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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I finished cycling my tank less than a week ago, no fish yet, and I tested KH for the first time, today. It takes 3 drops to change the color from light blue to a very soft yellow. Should I add more drops until it turns bright yellow? or it doesn't matter what tone of yellow it is? If that's the case my water has a KH of 3 dKH, which I think it's low if I'm planning on stocking Malawi Haplochromis. Is that right? Thanks.
 

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Yeah, that is pretty low. Can pose a problem as it may let your PH swing which is not cool if your a fish. You can either check the library for the home made buffer recipe or get the store boughten stuff.

I would go with the one in the library. Cheaper, customizable, and well if you can do it yourself, why not. May only need to use baking soda depending on your GH and PH.
 

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fddlss said:
Hi guys,

I finished cycling my tank less than a week ago, no fish yet, and I tested KH for the first time, today. It takes 3 drops to change the color from light blue to a very soft yellow. Should I add more drops until it turns bright yellow? or it doesn't matter what tone of yellow it is? If that's the case my water has a KH of 3 dKH, which I think it's low if I'm planning on stocking Malawi Haplochromis. Is that right? Thanks.
6. The Carbonate Hardness value is determined by the number of drops of the reagent that
must be added to turn the water in the test tube bright yellow. Each drop Is equal to 1 'dKH
or 17.9 ppm KH,(see the chart).
You're capping and inverting after each drop?
I'd try it again to see just how bright a color of yellow it gets, then use another test tube and count drops until it matches.
Check the pH in your tank after a water change and right before the following water change, I'm curious as to whether or not it's dropping significantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did invert it after each drop and I noticed that my pH has dropped significantly. My pH used to be 8.2+, it's 8.4 right from the tap water, but today it was at 7.4, I really don't know exactly when it dropped because the last time I checked it was last week and it was around 8.2. I finished my cycle last Friday and did a big partial water change that day, but it seemed like that didn't affect the pH at that time. Is the baking soda recipe a permanent solution? or just temporary?
 

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Baking soda or other additives are added with every water change.

What is the pH of your tap water after sitting in a bowl on the counter for 24 hours?
 

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You need to get the KH of your tap water. If it's at an ok level (and I suspect that it is) then water changes will get things straightened around and you don't need the baking soda at all. A drop in KH and pH is normal during cycling because of all of the ammonia used. The end product of the nitrogen cycle is acidic. If you get a KH level of 6-8 or so, you're fine. As long as you keep up with water changes you'll replenish buffers that way.

Regarding the color change, I add one more drop then call it a half. Like in your case, I'd say KH is 3.5. But, that's just me so that I have a point of reference. Whether it's 3 or 3.5 or 4 doesn't make that big of a difference. It's low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will get the pH and KH of my tap water. pH is 8.4 right from the faucet, but I will let it sit on a bowl for 24 hours and then test for pH and KH, that should indicate me if I have to use the recipe for buffering or if weekly water changes will do the trick. I will keep you guys updated. Thanks.
 

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I'd say you are right on the cusp of OK if it is truly 3. I'd test again as prov stated to double check. For comparison, my KH is about 4.5-5 with 7.6 pH out of the tap that off gasses to 8, and I've never had a pH crash. I've gone as long as 12-13 days between water changes because of my schedule a couple of times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. I will double check it today, as well as check my tap water. I will also perform a PWC as this might be happening because of the cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok guys, I have the readings from my tap water, my tap water after being on a bowl for more than 24 hours, my aquarium water before a 60% PWC, my aquarium water after a 60% PWC, my aquarium water 12 hours after adding 1 PPM of ammonia.

OK, these are the levels on my tank and my tap water: I know some of the tests are unnecessary for tap water but I still tested for it.

Tap water right from the faucet:
Ammonia: 0.50 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 0 PPM
pH: 8.4
GH: 3 dKH
KH: 2.5-3 dKH

Tap water sitting on the counter for more than 24 hours:
Ammonia: 0.50 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 0 PPM
pH: 7.4
GH: 2 dKH
KH: 2.5 dKH

Water from tank BEFORE doing a 60% water change on Wednesday night:
Ammonia: 0 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 80-160 PPM
pH: 7.4
GH: Didn't have a GH test.
KH: 3 dKH
Temp: 87 F

Water from tank AFTER doing a 60% water change on Wednesday night:
Ammonia: 0.25 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 40 PPM
pH: 7.4
GH: 3 dKH
KH: 3 dKH
Temp: 85 F

Water from the tank on Thursday afternoon, 12 hours after adding 1 PPM ammonia in the morning:
Ammonia: 0 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 40 PPM
pH: 7.4
GH: 5 dKH
KH: 3 dKH
Temp: 86 F

I think I will need to buffer my water and increase pH in order to stock African cichlids, right?

