How much ppm of Calcium do I need in my tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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How much ppm of Calcium do I need in my tank?

My plants have curled and waving leaves symptom, especially Anubias. I purchased the API Calcium test kit and the result came out way too low - below 20ppm. In fact, the solution didn't even turn purple, it turns to blue after just one drop.

Here's my other tests:
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrite: 0
- Nitrate: 20ppm
- PH: 8
- GH: 200ppm
- KH: 100ppm
- Phosphate: 0

As you can see GH is high, but for some reason there's little Ca in the water. Does that make my plants curl like that?

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Last edited by VintageTurquoise; 05-26-2019 at 03:23 AM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 10:38 PM
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Your GH is super low, less than 1 dGH

You will want to get a liquid test kit, and target 4-5 dGH depending on plants and shrimp.

You need to divide GH/KH ppm by 17.8 to get degree.

According to https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...t-requirements
you would want a minimum of Ca 20 – 30 ppm

You can use GH booster or possibly GH+KH salty shrimp (your KH looks kind of low too).
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 03:16 AM
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Phosphate also needs be about 1-2, it should never be zero.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpn View Post
Your GH is super low, less than 1 dGH

You will want to get a liquid test kit, and target 4-5 dGH depending on plants and shrimp.

You need to divide GH/KH ppm by 17.8 to get degree.

According to https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...t-requirements
you would want a minimum of Ca 20 – 30 ppm

You can use GH booster or possibly GH+KH salty shrimp (your KH looks kind of low too).
Sorry I meant it took 10 drops of GH and 5 drops of KH test kit. This means

GH is 200ppm
KH is 100ppm

And that's when I do water change of 2 RO : 1 tap ratio. GH and KH used to be way higher than that.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 04:36 AM
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Dosing a little bit of phosphate will help with your GSA. The ratio of phosphate:nitrate should be 1:10 to 1:15 so 1-2 ppm phosphate would help.

You can check your water quality report for calcium and magnesium. Or do a calcium test but you need to use a 10 ml test tube because the values in a planted aquarium are lower, see the CA testing in:

https://sites.google.com/site/aquati...ts-and-testing
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 04:42 AM
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Something doesn't look right. Normally calcium is higher than magnesium. And even then that still means magnesium is between 10 to 30% of your calcium level. You water is about 90% magnesium I have looked at a lot of water utility of water quality reports over the years and have never seen anything with 90% magnesium. keep in mind the GH test mainly detects calcium and magnesium.The KH test mainly detects carbonate CO3 which is typically attached to another atom. Typically calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium or some transition metals. having a KH that is only 50% of the GH is actually quite common. But everything else just looks wrong or you have the strangest water I have ever seen.

Ca and Mg both cause distorted leaves. Typically low calcium will cure the tip of the leaf to hook down and curl. Magnesium typically changes a flat leaf to one that twist up and down along the edge. Your pictures are telling my that you may have a magnesium and calcium problem which doesn't fit the GH KH and calcium readings. And yes you don't want to have phosphates at 0.

So are you sure you are doing the calcium test correctly? I don't own a calcium test kit but maybe someone else does and can provide some input on this.

Can you post a link to your utility water quality report? even though you are mixing with RO water your 200ppm level seams to indicate your tap water is at 400ppm GH which also doesn't look right.

Does your RO system have a remineralize filter. if so it might be just adding mageseium which would be strrange. Also what is the GH value of just your RO water.

Do you have any decorative rocks in your aquarium? IF so one might be rich in magnesium. Also what type of substrate do you have?

A water quality test report you tell use how much calcium is in your water which then could be used to verify the results of your tests. And a GH and kH test on just your RO water would tell use if the RO system is working correctly. Also keep in mind that once the leaves are damaged by calcium and or magnesium deficiencies the damage is not repaired. So it is possible the damage was done some time ago. normal growth of new leaves is the only visual way to now if you have adequate Ca/Mg levels without using a test kit.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Surf View Post
Something doesn't look right. Normally calcium is higher than magnesium. And even then that still means magnesium is between 10 to 30% of your calcium level. You water is about 90% magnesium I have looked at a lot of water utility of water quality reports over the years and have never seen anything with 90% magnesium. keep in mind the GH test mainly detects calcium and magnesium.The KH test mainly detects carbonate CO3 which is typically attached to another atom. Typically calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium or some transition metals. having a KH that is only 50% of the GH is actually quite common. But everything else just looks wrong or you have the strangest water I have ever seen.



Ca and Mg both cause distorted leaves. Typically low calcium will cure the tip of the leaf to hook down and curl. Magnesium typically changes a flat leaf to one that twist up and down along the edge. Your pictures are telling my that you may have a magnesium and calcium problem which doesn't fit the GH KH and calcium readings. And yes you don't want to have phosphates at 0.



