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View Full Version : MAINTAINING HIGH PH LEVELS



SGypsyMermaid
08-31-2002, 08:03 PM
i got my first lake cichlids while on a quest for new inhabitants for my brackish water tank. at that time, i only had 2 tanks--the 37 gal. brackish tank, and a 10 gal with feeder guppies in it. at the lfs, i caught sight of the most colorful freshwater fish that i had ever seen, and had to have them. the guy at the lfs said no problem, you can put about a dozen of them in a 10 gal. tank--yeah, right--a dozen juveniles, but they grow! anyway, he sent me home with rift lake salts, which i used at every water change for years before i discovered the fact that using calcareous rocks(tufa, limestone, reef rock, etc) and/or calcareous substrates(marine sand, rift lake mix) would maintain the ph levels that i needed without all that mixing and measuring.

chennes
09-01-2002, 08:40 AM
I use 1/2 crushed coral and 1/2 contractor-grade silicate sand. The fish love digging in it, and it keeps the pH up around 8 - I almost never check it anymore, because it's proven very stable.

Chris

wkwan
09-03-2002, 01:28 PM
Hi, I use a teaspoon baking soda per 5 gallon of water. It serves as a ph buffer and keeps my water at 8.0 - 8.2 all the time.

William

SGypsyMermaid
09-03-2002, 02:26 PM
what kind of rocks/substrate do you have in your tanks?

Boilermaker
09-05-2002, 01:54 AM
I use tap water to buffer my cichlid tanks, Don't you wish you were so lucky :twisted:

Guard Bum
09-14-2002, 07:01 PM
Must be a Southern thing. My tap water has PH 8.0, KH 215, Gh 17.9 with negligable chlorine. Oh yea, and I don't need a tank heater - water stays between 78-80 by itself year round in my house. Every now and then the heater kicks on after a water change. Makes it easy for those of us learning under fire. 8)

jonah
09-28-2002, 08:57 AM
My tap comes out pH 8.2 with gh/kh 15. I've thought about running an air duct out to the garage so I could keep fish out there year round. Our cental heat/air unit is actually bigger than the house requires so it shouldn't burden the system.

Adam
02-03-2003, 07:08 PM
My well water is absolutely terrible to drink and it ruins all of our glass, but its great for the fish :D and its great to add a bit to keep the ph just right.

Adam
02-03-2003, 07:17 PM
You can have as much as you want. It's absolutely horrid stuff. I'll give you as much as you want, you just bring the water truck over, but it will stain it and make it all gross. One of those steel milk trucks

WorldNation
02-04-2003, 12:24 AM
i'm lucky! my tap is at 8.0-8.2 , but i also add a bag of crushed coral to my filter media just in case.

Mbuniac
05-28-2003, 09:04 PM
Gypsy,
Just wanted to rub a litlle more salt in the wound. Our tap water is 8.2, hardness 200+ kh/gh 20+. Makes water changes real easy just add a little stress coat. But, Boilermaker is right, it's not always the most wonderful drinking water. But what the heck, you can always by drinking water, it's the fish that matter most anyway! (smile)
Sam

Furcifer
06-03-2003, 03:56 PM
Here's the king of the Hardness :O))

My well water is 720 Ms !!! That means : 21 gh
lake Tanganyika has 600 MS conductivity...

I also add Sodium Bicarbonate so it rises to 1000Ms
My fish can live in Marine Tank :lol:

AlvinV
02-28-2004, 12:56 AM
Ok, I'll jump in here...can I get a kit from a lfs to measure my tap water? Not sure what it's like up here in the Toronto area. (Any takers from GTA?)

matt1066
03-04-2004, 06:24 PM
Any aquarium store will have a kit.

To be on the safe side buy a High range kit as well as a normal PH kit

Midas
03-26-2004, 05:05 AM
You guys have some hard water.

