LOGIN

RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube
GLOSSARY       

SEARCHGLOSSARY

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

PROFILESEARCH

Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





 

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
GH/KH -
July 11, 2014
5:25 pm
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

A little history on my 90gal 4ft. tank to be sure I don't omit anything that might be useful.

2 winters ago I was out of town during a snowstorm and a blackout - due to the weather I couldn't get back home in enough time and my entire tank went bellyup.  Needless to say I went into a mourning stage and just siphoned the gravel and cleaned it up of dead plants and fish but I left the filters untouched and didn't add fertilizer. Each time I did a water change or topped it off, I used Prime water conditioner.  I threw out the submersible heater that short-circuited during the storm.

I left everything running as if I had fish in it minus a heater and what little plant daughter shoots survived I left alone (I had used Flourish tabs in the gravel in the past)   Fastforward  6mos later and I decided to do another gravel siphon when to my surprise a lone female cherry barb emerged that I had not noticed AT ALL  - it might have been a juvi at the time that I thought all the fish died.

So since then, all that had been in the 90 gal is this sole survivor cherry barb.  As recently as 2 weeks ago, I decided to get serious about it again and give it another try.  I added a new submersible heater and did 25% water change.

I wasn't sure if I should consider my tank *old and established* or if it would kick in as a new tank once I added some more inhabitants.  I did some water changes and squeezed out the sponges sitting in the 2 Filstar XP3 (L) canister filters in a bucket of aquarium water.  I left the ceramic cylinders media alone & I added new zeolite pouches.  I did the following water tests:

Temp: 78 F

Ammonia: 0

PH: 7.2 (my tap water is 7.4)

Nitrites: 0

Nitrates: 0

My cherry barb, which had been looking understandably pale, looked so much better - fuller from feedings and coloring as she should have.  My small daughter shoots looked better as well.  Admittedly I had never done a GH/KH testing in my life of fishkeeping and I had been very successful (even breeding cherry barbs and sewellia lineolatas), up until the snowstorm.

Feeling confident that things were in order, I went and purchased 6 Glofish tetras.   After a few days I did another test and everything was great except the ph which went down to 6.0  - I figured the 7 inch real bogwood in the tank was somehow making it drop (it stopped leaching over 5 yrs ago but I wasn't sure it if wasn't affecting the ph or not).  Ignoring everything I learned, I purchased 3 black phantom tetras I saw in LFS.  

So I now have 10 fish and all parameters except ph are perfect after 2 weeks.  PH keeps dropping and went as low as 6.0 - I realize fish can adjust to PH changes but this was still alarming and odd.  It could be I didn't siphon out all of the Flourish tablet remains and it was dropping my PH or maybe that 7 inch bogwood is the cause or it was a combination of the 2.  

I decided it was time to research.  I bought a GH/KH testing kit yesterday along with 5 lb bag of crushed coral.  I added a handful in a mesh bag of the crushed coral into one of the canister filters last night and just did a water test.  PH is now at 6.4  which is better but still doesn't answer my question as to why it was dropping so quickly.  But it does show that the crushed coral is keeping it from dropping any further. 

Now on to the real reason why I am posting.  I am clueless about GH/KH.  Am I correct in guessing that my tank is both hard and acid?  Here is what I discerned and please correct me if I am wrong.

 

GH - 12 drops to turn green = 418.8ppm

KH - 4 drops to turn bright yellow = 71.6ppm

total is 490.4ppm ?

 

Also, how do I know when it is time to change the crushed coral or will it just dissolve mostly from the acid eating it away?

Do I purchase a water softening pillow?  What should I be aiming for in terms of GH/KH and how do I go about it?

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and imparting your expertise. 

 

 

 

 

July 11, 2014
11:53 pm
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

After a full day of researching I finally found an article that explains it in layman terms and I finally understand it better - sharing the link here for anyone else that might find it useful

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.....ium-73276/

July 12, 2014
12:51 am
Avatar
Byron Hosking
Veteran
Forum Posts: 151
Member Since:
November 3, 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

First off, let me say that I am the author of the article you linked.  I wrote it about three years ago, when I was active on that forum (no longer am).  I'm glad it has provided some benefit.

From your posted information, I am going to suggest that the pH is lowering due to the breakdown of organics, primarily in the substrate.  Water changes have not been regular or substantial, allowing the organics to accumulate.  It is true that one lone fish is not going to add much to the organics, but they occur elsewhere too.  The acidification like this is normal, but regular weekly water changes including some vacuuming of the substrate will serve to keep the acidification minimal, or should.

