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remineralising for tigers

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Hey SKF peoples,

I'm just mixing up my RO water with a combination of GH+ and GH/KH+ to keep tiger shrimps in. And I thought I'd share my experience, I gradually added the minerals and measured pH along the way and I thought I'd share the results.

I note that the pH may change overnight after letting stand but I have been running a pump in the water to mix it well and aerate it so I doubt there will actually be any measurable shift.

As you can see by the results, the GH/KH+ pushed up the pH a LOT! Does anyone else have this experience? I have achieved my desired water parameters in terms of ppm and GH/KH however the pH is unreal.. and this is not the first time this has happened to me either. However t is the first time I have taken the effort to document the fact.

I'm planning on experimenting with adding a very shallow layer of the cal aqua labs black earth premium and monitoring the pH over the course of days.. expecting it to slowly drop...

Any input is 100% welcome!

love n peace


PS the initial drop in pH after adding the first lot of GH+ I understand can be explained (as I have read elsewhere) that when attempting to measure the pH of RO water using a pH meter the device can not accurately produce any result due to the lack of ions/conductivity in the water.

27/05/2016 EC meter  HM  TDS-3 pH meter pH APIkit      KH        GH
At time of water mixing EC0  ppm0        
fresh RO     6.6      
after adding 50ppm GH+     6.3      
after adding 30ppm GH/KH     7      
after adding 25ppm GH/KH     7.5      
after adding 45ppm GH/KH EC300   8.3      
after adding 17ppm GH/KH EC333  ppm175 8.3 7.8 3


Edited by revolutionhope
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So I've tested again this morning and the result is max pH on the standard API pH testkit (7.6 or higher) and reads 7.8 on the high range testkit - can anyone enlighten me? is this normal for GH/KH+ to bump pH up this high?

love n peace


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Not sure on your pH issue, but why use gh+ and gh/Kh+ together?

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Just now, Foxpuppet said:

Not sure on your pH issue, but why use gh+ and gh/Kh+ together?

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To achieve a slightly higher ratio of GH:KH - I wanted KH of 2-4 and GH of 6-10.

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Anyone ?

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Hi Will,

I was also having crazy pH problems in my tank after remineralising, but I think mine was due to destroying the substrate (which is a whole other story) which was meant to buffer it.  I now remineralise my water up to an EC of ~150 before adding it to the tank (to bring the tank back down to 250-350 overall).  Reading your account, I wonder if the brand of remineralisator has anything to do with the effect on pH, I would have thought if more people were doing the same thing we'd hear more about pH issues.


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Hi @revolutionhope,

Do I understand correctly that this is a new tank and that you are planning on keeping tigers?

Most tiger breeders us SS GH+/KH+. Great observation on the pH change. I suspect this might only be an issue for you when doing large water changes, which one only does in extreme emergencies anyway.

By mixing SS GH/KH in my RO/DI water to a TDS of approx 170, my GH is 7 and my KH is 3. Which falls in your required parameters above.

The reason why the pH spikes is because of the NaHCO3 ( bicarbonate of soda) which is added as the Carbonate ions are used to give you Carbonate hardness (KH). 

If you want a KH higher than 1, your pH is going to be above 7. If you start adding buffers that lower the pH, the Carbonates will just convert to CO2 and the pH will drop as well as the KH. This effect can be well observed if you put SS GH/KH+ in a  tank with shrimp soil/ bee and that buffers the water acidic. You will then immediately after adding the high KH water have alkaline readings and high KH, but overnight it will buffer acidic and your KH will be lowered by releasing CO2 and the pH will drop ( do not try this with any shrimp...just a disclaimer).

I would highly recommend putting the inert substrate of your choice in the tank, fill it up with SaltyShrimp GH/KH+, let it sit for 4 days while running the tank and measure the pH. It is going to be alkaline, and should be anything from 7-7.6. What the reading is at is what your habitat for the tigers are going to be at. The water you add will be at that value after adding it, regardless of the pH swings in the bucket.

SaltyShrimp does not disclose their remineralisation salt ingredients, so I am reluctant to mix them, no one can rather cautiously assume the bicarbonate part is the added extra.

@Disciple is the tiger- whisperer on this forum and he will be able to help guide you with any tiger tank queries as he has prolific breeding colony that is bursting at the seams.

Good luck!

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I'm confused i must admit. Thanks to both of you for trying to help me out but I'm really just hopeless when it comes to chemistry ..

I was mixing my RO water in an inert foodsafe container and had not yet added it to any tank while charting the above table. I let the water sit overnight aerating with a pump and there was no measurable change in pH with either api test kits or on my meter.

The recommended parameters for tigers that i've found are below or up to pH 7.4 with KH between 2 and 4.

Disciples WP are TDS 190 PH 6.8 GH 7 KH 3. He achieved this by using only ss gh+ however he had seiryu stone in the tank initially (by accident) which i can only assume is where the KH came from. Others do seem to be using gh+ ..

I was attempting to match disciples parameters fairly closely as that is where my tigers are coming from.

I think I'll have to search around for a good explanation of pH and alkalinity and how it functions. The thing is I've always been no good at chemistry and physics. I still don't think it makes sense that my pH would go so high.. as high as 7.5 after adding only 55ppm of SS gh/kh (approx 2 gh and 1 kh worth). But there is clearly something i am overlooking..

Love n peace


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I think you dont need to meet my exact water parameters. I believe if you have a stable mature cycled tank that is within 10% of my water parameters you will be fine. 

The main thing is to have it cycled 100%. Have lots of mosses and biofilm in the tank. Instead of focusing too much in making the WP match up exactly. I think it will be impossible because as I explained in my chats with you. How I got to my water parameters is pretty unique and I dont think it is worth replicating haha. 

My recommendation is acclimatize the shrimp over a long period. In the long run tigers are very adaptable if you can get your WP similar to mine then just focus on keeping it stable to those wp. Within a month or two the tigers will be thriving. After a generation they will be going great. Just keep it consistent and if you have to make changes do it over months at a time.


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Thanks for the tip Bas, Hopefully I'll do well as the tank has been established for over 6 weeks and is loaded with biofilm and plant-life. I've changed over the substrate to cal aqua labs black earth and replaced the water with my new mix and i'll track the pH KH and TDS over the coming days. I just wish I understood why the pH rose so dramatically despite the relatively small amount of GH/KH+ I added. I'd love to find out from others who use RO and GH/KH+ what the pH of their mix is before they add it to the tank.

Perhaps more importantly I wish I understood more about water chemistry and chemistry in general :-(

Thanks all for your help anyway and if I find out any detailed answer I'll add to the thread later.

love n peace


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