Water Parameters - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-17-2012, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Water Parameters

I re-entered the aquarium hobby after a 30 yr absence and was hoping to do Angels and Discus like I had done in the past. My problem was water. I could not get the PH to stabilize low enough. Now I am thinking about shrimp and other than the RCS which are doing quite well I have the same problem again with the water. Even my Bettas wont tolerate my tap water and I have to buy RO water for them.

Let me start with what I have out of the tap

PH 7.6 +/-
GH <20ppm
KH +/- 100ppm
All Ammonia 0

I have a TDS meter but will have to find it

The KH seems to be my problem. I have tried buffers and the PH just keeps bouncing back. I set up a 10g with AZOO substrate over peat moss. It took 5-6 days but PH went down to 6.8. I could not do water changes because it would throw PH off and after 2-3 months all buffering was lost and PH returned to mid 7s.

What I do not understand is how my GH can be so low yet KH be so high.
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-17-2012, 07:39 PM
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You would have to do a mix of RO and tap water. For an aquarium the size you would need for Angels or Discus it would be in your best interest to buy a unit instead of buying it by the gallon elsewhere.

I wouldn't however recommend mixing Angels and Discus, the profiles here suggests they don't work well together long term because of how active Angel's are during feedings.
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-18-2012, 12:25 PM
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I would have to look up my research to explain why GH and KH can be vastly different, but suffice it to say, they can.

If this were my problem, I would first get the tank water where I wanted it by mixing "pure" water with the tap water (pure being distilled, RO or rainwater, the latter is ideal as it will be acidic). Once this is achieved, do smaller-volume water changes so there is not such a drastic shift. Once an aquarium has biologically stabilized, it tends to "stay put" and smaller water changes will not affect it as much.

On the angels and discus, this is not advisable. The feeding issue is one important aspect, but another is temperature. Discus must be kept warm, 82F is minimum. Angelfish will be better at lower temperatures, around 77-78F. Wild angels are different, they also need warmth, but not the usual commercially-available fish. [This difference does not hold for discus, unfortunately.] Fish should usually be maintained in the lower half of their preferred range; the higher the temperature the harder they must work and in an aquarium this can have repercussions.


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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