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gH very low

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by ismenio, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. ismenio

    ismenio Lifetime Members
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    Good morning

    i have discover last night in both tanks that my pH that was 7,2 now is at 6 or below.
    Since i use EI without CO2 i do water changes 1 at month and the plants are great and i don´t have algae but i have some fish dying apparently with no cause but after testing the ph i have test the gH and it was at 0 :-( and the water that i use is at 1º gH or 16ppm and now i think the abrupt change of pH is the cause of deads.
    Now my question, what dose of MgSO4.7H2O should i use?
    Should i use to NaHCO3 ?

    Regards
     
  2. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hello ismenio,
    MgSO4.7H2O will raise your GH, but not the temporary or carbonate hardness in your water (KH). KH or 'total alkalinity' is provided by sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and/or potassium bicarbonate, not total calcium and magnesium. Here is a little calculator that should help answer your question ✒ Buffering capacity and pH.
    The author does state a preference for 4.5 DH, but I hear knowledgeable fish keepers sometimes keep theirs a little above 1 dKH without problems. I'm unaware of any reason to raise it above 4 dKH for a fresh water tank. Maintaining something above 0 dKH is important, I think.
    Q. Is your tap water treated with water softeners?
     
    #2 Tug, Jan 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2010
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    GH Booster

    Hi,

    The low to non-existent GH makes me think your water is going through a softener or something. However, I live in a place with low dGH and high dKH that has always seemed odd to me but it is as it is, so I deal with the situation. A Barr’s GH booster is 3 parts KSO4, 3 parts CaSO4 and 1 part MgSO4.;)

    A couple of reads on water parameters http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/gh_kh_ph.php, and here http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plants/month.9506/msg00121.html

    My experience has been that a dGH of 7 or so is a good place to start. Many have definite ideas but I have honestly not seen many situations where GH being on the high side caused any significant problems.:)

    KH is another matter, I have some plants that if I even think of dKH over 4, they scream. For most of my tanks, I prefer dKH in the 8-10 range that is easy to maintain with the tap water I have here. Low KH means low pH buffering.

    A rounded teaspoon (6 grams) of baking soda for each 50 liters raises the dKH by 4. Be careful in messing with pH, swings in pH caused by CO2 really do not cause too many problems, pH swings caused by the addition of salts of half a degree can have serious consequences for some sensitive critters. Most of the sources I am familiar with recommend no greater than .2 to .4 degree increases or decrease in pH when adding chemicals. :gw

    When adjusting water parameters, the fewer chemical additives, the better.

    Maintaining good water parameters with low KH is difficult at best.

    If your water is going through a water softener, it is best to by-pass it.

    I hope this helps.
    Biollante
     
    #3 Biollante, Jan 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2010
  4. ismenio

    ismenio Lifetime Members
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    Sorry, but i was sleeping when i post and for my mistake isnt Gh but KH i don´t even have the Gh test !!! Let´s talk about the Kh.
    The Kh is very low in the Oporto (Portugal) sometimes i have 3 Kh other times i have 1 Kh and since the ph swing i think the problem is the Gh that should be very low.
    I do not use water softener and i don´t have CO2 in the tanks.
    So the best is use NaHCO3 and rise the dGH by 8 but slowly to not kill the fish wil the change of ph and use MgSO4.7H2O to raise the GH by 4 dKH.
    Correct me if i´m wrong please.

    Regards
     
    #4 ismenio, Jan 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2010
  5. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Seria bom se você nos disser o tamanho dos dois tanques que você tem.

    KH, você é sábio para levantar lentamente os dKH com pequenas quantidades de NaHCO3 durante um período de dias. Quando o pH é um quickley mudança muito grande com NaHCO3, há também alguns problemas desagradáveis que podem acontecer. Veja o que Baollante tem a dizer para esclarecer o problema. Eu só queria agradecer Baolliante para as duas ligações em KH, etc

    Eu acho que ele freqüentemente se refere a mim como uma luz brilhante, insinuando que eu sou bastante novo para tudo isso. Bem, ele está certo, uma nova lâmpada é freqüentemente muito mais brilhante, então o velho. No entanto todos nós podemos aprender experiência

    Best Regards
     
    #5 Tug, Jan 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2010
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    You Are Welcome!

    Hi Tug,

    You are welcome Tug/Mike.

    I refer to Tug/Mike as a bright bulb, because I think that across the board he is one of the brightest folks (based on what and how he writes) I see in any (not just aquaria) forums I read. That he lacks a bit of experience in planted tanks is self-evident, experience comes with time, mistakes and study and if Tug/Mike/ continues with planted aquaria he will be a guru we all look to for answers to our toughest problems.:cool:

    Tug is quite correct, even if immodest (hubris of youth?), to point out that younger/newer bulbs are brighter than the ‘old/dimmer’ bulb. :gw

    ismenio, since you have clarified the rather confusing matter of the GH I think, simply boost the KH as the erstwhile Tug has suggested. :)

    Biollante
    The old though now glowing a little brighter bulb. :)
     
  7. ismenio

    ismenio Lifetime Members
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    Thanks Biollante and Tug

    Learning until we die.