My tap water is pH 6.8-7.2 which a gh/kh of about 20-60 ppm, depending on how much rain we've had (softer with more rain). I have to use sodium bicarbonate or crushed shell in nearly all my tanks to keep the pH from crashing (even the neutral pH tanks).

skiitswitch
04-14-2004, 04:54 PM
I use a mix of crushed coral and small gravel along with Boulder sandstone slabs as rocks and the pH hasn't ever wavered from 8.1... it's glorious!

gigafish
05-10-2004, 06:50 PM
Ok my water perimeters are: ph 7.2-7.4, gh12, kh3. I use seachem malawi buffers and rift lake salt for every water change. how can I make this less expensive on the long run?

skiitswitch
05-10-2004, 08:45 PM
coral or limestone rocks - something calcareous... will raise the hardness and the pH with it

shmoof
06-24-2004, 08:29 PM
My tapper water has a ph of about 7.8 will adding limestone and cichlid mix substrate to the tank put my ph levels through the roof

Seedy
06-24-2004, 08:50 PM
try it and test it...substrate and limestone take a while to "work" because it has to disolve into the water...

cHARLENE
12-04-2004, 11:48 PM
wat is pH?

jonah
12-05-2004, 12:12 AM
Originally posted by cHARLENE
wat is pH?
"A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, numerically equal to 7 for neutral solutions, increasing with increasing alkalinity and decreasing with increasing acidity. The pH scale commonly in use ranges from 0 to 14."

That's a quote from www.dictionary.com . Most of the Rift Valley cichlids would have high pH in their natural waters, over 8 for Malawi and closer to 9 for Tanganyika.

Cichlid Jeans
01-01-2005, 12:51 PM
Although I am concerned about water parameters, my experience is a little at variance with my fussing.

Water comes out of the tap at 7.2 pH, 100 ppm KH. Over "African Cichlid" mix substrate, which includes crushed stone and freshwater shells, it gets up to 7.4 pH. Not really African cichlid water.

However, my neo brevis bred in it, so often that I had to take their shells away! I think I got 200 fry altogether. My hap sp. 44 also bred in the 7.4, producing about 50 fry from two batches last spring. I think my borleyi would have produced a brood as well, but unfortunately I neglected to vent the pair at purchase time (oops).

I think sensitivity to fixed PH levels is a species variable, and its a mistake to put your tanks on an additive diet unless the fish show you that your water sucks.

Cichlid Jeans

sunshyn
07-31-2005, 11:52 AM
My water from the tap runs around 8-8.2 for pH but contains alot of chlorine so I must treat it first......which brings me to my question....

The 55gal- crushed coral in the filters and lots of holey rock, yet the ph doesn't seem to want to rise above 7.8, any suggestions, I would prefer it to be a tad higher?

The 92gal- aragonite as a substrate, ph around 8.0, is this ok for tangs or should I aim a bit higher? I could always add some of the crushed coral to the filters and might make things perfect for this tank.......

but what to do about the stubborn 55?

Thanks everyone!!!

SGypsyMermaid
07-31-2005, 01:15 PM
when are you doing your testing for ph...right after a water change? chlorine removers sometimes drop the ph temporarily. how often do you do maintenance on your eheim--excess organic material can acidify your water.

Glaive
07-31-2005, 02:37 PM
What is your hardness out of the tap<gH and Kh>?

I had to remember KISS<keep it simple stupid.>

Very simply the difference between your tanks is argonite vs coral/texas holey rock. Argonite disolves better so your 90 has a higher pH.

You pH is hitting it's roof because your tank water is satuarated with ions already, hence why I asked what your hardness is out of the tap. In the cas of pure water coral will drive the pH as high as 8.6 and argonite as high as 9.2.
(I think Zrock tested crushed marble and it hit above 10.0.)

ex.
take an ordinary glass of warm water and start adding salt and stirring at some point the salt will no long disolve because the water is saturated.

If your fish are happy with the pH then you should be happy with it.

LordBane
07-31-2005, 07:47 PM
Is there such thing as too much texas holey rock?

I cannot get over how cool it looks

LB

SGypsyMermaid
07-31-2005, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by LordBane
Is there such thing as too much texas holey rock?

I cannot get over how cool it looks

LB

no such thing.:razz:

Glaive
07-31-2005, 10:13 PM
I would define too much holey rock as no room for water. ;)

sunshyn
08-01-2005, 11:52 PM
I have pretty hard water straight from the tap, sorry don't have the exact numbers at the moment-- but I also add some cichlid salt during water changes. My fish seem to be just fine, so I guess I shouldn't worry. Awhile back I had my water tested at the lfs and they suggested I try to raise my ph a bit. I think I'll just keep using the crushed coral, I'm only using it in one filter now, maybe I'll put it in both.

Thanks for all the advice, its much appreciated!!!

lyttlewing
09-29-2005, 06:49 PM
I have a question to this, I see some of you use baking soda in the tank - does the sodium bicarbonate build up or not with waterchanges? Is the type of salt released ok for the fish?

Glaive
09-29-2005, 06:53 PM
sodium bicarbonate does not build up, if you use this method you will have to add more every water change.