Please let me know your opinions.

Thanks.
 

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I think I will need to buffer my water and increase pH in order to stock African cichlids, right?
Yes, 2.5 - 3 KH is low. I'd bump it up to 8 or so. Use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Your pH will rise also, but more importantly, it'll be stable.

The ammonia reading that you're getting is probably from chloramine in your source water. Not a concern, just make sure you're using a product that is specifically made to deal with chloramine.

As for GH, some debate on if it matters, but if you want to raise it, use Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks.

I use Prime to neutralize chloramine. I will read about GH and Epson salt to decide if I will use it or not, and will definitely use baking soda to raise and stabilize the KH and PH. Is baking soda a temporary solution or I can use it regularly? Are there other ways to achieve that?
 

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You can use baking soda regularly. Some use crushed coral in their filters to raise KH. I use aragamax sand as a substrate and it helps to buffer, but I've not relied on it exclusively. Always test as results and effectiveness can vary. Crushed coral in a filter is probably one of the most effective ways, as the high water flow will help to dissolve it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What's the ideal KH and GH for Malawi haplochromines? I know pH should be anywhere between 7.8 and 8.6. I will probably end up adding crushed coral in the sump, below the bio-balls I have some free space, how much do you think I'll need? By doing this I will probably not need the salts or is it a matter of choice? Is the API Aquiarium Salt any good? I don't mean to use it for buffering, but for general use. Thanks again.
 

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Is the API Aquiarium Salt any good? I don't mean to use it for buffering, but for general use.
Waste of money. Don't add 'aquarium salt'. Lots of myths out there regarding it's benefits.

What's the ideal KH and GH for Malawi haplochromines?
This article may be helpful. Practical Water Chemistry You won't find any ideals for KH as there are none. Just keep it up high enough so pH doesn't crash, say 8 or so.

I will probably end up adding crushed coral in the sump, below the bio-balls I have some free space, how much do you think I'll need?
Results can vary. Add some and test to determine effectiveness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Practical Water Chemistry was very helpful. I will try to raise my GH to 16 dKH, KH to 12 dKH, and pH to 8.4. My next question is, let's suppose I get some crushed coral from y LFS, I place it in the sump, and I'm lucky enough to get the pH, GH and KH that I want, wouldn't that change with every partial water change? At least the pH, being that my tap water has a pH of 8.4 right from the faucet but after a few hours it drops to 7.4. Would the crushed coral raise the new water's pH before it drops? Will KH do the job on keeping a stable pH?
 

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wouldn't that change with every partial water change?
Yes, anytime you mix in water with different parameters, it will change some things. GH will drop a bit, KH will drop a bit, but pH may stay same, or not. Generally, these changes will not cause any problems for the fish, as they won't be drastic. If we had to keep perfect parameters that never changed at all, we'd not be able to keep fish. Just test as you go, and you'll see the effects. Don't over react to or worry about moderate changes. It's not a big deal. The biggest thing is to keep KH up so pH doesn't crash. If you do that, you'll be fine IME.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sounds good. Thanks! I know there's not a rule for this or a set measurement, but for a 120 gal. that has a pH of 7.4 and needs to be around 8.4 a 20 Lb. bag of crushed coral would be enough? An add it 10 lbs at a time and test, and so on until I get the desired levels.
 

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Yes, add some and test. 10# at a time sounds good. And monitor over time. The stuff has to dissolve to 'work'. If it gets coated with organics, and this inihibits its ability to dissolve, then it may become less effective over time.

And best to focus on KH instead of pH. Focusing on pH can lead to unnecessary frustrations. Bring your KH up and pH will come up as well and be stable. What it comes up to and settles at is of secondary importance. It'll probably fall anywhere between 7.8 and 8.4, and that's perfectly ok. Don't get trapped into thinking that you have to get your pH up to a certain value. If your KH is 8 or so, and pH is not 8.4, it'd be a waste of time and effort to try to bring it up more. Nothing to be gained and you could end up buying a bunch of expensive additives from local stores that send your pH on some serious swings. And all for naught.
 
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