What is causing my GH and KH to rise substantially during the week? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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What is causing my GH and KH to rise substantially during the week?

So I have a heavily planted high tech 60 gallon tank that consists of Danios, Tetras, Clown loaches, Cory cats, and a couple amano shrimp. I have had this tank setup as a high tech planted for about 4 months or so. I dose full EI.

Standard gravel bought at petsmart. No CEC at all and completely inert. That is the only substrate.

No wood at all or stones in this tank that could alter GH or KH in anyway.

Dose full EI using NilocG ferts macros and micros. DIY EI Liquid Fertilizer| Premium Aquarium Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics



So here is what is going on.



My tap GH and KH is 3 and 3. I have verified this with three different test kits. So I add 2dGH of gh booster to my tank as my Mg is extremely low at only 2 and noticed this fixed pin hole issues I was getting in some of my plants. So that puts me at a GH of 5 with KH of 3. I check this about 12 hours later and verify the GH is 5 and KH is 3. However here is where it gets weird. Now during the week it continues to rise. And I am not talking about a little but a lot. So to give you an example after 2 weeks of a complete 90% WC reset it is back up to GH of 12 and KH of 10. In fact I have not added GH booster for 3 weeks now due to me not wanting to add to the already rising GH.



I know my testing methods are correct because my 20L tank that has been setup now for about a month it stays at the levels. Meaning I add 2dGH to get it to 5dGH and 3KH. It stays this way and never moves from these levels. The 20L only has CRS in it and plants. It also gets 15ppm of co2 and half ei ferts. Again absolutely zero GH or KH creep in this tank. It has BDBS as substrate. Levels stay at a constant and have been since setup about a month ago.



The only thing I can possibly think of is food that I am feeding the inhabitants in this tank. I will list them all and post the front and back pics so maybe you can help determine if this is what is causing the issue? But even if its at all possible the food could be there is NO way it could be at the level it is.

I will post the food and how often I feed each week. The feedings are moderate and not overdone by any accounts.



Omega One super Color flakes.(Once a day)

API Bottom Feeder Shrimp Pellets(3 times a week)

New Life Spectrum Thera A+(twice a week)

San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp(4 times per week)

Wardley Shrimp Pellets formula(twice a week)

Seachem Garlic Guard(Mixed usually with the brine shrimp and maybe bottom feeder pellets 3 times per week)



I will upload pics of the food after I post this.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 03:47 PM
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Could it be that fertilizer may have gotten mixed up by seller, and maybe one marked K or N or P is actually Mg?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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What is causing my GH and KH to rise substantially during the week?

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Could it be that fertilizer may have gotten mixed up by seller, and maybe one marked K or N or P is actually Mg?


Nope. I use the same mixture in my 20L and that tank has zero gh and kh creep. Was also using in my garage tank with same results of no rise in either. Can also tell by what mg looks like and it most certainly is not.

Also at least my ca is at least rising as I have a ca test kit. No mg test kit to test mg.


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 03:59 PM
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I see, Is same substrate used in 20L?
Even though the gravel is supposed to be inert,I might test some of it in a bucket of R/O or distilled water and note any changes.
Is all I got.
Don't think fish food's are the culprit.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Wanted to add tank has been setup a year with same substrate. Went low tech planted 8 months ago and high tech 4 months ago. I am seriously leading toward the gravel. It's just the standard gravel you buy at any LFS. About 3" worth in my tank. About 60lb worth.

But would this plain ol gravel cause kh to ride as well???


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Quote:
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I see, Is same substrate used in 20L?
Even though the gravel is supposed to be inert,I might test some of it in a bucket of R/O or distilled water and note any changes.
Is all I got.
Don't think fish food's are the culprit.


That's a very good idea. I will take some out and put in a pitcher and let sit with tap water to see the results. I am guessing this could be it as I just can't see anything else causing it. And I mean the levels it's causing it just crazy. And I could understand it causing if any the gh to rise but kh also? Anyone else have experience with the standard gravel causing this?


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-11-2017 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 05:28 PM
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Hi Clownplanted,

Should we assume that the increasing dKH and dGH just started, or is it possible it has been happening for some time and just not identified?