Rob D
12-09-2005, 02:22 PM
I am new to the forum and have a question. I have a 55 gal planted tank of all african cichlids beside my 3 raphiel catfish and 1 golden gourami. I am curently using proper PH 8.2 to keep my tanks PH stable but I've been told its bad for my plants and can cause high phosphate levels leading to algea. Well, I've got plenty of algea though the lable states that the product is phosphate free. I vacuum the gravel (1/4" river rocks) disturbing it well enough to get the waste out. Would some sand mixed into the river rock be a better substiate? I'd like to keep the PH up with out using chemicals. On a test of my tap water the hardness is between 110-250 ppm, chlorine 0 ppm, PH 6.2 amonia 0 ppm, nitrate 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, and alkalinity 80 ppm. my water is good for a straight water change except for the PH. Should I use baking soda instead of the proper PH 8.2 ?

RustyNut
12-10-2005, 07:25 AM
Originally posted by Rob D
On a test of my tap water the hardness is between 110-250 ppm, chlorine 0 ppm, PH 6.2 amonia 0 ppm, nitrate 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, and alkalinity 80 ppm. my water is good for a straight water change except for the PH. Should I use baking soda instead of the proper PH 8.2 ?

The 110-250ppm hardness I assume is general hardness (GH)? That is quite a range I will also assume that is seasonal variation.... It would be a good idea to know your KH as cichlids ideally like the KH (carbonate hardness) to be 10+ (although they can handle lower.)

I am surprised your nitrates are 0 as usually there is a trace amount of it but your water sounds great other than the PH which is probably a result of low KH.... The GH (general hardness) is more a measure of salt content. KH is the buffering mechanism that maintains a stable PH (which is important) so Baking Soda alone will help but you may need to also add epsom salt to increase your buffer to prevent PH swings.

Another way to add to your KH/buffer is to add carbonates to your tank... Such as limestone, Crushed coral, lace rock, etc... I use net bags of crushed coral/arogonite in my filter which maintins the PH and KH nicely. However you must match your water change water with your tank chemistry to prevent stressing your fish.

Check your other post for more info on that....

Rob D
12-10-2005, 04:03 PM
Ok, I got a test kit today for the KH and GH. The test for both came out the same 71.6 PPM. Is this good?

RustyNut
12-10-2005, 04:43 PM
For Malawians:

PH range is normally 7.8-8.6

GH range is normally 7 dGH which translates roughly to 125 ppm.

KH range is normally 10-12 which translates roughly to 180-215 ppm


For Tanganyikans:

PH range is normally 8.4-9.2

GH range is normally 10-12 dGH which translates to roughly 180-215ppm

KH ranges\ is normally 10-15 dKH which translates to roughly 180-270 ppm

It is not critical to get your water this high, but rather to get it as close as possible while providing STABILITY!

General Info On Water Hardness

General Hardness
Total, general or permanent hardness is represented by the letters gH. It is determined by the concentration of calcium and magnesium salts, i.e. the amount of calcium (Ca++) and magnesium (Mg++) ions, which are dissolved in the water. The amount of dissolved minerals is dependent upon the source of the water, and the type of treatment processes it has undergone. Total hardness or general hardness is sometimes referred to as total dissolved salts (TDS).

Hard water (> 200 ppm) is high in calcium and magnesium, while soft water (50 to 100 ppm) is low in these minerals.

Carbonate Hardness
Carbonate, bicarbonate or temporary hardness is formed from the compounds of calcium and magnesium with carbonic acid, i.e. it is the measure of carbonate (CO3-) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) ion concentrations dissolved in the water. It is represented by the letters kH. Their concentration is dependent on the source of the water and the treatment processes it has undergone.

Carbonate hardness helps stabilize the pH value and prevents dangerous drops in the pH value (acid drop or pH crash). It is sometimes referred to as alkalinity. An aquarium with a low kH level (50 ppm or less) will tend to be acidic. Aquariums with these parameters are subject to rapid shifts in pH, if not monitored carefully. Water with a high kH level (> 200 ppm) usually has a high pH. The biological breakdown processes in an aquarium, and the carbon dioxide consumption by plants, deplete the carbonate hardness in the water. Drastic changes in pH values can harm your fish.

Adjusting your water

Basic Recipe is 1tsp. of Baking Soda, 1 TBsp. of Epsom Salt, and 1tsp. of non-iodized salt for every 5gal. of water.

This may need to be adjusted to YOUR water conditions!

