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pH KH and GH

Discussion in 'Water Maintainence' started by Scifisarah, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    So our well water runs through a water softener before I add it to my tanks. I am not willing to bypass it with extensive plumbing work or bring water in off my deck in buckets. I got my API tests yesterday and had time to test it. I also purchased some Seachem Equilibrium powder. My tank water from my 75 gallon tests as follows:

    pH: 8.0
    KH: 15
    GH: 2

    Could someone tell me what this means to my goldfish and plants - I plan on getting a bunch more Anubias species in the future. Also, how should I go about using the Equilibrium to make a better environment for them.
     
  2. Lou

    Lou Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Location:
    Western Michigan
    What are the units of these numbers, ppm or dH? If ppm, then they are low. Is there a chart from your kit about the right ranges?

    I have water softener (well water) so here is what I do.

    1) I have my kitchen cold water bypassed from the softener so if I only need a few gallons of water, I would use that faucet. It is a slow and inconvenient way for me to get water so I do not use that often. I understand yours is not bypassed.

    2) Most softener has a bypass valve. When you need regular water, you can just push that valve if yours has one. Just remember to push it back after getting regular water.

    3) Time water change or water storage just before your softener recharge. It might be set for late-night or early morning but I can store some water in buckets for water change the next day, for example.

    I am not sure if there are controlled tests about this topic but some websites made it very clear that softened water is not good for goldfish. However, I am sure there are people who are using softened water for goldfish, probably without any problems.

    http://www.aquarium-pond-answers.com/2016/01/use-of-ro-di-softwater-in-aquariums.html#softener

    And I quote one paragraph from that site:

    The result is nearly NON-existent ESSENTIAL calcium, magnesium, and other positive mineral ions.
    This can have severe affects on all fish, but is an ESPECIALLY noteworthy problem in Goldfish, Livebearers, and Rift Lake Cichlids!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  3. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    The values I gave were the dH values, by doing the API GH and KH tests. None of those are going to be possible, which is why I purchased the Seachem Equilibrium to restore the minerals and wondering if anyone could give me advice on doing that. What would be the best GH level for goldfish as I realize 2 is very low. Also, should it be raised gradually, or is it okay to get it way up quickly? Our water softener is next to our water pump behind a wooden panel with a bunch of screws that need to be removed and is a PITA to get to. We have a spigot out on our deck, but I don't see how it would be practical to warm 8 5 gallon buckets of water every time I do my weekly 50% water change in our small home.
     
  4. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    Oh, and the range for "Goldfish" on the test directions says GH and KH levels from 6-22 dH are good. But it says live plants should be 0-3 dH which doesn't make much sense to me. 6-22 is a pretty big range so I wondered if there was an optimal level.
     
  5. wizard

    wizard Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    GH on my tap water is around 5 dh and all my fishes and plants are happy. U can also just add epsom salt to increase general hardness. Adding 44mg of epsom salt mgso4 per litre of water will increase by 1 dGH. Epsom salt are very cheap..
     
  6. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    Epsom salt would raise the GH, but it would only be adding Magnesium to the water, not Calcium, Iron and Manganese like the Seachem Equilibrium, right?
     
  7. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    That is correct. Ideally if you were raising the GH you would add equal parts Epsom (magnesium sulphate) and Calcium Chloride (which can be found as ice melt or at swimming pool supply stores). Magnesium and calcium are important for both fish and plant growth. I keep my pond and tanks at around 100 ppm (let's see - that's about 5-6 dh).
    My plants have always done great in higher GH and KH water. I would go ahead and use your Equalibrium, and raise the GH gradually (over a few days, say) to about 6dh. Keep track of how much it takes so you can extrapolate how much you need for each water change.
     
  8. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    I would like to bypass it, but it just isn't an option right now. Our stupid front load Samsung washing machine is currently in pieces all over the basement and a new spider part and bolts is on order. And I just added a new drain and lever for our bathtub to my "Honey Do" list. I think I keep bonking into it with my 5 gallon bucket getting aquarium water and have broken it. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  9. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    Okay, so we do have a bypass button on the softener, but like I said I would have to move a table, 6 screws and a heavy 4x8 wooden panel to get to it. Even then, it would only stop the cold water from being softened, since all the water in our heater is pre-softened. The cold water comes out of our house tap at 50 degrees F - way too cold to put direct into the tank, so I would still need to use buckets and let it come at least to room temp. I might as well just get it from outside on our deck (not softened) in that case but I am not willing to haul that many buckets of water and let them sit until they get to room temp to do my water changes. currently we hook a hose to our kitchen faucet, get the water to 72 degrees and put it straight into the tank. I will just spend the money and add the Equilibrium. I do want to say, that since I added a bit a few hours ago, my petricola catfish are out swimming around and looking very happy.
     
  10. wizard

    wizard Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Yes...
    GH is a combination of both temporary(KH) and permanent hardness.
    Total Hardness(GH) = Temporary Hardness + Permanent Hardness

    Total hardness (GH) is the total amount of multivalent cations in water and can be split into two parts, temporary and permanent.
    Temporary Hardness (KH) is the amount of multivalent cations that are carbonates and bicarbonates.
    Permanent Hardness is the amount of multivalent cations that are everything except carbonates and bicarbonates, ie. chlorides, sulphates, etc

    Temporary Hardness (KH):
    To raise KH you can add calcium or magnesium bicarbonate.

    Permanent Hardness:
    Raising permanent hardness can be done by adding calcium or magnesium sulphate.

    adding just magnesium sulfate is a cheaper way of raising GH. And yes you can use both calcium and magnesium to raise GH.

    i thought you just wanted to raise GH, may be i understood
    .
    If you want to remineralize RO water, then yes you need calcium, potassium , magnesium , ferrous and manganese
    and Equilibrium has all..
     
  11. Ichthius

    Ichthius Professional Breeder

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Eugene Oregon
    General hardness is divalent cations generally calcium and magnesium. It has nothing to do with KH but the anion to the cations can impact KH eg calcium carbonate.

    Wizard where did you get this information, there seems to be multiple mistakes?
     
  12. Scifisarah

    Scifisarah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Location:
    Michigan
    So today I retested the GH of our "softened" water and it was 15 dGH instead of the 2 dGH I tested last time. Our straight well water is 21 dGH. I am totally at a loss as to why our softened water will fluctuate that much. I was adding Seachem Equilibrium to add minerals back in, but if it is 15 dGH, I shouldn't even need to do that. We are working on putting a little cabinet on hinges in the paneling in front of our water softener soon so I can bypass it during changes. That way only the softened water from our hot water heater that is added to bring the water to 72 degrees for my water changes would be softened. Will a hardness of around 19-20 be okay for goldfish and anubias plants?

    Also, I was just told that I can't use straight well water for my water changes, that it could contain high CO2 dissolved in the water that is dangerous to fish. It is supposed to be aged for 8-24 hours according to different websites and people. What are your opinions on this? If it did, wouldn't I notice my fish gulping at the surface after a large water change?
     

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