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Low KH and PH

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by bluedragon, May 19, 2010.

  1. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Hi
    My tap water's KH is 2 dkh. I started CO2 and EI dosing, and started to dose phosphate, now my phosphate is 3 ppm. KH is less than 1 dkh around .5 and Ph around evening is 6. I inject co2 an hour before light comes until light goes off which keeps my DC with 5dkh soultion green.
    I am not understanding how my KH went down from 2 to almost 0. I have been doing 50% water change eveyother day for last 1 and half weeks. Nothing seems to help. What can i do to raise my KH so that there is not too much PH swing between day (inject CO2) and night (no co2).
    If I could keep the KH same as tab water without adding any chemicals I would prefer that, but if I have to add something to raise my KH i will do that also.
    Is adding Phosphorus decreasing the kh?
    I have lost my rummy nose and cardinals and I think the PH swing was the issue since there is no KH to balance the PH swing.
    Regards
    NN
     
  2. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    I added 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda last night, and this morning KH is little over 1 dkh and ph went to 6.6 from 6.0 (co2 was off all night). Isn't this too much change in PH and fatal to fish? How can I balance my KH ph and CO2. Suggestion please!!!!!!!
     
  3. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Look

    What you might hear is don't even worry about KH. Or, as in this case, what you might not hear is don't worry about KH. I suspect some increase their KH a little. Most increase their GH by one or two degree and leave the KH alone, using weekly water changes to restore the KH. My tap water has 4dKH and lots of Ca and Mg so I don't bother adding even a GH booster.

    Adding a little Onyx sand might keep the KH from dropping too quickly. It is hard to add this stuff to a tank without clouding the water column for a day and some plants might not like it as much as others. I would focus on correcting the substrate however, rather then adding baking soda.

    You will find KH threads all through this forum. Read them and you will find what seams to be the general consensus regarding 'total alkalinity' or 'acid-neutralizing capacity' (ANC).

    :confused:
    What other fish are you keeping?
    What plants are you growing?
    What do you use for a substrate?
    What are you doing to insure your tank is well oxygenated?
    How do the fish behave before they are lost?
    What else is going on besides the KH?
     
    #3 Tug, May 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  4. DaBub

    DaBub Guru Class Expert

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    Tug's questions.

    mainly what are you using for substrate?

    How sure of test results?

    is this a good description of your tank?

    Tank Size: 55 gallons
    Light: 130 watts (6700k)X1, 15 watts (3100k)X2
    Watts per gallon: I read somewhere to subtract 10 gallons for substrate and woods etc in tank to calculate correct light if tha is true then i have 3.56 watts per gallon. 160 watts/45 gal
    CO2: pressurized co2, 1 bubble per second using Max Jet 600 which send the co2 as mists
    Substrate: Laterite and gravel mix
    Plants: Swords of different kinds.

    Dose:
    I have been doing the following for past 7 days
    Seachem Excel 5ml, Flourish comprehensive supliment 5 ml, potassium 5ml
    Nitrate and phospate (sometimes if the reading is low)
    Currently Nirtrate is 5 ppm
    Phosphate: .25 ppm (keeping it low because i had Staghorn algae and trying to see if keeping phosphate low will control the algae)
     
    #4 DaBub, May 20, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2010
  5. misha

    misha Junior Poster

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    I think you are lucky guy having such a soft water. you can make soft water to be hard, but you can not make hard water soft unless you use expensive RO equipment. don't even bother measuring kh(unless you keep African ciclids), but you may also have a low gh- then it's problem, must be corrected by adding seachem equilibrium or barr's gh booster.If you use EI , then gh is a nutrient, calcium and magnesium are essential elements for plants and fish grow. you need to use good, fresh, not expired test kit to get accurate GH measure. phosphate has no affect on kh or gh. it does affect ph. You need strictly follow Tomm's dosage recommendations for dry chemicals.When you add phosphates, and use tap water- do not disregard phosphates that are already in the tap water, sometimes these can be high. find out from you municipal water quality report on the web how much phosphate already in your tap water. best regards and happy fish keeping.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have a KH of about 1 degree where I now live.
    ADA AS but it's old.

    Still, it's not pH, it's CO2 that kills fish, pH has little to do with it.
    Poor dosing, getting to ahead of your self etc.

    KH can be anything, if the CO2 addition rate is always the same, the KH will not matter.
    You still are adding the same amount of CO2 in both cases.
    CO2/O2 balance is what stresses fish, not the KH.

    If I add 30ppm at a KH of 5 and keep it the same at a KH 0.01, I still have the same amount of CO2.
    Also, you can not add CO2, and the fish should be okay if you go from 2 to near zero over time.