It is best to test this procedure in a bucket so that you may adjust the amounts of each ingredient as needed. Once your specific recipe is known, it should not change provided your source water remains the same.

First start with Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) which will raise your PH to an equilibrium value of 8.2 and subsequently raise your KH value as well. Add 1 tsp. for every 5 gal. of water or until either your PH hits 8.2 or the PH value you desire. Check your KH levels.

Next add Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) which will raise your GH and your KH values. Add 1 TBsp. for every 5 gal. of water or until your GH/KH values are within your desired values.

Last add Non-Iodized salt (Sodium Chloride) to Raise your GH. Add 1tsp. for every 5gal. of water until your GH is at the desired value. *Potassium chloride may be substituted if desired.

Now retest your PH GH and KH (Ph is probably a little higher)

SGypsyMermaid
12-11-2005, 06:35 PM
good post, but sodium chloride does not affect hardness or ph.

Rob D
12-11-2005, 07:06 PM
Will the cichlid salt raise all? right now the GH is at 7 the KH is at 10 and the PH is at 7.8. I just did a 50% water change using the cichlid salt this time instead of the proper PH 8.2, The GH and KH where both at 4 before and the PH was about 7.2 or slightly higher. I am working in the cichlid salt in small amounts with each water change to raise the levels. I am keeping a record of the amount added each time and the levels before and after each water change to get to the desired conditions. This way I will know what I need in each water change when I reach the perfect conditions.

SGypsyMermaid
12-11-2005, 07:09 PM
yes, cichlid salts, which are different from aquarium salt(nacl) are designed to raise the hardness and the ph.

Rob D
12-11-2005, 07:21 PM
Great, I have noticed more activity, appetite, and better coloration in my fish as the levels have come up. I also got a new heater as my old one had dificulty holding a steady temp. It would go 2-3 deg above or below the set temp as the heat or AC would go on and off. Now the temp hasn't varied more than 0.8 deg all weekend. I'm sure those kind of temp changes weren't a good thing either. Temp is now between 79 and 80 deg consistently. :dance:

RustyNut
12-11-2005, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by SGypsyMermaid
good post, but sodium chloride does not affect hardness or ph.

Sorry SGM, but total hardness (GH) is a measure of total disolved minerals (salts) in the water and Sodium Chloride is a disolved mineral (salt). I never said it increased PH did I?

SGypsyMermaid
12-12-2005, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by RustyNut
Sorry SGM, but total hardness (GH) is a measure of total disolved minerals (salts) in the water and Sodium Chloride is a disolved mineral (salt). I never said it increased PH did I?

read the first paragraph: http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/hardness.htm

read line 3: http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/hardness-larryfrank.html

http://badmanstropicalfish.com/articles/article5.html

RustyNut
12-12-2005, 07:19 PM
From one of your OWN source SGM,



Although NaCl is not composed of any truly "hard" ions (laundering ions of Mg or Ca, which produce the hard water stains on your tank and are the only ions that count in true carbonate hardness), it does raise the total dissolved solids in the water... these add up to raise general hardness, or GH.



I have seen literature that states that it does and other that states that it doesn't raise GH. However it absolutely does raise TDS which affect GH so I am more preapred to believe that while the effects may be small, it does in fact raise GH.

I'll continue to read into this and try to come up with some scientific literature that is conclusive.

RustyNut
12-19-2005, 04:05 PM
Well I do NOT have anything definitive on the matter, however, it seems that literature on cichlids health seems to indicate that increase NACL beyond 1tsp per 5gal is not healty to cichlids for long term exposure and since GH can be effected through modifying the other ingredients I feel the best advice is to only add NACL at the recommend dose of 1tsp. per 5gal. and not increasing NACL to increase GH

Heather1978
02-22-2006, 01:08 PM
I heard that putting seashells in your tank can raise the pH. Is this true?

RustyNut
02-22-2006, 02:31 PM
Yes it is and it works well to about PH8.2

Heather1978
02-22-2006, 03:38 PM
Do the seashells take longer to raise the pH?

RustyNut
03-20-2006, 07:24 PM
Much longer

Glaive
07-25-2006, 11:55 AM
Don't mess with the pH dirrectly, mess with the KH and the pH will follow and stay there.

P-Did
07-25-2006, 11:59 AM
My main question, that I honestly am not 100% sure of is this:

If my PH is raised by .5, and the water is well buffered, is that going to offset the lower PH tap water when I do a 50% water chagne? Is the PH going to stay up with all the lower PH water added? I find that hard to believe, but maybe this is something new I have to learn.

