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SweetMamaKaty

pH, KH, & GH numbers are all over the place - help me fix it?

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I have never heard of a KH that was too high for goldfish.  Where did you hear that?  KH stabilizes pH and fish want a stable pH.  Likewise, goldfish don't care much about GH.  If your GH was 1 (very soft) why do you have a water softener? 

 

I really don't understand the problem.  If you have a high KH and a stable tank pH in the low 8s (like I do) why do you want to change this?

 

Lisa is our expert on GH and KH, perhaps she can figure it out.

 

I have to correct my original answer to this - I went back to see when exactly we put in the softener, and I was wrong - it was before I took the first test.  The time we tested it before getting the softener, the KH was 17 drops, but we didn't have the GH kit then, so I actually don't know what it was before.  This helps the whole thing make more sense to me, rather than the GH being the same before and after the softener. :)

 

Why don't you just bypass the water softener when doing water changes? I'm pretty sure most water softeners have a simple type of bypass valve since many people can't handle the extra sodium ions in their drinking water.

 

I just skimmed through the thread so maybe I missed it but never listen to what your water authority claims they are releasing. I used to be a certified water plant operator (disclaimer: I never worked in the field, just did the course work and passed my state exam) with the state of Florida and I doubt any treatment plant would release water with a ph of 7.0. That is way too corrosive for the distribution lines and they always buffer it on the alkaline side. Many plants also share water with other plants when needs arise, use different water sources, storm impacts, and they big old chlorine flush from time to time. If you've ever seen a lime slaking operation it will make your stomach turn knowing that is going to become drinking water.

 

Yes, Sharon recommended this too, but I didn't realize there might be a valve - so does that mean I could basically switch the valve just long enough to do my water change from my normal faucet, then switch back when I'm done?  That would be wonderfully simple if so! :D

 

Sounds like your experience with the water department is like people who have worked in fast food, ignorance is bliss, eh? :)

 

 

 

Thank you Helen.  So this means goldfish should be ok all the way from 100-400?  And mine was something like 250.  Then I guess my main problem then is just the huge jump from existing tank water at 8.2 down to 7.4 tap when I was doing the huge 80/90/100% WCs, which can be avoided now.

 

I have no idea how my GH can be just 1 with such a high KH, but if that part isn't as important I can stop worrying about it.

 

Your water softener will remove GH.....Not KH.

 

 

Thanks for this comment, it caused me to double-check my dates and discover that both of the GH tests I did were after putting in the softener.  I was confusing myself because I thought the first time I tested was before we put the softener in, and that the GH had been the same both times.

 

 

I appreciate everyone's patience with me, certain concepts take a bit for me to absorb for some reason.  For now I just ordered the buffer to use when changing the water.  I would still like to try the aragonite sand, but it didn't have free Prime shipping, and was going to take until the end of the month to come in - I think I can probably make it out of town to buy some at the store before then, and save myself the shipping, if I do decide to try it.

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There should be a simple bypass valve somewhere need the head of the unit. Just close it when doing water changes and open when done. It's really that simple. You shouldn't need all of those buffers as I'm pretty sure your GH will be high right from the tap.

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There should be a simple bypass valve somewhere need the head of the unit. Just close it when doing water changes and open when done. It's really that simple. You shouldn't need all of those buffers as I'm pretty sure your GH will be high right from the tap.

 

Thanks!  I called Culligan today, and they were able to tell me which knob it was. :)

 

So here are my tests with the softener bypassed.

R>L:  normal pH, high pH (not sure on the number here), ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, GH 18!, KH 15 - So the GH did go way up, and what do you all think of this pH, is that a true 8.0 now?

IMG_34391_zpstetrkyhb.jpg

 

 

 

After this whole realization that I was reading pH wrong and have read the nitrate wrong in the past - I would support having people post a picture when they post their numbers in D&D threads.  I don't know if that would be too much to put on new people, but if they have to do the test to post numbers and often need to learn how to post pics in order to show their sick fish, I'd think they should be able to post a pic of the test too.  Maybe I'm over-thinking it, and sometimes I think I might struggle with things that should be easy. :idont

Oh, and I also meant to ask - should the pH stay at this level then, even after days in the tank - is that why the need to buffer goes away?

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Hard to tell exactly from the pic but it looks to be 8-8.2 to me.  :D

 

The pH will stay the same because your KH is sooooo high.  That is why you don't need to buffer.   And with your GH now also very high (hence the reason you have "hard water"), you don't need to add any products such as Seachem Equilibrium to raise the GH.  

 

These are tap water levels, right?

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Ah-ha, this makes sense, starting to come together for me now.  :happydance

 

Yes, this is tap.

