Tips for Increasing Water Hardness and pH Value in your aquarium
For the hobbyist looking to cut some expenses, one place would be to create hard water at home using some basic household items and a test kit. Begin with ordinary dechlorinated tap water, and then test the water to determine its hardness. If it’s in the 10- to12-degree range, you’re good to go, with nothing more needed. If it’s lower than 10 degrees GH, use this simple recipe to raise the hardness level.
Add the following to 5 gallons of water
1 teaspoon Epsom salts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. marine salt (or uniodized cooking salt)
Slowly add the water to the tank. A change of only 1 degree alters the water chemistry tenfold, so caution and patience is key. If there are fish in the tank and this is the first time you’re raising the hardness level, be careful not to make the change too abrupt. Changing the water hardness affects the pH, and a sudden change in pH can stress the fish, so this change should be accomplished over a period of a few days.
It should be noted that beginning aquarists should purchase fish that will do well in their tap water’s chemistry rather than working to change the hardness of their tap water to suit the fish.