Glaive
07-25-2006, 01:31 PM
My main question, that I honestly am not 100% sure of is this:

If my PH is raised by .5, and the water is well buffered, is that going to offset the lower PH tap water when I do a 50% water chagne? Is the PH going to stay up with all the lower PH water added? I find that hard to believe, but maybe this is something new I have to learn.



It truly depends as you are asking a loaded question whether you realize it or not.

Two factors to think of carbonate hardness <KH> is what stabilizes your pH and pH is the measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.

Theoretically if one's KH were high enough then adding a lower pH water to a higher would not matter. What is tripping you up is you are thinking 2 dimensionally and teh problem is really 3D, head hurt yet?


All of what comes next is extrememly hypothetical as I am making up values and not taking real chemistry into account.

common sense says:
10L H2 @ pH 8.0
added to
10L H2 @ pH 7.0
would yield
20L H2 @ pH 7.5

Unfortunately this does not account for KH as one could have enough of a buffering capacity to keep the whole at 8.0.

Pretend for a moment that it takes a concentration of 100ppm carbonates to offset the pH difference of pH shift 7.0 to 8.0. Now pretend that the pH7 water has 0 ppm carbonates and the 8 water has 200 ppm carbonates.

When they combine it becomes 20 liters @ pH 8 with 50 ppm of carbonates. the concentration of carbonates are halved twice once because they are consumed by hydrogen and again because the volume is doubled.

Notice that we have severely depleted our buffering capacity, I might play some with combining my RO water and tank water for ****s and giggles later and report what I find. If you do want to better understand this stuff scientifically I may have a link or two for you. Might also be time for a chemistry article, but it seems most hobbiests are not that serious.

P-Did
07-25-2006, 10:01 PM
Glaive, you're right, I was basically thinking the common sense thought that if you put 7.0 with 8.0, you'd end up with something close to 7.5. I didn't realize that through having a high KH, you could dump low PH water in without changing the PH one bit. Thank you very much for pointing that out.

So here's the next question: say I want to make my KH high to stabilize the PH at a higher level. Is there a point where having too high KH will hurt the fish?

Also, I was thinking, maybe I would get better growth and breeding results (not that they have been that bad) if I went ahead and tried to stabilize the water at around 8.0. The main thing I'm worried about is doing a 50% water change and having the PH drop (which is why I never bothered to mess with the PH in the past). So....

Is there an additive out there that will only raise KH, so I could just add it to the water before a large water change?

I've heard that rocks and coral that buffer only do so far a couple of months. I would like to figure out a method to make the buffering consistent. So I'd rather use something in which I know I'm adding the same amount every time.

The only other thing I'm a bit concerned about is when I buy new fish. I'm sure non of the fish stores mess with their PH, so I might be stressing the fish out more by mainaining a high PH in my tank. The same goes for when I'm taking the fish back to the shop, they might be shocked when the LFS guy throws them in (as far as I know, he only acclimates for temp). Maybe something like 7.8 would be ideal, as I'd be closer to the lake, but not too far off from the fish store's PH.

Glaive
07-25-2006, 10:08 PM
Slow acclimation like what seedy does could help for introducing from the shop.

As for upping KH only I'm not too sure that is possible, my mind says not really. As you up the carbonates they will "consume" hydrogen ions which will lower the pH. I don't think that you would be able to over do the KH in a non lab situation either.

One can control what the pH will end up near by the amount of buffer material one uses. To achieve less one would try using less.

P-Did
07-25-2006, 10:32 PM
As for upping KH only I'm not too sure that is possible, my mind says not really. As you up the carbonates they will "consume" hydrogen ions which will lower the pH.

You meant to say "raise the PH" right? When I said "raise only the KH", what I meant was doing so for the purpose of having higher PH, and still stable during water changes.

So will certain stones consistently and gradually bring, then maintain, the KH in the 200-400 range? Or is adding baking soda or commerical additives the safest way to make sure the KH raise is consistent (and not done too quickly)? If I'm going to try to get a little closer the lake, I want to do so very slowly.

Glaive
07-26-2006, 04:07 AM
Yes I meant raise the pH. Rocks and coral will buffer until they are no more.

Glaive
07-26-2006, 12:12 PM
I know you are wondering about how much buffering source to add and for that I could only think about trying maybe a 1/4 - 1/2 pound increments. It also depends on where in your system you are putting it, ie less is needed in a filter while a lot more is needed if it were in the substrate.

