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Old 08-22-2015, 09:20 PM   #1
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How to raise KH?

Hi all,

Ever since I've been testing my water, it always registers as zero KH. I don't know how serious this is, but after a little bit of reading, I've learned that it can lead to drastic pH swings. So far my pH has been 7.0-7.2 in about a week, so perhaps my water is fairly stable?

I've read that you can put baking soda to change the KH, but how much? What other alternatives are there (that hopefully don't change the pH?)

I've also read that using Seachem acid/alkaline buffer is "safer", and I found them pretty cheap on Amazon, so I'm willing to take that route too.

Any advice appreciated, thanks
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:36 AM   #2
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Hi,

For raising KH you can use commercial buffers, slow natural buffers like crushed coral or faster buffers like baking soda. I prefer crushed coral (or along those lines) as a backup but also use a commercial kh bufer (another excuse to go to the lfs). So plenty of options.

Have you tested tap water ph (straight away and then let it sit in a jar for 24hrs to degas and then retest), as well as kh and gh. This will give us the base line.
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Old 08-23-2015, 01:31 PM   #3
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Hello to a similar "zero" KH sufferer ...

Seachem themselves, in their forum, admits the acid alkaline buffer isn't a stable way to go. I've tried it and it didn't work well.

Aquarium processes make the tank acidic so yes it's a problem.

Baking soda sometimes works but it can be an incomplete solution.

Crushed coral works for many. For me it was messy and didn't work.

I finally tried a suggestion from the book The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, by Boruchowitz. He writes that the only time you should add things to the water is when GH and KH are too low -- and then yes it's very important to supplement. He mentions various methods then settles on buffered cichlid salts as the best choice because they are the most stable and predictable.

This is backed up by the people over at The Wet Spot Tropical Fish, the "lfs" here in Portland that's one of the biggest freshwater stores in the country. They have tapwater with about zero KH (same water source as me) and they use buffered cichlid salts for all their tanks too. All the community tanks get a 1/3 dose of their own blend to get KH and GH up to 3-4. The only time they don't recommend them is people throwing them suddenly into a tank with fish that aren't used to them: better to slowly increase over several days.

I buy their blend (which you can probably order from them) for friends with new tanks.

In my tanks I don't mind more math, and I like GH to come from a broad assortment of minerals. So I use API Buffer max (marketed for cichlid keepers) at 1/4 tsp per 5 gallon bucket of water that's not quite full. Then I get GH from 1/4 tsp of Seachem Equilibrium. But API cichlid salts would be ok too.

You know you have the right API products if the labels discuss GH and KH. They keep changing the name of the product slightly.

You can DIY (baking soda, Epsom salt, and ice melt crystals) but when a years supply of the others is $15-20, why?

I've been using that blend for about 18 months and it completely turned around my fish keeping hobby (my son at the time thought bettas lasted 2 months, lost their fins, then got flushed, then you buy a new one). I now Use it in a 56 and a 10 gallon planted tank.


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Old 08-23-2015, 05:39 PM   #4
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How to raise KH?

Hi. My tap Kh and Gh is near zero. I have settled on the following:
2.5 ml (half a teaspoon) of Bicarbonate of Soda to every bucket of new water gives me a Kh of about 6 deg.
2.5 ml of Equilibrium to every bucket of new water gives me a Gh of about 6 deg.
A bucket holds about 2 gallon or 10 litres of water.
I have been doing this for over 2 years and tank is stable and Ph holds at about 7 despite the use of Co2 injection.
If you have fish in the tank then adjust all new water and slowly increase Gh and Kh so the fish don't get stressed.
I know there are many options but I thought I'd throw this into ring as an easy option.


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Old 08-23-2015, 06:15 PM   #5
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As per Delapool's advice, my water straight out of the tap tested:
0 ammonia, 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 75 gh, 0 chlorine, 0 kh and a pH of 7.2

I also have a jar in the kitchen that I plan on testing tomorrow.

I've been to the Wet Spot and I loved it there! So they sell their own blend? I'll have to go check it out next time I'm out there.

Idon't necessarily think my GH is a problem? Both from the tap and in the tank it always registers as "75", and as far as I'm aware, the fish I'm interested in keeping prefer softer water anyway. I'm looking at getting a honey gourami, a few panda corys, a few kuhli loaches and a few amano shrimp.

For a 28 gallon tank, what is a good recommended kh? I don't want to go crazy whenever I start adding things and change the water chemistry.

Additionally, I also have some Seachem pH Regulator from the tank's previous owner, does that impact gh/kh or just ph?
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:00 PM   #6
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Yeah don't use the ph regulator.

How near are you to the wet spot? Yes they sell their own cichlid salts, they're cautious about recommending it for soft water but if they think you'll be careful they'll tell you how they use it.

And if you use their blend and buy fish there it's an easy acclimation.

But you might not need any. KH of 3-4 degrees keeps ph stable and fairly neutral. I don't know how degrees translate to ppm. GH of 4 is good. The wet spot can advise further, as their tapwater is so soft it's practically distilled.


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Old 08-25-2015, 11:04 PM   #7
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I ended up getting some crushed corals from a tropical fish shop in Hillsboro, ATK Aquatics. The owner was really friendly and after I told him about my KH problen he sold a little pouch of crushed corals to me from one of his salt water tanks (resident to a single clown fish).

His advice was to put the corals in a nylon stocking and stick it in the bottom of the tank. Should that be good? I don't have to worry too much about pH swings after a little corals right?
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