The only food that is the least bit suspicious is the Wardley Shrimp Pellets that has calcium carbonate listed as one of the first 12 ingredients; but I doubt that even that would do what you are seeing.

I suspect the "gravel"; depending upon the source where the gravel was mined is could contain either shell pieces or small pieces of limestone, either of which would increase both the dKH and dGH. Try this, fill a glass with tap water, take dKH and dGH readings, and then add a good handful of gravel from your tank; stir it up; cover it with plastic wrap and walk away. Two weeks from now shake the glass to stir up the water and retest - was there an increase in dKH / dGH?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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What is causing my GH and KH to rise substantially during the week?

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Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi Clownplanted,



Should we assume that the increasing dKH and dGH just started, or is it possible it has been happening for some time and just not identified?



The only food that is the least bit suspicious is the Wardley Shrimp Pellets that has calcium carbonate listed as one of the first 12 ingredients; but I doubt that even that would do what you are seeing.



I suspect the "gravel"; depending upon the source where the gravel was mined is could contain either shell pieces or small pieces of limestone, either of which would increase both the dKH and dGH. Try this, fill a glass with tap water, take dKH and dGH readings, and then add a good handful of gravel from your tank; stir it up; cover it with plastic wrap and walk away. Two weeks from now shake the glass to stir up the water and retest - was there an increase in dKH / dGH?


Perfect advice and will do just that. I am fairly certain it is the issue. It has always done this since I started taking water measurements about 4 months ago. Was not aware that gravel could also raise kh and since you know it can I am pretty certain it's the issue.



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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 06:02 PM
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Hi Clownpainted,

Personally, I like the Cemex Lapis Lustre sand / gravel when it comes to 'nautural' gravels, I like the medium grain size and it does well in planted tanks.



45 gallon tall with Lapis Lustre gravel
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi Clownpainted,

Personally, I like the Cemex Lapis Lustre sand / gravel when it comes to 'nautural' gravels, I like the medium grain size and it does well in planted tanks.



45 gallon tall with Lapis Lustre gravel
That does look nice. I wonder if its available locally at a LFS? Where did you get it?

I actually think I am going to change the substrate to BDBS. That is the substrate in my 20L and I absolutely love it. I have been wanting to for a bit anyway just know its a big undertaking. I plan on doing it all at once placing the inhabitants in a filtered bin while I swap it out. I will probably end up doing it next weekend. Until then the test begins. Now going to grab a little gravel and place in the container of tap water and let it sit. Thank you for the great advice.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Let the experiment begin. I am now in my 60 seeing about a 3 dGH and 3KH increase a week.

Put some gravel from the tank in a container with tap water that tested 3 Gh and 3 KH. Sealed it with a baggie



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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 10:52 PM
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Hi clownplanted,

Stir it up a little too!
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-08-2017, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi clownplanted,



Stir it up a little too!


Ok will do. Thanks again


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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Ok so about 2 days later, I just checked 15 minutes ago and the GH is now 4 but KH is still 3. So it has made the GH go up. I am for sure ditching this stuff. Who would of thought that regular old gravel would do this? Crazy. Wanted to ditch it anyway for better rooting substrate so I will be replacing with BDBS as I mentioned. I will continue the test to see how high up it will go. Very interesting. Has anyone else seen this with regular old aquarium gravel?
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 04:24 AM
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I have seen it with some coated gravel's, that once the coating has let go over time,the content of some of the gravel is able to more readily influence the water if it is able to, due to it's properties.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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So 11 days later here are the results so far.

Water readings at setup. Added the gravel from aquarium. And added tap water. The tap water tested. Same tap water I add to my tank.
TDS 51
GH 3.5
KH 3.25

11 Days later
TDS 102
GH 5
KH 6

So obviously the Gravel was messing with the water parameters. Has doubled the TDS and nearly doubled GH and KH. I ended up swapping out this last weekend so regardless I no longer have to worry about that. Just a note to others that may be using the standard 1-3mm gravel that you can get at most of your LFS.
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