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Re: [APD] My goldfish are dying
>On Tue, 30 May 2006 18:24:12 -0600, "Jamie Bright"
><jamiejoybright at msn_com> wrote:
I've been reading Don's messages to you and I noted he
mentioned KH and GH but didn't tell you why you may
have needed to have these tests. I used to have three
fish who were fifteen years old. I only have one now,
and nearly lost her because I didn't know what KH and
GH were all about.
KH is the factor in your water that keeps your pH where
it usually stays. It resists changes in pH--which is a
good thing, because sudden drops in pH will instantly
kill your fish.
We always assumed our water was hard and our pH very
alkaline. After two of my older fishes died, I tested
my pH and discovered it was way lower than I expected.
No wonder my fish were ill. I tested my nitrites and
they were off the charts--well, I had an under gravel
filter that'd been in use nearly as long as those fish
were old, and never cleaned it out. I recently read
it's recommended you clear them out every 6 months
(like anybody's really going to do that!) Anyway I had
enough mulm under there to cover the earth in an inch
deep in old fish pooh. And all that rotting stuff was
pulling the pH down.
Having tested everything I knew to do and finding it
all okay, I started researching things I'd never
considered before; KH and GH. KH is an element of the
dissolved minerals in your water that keeps your pH
stable wherever it normally is. This is extremely
important for keeping fish alive. Though all our fish
come with recommendations of the ideal pH, what they
normally live in in the wild state, fish are quite
adaptable and if acclimated to higher or lower pH, can
usually live quite happily with it. But say you buy
neon tetras from your LFS who use RO water and keep
everybody at neutral pH or 7 but you read that tetras
like it acid so you start tinkering with your pH. If
you succeed in dropping the pH or try two or three
times to drop it and succeed temporarily in dropping it
but it bounces back because of a high KH (more on that
in a minute) you'll kill your tetras because fish
can't stand bouncing pH.
I discovered my KH was nearly non-existent, so when the
mulm in my under gravel filter got to critical mass the
pH in my tank dropped like a stone and so did my fish.
You might want to explore your KH to see if it's under
say five (5) or six (6). Less than that is kind of
unstable and dangerous. Bi carb of soda can cure this
problem, but you need to read more about KH to know how
much. Numbers never stick in my mind so I can't give
you a measurement per gallon to use. But I had no
trouble finding it online, so google it.
Strangely, my KH was extremely low, but the total
dissolved minerals (GH) was quite high. KH represents
dissolved calcium carbonate. GH includes c. carbonate
and magnesium and lots of other minerals. You don't
need to know this number unless you're trying to keep
some sort of fish that wants extremely soft water. Some
kits include both, though, and if you can't get KH
alone, you might get the pair.
I hope that made sense. A KH of about six or above
keeps your pH on an even keel. A low KH can allow a
sudden pH drop which can kill your fish really fast.
Plants don't really affect these two values much one
way or the other.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
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