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RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
03-21-2015, 08:26 AM,
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svbriggs Offline
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RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
My tap water is basically RO water, that is the purification process here in the small town in Florida where I live.
I am just setting up a small tank for fishhless cycling. After adding RO Right (at the dose recommended for soft water fishes) and API proper pH 7 (double dose for my size tank), my dKH is 7, my dGH is 1 and my pH is 6.8.
Out of the tap, my GH and KH are 0-1 and my pH is 6.3.
I have been trying to slowly increase my pH to 7 before I add Dr. Tim's One & Only bacterial product to the tank, along with the ammonia chloride.
My question is this: do I have to get up to and maintain 7 pH for the tank to cycle. Should I keep adding the API proper pH 7? At a dKH of 7 I should have sufficient buffering capacity, correct? Also, why didn't my GH rise with the addition of RO Right?
I use Prime as a water conditioner. Has anyone used a natural product for maintaining a healthy pH other than something out of a bottle?
Thanks for any suggestions. I am going slow and trying to not add too many chemicals to my tank. I have a very healthy Betta who is patiently waiting in his gallon bowl.
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03-21-2015, 03:33 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-21-2015, 03:35 PM by Ram.)
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RE:
Welcome to the forum.

Don't mess with water PH. Do not use any product for PH altering. It will bring in more harm than good.
RO water has 0 buffer, any change will instantly crash the PH which is deadly to the fish. Fish like stable water conditions including PH. What you need is to add water buffer. So the PH will not crash easily.

If I am not mistaken, one of the products for adding buffer into water is Tetra Easybalance Plus. Check the product description for more details.

You do not need to maintain PH 7 in order to cycle an aquarium. As long as the PH isn't too low (too acidic. ex: PH 4 or lower), the bacteria will multiply just fine.

Hope it is helpful.
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03-21-2015, 03:55 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
Hi svbriggs, welcome to the forum!
RO water was stripped out all minerals. The following product is just what you need.
Seachem Equilibrium RO Water Conditioner
It can rebuff and re-mineralization RO water.

PH in the range of 5 to 7 is perfectly fine. Lower than 4 (might) stall fishless cycling.

I am glad you are doing fishless cycling with the right products (One and Only, ammonia).
On a side note, you might want to keep up with the partial water changes in your betta's temporarily housing since it is not the ideal size for long term staying.

Good luck!
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03-21-2015, 09:43 PM,
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svbriggs Offline
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
Thanks Thor and Ram for the quick reply. I'm presently using Kent RO Right to restore minerals, but since I have had such good results with SeaChem prime & stability, I think that I will switch to Equilibrium in the future.
I vacuum my Bettas gravel nightly and test ammonia daily. I do a 25% water change when I see any trace of ammonia, which is usually every third or fourth day. I make up several gallons of treated water to which I add a small amount of aquarium salt (1/4 tsp per gallon) and let it sit for a day or so before using.
So, according to what you're saying, forget about using a pH buffer and just stick with the Equilibrium?
Thanks again. So happy I found this forum.
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03-22-2015, 06:38 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
Equilibrium is for adding buffer into RO water for more stable PH. Smile
It does so by restore the minerals. RO water has 0 mineral and thus 0 buffer. So basically adding mineral into water is the same as adding "PH buffer". The amount of dissolved mineral in the water will decide whether the water is hard or soft. Harder water has higher buffer, and thus harder for PH to fluctuate.

What you shouldn't do is to use those "PH up" or "PH down" products.
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03-22-2015, 11:17 PM,
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svbriggs Offline
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
Hi again. From what I can decipher from the products that I have, Kent RO Rite is comparable to SeaChem Equilibrium. I used the dose recommended for betas (soft water). It brought the dKH up to 7.
The API Proper pH 7 is a phosphate based buffer that prevents pH swings and stabilizes pH around 7. It's not one of those quick fix pH up or down products. It is similar to SeaChem's Neutral Regulator. I don't have a planted tank, so phosphate is not an issue. A tech at SeaChem had recommended adding Neutral Regulator when using Equilibrium. So, you think that I'm better off not adding the buffer and just stick with Equilibrium or RO Rite for my 5 gallon tank I'm cycling?
My issue at present (my betta's present holding tank) is that the substrate (or perhaps the silk plant which is attached to a white base that looks like stone) is slowly increasing the tank's pH between water changes. It is at pH 7.6 up from 7.2 a few days ago. Even after water changes it stays high.
The water that I am using for water changes is pH 6.4, which is too much of a pH swing. Even though I do a 25% water change slowly over a half hour and so far no problems, I am concerned about affect it is having on my betta.
The RO Rite doesn't change the pH. For the water change should I go ahead and add the pH buffer (API proper 7) to the water I'm using for water changes to bring the pH closer. It should also, if one can believe the product label, bring the tank pH down to 7 and keep it there. I didn't want to remove all the substrate in case I mess up what bacterial colonies I have established there.
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03-23-2015, 12:16 AM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
I am unfamiliar with Kent RO Rite, but if it is for the same purpose as Equilibrium, then you can certainly use it instead.

PH by itself has small effect on fish when it swings, but if it swings combined with the change in water hardness then it could be deadly to fish if the change is too big and too quickly. If your water PH went from 6.4 to 7.6 in a few days (or even in a few hours), then it is no problem at all since the change is slow. By "too quickly", I mean in a few minutes. A slow PH change of 1~3 within a few hours is tolerable to most fish.

By the way, I don't think you need Neutral Regulator. According to the product description, it also adjust PH to around 7 which makes it a PH manipulator which I would avoid.

