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PH and KH problems

keeton

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28 Jul 2009
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38
hi guys,
i bought a german blue ram about a week and a half ago by the next day the it had died, i phoned the shop to see if i could get a replacement. they said they would replace the ram if my water was alright and they wanted to test my water. i did a test myself using my API master testkit result were:
ph 6.0 (7 from tap but i use nutrafin home brew co2 kit)
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 10
so went down and they tested my water with a dip stick, i thought they were well know for being hugely inaccurate. and said that all my fish and plants should be dead because my ph is 5 and my kh is 2/3, and said to bring it up slowly using some shell they gave me, which i havn't put it yet. i've just bought a kh test and tested myself which has shown 2/3kh. am i right in thinking that the shell will have calcium in it to bring the kh up which will bring the ph up also. but doesn't need to be done extremely slowly, ph fluctuation via co2 is ok but ph fluctuation due to kh is really bad. should i put a small amount of shell in my filter and monitor the ph and kh every hour? and add and remove shell accordingly till i get a solid kh between 5-10?

different matter completely
but i bought some plants from sheffield aquatics the other day and since i put them in found a half eaten dead shrimp and ive not seen the rest (6) of the shrimp since last night, copper to kill snails on plants? but my apple snails are still moving around.

all help appreciated!

keeton
 

keeton

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thanks for the reply
lights came on about 20 minutes ago and i've just seen one of the shrimp posing on the top of the wood, he seems fine and so do the apple snails so i might be alright :)
 

aaronnorth

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pH doesnt kill fish, or plants. more than likley it will affect the filter bacteria at a certain point which will then lead to the death of a fish.
but still, i have read people who have experienced pH in the range of 4-5 with no problems.


KH is a measure of alkaliniity (carbonate & bicarbonate ions in the water) how a low KH can relate to a fish death i dont know. fluctuations in KH yes, as it limits ion echange at the gills, but again, lots of people have 0dkh and Ed Seeley manages to breed fish in his water, some rareer species too i believe ;)
 

keeton

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so basically long as my ph and kh are pretty much stable and not all over the place im alright?
 

Ed Seeley

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The only way that pH would have killed the fish is if it wasn't slowly acclimnatised to those conditions. Rams and other SA dwarfs love soft acidic water. I run my softwater tanks at 0dKH and the pH is around 6 without CO2 and 5 with it and the fish are fine (I don't necessarily recommend this unless you know what you're doing though and keep an eye on things, but it doesn't cause issues in of itself.)

If your tap water has a pH of 7 then it is unusual for a tank that is getting regular water changes to be so much lower in pH. What is the KH of your tap water?
 

keeton

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just done a test on tap and tank water again
tap: 4
tank: 1/2

50% water change weekly
 

Ed Seeley

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keeton said:
just done a test on tap and tank water again
tap: 4
tank: 1/2

50% water change weekly

Can you give me some more details of your set up? What substrate are you using?
 

keeton

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sorry
30gallon
argos play sand
nutrafin co2 (home brew)
1.70wpg 7hours daily
moderate to heavily planted
fully stocked
rena 405 external and tetratec ex600 filters
 

Ed Seeley

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keeton said:
sorry
30gallon
argos play sand
nutrafin co2 (home brew)
1.70wpg 7hours daily
moderate to heavily planted
fully stocked
rena 405 external and tetratec ex600 filters

No need to apologise mate, I'm just curious as I don't understand why your KH is so much lower in your tank than the tap water. I would lay off buying any new fish for a while until you're sure there are no problems.

Do you have any large pieces of wood in the tank or do you use peat in the filter? Is there anything in your tank that could be using up the KH? When you say fully stocked, how many fish of what size are you talking about? I'm not trying to criticise or pass judgements here; it's just that something here doesn;t quite make sense!
 

keeton

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28 Jul 2009
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Ed Seeley said:
keeton said:
sorry
30gallon
argos play sand
nutrafin co2 (home brew)
1.70wpg 7hours daily
moderate to heavily planted
fully stocked
rena 405 external and tetratec ex600 filters

No need to apologise mate, I'm just curious as I don't understand why your KH is so much lower in your tank than the tap water. I would lay off buying any new fish for a while until you're sure there are no problems.

Do you have any large pieces of wood in the tank or do you use peat in the filter? Is there anything in your tank that could be using up the KH? When you say fully stocked, how many fish of what size are you talking about? I'm not trying to criticise or pass judgements here; it's just that something here doesn;t quite make sense!


its fine mate, you will know alot more than me.
everything in my tank:
argos play sand
wood
plants
fish
and slate (also been in since the tank was bought, when the ph would sit at 7.0)

something just jumped at me, the only thing i've changed since i tested last(before ram death) was about a month or two before where i changed to sand from gravel and added the different wood (same place i got my old wood) and added co2, ferts and upped lighting
 

Ed Seeley

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Nottingham
Well the wood is something to check out. It can drop the KH rapidly and acidify the water depending on what wood it is. Can you put it in a bucket and see if it drops the KH? Would tell you what the problem was!

If a tank is really overstocked it can deplenish the KH too.
 

keeton

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28 Jul 2009
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it is lightly overstocked but not hugely. tomorrow im doing a complete scape, so if i put the wood in a bucket of tap water how long would it take to notice a difference?

would changing the substrate of had anything to do with it?
 

Ed Seeley

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keeton said:
it is lightly overstocked but not hugely.

Please don't take this the wrong way but a lot of people who say things like this or that they're lightly stocked are actually way overstocked in reality. In your case I suspect it's the wood that's causing the issues though.

keeton said:
tomorrow im doing a complete scape, so if i put the wood in a bucket of tap water how long would it take to notice a difference?

It will depend on how large an affect the wood's having. I would have though a couple of days, but maybe up to a week. If there's no effect by then then it isn't the wood IMO if you're doing 50% water changes a week and still seeing such a large drop in KH.

keeton said:
would changing the substrate of had anything to do with it?

The play sand should be an inert substrate and shouldn't affect the KH, GH or pH at all. Most sands and gravels if they do affect the the water usually raise the hardness and pH. Only Aquasoil AFAIK significantly lowers the KH.
 

keeton

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28 Jul 2009
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stocking
1 female honey gourami
12 neon tetra
6 white cloud
7 corydoras
2 khuli loach
2 BN's

will put the wood in a bucket and will keep testing to see if its that. would my stocking be enough to take the kh from 5 to 1/2, if not how over stocked would you have to be?
 

Ed Seeley

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3 Jul 2007
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Location
Nottingham
keeton said:
stocking
1 female honey gourami
12 neon tetra
6 white cloud
7 corydoras
2 khuli loach
2 BN's

Definitely tghink it might be the wood! Try it in a bucket and see what happens - you won't lose anything apart froma couple of days of wood sitting in a bucket! :lol:
 
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