GH booster or not? Iron or not? Oakland, CA here - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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GH booster or not? Iron or not? Oakland, CA here

I'm poised to buy some of the dry fertilizers as recommended by WfxXx in the Sticky "Dosing Regimes". Ready to buy KN03 & KH2P04 & CSM+B, but do not know if I should buy K2SO4 *or* GH booster [Contains 3:3:1(K2SO4:CaSO4:MgSO4)]. Also do not know whether I need to buy Iron Chelate 10%.

Some stats:

* 55 gallon tank
* Medium light (2 24" Finnex Ray 2 fixtures).
* 8 hour photoperiod, will raise to 9-10 hours eventually.
* Heavily planted (well, hoping the plants will grow more with the fertilizers!)
* Bioload: 10 tetras (5 rummynose, 5 cardinals), 5 Sterbai corys, 5 harlequin Rasboras
* C02 supplemented
* Oakland, CA water - EBMUD

I appreciate your help, my friends.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 01:32 PM
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Since ferts are cheap, I'd buy the two ferts just to have them on-hand. You never know when you'll have plants that either require more Iron and such.

But about GH booster. What's the GH in your tank right now?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have a test kit for GH but the latest water quality report from the local water company says 14-32 ppm.

FWIW, here are other parameters they measure:

Water quality parameter/Unit/Value

Alkalinity, bicarbonate as CaCO3/ppm/18 29
Alkalinity, carbonate as CaCO3/ppm/4.3 5.5
Calcium/ppm/4.0 9.2
Hardness as CaCO3/ppm/14 32
Magnesium/ppm/0.8 2.1
pH/pH/9.1 9.5
Potassium/ppm/0.5 0.9
Silica/ppm/7.6 11.0
Sodium/ppm/5.0 11
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 06:28 PM
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Unfortunately, I wouldn't trust your water provider's claimed measurements to reflect what ends up coming out of your tap.

Even if they're spot-on, they likely wouldn't reflect the parameters of your tank.

Would be a good idea to pick up a hardness test kit. Should be $10 or less.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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What is a good GH level in ppm?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 10:08 PM
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Really depends upon the livestock you wish to keep.

GH will be easier to understand if you measure it in degrees or drops. Let's say you measure your GH with a liquid test kit and it takes 5 drops to change color. That's 5 GH.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2013, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Oh so I'm raising GH for the livestock and not for the plants?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-22-2013, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarionOak View Post
Oh so I'm raising GH for the livestock and not for the plants?
Most of the time when you are looking at it as a fertilizer you are raising it for the plants, it supplies Ca, K and Mg which are all needed by plants. Some livestock such as shrimp need to be kept at a certain GH range to flourish so sometimes it needs to be altered up or down for their sake.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-23-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I got a GH test kit (API) and it took 5 drops to get the water from my tank to change from orange to green.

I also tested my tap water, and it took only 1 drop to turn the 5 mL of test water to green.

I suppose this means that if I do enough water changes and my tap supply stays the same, then I should be using GH booster?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:52 PM
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EBMUD is VERY soft water. Almost RO.
Unless you are trying to keep wild caught Discus or Cardinal Tetras or a few others, I would add GH booster.
Aim to keep the GH at about 3 German degrees of hardness for most soft water fish. 1 German degree of hardness is 17.9 ppm, so the EBMUD is barely 1 degree (as your test shows).
Most plants are OK with about 3 degrees or more of hardness.
Harder is better for hard water fish like many live bearers, and some Rainbows, and many Cichlids. Harder water is just fine for most plants, too.

KH is also very low, and this means the pH can fluctuate quite easily. If you want to raise the carbonates a bit, then add baking soda. 1 teaspoon of baking soda added to 30 gallons of water will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.

All the other fertilizers are lacking in this water, too, so get:
KNO3
KH2PO4
K2SO4
Trace

Fish food supplies N, P and some traces, but usually not enough K or Fe. In a Walstad, low light tank that is OK, or just a little K and Fe supply is helpful.
In higher light tanks you will need to add all of them.

If your tank is lightly stocked you may not be adding enough nitrogen through the fish food, so you may use enough KNO3 to also supply the K required. It does not hurt to add a bit more, though.
The tiny amount of KH2PO4 that you might add, no matter how high the light, will add so little K it pretty much does not count as a source of K.
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