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I'm looking for input on water change procedures with the current tap water conditions in the Greater Vancouver area. Specifically, Richmond if possible, and for fish that are currently happy and healthy.

From what I've been reading it seems like people are still using a dechlorinator and something to up the buffering capacity? So this is what I've gleaned so far:

Dechlorinator: Seachem Prime
GH: Seachem Replenish (non planted tank) or Seachem Equilibrium (planted).
KH: Baking Soda or Seachem Alkaline Buffer

If anyone has input on if I'm missing something, alternative products, and best places to get the products, that would be a great help and I'd really appreciate it.

Why I'm asking: I've been away from the hobby for around 10 years but I'll be taking on a 40 gallon tank with some goldfish and possibly a black tetra. Obviously, I'll be asking their procedures but I'd like to be fully prepared.

The whole dialed in GH / KH thing is a bit new to me. Back in the day (yes, I'm getting old) I used crushed oyster shells, baking soda, and some aquarium salts but that was more for pH and because some of the fish "liked some salts". I'm looking forward to the more exacting water parameter measurements.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Tom.

That was some of the posts I was reading that brought me to the above products and info about GH and KH. I was hoping to get a confirmation that I had it down right or if I was missing anything. Also, a lot of those posts are several years old so I wasn't sure if tap water was still the same.

I'll go through that again but would appreciate any more every day keepers advice or comments.

I'm picking up the tank tomorrow.
 

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I lived in Vancouver too and basically the water is so soft and no buffer in the water at all. I used Seachem Neutral regulater to bring the ph close to 6.7 from my tap water. It will also remove the chlorine so I don't need to add Prime at all.

I have been using the Seachem Neutral regulater for grow up tank for all my baby discus and they are all over 6.5" in a year. The dose I use is 20g per 40gal of water.

See the link for the detail of the product https://seachem.com/neutral-regulator.php
 

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If you search this forum with my user name, you can see my discus grow up journey. All I used for the water condition is SeaChem Neutral Regulator.
 

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With our soft water here in the lower mainland, it's like starting with a clean slate. Lots of different approaches, so choose the one that works for you and your fish.

In a closed system like our fish tanks, as minerals and electrolytes gets used up, water changes will help replenish minerals/electrolytes. The problem is because our water is so soft, you have to watch your KH levels otherwise your pH is unstable (especially in a heavily stocked tank) and may crash, wiping most of your fish. You can prevent this with very frequent water changes or use a KH buffer. I used baking soda for my goldfish - it keeps the pH stable until the next water change. Other smaller tanks, I use Seachem Alkaline buffer - enough to keep the pH stable between water changes.

For the longevity and health of our fish and plants - I think they could use some added minerals in the water. I do use Replenish or Kent Marine R/O Right for most of my tanks, Equilibrium with planted. I've been told that fish absorbs and utilizes minerals much more efficiently in the water column than in their food.

Prime is good, Safe is more economical if you're dealing with large volumes of water.

If you prefer natural materials to buffer your water, Aragonite or Oolitic sand are more soluable than crushed coral or oyster shells. Those last 2 never really helped with buffering my water for me. Crushed coral are mostly Calcium Calcites, not very soluable and only begins to dissolve with a pH lower than 7.2. Aragonite works right away and starts dissolving with a pH under 8.2. For hard water or high pH tank like for Tanganyikan cichlids, I used Aragonite sand for substrate to help buffer the water. My goldfish gets some Aragonite sand - they are such heavy polluters that if I don't watch KH levels, the pH can crash. They don't mind the higher pH either.
 

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I use prime and seachem equilibrium. I have mostly live bearers so I hate how soft our water is.

Sent from my SM-G903W using Tapatalk
 

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I think for goldfish, they prefer close to neutral water that has some kH and gH, but I think kH is important as they produce a lot of organic waste and without buffering capacity, the pH can swing, usually towards the acidic side I would expect. Richmond, and Metro Vancouver water in general is close to 7.0 in pH, usually at made that way artificially without any kH or gH. I love it because it is like hp10BII said, it's a blank slate. Do what you want to change it.

What really caught my attention was mixing goldfish with a black tetra. To me, that is an unusual and not an ideal combination. For one, goldfish are a coldwater fish, and secondly, if you are a bit of a "purist" or "naturalist" like me, tetras from South America's amazon are GREAT with Vancouver's soft water and the pH can easily be buffered to be more acidic. It's not what I would recommend for goldfish.

I know this is a very late reply, but I thought I'd put my thoughts out there for others anyway. Agree or disagree, I think it's an interesting discussion to be had.
 

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Lots of good information about Vancouver water and water parameters for different fish in these responses. Thanks. Makes for good reading and learning from other aquarists' experiences.

Anthony
 

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If using the sea chem alkaline buffer do you also need to use the acid buffer? The directions on the bottle kind of confuse me.. I am just wanting to raise my KH.
 

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If using the sea chem alkaline buffer do you also need to use the acid buffer? The directions on the bottle kind of confuse me.. I am just wanting to raise my KH.
Some use acid buffer (smaller amount) to reduce PH after using Alkaline Buffer. Using Alkaline buffer will raise your PH while increasing your KH level but if you don't want to raise your PH by too much (depending on how much buffering you are adding) then that is why you would perhaps use Acid buffer so that your PH doesn't swing too high. Be careful to measure out the proper doses though.
 

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Some use acid buffer (smaller amount) to reduce PH after using Alkaline Buffer. Using Alkaline buffer will raise your PH while increasing your KH level but if you don't want to raise your PH by too much (depending on how much buffering you are adding) then that is why you would perhaps use Acid buffer so that your PH doesn't swing too high. Be careful to measure out the proper doses though.
Yeah, I think so too. Some aquarists want to chase after a certain pH level, so they are constantly playing around with their water chemistry. I think that's too stressful for the fish with a bouncing pH. Buffer your water to prevent pH crashes and let the pH settle to what it wants to, I never use the acid buffer. I gave up chasing pH values years ago and my fish have never complained.
 

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