Crushed coral is not a good "buffer," since it will raise pH but not affect GH and KH, and the latter is the "buffering" agent.  Better choices would be dolomite, aragonite, or a mix of either with crushed coral.  Back in the mid to late 1990's, with very soft source water (basically zero GH and KH with pH below 6) the pH in the tanks would be below 5, but just half a cup of dolomite in the filter maintained a pH in the low 6's with weekly 50% water changes.  When I tried crushed coral on its own a few years ago, it drove the pH into the high 7's while doing nothing to the GH or KH.  I experimented with aragonite as well.

I maintain soft water fish (many are wild caught) so given my ideal very soft source water, I decided to let nature go its own way, and now after about three years my periodic tests have shown that the tanks have stabilized at different levels, likely due to the fish load, plants and wood that is specific to each.  A couple are below 6, likely around 5 or lower; the others tend to remain in the low to mid 6's.  The source water is around pH 7 now (soda ash is added to raise the pH) and this may have some impact through my weekly 50% water changes.  I also add Equilibrium in the three larger tanks, solely to provide sufficient hard minerals to the plants, and the GH remains around 5-6 dGH.  It stays near zero in the others.

To answer your question of what GH/KH to aim for, I would certainly base this upon intended fish.  If you stay with soft water species, you could dilute the water to get the GH lower.  The GH actually impacts fish much more than pH.  The soft water fish have difficulty dealing with the "hard" minerals such as calcium, which can build up (the kidneys remove these salts) and actually block the tubes, weakening the fish and in many cases leading to early demise.  Tank-raised fish will have more tolerance than wild caught species.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
July 12, 2014
5:51 am
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thank you for this very informative reply - I will take care to replace the crushed coral this weekend and I agree with you on the reasoning behind the current tank conditions after having read so much in just the past 2 days.

I've shared your orig. article with many and their reaction was similar to mine *finally I get it!*  that is an excellent article - you have a fantastic way of explaining things.  

 

Any forum is incredibly lucky to have you. ^.^

 

 

July 12, 2014
6:20 am
Avatar
Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
Community Helper
Forum Posts: 1253
Member Since:
March 15, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

"since it will raise pH but not affect GH and KH"

 

How is that possible?

July 12, 2014
6:46 am
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

My ph went up when I added the crushed coral but my gh and kh are the same so it is possible - but I am not the expert on this topic so I cannot explain it as well. Embarassed  note: it could be the time of day I did the test as well.  I have some live plants and did the test around midnight - I will test again tmrw during the day.

July 12, 2014
4:22 pm
Avatar
Byron Hosking
Veteran
Forum Posts: 151
Member Since:
November 3, 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

plaamoo said
"since it will raise pH but not affect GH and KH"

 

How is that possible?

Thanks for mentioning this.  I think I should have been more precise in my use of words, and said that it will drive the pH high very fast, but have very minimal impact on GH and KH.  I know that in my case, when I added about half a cup of crushed coral to the filter (in one of those mesh filter bags to contain it) the pH rose within just hours from around 6 to 7.6, but the GH and KH remained zero using the API tests.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
July 12, 2014
10:21 pm
Avatar
BillT
Eugene, Oregon
Veteran
Forum Posts: 228
Member Since:
September 10, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

An additional possible effect upon this system is the use of carbonates by the bacteria that are doing the nitrification. They are supposed to remove 7 molecules of carbonate for each molecule of ammonia processed to nitrate.

Thus, as you add food, the metabolism of the bacteria and fish will generally acidify the water while the bacteria will be removing the carbonates unless they are continually replaced.

Bill Trevarrow [email protected]
July 12, 2014
11:01 pm
Avatar
Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
Community Helper
Forum Posts: 1253
Member Since:
March 15, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

As I would understand it the carbonates from the crushed coral were quickly used up by the processes at work so there was none left to measure by your test. However a change surely did occur.

July 13, 2014
8:29 pm
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Just did all the tests and my ph is now at 7.0 - gh = 11 and kh = 4 (all other parameters were at zero)

 

I did a 25% water change and siphoned the substrate earlier this morning

 

my fish are active and eating fine - the only odd behavior I am noticing is the glofish are NOT schooling but the 3 black phantom tetras are in their own little areas - the glofish tetras are actually exhibiting tiger barb behavior with a pecking order and the 2 alphas are chasing the others away from center of the tank - I don't want to add any more fish for a while but I am curious if maybe there's not enough of them in a 90 gal and another 6 (in a month or so) would remedy this?