    Regards
     
  8. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    There's a common belief, sadely driven by many forums, that a low KH is detrimental to fish.
    While this can be true in some circumstances (CO2 injection), the reality is that PH, barely affects fish health. On the other side, a very low GH can affect fish as a high KH can affect fish and plants.

    Now, the confusion most people are doing is low KH is causing PH swings, driven by the (useless in our aquriums) PH-KH-CO2 table

    This could be true if ismenio was injecting CO2. Since he doesn't inject CO2, his water PH won't varry quiet at all with a KH of 0, it will be even healthier for fish and plants. CRS are very sensitive species, yet, most asian breeders keep them with a KH 0, no CO2.

    At equilibrium, distilled water with a KH of 0 will have a PH around 6.5, that is a CO2 around 5 ppm). In your aquarium, PH could be lower because of organic acids, but not that much. CO2 will varry between 0-5ppm, so nothing to affect PH in a significant way

    So, with a KH of 0, unless you inject CO2, you won't have to worry about anything, but even get happier.

    Now, about ismenio fish deaths, he should test his GH first. At a GH of less than 2-3, many species will suffer. At 0, most won't do it.

    Also, it could be just a bad maintenance. You could tell us more on the fish that is dying, how loaded is the tank, your nitrate levels, how often/much you change water...

    Finally, adding baked soda (NaHCO3) is a very bad idea on a low tech tank. Sodium (Na) will accumulate and it is very harmful for plants

    In my opinion, in this case, KH and PH has just nothing to do with his fish deaths
     
    #8 jonny_ftm, Jan 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    What Johnny is saying is you should consider increasing the GH of your water, (calcium and magnesium). This was also suggested by Biollante and is very important, but has nothing to do with pH. Some of the confusion may be due to the language barrier. As I understand it, the question was about raising a pH of 5.9, not the pH of 6.5 in distilled water.

    Jonny - Are you saying ismenio should just increase GH and forget about raising the KH?
     
    #9 Tug, Jan 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
  10. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    No, as I don't know his GH, he doesn't tell us the GH. But, if his GH is lower than 3, he should definately increase it. Also, depending on the fish, mortality in long term will occur at GH lower than 5-7

    About the KH, yes, I'm saying he should forget about it. No PH swings will occur unless he injects CO2. KH in natural amazonian and many tropical waters is 0
     
  11. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    While shopping at the local bodega is cheap, I agree with jonny.
    Tank loading and dirty filters probably cause more fish deaths then KH.
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    1st Post

    Hi All,

    I do not have time to answer fully, but I think if my good friend Jonny would take the time to read the first post he might find what I was answering.

    In addition I do not think 0 dKH is a good idea, but I think I was answering based on the information provided which included a dGH of less than one. I certainly recommend a dGH of at least five and I think most are well served in the 7 or 8 dGH range.

    The tough thing in answering questions posed is that we are limited by the information provided, I have no way of verifying the accuracy of test kits, I cannot see or smell the water in question.

    The advantages of buffering provided by dKH in the ranges of 6 or 7 I believe out weigh most of the problems involved, the obvious exceptions are plants that are sensitive to higher dKH's I have a plants that dislike anything over 2 or 3 dKH. For the record Tom Barr and John The Moderator disagree and tell me dKH's of over 12 are fine for just about everybody, that has not been my experience. :)

    Further I am not convinced I have enough information to comment on the cause of ismenio's fish deaths, so I refrained from comment.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do We Need KH?

    Hi Jonny All,

    I agree with Tug that ammonia and all kinds of other things are far more likely to kill critters including haphazard use of carbon dioxide. ;)

    Suffice it to say I disagree when it comes to the lack of carbonate hardness not being a problem. :)

    I think there are a couple of small differences between our closed aquatic systems and the open tropical waters Discus and such reside. I would also note that because of the lack of carbonate hardness the pH in many of those waters is very low, in some cases below five.

    I know from my own experience as one who likes enriched substrates that in my tanks with a 2 dKH, pH stability is an issue, with or without carbon dioxide.

    One of the problems people used to have with raising Discus in the olden days was the requirement for stable, very soft, low ph water. The modern domesticated Discus is popular precisely because the modern Discus is not nearly so demanding.

    To avoid further hijack, I have created a thread to talk about carbonate hardness. http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/6837-Buffering-Is-KH-Necessary?p=45391#post45391

    Perhaps my favorite, http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/, http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/water/alkaline.shtml and http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/water/watbas.shtml.
    An oldie but goodie http://koiclubsandiego.org/library/alkalinity.php.
    http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/water/hardness.htm

    Biollante
     
  14. ismenio

    ismenio Lifetime Members
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    Hello

    I ´don´t have the Gh test but i will buy and i will post here the result.
    And i don´t have ammonia or nitrite in the water, they are at 0.
    I have a tank of tropical fish with 20 gallons and frist t i have 2 small Discus by 3 weeks and one day in the morning they was dead, on the last night they where heating normally, the i have but 2 small angel fish (not the wild type) and they where fine for 2 weeks and the same happens like the discus.
    The thank has a fluval 105 with one basket full of siporax and other basket full of ehein substrat pro.
    Water temp at 26 º
    NO3 at 10 mg/l and PO4 at 5 mg/l

    Regards

    PS: Other fish like corys and mollys have died the same way
     
    #14 ismenio, Jan 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2010
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I do not know how to help you. According to Tom Barr and Jonny water parameters do not matter.

