Jump to content


Photo

How Do I Raise Water Hardness?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 trickyspark

trickyspark

    New Member

  • Member
  • 30 posts

Posted 04 March 2009 - 02:48 AM

With the help of some other people in the forum I narrowed down a problem with molly small fry dying while other fry (swordtails) in the same tank were the picture of health.

I tested all the parameters of my water. Everything was spot on, except my GH or general hardness. It showed up as 3, when it should have been between 6 to 16 as indicated by my test kit.

I searched every pet store in our state capital today (Montgomery, AL) and did not find a single product that hardened water with the exception of one. It was called Cichlid Buffer. After reading the back label, it stated that it raised and stablilized pH and KH (carbonate hardness).

My KH is 8, and my PH is 8. I don't want to manipulate either if possible. I have heard messing with the pH is a P.I.T.A (pain in the a**) and the KH is perfect.

I asked the people that worked in the pet stores, and they looked at me as if to say, "#### is soft water?". I can't blame them, I wasn't a specialist, and still am not.

Are there any products I can safely add to my aquariums to safely raise the GH that will not raise/lower the pH, that will not introduce any unwanted chemicals/side effects, and are tolerable by various freshwater fish (catfish, platies, molly, ghost shrimp, snails, etc.)

I bought some aquarium salt, but after reading it will increase the pH and isn't something readily tolerater or enjoyed by corydoras and plecos (I have them in every tank, can't help it I love catfish), I have refrained from adding it pending further advice.

#2 drobbyb

drobbyb

    Bowhead

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 3,251 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2009 - 03:54 AM

It's best not to go messing around with your hardness unless it's absolutely necessary. Why do you need a higher GH than 3?

#3 Colin_T

Colin_T

    Fish Gatherer

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,056 posts

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:28 AM

Generally if you use a water conditioner/ buffer to raise the GH, the KH goes up as well. This is due to the conditioner/ buffer containing carbonates as well as chlorides and sulphates. Basically you use carbonates and bicarbonates to raise the KH & PH, but you use chlorides and sulphates (normally just chlorides) to raise the GH. Most buffers have a combination of these because they are designed for fish that come from water with a high GH & KH.
If you look around you might be able to find calcium or magnesium chloride and that can be added to the tank to raise the GH.

There is a thread around here somewhere about making up your own Rift Lake Water conditioner from basic ingredients available at most shops/ supermarkets. If you post a thread in the cichlid section someone might be able to direct you to it. Then you can use the ingredients that are listed, minus any that have carbonates or bicarbonates in.
However, there isn't really any problem with raising the KH above 8 and most buffers don't take the PH much above 8 either. So you could try a rift lake water conditioner and use it at 1/3 to 1/2 strength and see how the PH, GH & KH go.

#4 trickyspark

trickyspark

    New Member

  • Member
  • 30 posts

Posted 04 March 2009 - 06:20 AM

It's best not to go messing around with your hardness unless it's absolutely necessary. Why do you need a higher GH than 3?



Because I have mollies that are not doing well, they do best in harder water.

#5 drobbyb

drobbyb

    Bowhead

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 3,251 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2009 - 04:55 PM

Mollies do fine is soft water. My wife had mollies that did fine in soft water. They do appreciate a bit of salt though.

As mentioned, those commercial products will raise both KH and GH. I've heard of people using epsom salts to increase hardness, but I really don't think it's necessary.

#6 Colin_T

Colin_T

    Fish Gatherer

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,056 posts

Posted 04 March 2009 - 05:11 PM

It really depends on whether the mollies originally came from hard water or soft water. If they are locally bred stock they should be fine in your normal water. If they are wild caught then they should be in harder water.

#7 rdd1952

rdd1952

    Swim with the Fishes

  • Retired Moderator
  • 9,750 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2009 - 05:33 PM

I agree that the mollies should be fine in the water you have. As stated, trying to alter pH, GH or KH will almost always cause more problems than it cures. And they are usually so tied together that changing one without changing the other is virtually impossible. Here is a pretty good article on the relationship between the 3.

#8 trickyspark

trickyspark

    New Member

  • Member
  • 30 posts

Posted 04 March 2009 - 08:20 PM

I ordered some RO Right, the powdered kind. I have a spare 10 gallon tank that is cycled for isolating new fish I bring in. There is currently nothing but a few snails I picked up from 2 plants I bought in it, so I'm going to test the RO Right in there and observe it for a week or 2.

Thanks for the advice. I had done some browsing and it does seem that it's hard to tweak one thing without another being changed.

I probably won't add anything after all, just going to play with that other empty tank and see how the water parameters change. I'd hate to mess up all the other parameters just to tweak one that I've probably had off for the last 2 years. I had never checked hardness before, just always assumed I had hard water.

Besides the molly small fry and 2 or 3 of the balloon mollies, nothing else has died or acted sick in any of the tanks.

#9 birmansandbettas

birmansandbettas

    New Member

  • Member
  • 15 posts

Posted 04 March 2009 - 08:27 PM

I'm looking to harden my water as well. My snails are growing translucent shells, and I accidentally crushed a few when trying to move them off a plant I needed to trim. They definitely need more minerals.

#10 rdd1952

rdd1952

    Swim with the Fishes

  • Retired Moderator
  • 9,750 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2009 - 08:32 PM

Quite frankly, until the last few years, probably no one knew what the GH or KH or there water was unless they were breeding fish and it was a factor. Those 2 items along with pH are probably way over rated as far as the well being of the fish are concerned. It's true that a large swing can cause issues but that generally occurs when moving a fish from one water supply to another. If I did a 100% water change on my tank which has 0 GH & KH and used water with a GH & KH of 15 or so, the fish would probably have major issues. But other than some very delicate species, the actual GH & KH numbers are relatively unimportant.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users