 

I erroneously thought that since they were essentially the same species, the glofish and black phantoms would school together as one big happy :(

July 13, 2014
10:14 pm
Avatar
BillT
Eugene, Oregon
Veteran
Forum Posts: 228
Member Since:
September 10, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I erroneously thought that since they were essentially the same species, the glofish and black phantoms would school together as one big happy :(

I was intrigued by this, so I did a little research on it.

The glofish website does not say what species their tetras are, however wikipedia says they are the black tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi), not the black phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus). Maybe that explains it. 

The glofish website says the fish should school as the normal fish would.

Bill Trevarrow [email protected]
July 13, 2014
10:27 pm
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

BillT said

I erroneously thought that since they were essentially the same species, the glofish and black phantoms would school together as one big happy :(

I was intrigued by this, so I did a little research on it.

The glofish website does not say what species their tetras are, however wikipedia says they are the black tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi), not the black phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus). Maybe that explains it. 

The glofish website says the fish should school as the normal fish would.

LOL I JUST did this investigation and came to post my initial error - thank you for confirming this - you are 100% correct.  I should have paid more attention to the genus and not the common name.  I wish they would school :(  

My best guess is there are not enough of them in this tank for them to do so.  I say this because I have observed *odd* behavior in schooling fish in the past until more of their kind are added and suddenly it is a big school swimming together.   I will purchase 6 black skirt tetras in a few weeks.

 

July 14, 2014
2:56 am
Avatar
Byron Hosking
Veteran
Forum Posts: 151
Member Since:
November 3, 2008
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

You have correctly identified the species.  The Glofish/Black Widow (aka Black Skirt) is much feistier than some other tetra such as the Black Phantom.  Fin nipping is common so this fish (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi ) should not be combined with sedate fish (gourami, angels, etc).  And, the larger the group, the better [this applies to any shoaling fish of course] but fewer than six may cause them to increase their aggression, as appears to be evident here. 

There was a scientific study a year or so back that determined aggression increases with most shoaling species when numbers are below six, and those species that show aggressive traits to begin with can get much nastier.  The other thing is that once this occurs, it usually will not reverse even if numbers increase later.  It seems to be a stress-related issue, and as we all know acute stress does cause significant detriment to many fish, weakening the immune system, increasing aggression, etc, and once done it remains.

The Black Phantom [Hyphessobrycon megalopterus, although some ichthyologists insist on retaining the former genus Megalamphodus so it may appear under either name] also needs at least six, and here again though a peaceful species it can become nippy when numbers are less.  I've always found this species to be better with 8+ for no reason other than it just seems more content.  Females are rather attractive with their red adipose and ventral fins, so a mix of 4/4 male female is nice.  My present group happens to be three males and seven females as I bought all they had and this is what I got, but they have settled nicely; they shoal largely with the Rosy Tetra (H. rosaceus) which is not surprising if Weitzman's view that they are the same clade is correct [this is where some differ, hence their retention of the former genus name].

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA Vancouver, BC Canada
August 3, 2014
2:21 am
Avatar
lochness
New Member
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
July 11, 2014
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

my first casualty :( - I believe it was dropsy

 

I have since removed the powerhead from the left side filter and replaced it with the more gentle surface water hole fountain bar which i think will reduce the stress on these fish

 

August 7, 2014
2:32 pm
Avatar
Matt
Málaga, Spain
Admin
Forum Posts: 8239
Member Since:
June 13, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

So they're producing 'glo' Gymnocorymbus now - what other species are available?

Sorry for your loss lochness, it does look like dropsy.

Cake or death?
August 7, 2014
7:49 pm
Avatar
BillT
Eugene, Oregon
Veteran
Forum Posts: 228
Member Since:
September 10, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The GloFish company is also making fluorescent tiger barbs.

I have seen videos of fluorescent angel fish and convicts other companies (in asia?) have made.

Bill Trevarrow [email protected]
August 8, 2014
10:45 am
Avatar
Matt
Málaga, Spain
Admin
Forum Posts: 8239
Member Since:
June 13, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Meh. Confused But perhaps this is a conversation for a separate thread.

Cake or death?
Forum Timezone: Europe/Paris

Most Users Ever Online: 246

Currently Online:
1 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Devices in use: Desktop (1)

Top Posters:

Stefan: 1567

Plaamoo: 1253

mikev: 1134

Malti: 1099

Mark Duffill: 1012

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 0

Members: 30288

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 4

Forums: 10

Topics: 4595

Posts: 36615

Newest Members: Brawny, qchris87, grayergroove, bhisma wildan, costeacristianalex

Administrators: dunc: 1323, Matt: 8239