PH and water hardness - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-19-2006, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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PH and water hardness

Could someone please explain the difference between (or similarities of ) PH and water hardness? The city I live in has very hard water, and my PH is off the chart (high). How do the two relate? Can I lower it without chemicals?


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post #2 of 5 Old 11-19-2006, 10:42 PM
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What was the pH of your tank? What about KH and GH? 13 would be the highest pH but that is beyond aquatic life and already out of the chart. One reason why 7 would be the neutral point.

pH can be lowered using driftwoods, peat, dead leaves and anything that release humic acids or tannic acids. You may consider using RO(reverse osmosis) water but you'll need to add mineral salt as it is lacking in minerals hence the way it is also called "pure water". There is one thing to consider. You are not actually lowering the pH when you use those methods but rather the hardness of the water. As the pH is directly affected by GH(general hardness), the pH will drop along with the hardness level.

On the side note, I'd avoid the chemicals like pH-minus. They can cause pH swings which proves to be more harmful to the fish than not changing the pH at all.

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post #3 of 5 Old 11-19-2006, 10:48 PM
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Hardness basically refers to the measurment of the concentration of dissolved substances before it reaches our taps. This includes metal ions like zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium....ect.

Without the "water-hardness causing substances", the water would have abnormal shifts in pH. These substances buffer any dramatic changes in the pH. Water that is pooly buffered will have more fluctuations in pH as opposed to water that is well buffered.

As a standard rule... hard water is usually basic or alkaline and well buffered, and soft water is usually slightly acidic and pooly buffered.

I'm not sure of many ways of lowering pH without chemicals, maybe someone else can mention some. I know driftwood may help lower pH, however, many kinds of buffers are available at your pet store that will help with your pH problem.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-19-2006, 11:17 PM
The best way is to use RO water and add some tap water until you get the proper levels. This will probably be cheaper in the long run.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-20-2006, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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thanks to that answered:) I didn't write down the GH or the PH reading but will have the water tested againl. I did gravel vac/water changes tonight on all four aquariums and I need some sleep now!` :)

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