    This suggest it's neither pH nor KH, rather, the CO2.
    Now lower KH below say .5 makes it impossible to measure CO2 using the KH/pH chart, but otherwise, there's no reason why a KH or near zero should poise a problem as long as the rate of gas is stable.
    If your KH bottomed out, then perhaps it was the filter issue/needed cleaning, or you need to trim more, or you adjusted the CO2 too far etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Thank you all for reply, here are answer to you questions, please help!!!
    Tank Size: 55 gallons but has large drift wood and 3 inches substrate so i think the actual volume of water is about 45 gallon
    Light: 130 watts (6700k)X1 (light on for 10 hours) (lowered the light and photo period after few suggestions)
    CO2: pressurized co2, 4 bubble per second using Max Jet 600 which send the co2 as mists (increase co2 from 1 bps to 4 bps after suggestions, turns on 1 hour before light comes up and turns off with the light. My DC with 5dkh solution stays green)
    Substrate: Laterite and fine gravel mix
    Plants:
    Ludwigia repens
    Anubias batari
    Red Sword (looks like melon sword but in smaller version)
    Limnophila aquatica
    Amazon Sword Plant
    Rotala rotundifolia
    Ruffle Sword
    Red Flame Sword
    Java Lace Fern
    Rubra Lotus Lily

    Current Water parameter, tested few mins ago:
    Amonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite: 0 ppm
    Nitrate: 15 ppm
    phosphate: 2 ppm
    ph: 6.4
    Temerature: 80 F

    Dosing
    1/2 tsp KN03 3x a week
    1 tsp K2S04 3x a week
    i dose some phosphate (fleet enema) 3x a week
    3/4 tsp GH booster once a week(water change only)
    10ml Trace Elements 3x a week
    5 ml Flourish iron (after i finish this bottle i will start dosing dry)
    50% weekly water change (but in past 1 and half week i have been doing more frequent changes)

    I called city water distribution and here are the numbers:
    KH-20 to 25 ppm
    GH-70 to 80 ppm
    phosphate-.5 to.8 ppm
    iron-about .1ppm

    I lost my female ram yesterday, after not seeing the reply to my post I did 75% WC and added 3/4 tbs of baking soda to my tank. I have removed the male ram and have put him in QC (i see some fin rot on him, both male and female were very happy fish, they used to fight me when i did water change, they both were very interesting, it looks like i will lose the male also. Currently I am treating him with tetacycline.)
    I lost all my cardinals and rummy nose, this is the second time i added cardinals and rummy nose. They don't seem to survive in my tank. My wife is so sad about loosing all the fish and especially blue ram she wants me to tear down the tank. When ever i put cardinals and rummy nose, they get so happy all day, they play with water current from power head and eat happly and light goes off, co2 goes off and next morinig I see bunch of them on side of the tank or behind the plant hidding and few will be playing with current again, and after some days i will start loosing them. Same behavior happened 2 times. By the way i have never seen any of them on surface so not sure if this mean i have enough oxygen in water.


    Please help, i really would like to keep cardinals rummy nose and Blue ram. i have 6 ottos and they seem fine, they are not stressed. I have not even lost even 1 one them and they were my one of my fist fish in this tank, i had neons but i lost all of them, same behavior as cardinal and rummy nose.

    Thank you
    Regards
    NN
     
  8. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Tom first of all I would like to thank you for your time to post on my forum. I have few concerns I would appriciate if someone can help me understand.
    Tom:
    Still, it's not pH, it's CO2 that kills fish, pH has little to do with it.
    Poor dosing, getting to ahead of your self etc.
    --Thank you for pointing out it is CO2, and I would like to adjust and I need help :)
    Tom:
    KH can be anything, if the CO2 addition rate is always the same, the KH will not matter.
    You still are adding the same amount of CO2 in both cases.
    CO2/O2 balance is what stresses fish, not the KH.
    --My CO2 addition rate is not same 24 hours. I have my CO2 turned on only during day. I turn it off at night. Will leaving it on for 24 hrs help? I am worried if i have it running 24 hours I will have too much CO2 at night since nothing will be using but rather eveything will be producing it.

    Tom:
    If I add 30ppm at a KH of 5 and keep it the same at a KH 0.01, I still have the same amount of CO2.
    Also, you can not add CO2, and the fish should be okay if you go from 2 to near zero over time.
    --Does this mean I cannot add co2?

    Tom:
    This suggest it's neither pH nor KH, rather, the CO2.
    Now lower KH below say .5 makes it impossible to measure CO2 using the KH/pH chart, but otherwise, there's no reason why a KH or near zero should poise a problem as long as the rate of gas is stable.
    If your KH bottomed out, then perhaps it was the filter issue/needed cleaning, or you need to trim more, or you adjusted the CO2 too far etc.
    --I use 2 power filters each serves up to 55 gallon tank. I chose these filters because I read in one thread it is good to have some surface movement, these filters do it and there is not very much surface turbulence. Should I replace these with Canister filter? I clean my filter once a week. I trim my plants once a week and I don’t have very large volume, I wanted to increase the volume .
    I was suggested to increase CO2 because I had BBA issue, I went from 2 bps to 4 bps, I have little BBA but it is not increasing. If I cut down on CO2 I am worried I will have BBA problem.

