Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Angel079 03-14-2010 10:22 AM

Safly up pH/ KH - Buffers pls recommand one
With my next order I'd like to get a buffer, as you all know I never dealt with this R/O water issue from the tap water before and honestly looking at the online store from petsolutions I'm pretty overwhelmed what all is out there for pH/KH buffer's.

I do NOT want chemicals that I need to add weekly that cause swings I want something that will up the pH/KH a little bit and remains stable.

Does anyone have any product recommendation for me there? :|

Angel079 03-14-2010 10:28 AM

Byron 03-14-2010 04:29 PM

I have used Equilibrium as an experiment, having been talked into thinking this was necessary for my fish. I now know better. All my fish are soft water fish that come from waters having less than 1 d GH and no KH.

Equilibrium does the job fine, but it is very expensive long-term. I used it for several weeks in my 115g and it raised the hardness which buffered the pH. You add it weekly after the pwc (assuming the tap water is soft). It has to be introduced gradually to avoid a sudden increase in hardness (and resulting pH rise). With my <1 dGH and <1 dKH tap water, I found that adding it half the recommended dose for the 50% volume replaced kept the hardness and pH stable for the week.

A far better and less costly solution is dolomite.

I have about half a cup of dolomite gravel in the top basket of the filter on the 115g and it maintains a very stable hardness of 2d and a pH of 6.0-6.2 for months and months. The dolomite very slowly dissolves, adding calcium and magnesium to the water, and these two minerals are the prime minerals that increase alkalinity and hardness in fresh water. So dolomite is absolutely natural, reliable, inexpensive, and safe.

I do not use anything in the other two tanks. Hardness is zero, pH I suspect is 5. Fish are mainly wild-caught soft water fish so this is perfect.


Angel079 03-14-2010 04:34 PM

I have 6.8 PH and a non measureable KH here from the tap (I'm assuming the KH MAY be 1 but I can't test anything with the normal API tester here).

I know you said dolomite before and I look at the home store either I'm too dim to shop all the sudden....but I can't find any and with the tap water's hardness dropping from slightly delectable to non now I HAVE TO do something rather sooner then later.

Now for the 45&55g (both different readings after balancing themselves out obviously) this is all fine and perfect actually for the fish I'm keeping. For the shrimp not so much to say the least and the new stock for the 30g I'm not exactly sure just yet where I wanna take this 30g to but more then likly something others then "softy fish". So you see my problem....

MOA 03-14-2010 04:53 PM


My personal experience is that altering the water chemistry is not such a great idea, but here is an article for your consideration that does cover the subject:

You will find some data on suitable buffers there.


redchigh 03-14-2010 05:10 PM

I've heard good things about crushed coral too...
used the same way as dolomite.

I think maybe dolomite only works with EXTREMELY soft acidic water-
mine is around 6.5 with a GH and KH of around 1-3... the dolomite doesn't do anything for me.

If you want to measure your DH/KH you can always triple or quadruple the amount of water-
(instead of 5ml, use 20ml) and divide the number of drops for the color change by 4.)

My GH at one point was unreadable, until I did that and found out my GH was .75.
Since then I think the dolomite did increase it a point, but the PH is the same.

Angel079 03-14-2010 06:39 PM

I'd totally agree with you was it not for the part where i get R/O from my tap and wanna house shrimp properly (or maybe cichlids for that matter) ;-) at least making water harder is supposed to be easier then making hard water soft (I can tell you all about peat method thou)

@redchigh Like I said I used to be able to measure 1KH now I get nothing from the tap any more. But I will try the 20ml matter and see what I come up with.
I just really hadn't seen dolomite here - am I looking in the wrong spot? Coral I'd only find the large tank set up bags at the pet store I think that's wee too much.

This is off the wall but wouldn't natural magnesium & calcium supplements for human also do the trick (I don't mean this whole 1 pill all vitamins but plain magnesium & calcium powders?)?

Angel079 03-14-2010 07:07 PM

:shock: Uhm yeaaaa so I just took 20ML tap water and the KH test I needed 2 drops so my KH is 0.5....very much so not so great any longer for my shrimp.

Byron 03-14-2010 07:11 PM

Natalie, the dangers of using powders or concoctions is getting the amount correct (how would you know how much?) plus what else might be in them. At least with rocks we know how they work.

Coral I have been told (by scientific types) is not effective because it is calcium but not magnesium, and you need both. Of course, you could use coral for the calcium and Epsom Salt for the magnesium. But the last time I messed with ES I nearly killed my plants.

Dolomite works in any water, it simply dissolves slowly over years. If it is not working redchigh, use a bit more; it takes some experimenting to find the correct amount. I know half a cup in my filter adds 1.5-2 dGH hardness to my 115g tank. The pH buffering is linked to the hardness degree, so 2 dGH is not going to raise the pH high, just keep it from falling. My 115g has a pH of 6 whereas the other two tanks without dolomite have pH 5. Water is same, same pwc schedule and amount, similar fish, etc.

Odd about dolomite, it used to be the substrate gravel for marine tanks and rift lake; I guess everyone wants sand or something now, and it is no longer in demand. My little bag of it I bought in 1996, used it all now.

redchigh 03-14-2010 07:42 PM

I guess you can't overdose on dolomite, huh?
I have 1/2 cup in a 10G. Filter is full, so I started piling it up under the filter where the current is the strongest.
Maybe I could use a CO2 contraption to make some lower-ph water with dolomite in it, and after the Hardness is where I want it, aerate it with an airstone to remove the CO2, then add it to the tank?
Dunno. My filter is full, though.

Odd about the magnesium if you look up online, dolomite is calcium carbonate. Hmmm. I'm no scientific type though, I'm probably just missing something.

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