The bottom line, you do not need to fix PH for betta. Let it adapt on its own. What you need is to give the water mineral/buffer to make whatever PH it has to be fairly stable, so any change will be slow. (ex: without buffer, the PH can sudden crash from 8 to 3)
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03-23-2015, 01:24 AM,
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svbriggs Offline
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
Thanks!!! Forgive me if I seem dense, I'm just trying to make sense of it all and not do anything to injure my fish.
I will on your advice ditch the pH buffer and stick with Equilibrium/RO Rite.

I already added the pH buffer to my cycling tank (it only raised pH to 6.8), I'm assuming that since it is phosphate based, I will gradually remove it with water changes, correct?

So back to my water changes for my betta in his holding tank. My tap water + conditioner (prime) + Equilibrium/RO Rite has a pH of 6.4. My holding tank has pH of 7.4 ish. I found that 10% changes over a half hour doesn't stress him and doesn't swing the pH. What ever is buffering the water in his holding tank (substrate?) Is maintaining stable pH. Do you recommend that I not mess with trying to raise the pH of my tap water (the water that originally went into his tank) and just continue with slow water changes of 10%?
Also, should I remove the carbon filter from my cycling tank? Will it mess up the cycling process? It is just Day 1 of cycling.
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03-23-2015, 05:40 AM,
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
In previous question, I meant hardness not pH.
What I meant to ask about the water that I am using for water changes is this: should I add RO Rite (Equilibrium) to restore minerals (my tap water is basically RO water with zero GH and KH) in place of aquarium salt and not worry about the pH as long as I do the partial water changes slowly as I have been doing. The dGH of the betta's holding tank is 4 and the dKH is 5, as of two days ago. You stressed the importance of avoiding osmotic shock (rapid change in water hardness) along with drastic pH change.
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03-23-2015, 05:25 PM,
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
To remove anything from the water, yes please do it gradually with partial water changes.
10% partial water changes is a little too slow. You can do 20~30% and it is still considered as small water changes. Just no more than 50% each time would be safe enough.

Carbon filter will not affect the cycling as it will not reduce ammonia by any noticeable amount. I left mine in my canister filter when I did fishless cycling.

Just use a single product to restore water buffer/mineral content is enough. Make sure you read the label carefully. It is important. Wink You might as well use the same water for partial water change for your betta's temporary home. So he get a head start to adapt to the new water.
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03-25-2015, 12:58 AM, (This post was last modified: 03-25-2015, 01:01 AM by svbriggs.)
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
Thanks Thor!
Followed your advice on water conditioning my RO water and my betta is doing great! He had some tears and holes in his tail fin when I brought him home and all are healed as of this week and his activity level is high and his fins are no longer clamped. Great appetite (I am following your advice from the beginner's guide and feeding small amounts once per day) and he just started building a bubble nest yesterday and he flares regularly. It's a joy to watch him dance around his tank.
I have some questions about fishless cycling but I will not ask them on this thread.

Thanks RAM for your valuable input as well.
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04-08-2015, 11:10 AM,
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svbriggs Offline
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Another question about RO water
Another question regarding RO water and adding back in minerals.

I switched to SeaChem's Replenish, as their tech advisor said it was developed for fish that won't be in a planted aquarium and might work better for my situation. My betta's tank has only silk plants and substrate. My dKH is between 2-3 in my betta's small holding tank, pH is stable at 6.8, dGH is 2. I test water parameters every few days and all is stable. My betta looks great and is very active.

Should I add a carbonate buffer to raise KH or am I fine where it's at? Is dKH between 2-3 sufficient buffering?
I looked into using spring water to mix in with my RO water (since my tap is also RO), but the two locally available brands, Zephyr Hills and Poland Springs may not be suitable for aquarium use. Poland Springs has a KH of 2 degrees and a pH of 6.3 and Zephyr Hills has a nitrate level of 30 ppm. Zephyr Hills will give me the dKH when mixed with RO water (along with an acceptable pH of 7.6), but I don't like the idea of adding nitrates into my tank with every water change when I'm trying to reduce them.
Any suggestions?
Also, any opinions about Wonder Shells? Are they really wonderful, or a gimmick, or worse, harmful?
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04-09-2015, 04:28 AM,
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning and restoring kh?
It is fine.
would recommend you to use as few products as possible for
1. Less trouble to yourself.
2. Lower chance for error.

Remember if you have to mix several different types of water, and throw in a few different products to alter the water hardness in mix every time you change water, there is always room for error. For example you could have put in the wrong amount for one thing, and it might all be messed up. I'd keep things as simple as possible.

Don't bother with shells, rocks, bones, whatever lol. They are for making water harder over a long period of time. Betta likes soft water anyway. The less you mess with water hardness, the better. By using a single product, you can easily make sure your betta get the same water every time you do water change.
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04-09-2015, 05:48 AM,
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RE: RO water out of the tap, what are best products for conditioning ...
Thanks again.
I'm going to keep it simple and forget about trying to switch to spring water as questionable purity and consistency. He seems to be doing great with just the RO water plus electrolytes and the pH is stable at 6.8.
Oh, for reference, I tested out the Replenish but went back to the Kent RO Right as the Replenish has zero dKH. One has to add their carbonate buffer (Alkalinity) to establish KH. The Kent gives me a dKH of 3 out of the bottle. I'll experiment with the other product when I have a bit more experience under my belt.
Thanks again for putting up with all my questions. You and Thor are great source of knowledge and experience and it's greatly needed as starting out I've been given so much misinformation and bad advice.
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