Coral and limestone are about equal they are both calcium carbonate.

Just go easy on it. Or test in a buck with known quantities. Shells are also a good source which may work more slowly.

P-Did
07-26-2006, 12:18 PM
I've head shells in my tank for years (great for hiding spots). They don't seem to do anything, but maybe I just don't have enough to make a difference.

Glaive
07-26-2006, 12:22 PM
Ammount and whether or not they are polished. I have a hand full for maintaining my KH in my cannister.

DeViAntX
04-04-2007, 06:38 PM
I just finished testing my water my ph gh and kh went down since i set up the tank. the ph is 7.4 the gh is 100 and kh is 25-50 what can i do to fix this. I currently have crushed coral at a substrate and a med sized holey rock any suggestions?

Glaive
04-04-2007, 11:09 PM
Add a 1/2 cup of your substrate to a filter in a media bag and see how that does for you. If you desire a greater effect then add another 1/2 cup.

malawi haps
06-11-2007, 07:01 AM
just tested my water from well gh is 0 kh is 11 and ph is 7. My tank is 75 gallon and i will be using crushed coral and common brown river pea sized gravel mixed. What should I do to get the ph and gh where it needs to be ?? I think the substrate and the little bit 1 cup total I will put in the filters 2 ac 110's will take care of the ph but what about the gh??

RustyNut
06-11-2007, 03:10 PM
Your gH cannot be 0 if your kH is not 0.... they are inter-related.

Something is wrong with that test result. To answer your question, the Crushed Coral in your filters will take care of both gH and kH as well as pH to acceptable levels for cichlids provided you tap water is not soft and is above 7.0 pH (Below that you'd want to add buffers to the water)

malawi haps
06-11-2007, 05:31 PM
The reason the gh was 0 is I have a water softner for the house .The other reason I was wondering is I have a ro/di unit also .If it would be better to use the ro and add the trace minerals vs using the softened water I was going to go that route.

RustyNut
06-11-2007, 09:48 PM
I have a water softener on my house and my gH is not 0.....

Glaive
06-12-2007, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by RustyNut
Your gH cannot be 0 if your kH is not 0.... they are inter-related.

Something is wrong with that test result. To answer your question, the Crushed Coral in your filters will take care of both gH and kH as well as pH to acceptable levels for cichlids provided you tap water is not soft and is above 7.0 pH (Below that you'd want to add buffers to the water)

Not true Rusty, as per my discussion with Parhaam a while back..


He explained that the "kH" test in the hobby is not a true test of kH but a test of all carbonates dissociated in solution or not. So in the aquarium one can have a gH or 0 and a "kH" of X because were are testing for "kH" and not kH.

;)

RustyNut
06-12-2007, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by Glaive
Not true Rusty, as per my discussion with Parhaam a while back..


He explained that the "kH" test in the hobby is not a true test of kH but a test of all carbonates dissociated in solution or not. So in the aquarium one can have a gH or 0 and a "kH" of X because were are testing for "kH" and not kH.

;)

Interesting! I should have followed that topic more closely!

malawi,sc
08-19-2007, 07:05 AM
new to africans but i had 50 pounds of base rock (coraline) from my reef days.. when i sold my reef i threw the base rock out in a stream i have in the yard (100 ft, hand dug). now the rock is decoration in my new 225 malawi tank.. well water is 6.8, tank after cycle is 8.0 to 8.2.. coraline seems to be doing a good job. i did not add any extra chemicals

Noob
10-27-2008, 12:49 PM
I plan on replacing my pool filter sand with crushed coral "cabrisea' florida mix. If i do this, do i need to add baking soda, epsom salt, aquarium salt? Or will the coral replace all of these, or just some?

Also, it has been asked before, but how will this affect my water changes. how do i deal with the drastic shift of parameters with unmodified tap water.

DogWalker
10-27-2008, 06:55 PM
I believe you would still need to add the baking soda. How much you need to use to get it from your starting tapwater conditions to where you want it to be takes some trial and measurement at first, but once you know how much is needed to get from tapwater to target, just change the same amount of water at each water change and add proportionally. Any PH fluctuation should be temporary and minor unless there is a really big gap between tap and target water conditions (in that case do smaller and more frequent water changes rather than larger, less regular ones).

