How to fix high water hardness wiht a low pH? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 6 Old 02-25-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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How to fix high water hardness wiht a low pH?

My 90 gallon fresh water fish tank has been cloudy, taking on a whitish cloudy hue, and I want to make it crystal clear. I believe the problem is general hardness (GH), but I do not know how to lower the GH without further lowering the pH which is already kind of low. The aquarium water quality was measured as follows.

GH (General Hardness) = 120 ppm
KH (Carbonate Hardness)= 40 ppm
pH= 6.5
Nitrite= 0 ppm
Nitrate= 40 ppm

I have a pleco, 4 silver dollars, 2 danios, & 1 loach (botia angelicus)

Tank filtration= Eheim Classic 2215 Cannister, UGF and an
Aquaclearpower head that sits on 1 of the UGF tubes, Aquaclear 110 power filter

* 6 Months ago, the water was crystal clear with GH=30 ppm KH=0 ppm, so I think the city's tap water source changed. I know they do that at different parts of the year, depending on when we are in a drought or not (I live in California)

So please tell me what I need to do to make the water crystal clear. Thank you!

Last edited by EA22; 02-25-2013 at 03:21 PM. Reason: misspelled word
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-26-2013, 11:01 AM
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It's not hardness, my water starts at 23dGH (over 400ppm) and is crystal clear. If you are only at 120ppm, you really don't want to try to lower it. If it is clear in your drinking water and you use the same water source for your tank, then something else is going on.

Beyond that, I have no suggestions.

Jeff.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

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Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-26-2013, 12:58 PM
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Agree. GH is not going to imapact water clarity. And a GH of 120 [= 6 dGH] is perfect for the named fish, as is the 6.5 pH.

Cloudy water can occur due to suspended particulate matter in the tap water. I have had this issue due to very heavy rains washing silt into the water reservoirs. All you can do is ride this out. As Jeff said, if you run a jar of water from the tap and it is cloudy, this is the source; if not, then it is something in the tank.

Cludiness in the aquarium can result if the substrate is stirred up, though this would usually come and go with fish activity or something. The more usual cause is a bacterial bloom. This is caused by dissolved organics in the water, resulting in a sudden increase of bacteria. This has to be allowed to clear on its own, and the source of the organics should be corrected. Over-feeding, too many fish, insufficient weekly water changes, and not vacuuming the substrate can all contribute.

On the fish load (which BTW is not excessive for a 90g tank so that is not the issue), you do need more loaches. Botia kubotai (which is the correct name of the "angelicus" loach) is highly social and must have a group. I would not go less than five. I have five (had six initially but one decided to kick the bucket) in my 90g and they are fascinating to watch as they interact and chase each other through tunnels in the chunks of Malaysian Driftwood. One lone loach will pine away and not be healthy. Click the name for the profile. Same applies to the danio, they are shoaling fish. The species may be in the profiles with more info.

Byron.
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Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 02-26-2013 at 01:02 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-02-2013, 09:18 AM
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This is something we just experienced. Our 75 gallon was horribly cloudy. We added an airstone to help add oxygen to the water for fishless cycling purposes and a side benefit was the water is crystal clear now. I can't help but wonder if maybe the circulation in the tank wan not adequate, even though we have 2 Filstar XPL's running.

On a side note our water is 13 KH and 20 GH, with a PH of 8.1.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-02-2013, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sookielee View Post
This is something we just experienced. Our 75 gallon was horribly cloudy. We added an airstone to help add oxygen to the water for fishless cycling purposes and a side benefit was the water is crystal clear now. I can't help but wonder if maybe the circulation in the tank wan not adequate, even though we have 2 Filstar XPL's running.

On a side note our water is 13 KH and 20 GH, with a PH of 8.1.
Most cloudiness is due to bacterial blooms, and water circulation/filters has no impact. The bloom occurs due to organics, and it can be a day, or several days, or several weeks...but it often clears overnight when it decides to.
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Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-02-2013, 05:20 PM
+1 - The cloudiness we see is actually the bizillion (decomposition) bacteria bloom (explosion) with the available dissolved organic material. It subsides when the decomposition is nearing completion and the food dwindles, often within a day or two (but sometimes longer). However, it is very possible that adding additional O2 may accelerate the process leading one to believe that it solved the problem.

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