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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok...heres the deal...i have a 55 gallon tank with two red zebras...two ice blue zebras...and two aceis...my ph holds steady around 7.4 and 7.6...my ammonia is 0...my nitrite is 0..my nitrate is 20-40...my carbonate hardness (kH) is roughly 20-40 ppm...and my general hardness is 230-260 ppm...is this common for general to be his high but carbonate to be this low? if not how do I fix the carbonate to match the general?

thanks in advance for all your help
 

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It doesn't have to match.

However, higher KH is recommended to prevent your pH from crashing. Just add some baking soda. To start with though, just add 1 teaspoon of baking soda a day for about 5 days. Going forward, I would just add about 1 tablespoon every time you do a 50% water change.

Me, coming from 7pH and 0KH, I have to add 1tbsp/15 gallons. You adding 1 tbsp for 25'ish gallons should do fine.

That will raise your pH and your KH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ok so one teaspoon every day for 5 days...and then at every waterchange of 25% add one TABLESPOON of baking soda...is baking soda the same as ph 8.2 and could i solve this problem by using crushed coral...also do i just take the water out...then put it back in...then add hte baking soda or do it per bucket?
 

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Crushed Coral won't dissolve fast enough to realy affect water conditions.

If you're only doing 25% water change, I would do 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda.

Yes, baking soda is 8.2, but you don't /have/ to get there.

When you're adding your water from your water change, just mix it up in a cup and pour it in at the same time.
 

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musicman3204 said:
ok...heres the deal...i have a 55 gallon tank with two red zebras...two ice blue zebras...and two aceis...my ph holds steady around 7.4 and 7.6...my ammonia is 0...my nitrite is 0..my nitrate is 20-40...my carbonate hardness (kH) is roughly 20-40 ppm...and my general hardness is 230-260 ppm...is this common for general to be his high but carbonate to be this low? if not how do I fix the carbonate to match the general?

thanks in advance for all your help
Mine is just the opposite. My KH is 230 ppm and my GH is 90 ppm in a newly set up 75 g tank. pH holds steady at 8.2. Is there a correlation between KH and GH or can they be raised independently of one another?

Also, everything I have read says that epsom salt is most commonly used to raise GH.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Thanks Caldwell!
 

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No problem. I graduated from High School in Palestine Texas, right in the heart of red dirt country!
 

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For the situation the OP has, there are several ways to move in the correct direction but I like to keep things simple when possible, so this might be one to think over. We often read of folks stressing about getting the "correct" rocks to avoid making their PH,GH and KH rise. So this leads to the idea that some rocks like limestone are alkaline and high in carbonates.
Since the OP has fish who love hard alkaline water as well as love lots of rocks, it seems very natural and easy for me to recommend adding a bunch of limestone and letting it do the slow steady job of trying to boost the PH, GH and KH while also hiding the hiding places we want.
I can't fully recommend adding buffers like mentioned when there are slow steady methods to get the same job done. The problem I find with trying to fight the tap water too much is twofold. It tends to be a real drag and constant nagging doubt about getting it just right and it also tends to be very unstable. I find my fish can adapt to a very wide range of water parameters but only if things change slowly and they are not constantly required to chase a moving target.
Adding alkaline rocks is one way to very slowly change the water and that slow change is easy for the fish to adapt to without stress.
 

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Let's think on what you're saying PmO, rocks like limestone that are made up of calcium carbonate, dissolve extremely slow in an already alkaline water environment. By the time a miniscule amount of the rock dissolves, it's removed from the water column by water changes. Limestone rocks and aragonite substrates are practically useless unless it's crushed and placed in the filter with constant water flow, mechanically breaking it down. It's a myth and a sales ploy for companies like caribsea to justify a high price tag for supposed "cichlid sand"
 

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One of our former mods had a PhD in water chemistry and she convinced me this is true...also the fact that I have had aragonite in my tanks for 10 years and pH has not increased in the slightest.

It's pool filter sand for me now. And whatever rocks have a pleasing shape.
 

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DJRansome said:
One of our former mods had a PhD in water chemistry and she convinced me this is true...also the fact that I have had aragonite in my tanks for 10 years and pH has not increased in the slightest.

It's pool filter sand for me now. And whatever rocks have a pleasing shape.
This is one of those points where we always see differing opinions. We have a major group who advise that one can't use limestone in tanks as it changes the water too much. Then we also have another group who contends that rocks will not change water enough to effect things. These seem to be in direct conflict so I look deeper.
To me, it seems obvious that putting alkaline rocks in hard alkaline water will give a different result than putting them in soft acidic water. So my answer for the OP and their situation is still the same. If they want to have more hardness and a higher KH, adding limestone rocks, will at least do the job of providing adequate cover for mbuna and may/ may not add to the KH. They certainly will not make a dramatic (dangerous?) shift in the water parameters that lowers the GH and KH. They may only make a slow gradual change, but that is what I would want for my fish.
Certainly a cheaper, easier answer than going for other, more abrupt changes.
I do fully agree that the commercial products as mentioned are often just sales gimmicks for many of us.
 

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The only time a limestone rock would possibly cause problems, is in a tank that requires low acidic pH. It would take years to dissolve enough calcium carbonate to buffer pH in an already alkaline or basic environment. You'd be better off crushing it with a hammer and dumping the powder in. I use calcium carbonate, the main ingredient of limestone rock, to raise alkalinity so I know how much it requires in my tank. There's nothing wrong with using limestone rocks for decor in an African tank, if that's what you're into, but it has no intrinsic value as a pH buffer. The point is to have your aquarium water already acclimated for the fish before putting them in so there's no "shock" involved in raising kH, gH or pH after they've been introduced.
 
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