 

Another question then, for the first time I do this water change, do I need to do small percentages to gradually transfer over to the new water and over what period of time?  Also doing prazi right now, so not sure how that will play into it as far as when I should do WCs.

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Not sure why you'd need to do small WCs?   Am I missing something?  (very possible as I was up with my darling puppy last night for about 2 hours :bat:  :rofl )  Shouldn't affect prazi either.  :idont

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Oh, huh you're right, the pH matches - this rocks!  :rockon   Temperature... the Culligan Man said to only run straight cold to protect the hot water heater - but I wonder if it's really that big of a deal, the water surely isn't pulling that much hot just to make the cool water I use...

 

 

Aw, can't hold it against a sweet puppy... :teehee I think sleep deprivation is just my life now.  I was thinking the other day, I don't know if I will ever get to sleep again - and it's not the baby, it's the bigger kids or my husband's insulin pump beeping!  :why:

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Oh, huh you're right, the pH matches - this rocks!  :rockon   Temperature... the Culligan Man said to only run straight cold to protect the hot water heater - but I wonder if it's really that big of a deal, the water surely isn't pulling that much hot just to make the cool water I use...

 

 

Aw, can't hold it against a sweet puppy... :teehee I think sleep deprivation is just my life now.  I was thinking the other day, I don't know if I will ever get to sleep again - and it's not the baby, it's the bigger kids or my husband's insulin pump beeping!  :why:

I'm not sure how much water you are changing at a time but I don't think letting a little hard water into the water heater would be a big deal. Just think of how many people have hard water and DON'T have a softener. A couple of showers and a load of laundry should get you back to 100% softened water in the WH. I wouldn't worry about it.

Just keep in mind the more hot water you mix in with your water changes the lower the GH will be. Again, I wouldn't worry about it since yours is plenty high to begin with. 

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Oh, huh you're right, the pH matches - this rocks!  :rockon   Temperature... the Culligan Man said to only run straight cold to protect the hot water heater - but I wonder if it's really that big of a deal, the water surely isn't pulling that much hot just to make the cool water I use...

 

 

Aw, can't hold it against a sweet puppy... :teehee I think sleep deprivation is just my life now.  I was thinking the other day, I don't know if I will ever get to sleep again - and it's not the baby, it's the bigger kids or my husband's insulin pump beeping!  :why:

I'm not sure how much water you are changing at a time but I don't think letting a little hard water into the water heater would be a big deal. Just think of how many people have hard water and DON'T have a softener. A couple of showers and a load of laundry should get you back to 100% softened water in the WH. I wouldn't worry about it.

Just keep in mind the more hot water you mix in with your water changes the lower the GH will be. Again, I wouldn't worry about it since yours is plenty high to begin with. 

 

Ah, that's another good point!

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One other thing and this is probably not the greatest advice, but it's what I do. With a GH and KH that high I would almost never check the PH, maybe occasionally. It's rarely going to move unless you have some intense lighting and green water or don't keep up with your water changes. 

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Ok, anyone have a minute to look at this pH test?  It kind of looks like 8.2 tank / 7.4 tap to me.  Could that be because I only did a 50% wc last time (my first time bypassing the water softener) so there was still the soft water in there to raise the pH?  Or do you think the one on the right (tap) is 8.0?

 

 

 

card upside down to touch the colors

IMG_37211_zpsc0zn9hmp.jpg

 

My tank Nitrates are 0, maybe I will just do another 50% just in case...

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IME Ph will always run higher in a clean tank especially with a high GH/KH. Aeration could also be something that makes it rise. Your readings are what I would consider normal.....I'd just keep reading from the tank only and I don't think you need another large water change.

 

An old method is to measure the Ph out of the tap, then fill up...say a 5 gallon bucket with tank water. Then aerate the water heavily and see what it reads about 12 hours later. This will give you the true Ph you are working with from your water source. 

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What does the tap pH look like on the normal range pH?

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IME Ph will always run higher in a clean tank especially with a high GH/KH. Aeration could also be something that makes it rise. Your readings are what I would consider normal.....I'd just keep reading from the tank only and I don't think you need another large water change.

 

An old method is to measure the Ph out of the tap, then fill up...say a 5 gallon bucket with tank water. Then aerate the water heavily and see what it reads about 12 hours later. This will give you the true Ph you are working with from your water source. 

 

Thank you - I guess I'm used to creeping nitrates and water changes more than 1x weekly, so I have been doing a 50% just now to keep the schedule.  I guess maybe I can go out closer to a true week with 0 Nitrates...

 

I drew off a 5 gallon bucket with an air pump to check tomorrow then.  Could I possibly be over-aerating my tank?  I have a bubble wand in the wet/dry filter and had recently put one in the tank too.

