GH & KH problems?
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GH & KH problems?

This is a discussion on GH & KH problems? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi All, I recently tested my aquariums GH and KH, finding that my KH was 9 drops and my GH was only 3 drops. ...

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Old 04-03-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
 
GH & KH problems?

Hi All,

I recently tested my aquariums GH and KH, finding that my KH was 9 drops and my GH was only 3 drops. My water is run through a softener and I add chalk (calcium sulfate) to my water, so i had thought that both KH and GH would be lowered by the softener but my GH would be higher due to the additional chalk. Does anyone know any methods for lowering KH while increasing GH? i keep mostly tetras and the KH is too high while the GH is to low (according to the API instruction booklet).
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:19 PM   #2
 
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To be honest, I wouldn't be worried unless the tetras are showing signs of stress.

Increasing one while lowering the other would put you in quite a pickle, since they are often related. Ground limestone and Calcium Carbonate raises both. Calcium Silicate (gypsum- AKA Chalk) should raise GH...

Of course, if you see bubbles coming off of the chalk when you drop it in, it could be turning to CO2... Which should lower Kh marginally. (CO2 supplementation lowers Kh)

I'd leave well enough alone unless you have wild caught species.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:40 PM   #3
 
well i toss in chalk once every few months, my trumpets shells have greatly greatly improved, very beautiful sharp spirals now. However, the gh measured has not increased which really confuses me since clearly theres additional calcium thats being utilized, unless its suggesting that the calcium gets used to fast that its not staying in the water?

I guess ill just leave it alone if it doesnt matter that much.

Also, with a KH of 9, how "buffered" is my water, my PH is stuck at 7.8, ive gone without changing the water, my wood is leeching tons of tannins, my water is very dark, hard to tell the light is even getting to the bottom of the tank, and my ph has not changed.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
 
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Your pH is not going to lower much because the KH is high and buffering it. KH has absolutely no effect on fish. But being high, your pH is not likely to drop.

GH does affect fish, as much as pH. A GH of 3 is certainly fine for soft water fish. I wouldn't fiddle with that to raise it at all. My GH is around 1 or even less.

The water softener likely affects water chemistry. They sometimes add minerals, salts, etc. Any idea what it does?

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Old 04-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #5
 
Not a clue, all i know I add water softener salt to it every month or so, it takes out the excess calcium in the water, but I dont know the chemical processes and such. This softener has been the bane of my fishkeeping for a long time, my plants dont do very well, most are not softwater plants, and i have to dose ferts every so often. Im thinking about increasing my chalk doses, since that definitely helps my snails and i have only seen my gh go up very slightly with the addition of chalk.

I dont know if it adds much to my tap, all my fish seem fine, but they do seem more... sluggish than before the softener system was added several years ago, but that could be due to a lot of various factors. They still eat regularly, havent lost any fish except a bolivian ram a couple of weeks after nuking the tank with maracyn one or two months ago, but thats about it.

Water parameters, as of yesterday, are within normal acceptable range, ph 7.8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5. Dont know if any salt minerals would affect those numbers.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:49 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
Not a clue, all i know I add water softener salt to it every month or so, it takes out the excess calcium in the water, but I dont know the chemical processes and such. This softener has been the bane of my fishkeeping for a long time, my plants dont do very well, most are not softwater plants, and i have to dose ferts every so often. Im thinking about increasing my chalk doses, since that definitely helps my snails and i have only seen my gh go up very slightly with the addition of chalk.

I dont know if it adds much to my tap, all my fish seem fine, but they do seem more... sluggish than before the softener system was added several years ago, but that could be due to a lot of various factors. They still eat regularly, havent lost any fish except a bolivian ram a couple of weeks after nuking the tank with maracyn one or two months ago, but thats about it.

Water parameters, as of yesterday, are within normal acceptable range, ph 7.8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5. Dont know if any salt minerals would affect those numbers.
The "salt" of the softener could be dangerous. Without knowing what it is, I would be guessing. But I do know that characins do not like any salt, and I have read elsewhere of softeners causing fish problems. It depends upon the unit and the salts. I'm using "salt" in a very broad sense here, thinking of more than just sodium.

What is the water like (hardness and pH) prior to going through the softener, if that is obtainable?

Byron.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:00 PM   #7
 
I have no idea, I can test a neighbors water, since we should all be running on the same water except they dont have a softener. I will try and get that data and post it tonight or tomorrow. The salt is just the standard softener salt without additives, it branded morton's solar salt. My oldest fish, a black skirt tetra (over 7 years) has been in both the hard water and the soft water and is still alive and well. My tetras have a pretty good survival rate, I think ive only lost 3 pristella tetras in the past 2 or 3 years since getting the system.

When I fill my tank, I try to lower the KH by adding 20% RO water, my RO system is very slow, but its still the same :-/.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:15 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
I have no idea, I can test a neighbors water, since we should all be running on the same water except they dont have a softener. I will try and get that data and post it tonight or tomorrow. The salt is just the standard softener salt without additives, it branded morton's solar salt. My oldest fish, a black skirt tetra (over 7 years) has been in both the hard water and the soft water and is still alive and well. My tetras have a pretty good survival rate, I think ive only lost 3 pristella tetras in the past 2 or 3 years since getting the system.

When I fill my tank, I try to lower the KH by adding 20% RO water, my RO system is very slow, but its still the same :-/.
Pristella are immune to almost everything. They are an exception among characins, in that they occur in soft water, hard water and even brackish. The only characin I am aware of that does manage in brackish, but there may be others I have not come across. And Black Widow Tetra are notorious for being tough, in more ways than one.

As I mentioned, I can't be sure on the softener issue, it is just one possibility. I believe Mikaila has a softener with no issues, but i don't know if it is this one or another. But there is no doubt in my mind that if the pre-softener water is not too hard, it may be better; even if diluted with rainwater, distilled water or RO water. There are several possibilities here. The numbers will help.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:26 PM   #9
 
OK, I will try and get the parameters as soon as I can, but I do know that the water was very hard, my old 20g has white stains that are caked so hard to the plastic that in the process of trying to remove them the plastic broke before the stains cracked off. Even with the softener, my tank cover is slowly turning a cloudy color from water stains. Those stains are also near impossible to remove, even after soaking in vinegar, they were still there.
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