Help with my Water Parameters Please - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Help with my Water Parameters Please

So for those of you that have not seen I have a GH of 6 but even with this GH my Ca,Mg levels are extremely low. Ca is 10ppm and Mg is 4ppm. So this of course is not good for plants and using tap water my plants were showing the low Ca,Mg deficiencies. Now I am trying to get it high enough to not have a problem with the plants but also do not want to cause a problem for the fish and all. Im running high tech and co2 is 35ppm by lights on with high light 60ish par at substrate at furthest corner and full EI micro/macro Ferts and excel/Metricide. So I got some GH Booster(NilocG) so what I did was add 4 dGH which adds this to my levels.

Gh Booster=4 Tablespoons=(Ca:21,K:41,Mg:4.3) dGH+4

I also added CaSO4=3 Tablespoons=(Ca:30) dGH+4
And I also added MgSO4=2 Tablespoons=(Mg:14) dGH+3.

Now I didnt want to add to much just GH booster because that is too much K and would put me WAY out of the 3:3:1 of Ca:K:Mg. That is why I added just the Ca and Mg.

The problem is it put my GH at 19.

Oh I forgot to add I did pretty much a 100% WC today because I wanted to get everything reset so I can set a TDS baseline. My tap TDS is 51. TDS in tank after 100% wc was 105. And after adding all the booster and ca and mg it put my tds up to 352.

So by adding all the stuff that got me these levels. Ca=60,K=62,Mg=22. That was as close to the 3:3:1 ratio I could figure. Am I right in what I am doing here? I know you should not add these to water unless needed and well in my case they are because there just isnt enough Ca and Mg in my tap. Is there a better way to go about doing this? RO is out of the question as I cannot get a RO unit at this time. My wife today chewed me out for how much I have spent already so will be a while before I can get a RO unit if that is the best way.

What are your thoughts? I want the best for my plants that they will have no Ca and Mg deficiencies and no problems for my livestock either. Help

Water paramaters after WC.

TDS before GH booster and Ca and Mg 105
TDS after GH booster and Ca and Mg 352
PH 7.4
GH 19
KH 4
Phosphate 1ppm
Nitrate 5ppm
Ammonia 0


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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 11:40 PM
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I'm confused. GH is basically a combination of the Ca & Mg levels. How are you measuring Ca & Mg to determine your levels are low?

Also, I'm assuming this is for your 60 gallon tank? That's 9 TBS of various GH boost. That seems like a crazy large amount to me.

For reference, I add 2 TBS CaSO4 and 1 TBS MgSO4 to 80 gallons of RO water to raise the GH by 4 dGH. That takes Ca to 18ppm and Mg to 5ppm. Should be fine for most anything.

Just don't see why you want to raise your GH to 19. Most people are trying to lower it.

And by the way, when you produce RO water, it's basically at zero GH & KH. You would be starting with less Ca and Mg than you do now.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Help with my Water Parameters Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I'm confused. GH is basically a combination of the Ca & Mg levels. How are you measuring Ca & Mg to determine your levels are low?

Also, I'm assuming this is for your 60 gallon tank? That's 9 TBS of various GH boost. That seems like a crazy large amount to me.

For reference, I add 2 TBS CaSO4 and 1 TBS MgSO4 to 80 gallons of RO water to raise the GH by 4 dGH. That takes Ca to 18ppm and Mg to 5ppm. Should be fine for most anything.

Just don't see why you want to raise your GH to 19. Most people are trying to lower it.

And by the way, when you produce RO water, it's basically at zero GH & KH. You would be starting with less Ca and Mg than you do now.


Yes aware of gh is combo of ca and mg. Problem is my ca and mg are extremely low. Water report has my ca and mg at only 10 and 4. Plants were showing me was too low. So want to get ca and mg right. Probably did add too much ca and mg. Will probably just ad 4gh with gh booster and not add separate ca and mg.

Was told that minimum mg you want is 10 so optimal would be ca 30 and mg 10 to keep the 3:1 ratio.

Why I mentioned RO was to be able to construct the water the way I want. That way a 6gh constructed from RO would be much better ca and mg than the way my 6gh is now from tap.

