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musicalmouse

Low kH & gH, pH changes

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Today the three goldfish moved from their 20L tank to their 190L tank.

Old tank (this was set up for ~3 weeks, daily water changes for the last 1-2 weeks of 30-50% after I learnt about ammonia)

pH: 7.2-7.4

kH: 2/35.8ppm

gH: 71.6ppm

Ammonia: 0.5ppm

New tank* (I added API tap water conditioner and API quick start)

pH: 7.6

kH: 3/53.7ppm

gH: 71.6ppm

Ammonia: 0.25-0.5ppm (this was a surprise)

So from what I can tell, the kH is way too low, and this causes the pH to drop over time? And it also drops over time when looking at the old tank and new tank figures (3 to 2)?

Also the gH is not optimal either is it? I've read that you can add Epsom Salt to help with that.

I've read about adding baking powder (mine's got rice flour and some other thing in it though), so would this be what I do? Can I do that with the fish in there (I've read that it causes a change in pH, so would I do it, but slowly?).

Will getting Seachem Prime help with the ammonia that is apparently already in the tap water?

I also have three pieces of driftwood which I have read may effect the pH (but fixing the kH will help with this, correct?).

*(also the tap water parameters seeing as it only just got set up straight away)

Lots of questions then! I hope you can help me :). I feel like I need to go back in time and do Chemistry again!

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Baking SODA (sodium bicarbonate) is a cheap and effective way to raise your kH. :) I sprinkle it into the bowl that I add my gH booster, and my prime, and then dump it into the tank. :) It dissolves pretty quickly.

Eventually, your beneficial bacteria will grow to quickly consume your tap ammonia, but until they're established, Prime will help detoxify them for you. One dose of Prime will last for 24 hours, and will provide protection for Ammonia + Nitrite levels totaling less than 1ppm.

I wouldn't use Epsom Salt for gH. I'll let the big guys come in and talk more about why, because there's so much conflicting information out there.

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Thanks yafashelli. The info out there is really conflicting, which is why I thought I'd ask the experts :). At least with the ammonia, now they're in a big tank with a proper filter so the tank will actually cycle.

I'll have the money to buy the Seachem Prime off eBay on Monday (it's not at the lps).

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For a less expensive option, you can try seachem Safe. It's just Prime in powdered form. I'm actually about to buy some to try, myself, as I'm running out of prime. :)

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The prime and cycle of your filter will help with the ammonia,

I have added crushed coral to my tank substrate to help with the ph, I also have low kh and my ph drops ,I do change my water frequently which also helps,you can also use crushed coral in a nylon bag or in your filter to help as well :)

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Is that "new tank" water fresh from the tap? Your pH is fine. The drop is trivial, although you should check how it changes over a longer period of time. You can add some crushed coral to stabilize it as shellbell suggested. Baking soda can be used to increase a too low pH, but you don't have that. Epsom salts is toxic in very small amounts. The only time you should put it in the tank is for treatment of dropsy under supervision of one of our treatment experts.

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Is that "new tank" water fresh from the tap? Your pH is fine. The drop is trivial, although you should check how it changes over a longer period of time. You can add some crushed coral to stabilize it as shellbell suggested. Baking soda can be used to increase a too low pH, but you don't have that. Epsom salts is toxic in very small amounts. The only time you should put it in the tank is for treatment of dropsy under supervision of one of our treatment experts.

Yes it was fresh from the tank. Where do I get crushed coral? I've got new figures below, should I use baking soda now?

----

Okay so today is day two of the new tank.

pH: 6.6-6.8

Ammonia: 0.5ppm

Nitrite: 5ppm+

Nitrate: 0-5.0ppm (it's yellow but there's an orange tinge I swear)

I believe that the pH has dropped too far too fast. What do I do?

I'm not sure where to get crushed coral from to add to my canister filter. I'm about to do a 20-30% water change. I could really do with some help though as I think this is a bad spot with the pH and how fast it changed.

Thanks!