So are you sure you are doing the calcium test correctly? I don't own a calcium test kit but maybe someone else does and can provide some input on this.



Can you post a link to your utility water quality report? even though you are mixing with RO water your 200ppm level seams to indicate your tap water is at 400ppm GH which also doesn't look right.



Does your RO system have a remineralize filter. if so it might be just adding mageseium which would be strrange. Also what is the GH value of just your RO water.



Do you have any decorative rocks in your aquarium? IF so one might be rich in magnesium. Also what type of substrate do you have?



A water quality test report you tell use how much calcium is in your water which then could be used to verify the results of your tests. And a GH and kH test on just your RO water would tell use if the RO system is working correctly. Also keep in mind that once the leaves are damaged by calcium and or magnesium deficiencies the damage is not repaired. So it is possible the damage was done some time ago. normal growth of new leaves is the only visual way to now if you have adequate Ca/Mg levels without using a test kit.
Thank you very much. I will redo every test to make sure all the data is right. And yes they looked weird to me as well.

As for the substrate I use Eco-complete, but it's a new one and I just changed it a few weeks ago (old subs was natural caribsea sand).

Here's the water report from my city. If you have time please take a look (download PDF file)

https://www.phoenix.gov/waterservice...uality-reports

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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It's weird that my plants thrived in the past but now everything is going downhill. I made a post on here asking about this and Roy (Seattle) helped me but seems like everything I did didn't work.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 04:39 AM
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Hmm, one thing to note is that large cities have multiple water sources and they mix and/or switch between them - depending on where the water comes from you may get very different values.

For me (different large city) I get significant different GH depending on the season.
.Your water report doesn't split MG/CA so you would have to measure yourself.

In general anubias grow slow and are less likely to show deficiency symptoms vs. faster growing species. They typically collect algae because they grow very slow.

There are many good "aquatic plant deficiency chart"s and guides out there. And maybe one shows something odd.

I would check whether there is an aquatic society / club in the area and go and meet up and ask questions on what other people in the area do.

Given that your water is very hard, I would make my plant selection accordingly e.g. vallisneria can take advantage of high carbonate hardness: https://www.flowgrow.de/db/aquaticpl...llisneria-nana
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpn View Post
Hmm, one thing to note is that large cities have multiple water sources and they mix and/or switch between them - depending on where the water comes from you may get very different values.

For me (different large city) I get significant different GH depending on the season.
.Your water report doesn't split MG/CA so you would have to measure yourself.

In general anubias grow slow and are less likely to show deficiency symptoms vs. faster growing species. They typically collect algae because they grow very slow.

There are many good "aquatic plant deficiency chart"s and guides out there. And maybe one shows something odd.

I would check whether there is an aquatic society / club in the area and go and meet up and ask questions on what other people in the area do.

Given that your water is very hard, I would make my plant selection accordingly e.g. vallisneria can take advantage of high carbonate hardness: https://www.flowgrow.de/db/aquaticpl...llisneria-nana
Thanks. It's odd that GH is high but the Ca test came out very very low. Maybe there's only Mg that makes the watrler hard?



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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by VintageTurquoise View Post
Thanks. It's odd that GH is high but the Ca test came out very very low. Maybe there's only Mg that makes the watrler hard?



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Hmm, seems unlikely given the overall hardness. The reverse is more common.

Doesn't hurt to test in a 10ml tube to get good results.

Trouble could loom from the other side, you basically need to make sure you don't buy plants that need soft water. And certain shrimp won't handle your waters high TDS.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 05:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm, seems unlikely given the overall hardness. The reverse is more common.

Doesn't hurt to test in a 10ml tube to get good results.

Trouble could loom from the other side, you basically need to make sure you don't buy plants that need soft water. And certain shrimp won't handle your waters high TDS.
Yeah I'll try with the 10ml.

Can I add Ca using Seachem Equilibrium?

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 02:36 PM
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Read this with interest given that I also live in the desert (Palm Springs) with very hard water, and am setting up a new tank myself. That's an odd water report--no pH or calcium values? Or did I miss something? But if they use mostly surface water, the values could be all over the place depending on the time of year, snowmelt, water levels, etc. Fortunately we use groundwater (even our Colorado River allotment is diverted into sedimentation ponds to recharge the aquifer), so our values seem to be more consistent.

It'll be interesting to see what the results are of an independent test, and if the Ca values are really that low, and the Mg values that high. Seems counterintuitive. And as fpn says, it's good to select plants that thrive in hard water. In my journal in this low tech forum I've listed the plants I've used--and with a couple of exceptions everything seems to be thriving so far--fingers crossed.

And you fish seem to be happy, even if the anubia isn't. Is that a pleco guarding a clutch of eggs? If so, you must be doing something right....

