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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.
I have just ran out of my African KH + potassium powder that I buy which isn't cheep. Depending on which shop I go to it is priced at (Australian dollars) $150- $175 for 5kg. Having 4 large tanks (8ft, 2x7ft and 6ft) I go through it quite quickly.

My question is:= What do you use to elevate your KH? Do you buy it from the aquarium shops or is there a cheaper alternative I can use?
I have heard you can use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) but I would like some reassurance from others that this is ok before I use it. Also what can I use for the potassium side of things or is this in the baking soda too?

Could you please tell me if baking soda is the right thing to lift my KH in my Tanganyikan tanks or if you have any other suggestions of what I could be using, I would be very grateful for the information.

Cheers.
 

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I use baking soda in all my tanks and have for years. It will raise your KH and buffer your water at pH 8.2. There's no need to spend the money on expensive fish-specific formulas. I buy the big 3lb bags of baking soda from Walmart- it's often stored near the laundry or cleaning supplies rather than in the baking isle.
 

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There's really no need to spend so much $$ on specialised rift salts. I add Bicarbonate of soda (Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate) and epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) as a matter of course. I have done for years and my fish are fine (including wilds). Neither of these will add potassium as they don't contain it. You don't really need it but if you want it then lo-salt is potassium chloride which will do the job cheaply. Some also add sodium chloride. Marine salt is the best source of this as it also contains lots of trace elements, but again, not essential.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK you guys have been really helpful and I will be saving time and money, now I have the KH sorted can you please advise me on GH, I see Mr Mumba has mentioned Epsom salts, is this to lift the GH?
Could you please view this Epsom Salt product on ebay for me and let me know if this would be suitable for me to use.
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll ... TQ:AU:1348

Thanks again.
 

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Yes that's the stuff and it will raise general hardness. I buy it in 25kg bags also. You only really need to add this if your water is soft or not very hard. Some people's tap water is hard and alkaline out of the tap. Mine is alkaline (about pH 7.8) but soft. I add about 1 teaspoonfull to every 2 gallon bucket.

For some reason my 8 has come out as a "cool" smilie??
 

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That's the right stuff- but it will take a very long time to use that much. I buy my Epsom in 5lb bags that last a year, even with weekly water changes on 8 tanks. I find Epsom in the local pharmacy store, or in Walmart (not sure what the Aussie equivalent would be).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi guys, today while buying some PVC pipe and fittings I come across a pool PH and Alkalinity lifter in a 2kg tub for $14.95, it had stamped across the front "active ingredient sodium bicarbonate".
Sorry for keep asking but is this going to be OK to use in my tank?

I priced up (what I have been using for the last 2 years) the African KH+ Potassium yesterday from my local aquarium and they are now asking for $199. for a 4kg tub. So you see why I'm now looking at other alternatives. What could they add to there mix besides sodium bicarbonate to make it so expensive?

Thanks again.
 

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I would avoid that - it is used for swimming pools, not for keeping fish in and unless you know exactly what else is in there it could be an expensive mistake. Is not plain bicarb just as cheap if not cheaper and just as readily available?
 

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Do not use pool chem mixes- just find baking soda. Here you can buy big bags of pure sodium bicarbonate for $2/pound. Ask your resident baker (spouse, parent or sibling) where to find it if you are having trouble. The main brand name in the US is Arm and Hammer.
 

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I learned from a great breeder in Campbel River how to make the African salt mix for cheap.
I use 1 table spoon of marine salt /10 gallons
1 table spoon of Epsom salt /10 gallons
1 teaspoon of baking soda /10 gallons
And Prime water conditioner 1 cap / 50 gallon,though you can't really overdose on prime.
My fish are very comfortable and look great.
 

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I buy and use sodium bicarb from a pool supply all the time. This is all I've used in my tang tanks for the last four years. Just make sure that's all that's in there. What you saw does sound a bit suspicious though. You want 'only ingredient', not 'active ingredient'.
 

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Islord said:
I learned from a great breeder in Campbel River how to make the African salt mix for cheap.
I use 1 table spoon of marine salt /10 gallons
1 table spoon of Epsom salt /10 gallons
1 teaspoon of baking soda /10 gallons
And Prime water conditioner 1 cap / 50 gallon,though you can't really overdose on prime.
My fish are very comfortable and look great.
These dosing amounts are completely dependent on your source water chemistry, and even so, adding that much salt to normal water (not ultrapure) would create a nearly brackish conditions. Here's the math:

2 Tablespoons of salt = ~30 grams salt
10 gallons = 38L

To round up a tad, that's nearly 1 part per thousand: 30g/38L = 0.8 g/L = 0.8 parts per thousand. If you are not accounting for evaporation, salts in the food, TDS of your water source... you are going to be very far off the normal chemistry for Lake Tanganyika with your recipe. Now- that doesn't mean it's automatically bad for your fish, it's just probably not doing what you think it does. On top of that, 1 tsp per 10 gal baking soda isn't going to make much of a difference in your water- if that is sufficient to buffer your water at 8.2, then your water is already sufficiently buffered.

In most cases of tap water for aquariums, you're looking at adding a ratio closer to 3:1 baking soda to salts, not 1:6 as your recipe suggests.
 

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Forgot to mention that I do use aragonite. Maybe you're right about theater,but I'll tell you this,there is a guy here in vancouver that keeps Trophs in tap water.I went to his house and saw that he had 2 tropheus tanks and some kind of nigripinnis tank strictly with tap water and prime. I specifically asked about his water chemistry and he said that for the last 10 years he is using only tap water.His tanks are immaculate. Then I met with another African breeder who told me that he only used Aquarium salt and prime. I just know that my formula works for me and that's all that matters to me. I've heard of so many different ways that people keep their water that it gets confusing. Anyways, thanks for the input
 
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