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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

So while testing water paramaters I was contemplating whether to attempt to raise my PH.

As it stands I have a 75g Lake Malawi aquarium. All the paramaters are fine except PH, which is a low at around 7.0. I have noticed no bad health effects with fish, except none of them are breeding (not that I wanted them to breed). I know that trying to raise the PH could cause swings which could then cause problems.

So I was just wondering if it would be worth raising Ph?
 

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Hi,

So while testing water paramaters I was contemplating whether to attempt to raise my PH.

As it stands I have a 75g Lake Malawi aquarium. All the paramaters are fine except PH, which is a low at around 7.0. I have noticed no bad health effects with fish, except none of them are breeding (not that I wanted them to breed). I know that trying to raise the PH could cause swings which could then cause problems.

So I was just wondering if it would be worth raising Ph?
If all other levels are fine then I would say no. With the risk of messing with all other levels as long as your fish still are acting the same and seem fine it should be ok. Definitely keep an eye on it though and your fish. If they seem to start acting stressed then I would say probably. But as long as they are ok I am sure they will be fine. :)
 

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what fish are you keeping in the 75g tank?
 

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They will be fine it that pH but if you really want to get it up to around 7.8. YOU MUST DO THIS SLOWLY.
Raising the pH quickly will stress them.

To raise KH and pH, add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). A good recommendation is 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons of water (dissolve in a cup of aquarium water if adding directly to the tank).

I cannot stress enough to do this SLOWLY.

Add some, leave it for 24 hours, retest and then add more if needed, again waiting before testing.

7.4-8 would be ideal for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks,

I think I will just leave it as is... I don't want to risk hurting the fish if they are fine now.
 

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I am going to have to disagree with most of this thread. You should raise the pH and hardness, but not with baking soda.

Rift lake cichlids have a high need for mineral; the GH is actually more important for these fish than the pH, but the pH is naturally going to be high correspondingly if the GH is where it should be. For some data on the lakes, see here:
What Is the Chemical Composition of Lake Malawi Water?

The best way to achieve this is with crushed coral/aragonite. You can buy rift lake cichlids sand for the substrate, or if you have the tank setup then simply adding some of the afore-mentioned gravel to the filter will work. It doesn't take much, and it lasts for years. But first we should know your GH and KH.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can't get the parameters right now, will have them tomorrow.

I was considering aragonite...That will raise Ph, GH and KH?

I currently have just gravel.... how difficult would it be to change the substrate in an established tank with 15+ fish?
 

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I can't get the parameters right now, will have them tomorrow.

I was considering aragonite...That will raise Ph, GH and KH?

I currently have just gravel.... how difficult would it be to change the substrate in an established tank with 15+ fish?
Yes on the aragonite; I use CarribSea's crushed coral with aragonite gravel, in your situation maybe half to a cup in a mesh bag in the filter.

You could change out the substrate to a sand, very authentic, and it would raise GH and pH obviously. I prefer removing the fish to a temp tank when I change substrates, then Ihave a free hand. But it can be done with fish in.

We can go into any of this when we have the numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
GH = about 180-190ppm

KH = around 60-80ppm

Unfortunately I am using test strips as the LFS was out of master test kits.
 

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GH = about 180-190ppm

KH = around 60-80ppm

Unfortunately I am using test strips as the LFS was out of master test kits.
That is medium hard which is not bad, but raising it a couple dGH won't hurt, and that will raise the pH too. I still suggest my previous idea of a cup or so of that gravel in a mesh bag in the filter. That should do it.

If you do want to switch substrates, that's another matter. The above will work with what you now have.
 

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:thumbsup: to that supplier. I use them for all my stuff and they are well worth it. Ship super quick as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I can use the gravel in the filter for now, but I was already considering re-designing the tank...

I am getting a little sick of the gravel I have now, and was considering switching to sand or something similar to sand, but not quite sure what type, as I have never used sand before.
 

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I can use the gravel in the filter for now, but I was already considering re-designing the tank...

I am getting a little sick of the gravel I have now, and was considering switching to sand or something similar to sand, but not quite sure what type, as I have never used sand before.
The crushed coral/aragonite tan-coloured sand is very authentic for the rift lakes; CarribSea make it, there are probably other manufacturers. There is specific rift lake sand too, probably more expensive. Some stores sell plain crushed coral sand in bulk.
 

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Any ideas where to buy substrate online in Canada? My LFS doesn't have the greatest selection.



I was also considering more rocks... Lace rocks to be particular, as I already have some. Would they help raise hardness?

Something like these Lace Rock Assorted Sizes and Shapes - 20 Pounds - Including Additional Freight Within NS, PE, NB, MB, SK - Pets & Ponds

Sorry for the bombardment of questions :)
I have lace rock in my 70g, and prevously had the same bits in other tanks. I bought it in 1997, and never noticed any impact on pH. I didn't mess with GH back then, but I am sure if it had raised it the pH would have gone up too. I believe it is inert. I know my local store where I bought it wold have mentioned this, as it was a concern for me.

I order online for some things, including Flourite substrate. I used Big Al's:
Big Als Pets Canada
I have also used Pets & Ponds, though not for substrates but they have some:
AQUARIUM SUPPLIES - Pets & Ponds

These are both in Canada, and offer quite good prices and shipping discounts. PlaySand I buy from Home Depot, and Lowe's have it too. You won't get sand as inexpensive as this anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well I guess I will get the lace rock for decoration...I'm terrible at estimating, would 20 or 50lbs be better? (75g)

I guess I will take a trip to Big Al's sometime next week and see what kind of substrate they have in stock, hopefully crushed coral sand.

The issue now becomes actually changing the gravel...

Any good guides on changing substrate in an established aquarium?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The best way to achieve this is with crushed coral/aragonite. You can buy rift lake cichlids sand for the substrate, or if you have the tank setup then simply adding some of the afore-mentioned gravel to the filter will work. It doesn't take much, and it lasts for years. But first we should know your GH and KH.

Byron.
Just wondering about putting crushed coral in the filter... do I just dump it in or should I contain it somehow? And should I just keep adding it slowly until the appropriate Ph is reached?
 

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I would place it in mesh bag or nylon were it me.
Would remove this bag every so often and rinse it under hot tapwater to remove dirt,mulm,algae,bacteria to prevent this from collecting on the coral and thus reducing effectivenss.
Would not clean any other filter material under tapwater however.
1/2 cup to one cup per 10 or 20 gallons gallons might be place to start.(depending on current hardness or lack thereof)
Could place this amount in 5 gal bucket or 20 gal tote,tub, and see what it does to hardness over a period of a week and adjust amount if needed.
 
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