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Old 11-12-2012, 08:45 PM   #16
sowNreap
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It's not the PH but GH that started dropping. Nevermind about the GH dropping. I just checked my log while typing this and saw it's been steady at 3 since I started checking it a couple months ago. Was a different tank that runs about 6-7. Oops. Guess that's why I started using GH booster 2x/week. What is a good number for GH? I thought I read about 6-7 was good. Or does it really matter as long as it's steady?

My KH does run only about 3 dkh but holding steady now for several weeks since I changed my substrate to STS. I don't add baking soda but do have oyster shell grit in the filter.

Actually my PH skyrocketed 2 weeks ago. It's usually been about 6.4-6.8 at most but it went up to 7.6. I was experimenting with doing water changes every 2 weeks instead of weekly. And just a couple days before that water change is when it tested so high. I'm still testing some things weekly until I get ferts, new substrate, water change routine, etc dialed in. Don't think the every 2 weeks water change schedule is going to work out .. nitrates build up to much and the PH rises a lot. FYI, I do NOT dose KNO3.

After my last water change a couple days ago I used an airtight container and shook the daylights out of it, then poured a little into the tank but the bulk directly into the HOB. Added some more water, shook hard again, repeated until only a few smaller chunks was left which ended up in the HOB. That method seemed to work really good. I guess the shaking is way more effected than my mashing and vigorous stirring. LOL

So everyone's input and suggestions were helpful and very much appreciated.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:23 PM   #17
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Glad you found a way to make use of the GH booster.
Now what is going on with the pH? Odd that it should jump so much! Is the KH stable through all that?
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:38 AM   #18
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After looking over my log for 75 gal tank .. thought my KH was holding steady but it did drop after this last water change. Funny how memory works or in this case didn't. lol

Had only started checking KH & GH when first got kits 8/30. Both had been at 2-3dkh for those couple weeks. I say 2-3 because I notice a very faint change at 2 but a bit better change at 3. I guess I really should call it 2 and that's what I eventually did later.

9/15 - changed substrate to STS .. I didn't note it but added baking soda after final fill. Also added 2 new large pieces of driftwood that had been soaking for almost a month outside. For about 3 weeks after the KH would drop to 1 .. GH stayed fairly steady at 2-3. Weekly 50% water changes. PH had been steady at either 6.4 or 6.6 (hard to tell exact colors on the chart) . At some point I doubled the amount of oystershell grit in the filter but didn't note what day.

10/3 - KH 1-2 .. GH 2 .. PH 6.2 or 6.4 .. added 2 tsp baking soda (at the time I hadn't calculated exactly how much to add so erred on low side) .. nitrates 20 .. this was last time KH dropped to 1 so assumed it was the STS still sucking it up .. until yesterday when it again dropped to 1.
10/6 - did 50% wc .. 1 tsp GH Booster .. after this experimented with every 2 wks water change while nitrates lower than normal
10/9 - Kh 2 .. added 4 tsp baking soda
10/11 - KH 3 .. for some reason didn't check GH or PH .. nitrates 30
10/13 - should have added 1 tsp GH booster but because this was the first skipped water change it appears I forgot or didn't note it not sure which.. KH 3 .. nitrates 30
10/16 - KH 3 .. didn't check GH or PH .. Nitrates 40-80 .. my chart it's impossible to tell difference
10/20 - 50% water change, then 1 tsp GH Booster .. 4 tsp baking soda
10/23 - KH 4 ... GH 3 .. PH 7.6 freaked me out .. never, ever been that high in this tank .. added 1 tsp GH booster after test was going to start adding 1 tsp 2x/week
10/27 - KH 3 .. GH 3 .. PH 7.4 or 7.6 .. nitrates between 40-80 .. added weekly dose 1 tsp GH booster
10/28 - brown diatoms back (had just gotten over them when I changed substrate) .. probably showed up a few days before this but this is when I realized I needed to move my Oto's from my unheated 10 gal to my heated 29 gal tank. Would have done it sooner but nothing for them to eat in the 29 gal. So this gives them something to eat and they clean my plants for me .. 1 or 2 at a time.
10/29 - GH 3 .. added 1/2 tsp GH boost after test -- was going to add every other day at lower rate but didn't quite work out that way.
11/2 - KH 3 .. GH 3 .. PH 7.0- dropping now .. nitrates 80 possibly higher but that's as high as the chart goes - never seen it that color before
11/3 - 50% water change .. 1 tsp GH booster. Then decided to go back to weekly changes since the high nitrates worried me
11/6 - 1 tsp GH Boost
11/9 - KH 2 ..GH 3 .. nitrates 30
11/10 - 50% wc .. 1 tsp GH booster
11/11 - KH 1 .. GH 3 .. PH 6.8 or 7.0 .. nitrate 30-40 ppm. Wanted to see what happened right after water change .. KH dropped from 2 degrees day before wc to 1 degree one day after. Will add baking soda tomorrow (should have done it already) and GH booster.