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At least in the US, your water utility will have numbers published online regarding things like your tap kH and gH. Could you see if they have this in Australia? Or you could call them and ask. It is a bit concerning that the pH drops a little too quickly, so we will want to know this for sure.

Using crushed coral is more preferable, because it raises both kH and gH. However, sometimes coral doesn't work as well, since it doesn't dissolve too quickly.

I definitely think that coral should be tried first though.

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At least in the US, your water utility will have numbers published online regarding things like your tap kH and gH. Could you see if they have this in Australia? Or you could call them and ask. It is a bit concerning that the pH drops a little too quickly, so we will want to know this for sure.

Using crushed coral is more preferable, because it raises both kH and gH. However, sometimes coral doesn't work as well, since it doesn't dissolve too quickly.

I definitely think that coral should be tried first though.

Thanks for your reply!

Where can I get crushed coral? I have no idea. I don't think the lps has some, but I'll call around and double check. I think there's another store about a 20 minute walk away. Do I just put it in a bag in my filter? If I cannot find it (I'm limited by public transport), is there an alternative for the meantime, like some sort of commercial buffer.

According to this pdf by urbanutilities, the "total hardness" in mg/L is between 60 and 220 and the average is 124. This website says that it did two measurements; one of 106-143mg/L and another of 89-97mg/L. I don't really know how to convert that to ppm let alone figure out which part of that is kh and gh, etc.

Is it safe for me to do a 20-30% water change to get the ammonia and nitrite down or will this change the pH too fast? (there's about a 1 point difference between the tap water and tank water now).

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Where can I get crushed coral? I have no idea. I don't think the lps has some, but I'll call around and double check. I think there's another store about a 20 minute walk away. Do I just put it in a bag in my filter? If I cannot find it (I'm limited by public transport), is there an alternative for the meantime, like some sort of commercial buffer.

Crushed coral should be relatively easy to find at most fish stores. If you need a temporary alternative, use baking soda. There is a link in my signature on how much to add. You should aim to increase the kH by 50-100ppm. So just follow the chart.

According to this pdf by urbanutilities, the "total hardness" in mg/L is between 60 and 220 and the average is 124. This website says that it did two measurements; one of 106-143mg/L and another of 89-97mg/L. I don't really know how to convert that to ppm let alone figure out which part of that is kh and gh, etc.

This is good news. Total hardness is combination of calcium and magnesium hardness, and this value is right around the target value you'd want for the tank. Now you just need to find out the kH, or carbonate hardness. :)

Is it safe for me to do a 20-30% water change to get the ammonia and nitrite down or will this change the pH too fast? (there's about a 1 point difference between the tap water and tank water now).

Yes, with that difference, you are good for a 50% WC maximum.

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Thanks so much dnalex, I'll do a water change soon and call the stores when they open. Hopefully I can find a place.

Then I just have to figure out how to take apart the canister filter without watering the walls and floor haha.

The kh was 3/53.7ppm to begin with, in the old tank it went down one notch (not sure when but I had it running 3-4 weeks). I haven't checked it today, been busy feeding cats and worrying and getting ready to head to the shops asap.

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Yup, that's too low. For now, use the table I made, and add the appropriate amount of baking soda to raise the kH 70ppm (to roughly 120ppm final). :)

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Yup, that's too low. For now, use the table I made, and add the appropriate amount of baking soda to raise the kH 70ppm (to roughly 120ppm final). :)

Okie dokie. My tank holds about 170L/45 gallons, so I'll just duck across the road, grab some baking soda and put 17 grams in after I've done the water change. Does that sound right?

Then I'll measure the kh and ph again?

After that, once I get my hands on crushed coral, how much of that do I add to my canister filter?

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Start with about 1/2 cup per 20 gallons and see what that does for you. It won't be as instant as the baking soda and will need to be replaced every 4-6 months. :D

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I did a 20-28% water change (6 buckets out, 5 in - wanted it lower to increase surface agitation from filter output).

After the water change the readings were:

kh: 2/35.8ppm

ph: 7.2-7.4

I then went to the shops and bought some baking soda. I added 10g of baking soda (I was being cautious - according to calculations I should have added about 19g, but I wasn't sure how fast and such).

