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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are peoples opinion on wether or not this is important, I have been thinking about getting into boosting gh and kh , how important do people feel this is in the lower mainland?
I just dont want to get caught up in a sales gimmick with an uneccessary product.
My tanks are 75 gal times 2 and contains mostly plecos from juvenile to adult. I have had some mortality problems in the past months with juvenile plecos.
 

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I really dont think they are that important but if you have a fragile species like Sulawesi Shrimp then you should start testiing for gh/kh.
 

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I always add Kent R/O Right (1/2 tsp/10 gallons) and Kent PH Stable (1/8 tsp/10 gallons) to all my tanks and when doing WC. Many years ago I did not. Mind you alll my tanks have enriched substrates and several have pressurized CO2 (I add additional R/O Right to these tanks in between W/C).

I have very good results following this practice.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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The two times I was really sorry I didn't raise my water hardness were

a) When I put some flourish tabs in my substrate and they dissolved too fast, sending my pH plummeting to 5 and killing some small fish.
b) When I got Goldfish.

Now I simply keep a small nylon stocking baggie of crushed coral in each of my filters. Works like a charm, problem solved, no screwing around with commercial buffers.
 

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Neither is very important if you do lots of water changes (like more than 50% a week cumulative), but if you're lazy with the water changes, or you're injecting CO2, a low GH can cause a pH crash. The solution is really simple, just dose a bit of epsom salts with a water change. It's like $10 for 5 lbs which will last you 10 years. :D
 

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Perhaps this thread should be titled is Osmoregulation important?

Yes, Frequent water changes will control your pH from drifting somewhat but the level of hardness and it's effect on ALL fish is the bigger issue here. I have been keeping aquariums for 25 years. Half of that time was in Ontario and the other half in BC. I have been involved in the retail aquarium hobby for 18 of those years. I have seen directly the difference between keeping fish in harder water and keeping them in BC or RAINWATER. Those who feel that perhaps I am on a buffer bender and that IPU is simply after sales, I am sorry to hear that.
The effects of this problem in our water took our company many years to realize and the success we have had with our livestock since this remedy has been overwhelming. Instead of simply improving our own livestock, we set out on a mission to educate all our customers on this problem.

Wild fish are induced to spawn during the rainy season when the hardness is at an all time low. This is only for a short period, at which point the hardness climbs to normal. Normal is around 3 dKH in South America and that is considered soft. What we have is basically 0 dKH and is comparable to rainwater conditions.

Points to remember:

BC has rainwater conditions, not natural for any fish commercially raised in hard water conditions. The majority of fish are raised in a hardness of at least 5dKH. Some as high as 12 dKH. This is the norm in city water conditions world wide with the exception of BC and Seattle.

The aquatic industry has always been soft in these two cities compared to the rest of North America.

Medications are designed to work under hard water conditions.

Osmoregulation states in obvious terms that lack of minerals in your water inhibit a fishes ability to osmoregulate and can cause illness and usually death.

Also keep in mind that because this is a rare problem because it is only affecting two cities in North America, it is an issue rarely visited unless someone is keeping a delicate species like shrimp where it is essential to have a SPECIFIC level. All fish require some level of hardness long term. I have seen 100% improvement in my livestock over the last year that I have made these adjustments. I can go on and on about the differences I have seen but the proof comes from those who have made the adjustments. I see first hand daily when our customers come in exclaiming how much better their fish look and act after raising their hardness levels. I knew this change would be an up hill battle. Especially for people who are from BC and have not been exposed to high hardness levels in other cities. I have spoke to breeders regarding this problem and they cant believe we can keep fish alive in the conditions we have. Many fish will grow accustomed to these conditions if they are soft water fish to begin with but they will suffer from these conditions long term. Life span will be shortened and their immune system will be compromised.

I will end with a final example, Harder water fish such as livebearers and goldfish MUST have minerals in their water or they will be subject to dropsy, bacterial infection and death. As you all know, we take trade ins daily, I can count on my hand how many times someone has traded in goldfish or livebearers. That is frightening to consider that guppies are some of the most popular aquarium fish. The rare time I have had guppies traded in are when they are born from stress and are born in our conditions, those survive, the adults do not.
Ultimately it is up to each hobbyist in BC to determine weather I am "pushing product" or maybe I know what I am talking about as it is my career. Search for osmoregulation and read for your self. Keep in mind that other retailers have not made this adjustment to my knowledge, on that note, look at your LFS stock of livebearers or goldfish and see how they are doing.....
Coral is not the answer, you are just maintaining pH, coral does not dissolve unless in a low pH, therefore no minerals are being released. I did the coral people, been there, done that. Hardness is the key to the success of the freshwater hobby in BC. If only fish could talk........:D
 

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I'm using currently using Kent buffers for my cichlids. Grant, is there any chance of IPU developing a hardness booster especially for Vancouver water, similar to your tap water conditioner? That'd be easy!
 

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Just recently i uped the KH, gh and ph in my to big tanks and the cloud i thouhgt was a mini cycle was gone within 24hrs.
 

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How would you recommend that someone with at 240 gallon tank that does daily 50% - 100% water changes regulate GH and KH?

Just curious because using Equilibrum to adjust 240 gallon of water daily isn't an option and sounds like using crushed coral dosen't make sense either.
 