Last time I tested tap water was right before substrate change 9/15 .. KH 2 .. GH 3 .. PH 6.4 after about 5 mins .. 6.8 after 24 hrs .. 7.0 after 72 hrs.

Now that it's all type up and I've studied it more, noticed several things:
1) I need to be more consistent with checking the KH, GH and PH at the same time especially when making so many changes. I was so zoned in on KH because of the STS I failed to see changes elsewhere.
2) The PH rise corresponds to the 2 week water changes, lack of adding GH booster that one week and the re-appearance of the brown diatoms. If only I had done a test somewhere in that first 2 weeks.
3) KH seems more stable with longer time between water changes since tap water is low and probably one reason I was trying changes every 2 wks.
4) PH may rise in that time and the nitrates get way out there.
5) Either need to add baking soda weekly after water change or go 2 weeks between changes.

Sorry .. probably WAY too much info but helps me figure it out typing it up this way. What do you notice? Suggestions?
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:00 PM   #19
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Are you dosing NO3?
If not, then I would do water changes with the goal of keeping the nitrates under 40 ppm for sure, and under 20 would be better.
That may call for weekly 50% water changes.

I think the sporadic testing is creating more confusion than it should.

I would try this:
Plan once a week water change of 50%.
Test the tank before the water change and adjust the new water so the tank will have a set GH and KH. ie: If KH is too low in the tank, then boost the KH in the new water so high that the 50% water change will correct it. Same with GH. Write down what you did.

Test the tank mid week for GH and KH, and correct as needed. Write down what you did.

Set yourself up for success. Do not say you will test or add stuff daily, then skip it. Start by saying and doing a simpler schedule.

Go ahead and test and record the pH, too, but I would rather see the mineral levels maintain a stable level and not worry so much about the pH.

STS will remove carbonates. You will have to keep dosing for that. The oyster shell grit or coral sand will help replace some of it, but that substrate might be pretty greedy, especially at first.
1 teaspoon of baking soda in a 29 gallon tank will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.
1 teaspoon of baking soda in a 75 gallon tank will raise the KH by so close to 1 degree that I would go ahead and try that rate, then test and correct as needed. So, if you want to raise it 2 degrees in the large tank, add 2 teaspoons. You might actually need about 2.25 to 2.5 teaspoons.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:33 PM   #20
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Not dosing KNO3. One reason for the weekly water changes.

Sounds good. What is good target numbers for KH & GH? I was actually adding about 4 tsp of baking soda to get KH up to solid 4 or 5. Is that too high?

Thanks for you help.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:34 PM   #21
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GH and KH depend on the livestock.
I try to keep them within about 2 degrees of each other, so...
Soft water fish that are wild caught or you are breeding: <3 degrees.
Soft water fish that are hatchery raised: 3-5 degrees.
Less picky fish: 5-9 degrees.
Hard water fish >9 degrees.

But it is best to research the species you are keeping to be sure it is in the right range. Fish go by GH. Set that right, then make the KH about equal, unless it is specified for the fish that they need something else.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:13 PM   #22
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Wild caught Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). Never saw any specific parameters for GH for them... not even on the NANFA forums. Just that they're very adaptable, not very picky and very hardy. I'll check into it further though. Maybe drive down to the lake, get some water and check it's parameters.

They've been in my aquariums for just about 1 year now and only started checking the GH/KH a couple months ago. I'd say they may have adapted to the low GH/KH by now since my tap is only 3 degrees. The tank has only been planted for about 6-7 months though (was underplanted .. didn't buy enough to start with but they've grown out now). I'd say both the GH/KH stayed low doing weekly and sometimes 2x/week water changes.

