GH/KH Softening - DIY Aquarium Projects - Aquatic Plant Central

Go Back   Aquatic Plant Central > General Interest Forums > DIY Aquarium Projects

DIY Aquarium Projects For those that are handy or looking to save some money, discuss your DIY aquarium projects here.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-03-2014, 12:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kalispell, MT
Posts: 105
iTrader Ratings: 0
k zeller is a regular member
Default GH/KH Softening

So in the area that I live the tap here is very Alkaline, like +/-8.2. It is recommended in a lot of traditional gardening that for every gallon of water added to plants that you add 1 teaspoon of epsom salt. Can this be done with my aquariums as well to improve GH/KH? Where I live RoDi is no option so I have to explore other options. A DIY option here would be great if possible. A non chemical water additive or other alternative would be most desireable. Thanks
k zeller is offline   Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]
Old 12-03-2014, 01:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Tugg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: McKinney, TX (Dallas/DFW)
Posts: 870
iTrader Ratings: 0
Tugg is a regular member
Default Re: GH/KH Softening

A ph of 8.2 is likely the result of a high kH (carbonate hardness). In most cases you likely have a high gh (general hardness, or mineral hardness).

Espom salt is Magnesium Sulfate. This will raise your gh even higher and may not be nessasary (depending on the ratio of calcium to magnesium your water has).

Why isn't RODI an option? If you have low pressure, you can install a booster pump. Last week Bulk Reef Supply had some really good deals on their RO units.

If you stay with the tap water and want it softer, you could look into trying Seachem's Acid buffer. It's a blend of bisulfate salts. These acidic salts will attack the kh and convert it into CO2.

I don't have any good ideas on how to lower the gh other than dilution. You could collect rainwater/snow and blend it with the tap water.

You best options are to either adapt to your natural tap water (Vals, anubias, and other African plants like hard water) or to bite the bullet on RODI. Trying to adjust tap water can become a nightmare and cause more problems then it's worth.
Tugg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kalispell, MT
Posts: 105
iTrader Ratings: 0
k zeller is a regular member
Default Re: GH/KH Softening

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugg View Post
A ph of 8.2 is likely the result of a high kH (carbonate hardness). In most cases you likely have a high gh (general hardness, or mineral hardness).

Espom salt is Magnesium Sulfate. This will raise your gh even higher and may not be nessasary (depending on the ratio of calcium to magnesium your water has).

Why isn't RODI an option? If you have low pressure, you can install a booster pump. Last week Bulk Reef Supply had some really good deals on their RO units.

Temparary rental home for now and I dont want to invest into something I dont plan to keep.

If you stay with the tap water and want it softer, you could look into trying Seachem's Acid buffer. It's a blend of bisulfate salts. These acidic salts will attack the kh and convert it into CO2.

Is this considered chemical? How will the change affect the livestock?

I don't have any good ideas on how to lower the gh other than dilution. You could collect rainwater/snow and blend it with the tap water.

Being in MT I currently have a neverending supply of snow haha

You best options are to either adapt to your natural tap water (Vals, anubias, and other African plants like hard water) or to bite the bullet on RODI. Trying to adjust tap water can become a nightmare and cause more problems then it's worth.
I have anubias, ludwigia, hygro, riccia, and eleocharis on order for the 10g to be setup right now. My 55g native has plants and fish that are locally harvested so it fine because, well, thats what they are used to. Its the other tanks that are more "aquascaped" I am concerned with.
k zeller is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 12-03-2014, 03:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kalispell, MT
Posts: 105
iTrader Ratings: 0
k zeller is a regular member
Default Re: GH/KH Softening

tugg - that didnt post the way I thought it would. Hopefully you can decifer how it was intended to read.
k zeller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
JoeRoun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 20
iTrader Ratings: 0
JoeRoun is a regular member
Smile Gh & KH

Hi,

It would seem that your general hardness (GH) is about 11.5 dGH, your apparent temporary hardness (KH) is approaching 16-dKH.

If you could take some tap water, rinse then fill a glass, stir and let sit for a day or so and check the pH. We could gauge the carbonate hardness a little more accurately.

This isn’t terrible water…

You definitely do not need to add Epsom salt.

Respectfully,
Joe
JoeRoun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2014, 07:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kalispell, MT
Posts: 105
iTrader Ratings: 0
k zeller is a regular member
Default Re: Gh & KH

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeRoun View Post
Hi,

It would seem that your general hardness (GH) is about 11.5 dGH, your apparent temporary hardness (KH) is approaching 16-dKH.

If you could take some tap water, rinse then fill a glass, stir and let sit for a day or so and check the pH. We could gauge the carbonate hardness a little more accurately.

This isn’t terrible water…

You definitely do not need to add Epsom salt.

Respectfully,
Joe
I will do that tonight and let you know. Thanks for the help.
k zeller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2014, 03:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Mukwonago Wisconsin
Posts: 647
iTrader Ratings: 0
TropTrea is a regular member
Default Re: GH/KH Softening

Thius is an old method but has been tried by many years ago and as long as careful with it it will work.

First off get a container to treat the water in prior to putting it into an aquarium. Then you can a small amount of Muratic acid to the water usually about 1 ounce per 10 gallons. Then let the mixture settle of at least 24 hours and check the water for both hardness as well as pH. The old goal to get a the get the pH between 7.2 and 7.6 using this method. If the pH is still high more acid can be used. But after each addition you must let things stabilize at least 24 hours.