 

What does the tap pH look like on the normal range pH?

 

Thank you - the normal

IMG_37221_zpsf8luradg.jpg

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I am of the belief that the more aeration the better as long as it does not become a jacuzzi or overpower the fish. A wet/dry should easily have you at 100% saturation without subjecting the fish to high currents that would be detrimental. 

 

You can supersaturate the water but that normally will only happen from faulty equipment and I don't think I've ever seen it. I'm sure it can happen but I would consider it a rare event.

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You can't supersaturate an aquarium with airstones. Actually, if one has supersaturated water coming from the tap (which sometimes does occur) one should store and heavily aerate the water before adding it to the tank.

 

The only supersaturation in fish containers I know of occurs in super-deep koi ponds.  Toward the end of the last century koi fanciers became obsessed with the deeper the better -- if 8' is better than 6, then 10' is better yet, and 12' even better.  However, when they got to 10-12 ft, they had to use high-pressure air to get bubbles to the bottom of the pond.  Then they started seeing gas bubble disease and even (previously very rare) swim bladder disorder in their big koi.  Now, most recommend 8' deep ponds, but some of the real pros have 6' deep ponds.

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I forgot to test the bucket right at the 12 hour mark, but here it is

IMG_37301_zpsub0xthyv.jpg

 

So does this mean that regardless of hardness, I will need to either age or buffer my water changes?

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Try testing both samples with the High Range Ph. I think your numbers will be closer because you are at the end of the scale with the Low Range.

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Unless I have misread your posts the water from the tank has a pH of ~8.2, as does the freshly drawn tap water and the aged tap water.  :thumbup2:

Why do you want to age or buffer? :hummm

 

Rob, I believe that's one sample -- aged tap.

Edited by shakaho

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I think she is getting a different reading from the tap, than what is in the tank. That is why I asked her to aerate the water, which will normally raise the Ph in hard tap water.

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I think she is getting a different reading from the tap, than what is in the tank. That is why I asked her to aerate the water, which will normally raise the Ph in hard tap water.

 

Yes, last night it looked like 7.4 from the tap, so I'm afraid of dropping them from the  8.2 the tank runs down to 7.4 at each wc.  It's as though bypassing the softener gave me the higher gh I was looking for, but isn't doing anything about the tap pH starting low and raising to 8.2 over time.

 

 

I will take more water samples tonight after the kids are in bed.  I really appreciate everyone's help with this, as I'm at a loss on my own! :)

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It is very possible that your tap water is low in DO (dissolved oxygen) and high in carbonic acid thus resulting in a lower Ph from the tap. Once you transfer the water to the tank it is heavily aerated by your filters and bubblewands, etc. This will lead to a rise in the Ph in the tank.

 

It's quite common and I'll take a guess that if you aerate the tap water heavily, and use the same kits, your Ph readings should be very close. 

Edited by jetman73

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The picture in post #28 shows water from the tap and the pH appears to be 8.0-8.2.

 

In post #36, we see tank water at pH 8.2 and an unreadable tap water test.  I get those brown tests that match nothing sometimes too.  That why I hardly ever test pH.

 

In post #39, we see a tap water sample tested with low range pH.  To my eyes this is bluer than the 7.6 patch suggesting a pH over 7.6, but in any case, not 7.4 which Katy guessed the test in #36 might read.  

 

Just retest the tap water.

 

In any case, a 50% water change with tap at  or above 7.6 and tank at 8.2 does not present a problem

Edited by shakaho

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You're right, the blue was much darker than the card earlier today!  That makes a lot of sense then, that it must be over 7.6.

 

When I take the samples tonight, it's back to being light - I wonder if time of day is playing into this (or am I remembering wrong that can be a factor?)  

R>L

Tap reg pH, Tap high pH, Tank high pH, Tank reg pH

IMG_3731_zpswkxcxg64.jpg

 

 

I really don't care what either tap or tank are, as long as I'm not stressing my fish with each WC.  :lol3   I might just stick to 50% for my own peace of mind I guess, and be thankful for the extra GH from bypassing the softener.

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You'll be more than fine with source water like that. If you notice the new Ph readings, they are barely apart which would be of no cause for concern even if you went larger than 50%. Personally, I don't like water changes much larger than 50% anyway, and are only rarely needed if you keep sensible stocking levels.   

 

Just monitor your Nitrates and adjust your WC schedule from there and keep things simple. As you might have noticed in the previous posts but Sharon and myself rarely ever check our Ph and with your natural Kh and Gh you fall into the same category. If you had an outdoor pond and green water I would be giving you different advice, but that is not the case. Good luck and your goldies will do fine in that environment.

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