain hurt trying to figure it all out) and keep tabs on everyones tank,hopefully they will remain stable.

My only concern really is when I go for a full wc. So,I guess then just test their water and the tap and hopefully its pretty close.

So I agree Aunt Kymmie.

The tap pH is 7.0. Not too bad,but does fluctuate which in turn all my tanks seem to have diff pH's lol. *sigh* what did i get myself into??
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:43 PM   #9
 
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Whoaaa...don't agree with me. I just realized you're doing full 100% w/c. I do weekly partials. I do big partials (40 %) but they are not 100%. I realize now that I was comparing apples to oranges.
Let's wait for Byron and his input; he's so dialed in on this. While we may have done lousy at chemistry I have a feeling he was "teacher's pet".

I know you keep pandas (who are sensitive) who are doing well, you use the same water on all your tanks, which is why I thought perhaps your Gh/Kh wasn't a big deal. It only occurred to me after I posted that your pandas are in your cycled tank. Don't get frustrated, it'll get sorted out. Fishkeeping has its bumps in the road at times but so well worth it in the long run!

Last edited by aunt kymmie; 07-05-2009 at 11:47 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:47 AM   #10
 
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I certainly agree with Kym that you should not fiddle with the hardness. I thought I was on that road originally, so sorry if I didn't come across as intended. I have never fussed over hardness, but knowing that my tap water is soft or very soft, naturally I wouldn't be fussing given the acidic soft water fish I maintain. When I had livebearers and rift lake cichlids, I used dolomite to raise the pH and hardness and it worked fine and was very stable, even with partial water changes using the soft acidic (pH below 6) tap water.

The pH of your tap water does seem to fluctuate, and I would simply test it before a pwc and adjust it if needed to be close (within .4) of the tank pH. As I said before, I have had to resort to this and I never noticed any buffering issues in the tank when i adjusted the tap water prior to adding it. As long as the tank is stable itself, I think it should be OK. But again, if others with more knowledge in this area disagree, I will concede.

If the tap water is pH 7 there is no reason the pH in the tank should be higher unless there is something to cause this, like calcium-based gravel or rocks.

I think the above will work for partial water changes of 30-40%. Maybe I've missed something, but why are you doing 100% water changes?

Byron.
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