I have heard other things like using other types of acids are can be saver even going to vinegar for small pH changes. But the acid not only lowers the pH but also the water hardness.
TropTrea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2014, 06:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
JoeRoun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 20
iTrader Ratings: 0
JoeRoun is a regular member
Smile Poor Man’s Alternative to RO

Poor man’s alternative to RO as well as maintaining the general hardness (GH).

First is liming, many of us have seen this when dosing fertz containing Calcium, in fact it is the one point where KH and GH actually cross.

I have read many times about people saying it “snows” when they dose fertz. I resist saying anything as many “experts” like more complicated answers.

It is really Calcium bonding with the carbonate and precipitating, usually Calcium carbonate.

  • Effectively reducing the KH and not adding to the general hardness.
  • Industry uses this method to protect equipment, the
  • Calcium carbonate settles or is filtered out.
  • It is not difficult to reduce the KH in tap water using lime and maybe some heat.
The second method that I really do not recommend, but use myself, Muriatic acid, HCl.

Follow all the safety rules, seriously, do this out of doors, in a well-ventilated area, breeze blowing away from you. Use gloves, safety goggles, away from kids, pets so on. If you are a kid, get parental permission and supervision. The stuff can ruin your day (and life)!

I really recommend either being able to determine carbonate hardness accurately either by titration (some idea of chemistry) or a Lamotte test kit, still titration but the stuff is worked out for you. Be careful of even Hach’s and others have end points above pH 5. Make sure you have a reasonably accurate method of measuring pH.

The problem of pH returning, actually it is the carbonates reforming as with the liming above, we removed the carbonates from solution.

In this case we are going to drive the CO2 off the carbonate, effectively removing the carbonate from solution by aeration.

I would never dose Muriatic acid, HCl into my tanks directly, my critters are to curious and even well diluted I would fear the potential damage, damage that might not be immediately apparent.

Which brings the issue of pH swings, if your tank has critters, keep the

  • pH changes to no more than pH 0.3 per day.
  • In fact if you are changing the pH more than 1 whole point,
  • remember that a full point lower is 10 times more acidic
  • allow a couple days between the 0.3 drops in pH,
  • take your time.
  • Fish can be harmed and you may not see the results of the harm for a couple of weeks.

Large changes in pH can irreversibly harm fish,
the classic example are Neon tetras experiencing a full pH point swing,
even if the water is immediately stabilized and the fish keeper thinks he got away with it, they all look fine, swimming around, eating but two-weeks later the tetras begin dying off and within 3-days, a week, they are all dead.

For this procedure I recommend using a tub, garbage can (preferably new, at least clean), it is nice to have an air pump, capable of really getting the water frothing, moving. Glass air diffusers are better than stone or wood for this (my opinion anyway).

Determine how many dKH you wish to remove, frankly in my tub I usually aim for 1-dKH, figuring I will mix tap water to get the desired d-KH. Honestly there are situations to go under 4-dKH. Generally too much KH is not a problem, there are definite exceptions though.

Now, I have certainly learned that any mention of “moles” of something, “specific gravity,” “normalizing,” “molarity,” and so forth are a big turn off. So I am ripping off Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley.

Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley’s method seems awkward, but I get it. He uses Muriatic acid, HCl straight out of the bottle and refers to it as 11,000 meq/L, so he is seems to be asserting normal Muriatic acid is the 32%, 20-Baumé variety.

Be aware Muriatic acid is sold in varying concentrations so adjust accordingly.

Thinking of “acidity as negative Alkalinity” and since 1-meq/L will drop the KH 2.8-dKH

Figuring the water out of my tap is 12-dKH and

  • I wish to drop it to say 4-dKH, means
  • 12=dKH – 4-dKH = 8-dKH.
  • That is I want to reduce 8-dKH, or
  • 8-dKH ÷ 2.8 meq/dKH = 2.9 and
  • I operate in 20-gallon batches (my preference)

So:

(1-dKH/11,000-meq) × (1-meq Muriatic acid) × (2.9-dKH) × (3.8-L/1-gal) × 20-gal × (1000-ml/1-L)
= (1 ÷ 11,000) × (2.9 Muriatic acid) × (3. × 20 × 1000-ml)
= 20-ml Muriatic acid

  • Add about half, 10-ml Muriatic acid in this case.
  • Aerate for a while, check the pH to see if it looks right.
  • Assuming things seem correct
  • add the remaining 10-ml Muriatic acid
  • continue aerating until you have blown off the CO2
  • once the pH has stabilized
  • (remember it will be rising as the CO2 dissipates)
  • change out enough water to lower the pH 0.3

It is actually less complicated than it sounds.

Respectfully,
Joe
JoeRoun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2014, 06:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Tugg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: McKinney, TX (Dallas/DFW)
Posts: 870
iTrader Ratings: 0
Tugg is a regular member
Default Re: GH/KH Softening

Oooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...... Go with RO using one of the many adapters that don't require you to permanently modify your home.

Bathroom Faucet (undersink)


Hose or Laundry Room
Tugg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2014, 09:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
JoeRoun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 20
iTrader Ratings: 0
JoeRoun is a regular member
Smile Sorry Couldn't Help Myself

Hi,

There is more than one way to accomplish what we wish…

I will go away… No need for cheap alternatives, which preserve that in the water that has value, reduces wasted water.

Respectfully,
Joe
JoeRoun is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Aquatic Plant Central > General Interest Forums > DIY Aquarium Projects > GH/KH Softening

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:31 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1