To give an example, my tapwater has a PH of 7.4. I don't adjust it for my Malawi tanks, the fish adapt to 7.4 no problem. My Tropheus tank on the other hand really should have a higher PH than 7.4. I've found I need 3 tablespoons of baking soda when doing a 50% water change on this tank to keep the PH in the 8.0 - 8.2 range. I mix the baking soda, sea salt & epsom salt in a pale of water and pour it around in the tank when re-filling. Whatever temporary fluctuation may happen while the mix dissolves and takes effect does not seem to have been sufficient to bother the fish. (Note: this tank has the Carib-Sea African Cichlid Mix, which is also a good PH buffering substrate). If my tapwater were, say 7.0 or less I would change to more frequent and smaller water changes.

Noite: some folks say that the aquarium salt (or sea salt, which is a LOT cheaper from pharmacies) and epsom salt are absolutely not needed. They may be right, I'm not sure. I just know that the mix of the three has been working very well for me, and buying in bulk from a pharmacy, a 9 month supply of sea salt and epsom salt costs me around $10.

RustyNut
10-28-2008, 09:39 AM
DW, Sea Salt is not sodium chloride, its potassium chloride.... I have heard of many using it without problem but I wanted you to know its not the same.

Kosher salt, or Pickling salt are the best purest forms, though good old table salt will work in a pinch. I've known many who've used it for years and haven't had any noticable trouble with the anti-caking agents.... I use kosher/pickling salt since I get it cheap and in bulk :D

Noob
10-28-2008, 09:45 AM
Rusty, if i may call you rusty,

What are the drawbacks of using crushed coral, my cichlids like to digg, take the sand in their mouth and spit it out their gills. Im guessing the coral will make them stop this behavior. I could do the filter bag, but i think the coral would be beautiful as a substrate, just dont want to prevent the fish from digging.

So it sounds like coral, is not a replacement for any of my additives completely, just an extra level of buffer. No such thing as over buffering right???

Glaive
10-28-2008, 10:32 AM
Noob,

If you add the right amount of crushed coral to your filter and you have good surface movement for gas exchange you should need no additives.

One can use crushed coral as a substrate so long as you do not have sand sifting cichlids in the mix. I think most people go for sand instead for aesthetics and cost.

Noob
10-28-2008, 11:21 AM
Ok, that sounds good, I will concentrate on adding coral to the filters since it sounds like its more effective. Maybe mix some coral into the sand (50-50 mix im thinking) just for some variety and looks.

very helpful as usual!

DogWalker
10-28-2008, 05:04 PM
Noob, good luck, I hope it works for you. I have found that adding crushed coral sacks alone to my filters doesn't seem to raise PH, but how visible the effect is may be largely dependent on your tapwater properties (mainly PH, general hardness). No doubt it buffers the water against PH drops in any case though...


DW, Sea Salt is not sodium chloride, its potassium chloride.... I have heard of many using it without problem but I wanted you to know its not the same.

Sea salt is not pure sodium chloride, but it is mostly sodium chloride (depending on the source you quote and where in the world we're talking about it is typically 97% -98% sodium chloride). There is potassium chloride as well in sea salt (along with other minerals), but in much smaller quantities. It's quite possible sea salt may be one of the main natural sources of potassium chloride, which could explain the confusion on this point.

Glaive
10-28-2008, 05:14 PM
DW, look at your carbon dioxide levels to find the reason why the crushed coral is not up to the task.

DogWalker
10-28-2008, 05:22 PM
CO2 very low, honest. Basing this on multiple tanks, some very sparsely populated and with high surface turbulence.

RustyNut
10-30-2008, 03:34 PM
DW, I defer to your magnificence! :D

DogWalker
10-30-2008, 06:22 PM
DW, I defer to your magnificence! :D

Aw, c'mon, you know very well I just googled it to see for myself :rofl:

Glaive
10-31-2008, 11:34 AM
Just too keep the subject and learning going...

What size tanks and how much coral are we talking DW?

In my case a cup for a 55 is good but I have pretty basic water to begin with(pH 8.4). If I was in the east bay(pH ~7.4) I would likely need to increase the coral.

A lot of times I cover the fact that our chemistry is an inverse relationship between carbonates and carbon dioxide, but I fail to state that the pH scale is logarithmic and that our natural buffers only dissolve so fast. In order to overcome the limitations we would have to increase the material dissolving.

Perhaps I should start up a bucket test with RO water sometime and see what my results are...

DogWalker
10-31-2008, 11:40 AM
As soon as I can free up one of my busy hospital tanks I'm going to do more of a controlled test and report back... may be another week or so.

Glaive
10-31-2008, 04:41 PM
Excellent!

