Best Way to Raise GH
Because my water goes through a water softener, it has a GH of 0 but a pH of 7.8. I need to raise the GH to about 5 at least for some hard water fish. Would it be possible to use Seachem Equilibrium to raise the GH? I know the product is for planted aquariums but I was wondering if it would work since I don't need to raise the pH or the KH (that is about 8-11). If that doesn't work, what is a better method: using aragonite as a substrate or just putting a bag of crushed coral in there? I'd prefer not to have to switch substrates but I can if that's the best way to raise the GH. Any advice would be most helpful. Thank you!
Oh yes. The kit I use to test GH/KH is the API liquid test.
Yes, Seachem Equilibrium will raise your GH. However, you will have to add it every time you do a water change.
If you don't want to raise the KH or pH, then seachem equilibrium is the way to go. I use crushed coral in my goldfish tank and it raises the pH like mad. I think you can order it in 2L jugs which might save you some money.
AK Freshwater, yes, they're Victoria Lake cichlids. I figure I need to raise it to at least 10; 5 is considered the minimum that they'll tolerate. I've been using it in my planted tank (which will soon be converted to the cichlid tank, since the plants are infested with snails). 1 tablespoon per 20gal raises the GH by 3, so . . . 3 tablespoons to get it to 9?
Izzy, yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. The max pH they'll tolerate is 8.0. What about a combo of coral and Equilibrium? Would coral raise the GH high enough on its own?
I've never tried that, but it might be worth a shot. One thing I like about the equilibrium over the coral is that it's a much more scientific process. You know exactly how many mL to add to raise the GH by a certain ppm. With the coral it's guesswork and testing. I had to test my goldfish tank almost daily for 3 weeks to figure out just how much coral to add.
While I was gone, the person who was changing the water in my goldfish tank tossed out the crushed coral which I had painstakingly measured and tested. :evil: I'm back at square one with it and will be testing the tank for weeks now before I get it sorted out again. (Last time I trust someone else with my water changes).
But the point of that is, the coral is unpredictable. It seemed like 1/2 cup raised my GH different amounts each time I added it. The first time it raised it by about 2 but the second time it raised it by about 3. If you're trying to work with precise numbers, I don't think coral is the way to go.
That's a major bummer about your goldfish tank. At least testing for GH/KH isn't quite the headache that testing for nitrates is. (*shake shake shake*)
Okay then. If it sounds like it's okay, I think I'll go ahead and use the Equilibrium so I don't have to buy a new aragonite substrate or anything like that.
keep in mind that if your water softener is the cation exchange type that uses salt, tests for hardness will show the water to be very soft though this does not mean that it is 'purer' or has less mineral content in general, it will actually be higher in total dissolved solids than before, it will just be of different types
general hardness is determined by measuring the amount of calcium and magnesium present, cation exchange softeners that use salt replace every Ca++/Mg++ ion with two Na+
in most natural freshwater Ca>Mg>Na
it may be easier for you just to get water before it goes through the softener
Sometimes outside spigot that garden hose attaches to is not hooked up to softener(or neighbor's?)
Then you would just need to store the water and heat before using.
I fully agree with Quantum and 1077.
First off, with rift lake cichlids, you need hard water, not soft water which is what 5 dGH is. This is no where near adequate long-term for these cichlids, regardless of what someone may have suggested to the contrary. And Equilibrium is not the way to go, it is expensive and not really suited anyway. Seachem make another product just for fish, forgotten the name at the moment, which would be better but still expensive and not the best method so don't bother.
A substrate of crushed coral and aragonite sand is the only good method for this. The GH will rise, and the pH with it, and frankly it cannot get too high for your fish so I wouldn't even bother on that score. I did this years ago for some rift lake fish, and livebearers, using dolomite back then. But the sands now available made from crushed coral and aragonite [coral is calcium, aragonite adds the magnesium bit] are perfect for this task, and very natural in a rift lake aquascape.
This is all such awesome information for when I do get Rift Lake cichlids but I just found out I lost the bid on them sooooo . . . maybe considering the nature of my water, I should look for some apistos?
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