The readings then were:

kh: somewhere between 4/71.6ppm and 5/89.5ppm

ph: 7.6 on low test and 7.4 on high test

There's a place about an hour away that has crushed coral but I can't get there til tomorrow. There's another place only 30 minutes away but they don't get anything in until Wednesday/Thursday. The sooner the better, yes?

(Thank you again everyone!)

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Go ahead and add the other 9 grams, please. :rofl

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Go ahead and add the other 9 grams, please. :rofl

Sorry :P. I am just really nervous about hurting the fish.

New measurements:

kh: 6/107.4ppm (although it started changing a tiny bit at 5 drops so probably a little less than that)

ph: 7.6 on low test, 7.4 on high test

Should I add a bit more baking soda, or will adding crushed coral to the filter tomorrow help enough?

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Can you also test your nitrites please? :D

This morning they were at least 5, probably more (the master kit's not got a big range and I cannot tell the difference between the reading for 2 and 5).

Now, it's still reading as bright purple, so between 2 and 5 or over?

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Gosh I would really like to see that waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay lower. I really think that is more of a problem than the low pH, especially now that you've added baking soda. Let's see what the other mods think . . .

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Gosh I would really like to see that waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay lower. I really think that is more of a problem than the low pH, especially now that you've added baking soda. Let's see what the other mods think . . .

Same, I just don't know how to lower it :(. I've done what I can with water changes... It takes about 12 buckets to do a 50% water change, I could do that? I did notice a slight reading for nitrates this morning which is a good sign I think?

Any tips on increasing oxygen would also be appreciated. They seem to be breathing at the top a little bit. I think it's because there's not enough surface agitation and it's basically a complete lid i.e. no co2 can escape (so I've opened up lid).

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Atlas aquariums on Rode Rd will have crushed coral. I was actually there today but I didn't look for it. Give them a call first to make sure, but they did have some in stock a few weeks ago. Another alternative is Aquarama aquatics on Stafford Rd which also stock it. They are the only stores that I've seen stock it in Brisbane- it's not very common at all

In terms of your cycle, if you would like some more cycled media to really give you an extra boost I have some I can part with, so let me know!

I use bicarbonate soda for my tank since my KH is also quite low, and it works very well. It does increase my pH which is fine from tap, but as long as it's stable, it's a lot better than having one that fluctuated

Edited by Narny105

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Baking soda has a very small effect on pH compared to other buffers, including crushed coral, and it should not raise pH beyond 8-8.2, unless you are adding tons and tons of it.

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I just changed 80L or about 45% of the tank volume (10 buckets out, 10 buckets in; my back started to hurt and it took me over an hour, I feel bad but I really couldn't do more :( ) to get the nitrites down. They are still at 2-5ppm or more (I think-it's really hard for me to read these things). I added baking soda again to get the kh above 100 again.

Atlas aquariums on Rode Rd will have crushed coral. I was actually there today but I didn't look for it. Give them a call first to make sure, but they did have some in stock a few weeks ago. Another alternative is Aquarama aquatics on Stafford Rd which also stock it. They are the only stores that I've seen stock it in Brisbane- it's not very common at all


In terms of your cycle, if you would like some more cycled media to really give you an extra boost I have some I can part with, so let me know!


I use bicarbonate soda for my tank since my KH is also quite low, and it works very well. It does increase my pH which is fine from tap, but as long as it's stable, it's a lot better than having one that fluctuated

Thanks for the tip on shops Narny, I'll check out Atlas Aquarium tomorrow because I can walk there from the shopping centre without getting lost haha. There's a place I can get to Tuesday and another one on Wednesday but I'm thinking the sooner the better.

If you could give me a cycle boost with some cycled media, that would be amazing. While you're here you could also point out where else I've gone wrong haha. I don't think I've got enough air in the water :(.

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What is your ammonia level? Go ahead and add 1 level teaspoon aquarium salt per 10 gallons (40 liters) of tank water please. This will essentially block the nitrite mediated toxicity.

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