Bump: Read this with interest given that I also live in the desert (Palm Springs) with very hard water, and am setting up a new tank myself. That's an odd water report--no pH or calcium values? Or did I miss something? But if they use mostly surface water, the values could be all over the place depending on the time of year, snowmelt, water levels, etc. Fortunately we use groundwater (even our Colorado River allotment is diverted into sedimentation ponds to recharge the aquifer), so our values seem to be more consistent.

It'll be interesting to see what the results are of an independent test, and if the Ca values are really that low, and the Mg values that high. Seems counterintuitive. And as fpn says, it's good to select plants that thrive in hard water. In my journal in this low tech forum I've listed the plants I've used--and with a couple of exceptions everything seems to be thriving so far--fingers crossed.

And you fish seem to be happy, even if the anubia isn't. Is that a pleco guarding a clutch of eggs? If so, you must be doing something right....

Bump: Read this with interest given that I also live in the desert (Palm Springs) with very hard water, and am setting up a new tank myself. That's an odd water report--no pH or calcium values? Or did I miss something? But if they use mostly surface water, the values could be all over the place depending on the time of year, snowmelt, water levels, etc. Fortunately we use groundwater (even our Colorado River allotment is diverted into sedimentation ponds to recharge the aquifer), so our values seem to be more consistent.

It'll be interesting to see what the results are of an independent test, and if the Ca values are really that low, and the Mg values that high. Seems counterintuitive. And as fpn says, it's good to select plants that thrive in hard water. In my journal in this low tech forum I've listed the plants I've used--and with a couple of exceptions everything seems to be thriving so far--fingers crossed.

And you fish seem to be happy, even if the anubia isn't. Is that a pleco guarding a clutch of eggs? If so, you must be doing something right....

Bump: Read this with interest given that I also live in the desert (Palm Springs) with very hard water, and am setting up a new tank myself. That's an odd water report--no pH or calcium values? Or did I miss something? But if they use mostly surface water, the values could be all over the place depending on the time of year, snowmelt, water levels, etc. Fortunately we use groundwater (even our Colorado River allotment is diverted into sedimentation ponds to recharge the aquifer), so our values seem to be more consistent.

It'll be interesting to see what the results are of an independent test, and if the Ca values are really that low, and the Mg values that high. Seems counterintuitive. And as fpn says, it's good to select plants that thrive in hard water. In my journal in this low tech forum I've listed the plants I've used--and with a couple of exceptions everything seems to be thriving so far--fingers crossed.

And you fish seem to be happy, even if the anubia isn't. Is that a pleco guarding a clutch of eggs? If so, you must be doing something right....
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 02:49 PM
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Yeah I'll try with the 10ml.

Can I add Ca using Seachem Equilibrium?

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You could, I use GH Booster from green leaf aquarium.

I would just add the minimum to get your desired Ca.

You would add it when making replacement water for your tank (not dose into the tank and also not for replacing evaporation).
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 03:09 PM
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Some basics may be missing. I did not drill down to look at each water report as there are two different suppliers, so the first step to reading the report is to find which supplier, as it is quite likely to vary. Find out if you draw water from Anthem or the Hedgpeth Hills supplier first and then you have only half as much data to sort!
Then keep in mind that the report does not give specific data but will give a range of readings (hi/low? ) over the year, so you are quite likely to find a wide range IF the water is collected from a surface source at times and underground at other times. Or it can also vary a great deal if water is collected during extreme wet or dry conditions. The water quality report is meant as a "confidence report", not as a source of information for hobby use like us! It is information but it has to be used with some thought on what it is actually meant to do. It is meant to give us confidence that we are getting water which is safe to drink and that doesn't necessarily mean it is water good for plants.
But my first thought might be to question why you are going to the trouble of using RO to remove the minerals and then finding you are lacking minerals. You may have studied this and may have good reason but I tend to go with using simple methods when I can and avoid the fight of mixing and adjusting water if the tap water can be made to work.
Keep in mind that there are plants growing in almost all the water around the world, from the very soft to the very hard, so it can be easier to sort the plants to fit the water than to fit the water to match the plants.
A small point for later but I find any pleco can be a problem with plants as some do a real job rasping on leaves. Especially true if plants are somewhat weak with soft spots as those soft spots are just a natural food source.

On doing a bit more checking I read this in the Anthem supplier's report:
Where Does My Water Come From?
Your water comes from several sources. Most of your water comes from Central Arizona Project (CAP)
aqueduct, and is treated at the Anthem Water Treatment Plant. The main source of CAP water is from the Colorado River. However, some water from the Agua Fria River is mixed with Colorado River water during storage in Lake Pleasant. During times of high demand, EPCOR supplements the CAP supply with water from groundwater wells and water from the City of Phoenix Water System delivered east of I-17.
This is going to complicate keeping a stable water situation as they do draw from various spots at different times.

Last edited by PlantedRich; 05-27-2019 at 04:35 PM. Reason: added info/corrections
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