So given this info do I need to even worry about correcting/adjusting the GH/KH?? Or would the plants do better with specific parameters? Mostly Anacharis, Water Wisteria, Water Sprite, green Cabomba, ludwigia repens, 1 Red Rubin Sword and some Spiral Vals. Sword and Vals do the worst. The sword grows lots of leaves but they don't grow up just stay low. The Vals don't seem to grow very quick or tall but they are doing better now with the new substrate. The rest doing good. Growing about the right speed for me wanting to stay somewhat lower maintenance.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:42 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sowNreap View Post

So .. does anyone know how to get the GH booster to dissolve? Or how much water is takes to dissolve 1 tsp?
If you don't mind returning to the original post for a moment, I have an idea for you. I have used this paint mixer with a standard drill and it will make a maelstrom in a 5 gallon bucket. So dissolution should be attained in very little time, with little effort.

Just an idea...I use powertools whenever possible.

-Zach
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:24 AM   #24
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Most plants do not care what the levels are as long as the GH does not hit zero. They do need the Ca and Mg that are measured as GH.

You sure could go measure the lake where the fish were caught.
Bluegills are also found around here in several sorts of water, so I would not be surprised to find out they are quite adaptable.

If your system is working, do not make changes, just check that you are maintaining it, the conditions are stable.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:27 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beginragnarok View Post
If you don't mind returning to the original post for a moment, I have an idea for you. I have used this paint mixer with a standard drill and it will make a maelstrom in a 5 gallon bucket. So dissolution should be attained in very little time, with little effort.

Just an idea...I use powertools whenever possible.

-Zach
That is a good idea .. would be handy to mix up a big batch and then just pour into tank.

Since money is a little tight and I have so many other things I NEED to buy and the water tight container seemed to work good will stick with it for right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Most plants do not care what the levels are as long as the GH does not hit zero. They do need the Ca and Mg that are measured as GH.

You sure could go measure the lake where the fish were caught.
Bluegills are also found around here in several sorts of water, so I would not be surprised to find out they are quite adaptable.

If your system is working, do not make changes, just check that you are maintaining it, the conditions are stable.
I'll try to get to the lake (actually reservoir) but things are a bit hectic right now so may be a little while before I can make it.

So the key is to get it stable even if the KH & GH are only 1-2 degrees it's ok. ??? Problem is KH & GH seem to drop 1-2 degrees during the week then water change brings it back up a bit. Maybe I need to add GH booster & baking soda midweek also. Or do I not even need to worry with a 2-3 degree drop. Is that considered a significant change to cause a see-saw effect or problems?

Yesterday (11/13) I checked the KH/GH/PH (before adding anything as I wanted to see what changes they made).. readings were Kh=1 .. GH=3 .. Ph=6.8. So then added 1 tsp GH booster and 4 tsp of baking soda. Tested today about 24hrs later and KH=4 .. GH=3 ..PH=7.4. GH stayed same but the PH went up.

Does baking soda or GH booster cause the PH to rise? To me that seems a big change (is it ??) and might do more harm than good ???

And adding 4 tsps of baking soda brought KH up 3 degrees .. is that too fast of a change?

I'd really like to get the tank stable but not sure what is really considered "stable" .. exact same number test after test ... or KH/GH changes of 2 degrees not a big deal but changes of 4 or more degrees bad??
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:10 AM   #26
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GH is not going to alter the pH.
Raising the KH will usually raise the pH.

1 teaspoon of GH booster is not very much, so I am not surprised the test did not pick it up. Try twice that much next time. Or read the label, and add enough to change the GH by 1 degree or maybe just a bit more.
If 4 teaspoons of baking soda changed the KH by 3 degrees, perhaps try half that, next time.

If the GH and KH drop off through the week, then adding some GH Booster and baking soda mid week should keep it stable.
A change of 2-3 degrees over a week is not much, but that much when you do a water change and the tank already very low is quite a bit, so yes, I would add some mid week.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:45 AM   #27
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OK great ... Thanks for all the help and guidance!! Looks like I'll be able to get it dialed in and stable now that I've learned a lot more.

My package of GH Booster doesn't have any directions on it .. I got it from a forum member. It contains 3:3:1 (K2SO4:CaSO4:MgSO4). I was using the dosing suggestions in the "sticky" as a guide until I figured out what my tank needed. I could see it needed more that's why I started dosing it 2x/wk but obviously it still wasn't not enough so will up it.
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