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Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Default Help me understand pH, hardness and buffering...

    0 Not allowed!
    Background info: I have hard, alkaline water. I don't have exact water params because I will be moving in 3 months (staying in town, but current apt. has a water softener so I don't know how hard the towns water actually is). pH is currently running around 8.0-8.2 in my tanks with "softened" water.

    Here's my issue: I will be converting a tank into a species-only n. multifasciatus tank when I move. I have purchased carib-sea's african cichlid mix sand substrate. Will using this substrate in water that is already hard and alkaline make it too hard and send pH too high?

    I have googled pH, but only get a sea of ads for pH altering products, and a few articles that don't really get into the details of how pH, hardness, and buffers "work". I will keep searching, but if anyone has a link handy for a good article on this, please let me know.

    Thanks for your help, you guys are great!

  2. #2

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks!! I hadn't come across that one yet. Good article!

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    You're quite welcome!

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Only one thing to add to that.. have a bit of patience. Set it up, set it cycling and start keeping an eye on your hardness but don't tamper with it until it's been set up for 3-4 weeks.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    This link was helpful for me, as I have to use RO/DI water and must increase my dGH and buffer my pH.
    75 gal - Smudge Spot Cories, Silvertip & Pristella Tetras, Scissortail & Red Tail Rasboras, Pearl Gourami, Black Kuhli Loaches, Whiptail Cats, Wild Caught BNP
    Dual 29 gals - Diamond Tetras. Harlequin Rasboras, Bloodfin Tetras
    10 Gal - Mr. Betta's Fishy Paradise

    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to's about learning to dance in the rain"

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    So the original plan was to do the swap-over when I move since I have to take the tank down then anyway and add the new guys right away to avoid loosing the bacteria in the filters. After reading the info here it seems it may be a better idea to swap the substrate (and tank decor) over when I move and dose ammonia to keep the cycle going until the params stabilize, then add the new fish. The current stock will be returned to the lfs when the tank is broken down for the move either way...

    FYI this tank is the 20 long in my signature...

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    So I think I am beginning to understand this. Buffers help keep alkaline water alkaline. If the water is low on buffers (soft) that makes pH unstable and "crashes" much more likely.

    I am not sure if raising the hardness of the water will cause pH to rise??

    I also have some questions regarding the specifics of my tank. Turns out I will not be moving in 3 months like I had earlier thought... so I know (or... will know when I buy the KH/GH test kit) what I am working with for water. Knowing that my apartment complex uses a water softener, is there anything else besides KH/GH that I should be concerned with?

    Once again, THANK YOU for taking the time to help me get this right!!

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