    I would appriciate any inputs. I have success growing plants with your help and I would like to have planted fish tank so far I am only able to have succeful planted tank :)

    Thank you
    Regards
    NN
     
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Based on previous posts by Tom and others, do not add CO2 after lights out. 1 hour before the light comes up is fine. Do try to provide surface turbulence to increase O2 levels. There will be some CO2 loss this way, but higher O2 levels mean you can add CO2 with fewer risks. O2 and CO2 are independent of one another. O2, good for fish and water quality. CO2, good for plants. Stop adding baking soda and increase the surface turbulence particularly at night, if you can.
    Maybe get a UV filter. :rolleyes: Just kidding.
     
  10. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Tug
    By the way I have bought UV Sterilizer and Fluval 305 canister filter (i want my fish to live), working on geting UV connected to output of Fluval 305. i will add a small powerhead for more surface turbulance.
    Regards
    NN
     
  11. misha

    misha Junior Poster

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    UV STERILIZER is very good idea, I found that people using them right after water change. I don't have UV sterilizer, but right after water change I use double dose Seachem Excel, I found that beside benefit of organic carbon for the plants, Excel's antibacterial, anti-fungal properties help prevent infections and fish loss.Since I start using it I don't have fish loss at all. You can study properties of Excel more deeply on this forum or directly from Seachem website.Excel can be substituted by similar product called Cidex. However you need to know exactly which type of Cidex you need. I think, Tom Barr and others would be able to assist you on this issue.Your fish loss looks like does not related to kh/ph/co2. It is may be bacterial infection, that is the reason UV sterilizer was recommended for you.
     
    #11 misha, May 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2010
  12. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    It was an inside joke.

    I was just making fun of UV filters and this can not be fixed by using a UV filter or Excel. In fact the UV filter will reduce the filters head pressure and create more problems.

    At 3-5 feet of head pressure the Fluval 305 might cycle 45 gallons of water about 4 times in an hour. You can test your filters flow rate by finding out how long it takes the filter to fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water. Most of us have filters with a much higher flow rate, 2-4 times higher. Find out what filter other people on this forum would recommend for your tank. The filter you have is undersized for your tank, IMO.

    Ignoring Tom's post might not be the best advice and a strong and healthy fish will fight off most pathogens, IME.
    Keep an eye on this thread if you are not already. Dwell time is critical when using UV filters so how they are installed is as well. http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/7303-UV-Sterilization-What-Do-You-Think
     
    #12 Tug, May 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2010
  13. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I've got the Fluval 305 for my 55 gallon that's DSMing right now. You've cut me deep Tug.
     
  14. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Hi Tug
    I am not planning to run the UV 24X7, I decided to buy UV after reading the thread and poll about UV. I will run once a week or couple hours a day. But the reason I bought this right now is I don't know why I am loosing my fish I am palnning to leave 50% of water in the tank and run UV for few days. I will have low water flow through fluval (trying to create efficient killing UV). Currently I have 2 HOB power filters (each capacity says 55 gallon) and Fluval 305. My UV says Max Flow: 1800 gph as clarifier, 700 gph as sterilizer. Fluval says 260 GPH. Just looking at product specifciation if i just connect the UV to output of Fluval it will still be used as sterilizer with out creating bottle neck on UV (UV has more flow rate than Fluval). But I will decrease the flow rate of fluval to quater or less that way the water has more contact time with UV (I will have to do more reading on this before i configure, Duchy has provided a link for reading). I know while running the UV like the way I am planning by cutting down flow rate (only for couple days) is not enough filteration but when i run it with full capacity (which I intend to do), do you think my 3 filters are enough. As per C.Smith post it looks like he is running same kind on his 55 G.
    Thank you
    NN
     
    #14 bluedragon, May 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2010
  15. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    I would defer to any advice from duchy, who has the experience I lack. Please share what was said about your current filter set up. Probably the two HOB filters will make a big difference. I would like to know what duchy and others think is an appropriate filter for a tank your size.

    "Whatever may ensue, oh let me be
    Copartner of the riches of that sight:
    Let not mine eyes be hell-driv'n from that light:
    Oh look, oh shine, oh let me die and see.
    For though I oft myself of them bemoan,
    That through my heart their beamy darts be gone,
    Whose cureless wounds ev'n now most freshly bleed:
    Yet since my death-wound is already got,
    Dear killer, spare not thy sweet cruel shot:
    A kind of grace it is to kill with speed.”~Shakespeare
     
  16. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    Hi Duchy or UV users
    I went through the link that Duchy provided for setting up UV
    http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumUVSterilization.html after reading the article I came up with my setting as follows:

    If I adjust control flow rate on fluval to half (130 gph) then i get following for haf filled tank (I am planning to empty 50% tank and run this settings for couple days):
    Watts per 10 gph:
    For parasite and virus suggested flow rate is less than 10 gph per watt
    I will get 10 gph per 1.15 watt (I have 15 watts UV and will be running with flow rate of 130 gph)
    suggested is 10 gph per 1 watt (my setting will provide .15 more watt than suggested)
    If I have 50% full tank (25 gallon) then my turn over will be 5.2 times per hour
    Suggested turnover is 4 times per hour

    Is my calculation correct? Any thing I should watch doing the above settings.

    Regards
    NN
     
  17. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    And to continue with the same thought in mind .... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TgNCoVmziQ&feature=related
     
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