Misk
03-23-2009, 01:15 AM
OK so I'm new to all this, I currently have 2 tanks set up 1 full of africans and the other with 2 gold saums and a convict (they're both a fairly decent size and killed everything else) the ph in the tank of africans is around 7.4 but the americans are (according to the test) living in water that is around a 4!!?? They all seem fine. Please help :(

Glaive
03-23-2009, 10:21 AM
Did you use a strip test or drops? If you used drops did you use the high or the low test.
How often do you change water in both tanks?

Jeff F.
03-23-2009, 10:45 AM
Just too keep the subject and learning going...



In my case a cup for a 55 is good but I have pretty basic water to begin with(pH 8.4). If I was in the east bay(pH ~7.4) I would likely need to increase the coral.

I believe you also said that you would change this coral about every 2 years to ensure that the buffering effect isn't lost. Yes?

Glaive
03-23-2009, 11:02 AM
In the case of my water yes. In the case of "East Bay" water it would be more often.
How often would be determined by how quickly the effects started to degrade which
is why I suggested monthly testing.

Misk
03-23-2009, 07:59 PM
I've been doing 25% changes every week on both tanks, the test is with drops not strips and it apparently goes from 3-11. Since last post I have a done a 50% water change and that brought the ph up to about 5.5, will do this again today and see how it goes. My tap water is good, usually around an 8.

Jeff F.
03-23-2009, 08:07 PM
There is great info waiting.. perhaps this may clarify something for you. http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html In light of your post I would check things that make PH fluctuate. Do you have good air exchange that allows the release of co2?

dstuer
05-22-2009, 11:36 AM
If you use a fluidized bed unit, and use aragonite as media, it works as a pH equilizer. The aragonite will slowly dissilve and you will need to replace it periodically. The out flow will also provide aggitation to help drive off CO2, and the aragonite becomes colonized with bacteria.
http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i97/dstuer/fluidizedbed/02-16-07_1705.jpg
This is a DIY one I built that stands @ 4' tall, 8" in diameter and uses 5-7lbs of aragonite.
http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i97/dstuer/fluidizedbed/02-16-07_1704.jpg
I got the plans out of FAMA somtime in the early 90s.
Be sure to use a check valve if you build one, to prevent media from back siphonage. A union is also good for deattatch and reattatching.

bhcolex50x
09-13-2009, 04:58 PM
seachem makes a few different cichlid salts to buffer the water and all work great and are pretty cheap for little it takes to change the ph in your tank. i've been using the same bottle that was $10 for several months and thats on a 75 gallon tank with weekly water changes.
Good luck

audrey
10-27-2009, 10:34 PM
hey Im new and i don't now where to write a question

emir
05-03-2010, 01:35 PM
i read earlier in this thread that you can add baking soda for the cichlids??

really???

Heyguy74
05-03-2010, 01:41 PM
Yes. Baking soda will bring the ph to a max of about 8.2. However you need to be careful about bringing the ph up too quickly. What is the ph out of your tap? You should also know kh (carbonate hardness) and GH (general hardenss.).

emir
05-05-2010, 11:57 AM
I have no idea of the ph of my tap. How to know? Im a noob in this.

Glaive
05-05-2010, 12:21 PM
Take a sample to your local fish store and have them test it for you.

RoseBud
05-30-2010, 03:53 PM
about the baking soda...how much would you add per gal.?

Shade of Grey
05-30-2010, 06:10 PM
It varies depending on your tap water, but general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 5 gal bucket and adjust from there.

RoseBud
06-07-2010, 07:08 PM
i just got some new test strips...6 n 1 and here are my readings
nitrate 20
nitrite 0
hardness 25
chlorine 0
alkalinity 0
ph 6.8

do i need to bring the ph up any?
or these just fine....

Glaive
06-07-2010, 07:41 PM
RoseBud, what type of fish are you keeping?

RoseBud
06-07-2010, 08:38 PM
i have a tiger oscar.

Glaive
06-07-2010, 09:29 PM
Your pH is fine, do you have any wood in the tank? Do not add baking soda.

RoseBud
06-07-2010, 09:33 PM
i have no wood..only a big plastic log..and a smalller rock.
lol..he liked to rearrage the smaller stuff too good, so i removed them.

AquaLady
12-02-2013, 05:34 AM
Wish I woulda read this before I posted about it. One thing, do I add Epsom and baking soda before or after the ammonia when I begin cycling the tank?

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AquaLady
12-02-2013, 10:39 AM
Or can I use API African Mineral Salt, PH Up and API Buffer Max?

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