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I'm using currently using Kent buffers for my cichlids. Grant, is there any chance of IPU developing a hardness booster especially for Vancouver water, similar to your tap water conditioner? That'd be easy!
I would consider it but look at the thread so far......If hobbyists here are unwilling to look at the seriousness of this situation, I am not going to develop a product for it. This as I say is a long term fix, people are skeptical and the first people to make the change are people who already know me and know I am looking out for their best interests. In the meantime thankfully we have many products available to us to fix this problem.:)
 

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Well stated Rasta, and I agree.Over the years, especially when acquiring new fish, I've noticed that until they are acclimatized to a stable environment it seems like they are just on the edge of being healthy or dead. Since I've been hardening my water I've noticed a noticeably change in the health of my fish, especially relative to bacterial infections. Particularly when a fish sustains some physical damage they are much better able to regenerate/recover.
 

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How would you recommend that someone with at 240 gallon tank that does daily 50% - 100% water changes regulate GH and KH?

Just curious because using Equilibrum to adjust 240 gallon of water daily isn't an option and sounds like using crushed coral dosen't make sense either.
Firstly 100% water change is really hard on your fish. 50% is really a maximum without taking a risk. I use Alkaline buffer and salt throughout the room and find that it works the best. You could use Epsom salts instead of marine salt, it's cheap but to raise KH I like the Alk buffer from Seachem.
 

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Well stated Rasta, and I agree.Over the years, especially when acquiring new fish, I've noticed that until they are acclimatized to a stable environment it seems like they are just on the edge of being healthy or dead. Since I've been hardening my water I've noticed a noticeably change in the health of my fish, especially relative to bacterial infections. Particularly when a fish sustains some physical damage they are much better able to regenerate/recover.
Thank you Black Bar, one believer at a time......this issue is huge and has really explained a lot of issues we would have in the past. In Ontario their water is too hard for many wild species but as they adjust, they do well. Fish can tolerate higher hardness without issue, it's the non existent hardness that is a big problem. Thanks again for helping the cause!
 

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I would consider it but look at the thread so far......If hobbyists here are unwilling to look at the seriousness of this situation, I am not going to develop a product for it. This as I say is a long term fix, people are skeptical and the first people to make the change are people who already know me and know I am looking out for their best interests. In the meantime thankfully we have many products available to us to fix this problem.:)
Yeah, I suppose it's a matter of demand... You'd expect that demand would grow as more fishkeepers are educated about this issue. I notice that my fish are more lively when I adjust the hardness.

I moved here from Eastern Canada as well, and I noticed the soft water immediately after taking a drink from the tap. Good for drinking, not so good for the fish.

I'll be in to restock on buffers soon, I've got some frontosa in a holding tank at your Burnaby location :D
 

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I also bought some Seachem Alkaline buffer from IPU before.. honestly.. i never really cared about my ph, kh, gh... until I saw the difference... I also suffered from a PH crash for injecting CO2... but now... with weekly alkaline buffer and neutral regulator, you can see the huge difference the fish thrive!
Yah.. i know.. it's expensive, but as my wifey always ask why Im excited about water changes, I always reply "a true hobbyist would not hate their hobby, and this is a part of the hobby"
Yes.. we all can get tired, and yes, the things mentioned are quite expensive especially with a larger tank, but is it worth it at the end? i definitely say so!

Get a small bottle of alkaline buffer and just try it for once, it's only $15, and see the results yourself! =) Just my opinion!
 

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I kept FW fish for a very long time and had never added KH\GH to the water....that was because I didn't know better. Once I got into Marine fish 7 yrs ago (not any more now), then I really understood the importance of KH\GH, minerals, etc., how to recongnize deficency, know what what to use, how to add and and remove. Grant is right about the coral in the filters, it only works if your PH is in the mid to low 6 (hence a calcium reactor). I still use additives for my WC to get my water just right for the different types of tanks.
 

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Grant,

I have a 90g planted tank with lots of community fish in it...

I'm going try Seachem Alk Buffer...but do I also need Epsom salt?
if yes, how much would i need to apply...assuming my tap water (richmond) has such a low KH and GH....

thx very much!
 

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I'm using Caribsea Aragamax (aragonite) in my 120G... seems to be a great buffer if you also want high pH.

I've read about this stuff 'wearing out' after a couple of years, but I'll have to see about that.

Great looking substrate though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Firstly 100% water change is really hard on your fish. 50% is really a maximum without taking a risk. I use Alkaline buffer and salt throughout the room and find that it works the best. You could use Epsom salts instead of marine salt, it's cheap but to raise KH I like the Alk buffer from Seachem.
Does it make sense to use an alkaline buffer to raise hardness when the ph is already at a good balance and holding around 7.3 or so?
Is this the best choice of product for raising hardness at that level of ph?
I keep South American species pretty much exclusively, especially plecos. the main reason I am looking into this is that I lost several juvenile plecos all of which came from different sources. Only the young died off and only in the tank I do not use crushed coral (bagged) in. Conditions are identical in both tanks, I need to purchase a hardness test kit obviously though from all I am hearing.
I dont want anymore young plecos to pass away on me and cant seem to find any other cause of death.
 
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