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I am about to add fish to this tank finally. its been cycling and has new ada amazonia in it so i have been dealing with ammonia for a few weeks.

i just want to make sure i have the proper electrolytes, calcium and magnesium in my water for cardinals and rcs. my gh and kh just measured to about 2 degrees so thats about 35ppm. is this too low of a value for the health of cardinals and rcs? my ph is 6.0.

if i need to bump it up what should i add?
 

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Cardinals will do fine in soft water. Shrimp will need calcium though for their molting cycles. The arlington water has about 20 ppm Ca with the KH about 4 degrees out of the tap. If you are doing your water changes regularly with tap, then you should be just fine. I have 7 tanks now with Cherry and Yellow shrimps (seperate tanks of course as they will interbreed). Good choice choosing cardinals. Mine are about 6 years old now and quite large (about 2") and they used to school well when I had more of them.
 

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man, that low kh doesnt buffer worth a damn. i just did a 50% WC and my ph went from 6.0 to 6.6...it will stabilize over the next few hours back to 6.0 because of my soil but these quick swings cant be good for fish...

another way around this is to just do more frequent but smaller changes. like 4 times a week at 10%.

mike, what is the name of that seachem product you use to add more calcium/mg to the water?
 

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I use pure RO remineralised with some RO Right. This gives me water of 0dKH and 3dGH. pH swings aren't an issue IME; large swings of TDS can be. Simply keep your water make-up the same and your fish will be fine, especially ones from water with almost no TDS like cardinals!
 

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I use Equilibrium in all of my tanks but if you follow the instructions to add 1 degree of GH, it will add a lot of potassium to your system. That works in some of my tanks that I don't use EI and CO2. It is a powder and you can use the fertilator in this web site to play around with different doses of it to determine how much Ca, Mg, Fe and K it adds. The instructions on the bottle state that to increase GH by 3 degrees, add 3 tsp per 20Gallons. That's 41ppm of Potassium you are also adding. You might want to buy a tub of pure CaCl from Leslies Pool Supply and a bag of Epson salts (Mg) to do the same thing without adding so much Fe and K. I only have used it in 1 tank to raise my GH and that is my 29 Gallon tank that occassionally bottoms out the Gh and Kh due to other factors. That 29G tank has a seasoned substrate that keeps the pH around 5.9. It houses about 100 cherry shrimp, 3 Peppered Corys and 6 Albino Corys. No CO2 in that tank.

BTW, when I change my water in my Amazonia tanks, I get even larger pH swings. It hasn't harmed one fish or shrimp. In fact, my male shrimp become very active afterwards. My pressurize CO2 system with controller kicks in and brings it back down in 30minutes. I have Cherry Shrimp, 10 Amano Shrimp, 15 otos, 10 Nerites and 10 Pygmy Corys in that 40G tank.

I agree with Ed on his observations about the effects of pH and TDS on fish and shrimps.
 
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