    I am honestly afraid to advise you or anyone else. The only way I understand has been proven wrong.

    I am sorry my friend.



    Hi ismenio,

    I apologies for any advice I gave you.

    Carbonate hardness and pH have no influence on fish or plants.

    Before today, I would have been ready to talk about water parameters and small versus large volumes, nitric acid from humic or biological processes or whatever. I would have advised raising both GH and KH, especially for the Goldfish, after a major water change.

    Now I realize how wrong I have been. I have not had time to process this information, which is frankly counter to pretty much everything I have ever thought I understood about water parameters. I cannot imagine our goldfish or African cichlids of a dozen other without some kind of pH stability.

    I keep a range of plants and critters from what I thought to be a ridiculously low pH 4.8, some creepy crawlies at almost 9.

    Once again my apologies.

    Biollante
     
  16. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    No harm done. The Barr Report is still a valuable resource. Misconceptions about topics like KH can and should be discussed. How would I learn otherwise.

    As jonny points out, the underlying question is what is causing ismenio's fish deaths. I should have recognized it as such, if I was able to see the forest for the trees (bigger picture). At least, this thread uncovered some of my misconceptions about KH. True, we can thank jonny for catching it in time, but we are all important to the process.

    First, stop doing that. It was a bad idea and you might have added too much, too soon. One reason for a drop in KH Tom mentions, KH as a carbon source for plants.

    Now, moving away from KH. There is still the question of GH and ismenio is finding out his GH levels. What about dissolved Oxygen? Is there enough flow of water to the surface?? Ismenio, do you think the water is circulated through the plants and across the surface of the water? Low dissolved Oxygen should be considered a possible culprit. I know this is non-CO2, but you still need dissolved Oxygen and the fluval 105 is a little underpowered, it needs the boost.
     
    #16 Tug, Jan 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2010
  17. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, you should really do this

    No test kit will be able to detect nitrite and ammonia spikes. They are short in time, but deadly


    omg, this is really high stocking fish tank. discus+angel fish in a 20 gal :-(
    + cory and molly

    This is a no go. Cory are very hardy. When they die, you can be sure an ammonia spike was there. Molly have nothing to do in an amazonian aquarium, they need much higher GH for long term maintenance

    Finally, 25°C is too low for discus, they can't live long there + scared by the angels

    Most fish death is due to bad maintenance, high fish stocking, inadequate mixing between species and not respecting the minimal needed space for species to lower their stress. You joined all this, like many of us when starting in the hobby

    Stock less you aquarium, better chose the fish and they will reward you with an eye catching behaviour and a long life
     
  18. ismenio

    ismenio Lifetime Members
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    Ok TUG i will stop with the Ca(HCO3)2, and as soon i but the gH test i will post here probably tomorrow and i will do the O2 test as soon i find it at home.
    Biollante i never thought this simply question will origin so much trouble and sincerely no one breads goldfishs with low ph has i know cause they die (it happen with me)

    Thanks
     
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not Your Fault

    No problem my friend.;)

    I think a couple of people around here look for any opportunity to take me down a notch. :D I got Barr'ed for a month or so, apparently for not agreeing with some local dogma. I have a list of things I am not allowed to discuss here, which is funny I had hoped to help fund some research, get some direction, but it is always a nonstarter. :(

    I will say, I think this is different; Tom Barr put the full weight of his professional reputation on a definitive statement. No nuance, no wiggle room, a flat definitive statement. I think even Jonny was a little taken aback by the sweeping boldness of the statement.

    Though it is counter to everything I thought I knew about water parameters, I have to accept that I am probably mistaken about the role of carbonate hardness, buffering and the effects of pH on various flora and fauna.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have set up some tanks to test the information. I will say everything Tom Barr has said definitively has proven out.

    It is Tom Barr 4, Evilplantmonster 0. Therefore, the odds are this will turn out as well.

    There is only one significant item I think he got wrong. However, he wisely stated it in a speculative manner. His acolytes are not particularly adept at such nuance and treat it as sacred revelation.

    Don't worry I may be better suited in a freer environment. :)

    Biollante
     
  20. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    °Please, do not get carried away. I am sure ismenio had the angels, post discus. Exaggeration cheapens it.
    Two small angels did not over load the tank, not yet. If the DO is low and the tests for O2 are reliable, we might know more soon. The fluval 105 that I know, powers out 85-125GPH. Four, maybe five cycles an hour depending on how much head there is. There might be plenty O2.
    This should have been an easy catch. I dropped this one. At some point, 1-2° warmer for Angelfish along with an improvement to O2 flow. This will all be resolved soon; some recent posts might be just a tad quixotic, (working it).
     
    #20 Tug, Jan 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2010
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