Aware that RO is 0 gh and 0 kh

Yes this is for my 60 gallon tank

What's weird is what else would be in my tap water to make it a gh of 6 but only 10 Ca and 4 Mg? Just makes no sense to me but I verified with the water company this is the levels in my tap.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
Yes aware of gh is combo of ca and mg. Problem is my ca and mg are extremely low. Water report has my ca and mg at only 10 and 6. Plants were showing me was too low. So want to get ca and mg right. Probably did add too much ca and mg. Will probably just ad 4gh with gh booster and not add separate ca and mg.

Was told that minimum mg you want is 10 so optimal would be ca 30 and mg 10 to keep the 3:1 ratio.

Why I mentioned RO was to be able to construct the water the way I want. That way a 6gh constructed from RO would be much better ca and mg than the way my 6gh is now from tap.

Aware that RO is 0 gh and 0 kh

Yes this is for my 60 gallon tank

What's weird is what else would be in my tap water to make it a gh of 6 but only 10 Ca and 4 Mg? Just makes no sense to me but I verified with the water company this is the levels in my tap.


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Didn't realize you got your numbers from a report. I guess I would assume they must be correct.

But I am curious, where did you read that 10ppm Mg is optimal?

I've always heard about 5.0 ppm Mg is best for planted tanks, and the Zorfox calculator I use calculates Mg to 5.0 for EI. You took it all the way up to 22ppm? Me personally I really don't know, but curious as to what really is best??

Maybe one of our resident chemists/scientists will chime in.
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Last edited by Greggz; 04-25-2017 at 01:05 AM. Reason: typo
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Didn't realize you got your numbers from a report. I guess I would assume they must be correct.

But I am curious, where did you read that 10ppm Mg is optimal?

I've always heard about 5.0 ppm Mg is best for planted tanks, and the Zorfox calculator I use calculates Mg to 5.0 for EI. You took it all the way up to 22ppm? Me personally I really don't know, but curious as to what really is best??

Maybe one of our resident chemists/scientists will chime in.
Hopefully someone does If not think my plan will be to add 5gh with Gh booster and then 1 GH with Mg so that will put me at a total of 36 Ca and 12 Mg which will only up my Gh by 6 instead of 13. And I will have the 3:3:1 ratio. Much better.

I have a calcium test kit on the way to make sure of everything. Either way I am still confused how I have a gh of 6 with such low Mg and Ca. What else could possibly make the hardness?


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Last edited by clownplanted; 04-25-2017 at 02:51 AM. Reason: added info
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 03:00 PM
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Clownplanted this might give you food for thought.

From the Zorfox calculator. This would bring RO water up to 4dGH.

60 gallons 4.5 tsp CaSO4

Ca 17.867269167
dGH 2.5
S 14.295420258

60 gallons 3 tsp MgSO4

dGH 1.5
Mg 6.501282156
S 8.577251034

Interesting those GH/Ca/Mg numbers on your water report seem strange. Do you have a GH kit?

And based on the numbers above, you might be able to throw in just a little CaSO4 and call it a day.

Anyways, thought it might be interesting to you.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 03:24 PM
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Do you have a standard water report that we could look at for clues? What size water company do you get the tap ? Larger companies will have the info on line, if you have the name of the company.
What goes into making the GH high is almost all the things that are in the ground or lake if it is a surface source. Underground salt deposits are one that really can throw a curve in things. Maybe in Nevada, you have a silver mine in your tap water???

It may be a really simple but have to ask, no chance the water is going through a softener before use? That might be a point that would cause the report to show things in the water which are removed by the softener. But if it is softened, it is not working real well!
Just looking for explanation for some kind of weirdness.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Do you have a standard water report that we could look at for clues? What size water company do you get the tap ? Larger companies will have the info on line, if you have the name of the company.
What goes into making the GH high is almost all the things that are in the ground or lake if it is a surface source. Underground salt deposits are one that really can throw a curve in things. Maybe in Nevada, you have a silver mine in your tap water???

It may be a really simple but have to ask, no chance the water is going through a softener before use? That might be a point that would cause the report to show things in the water which are removed by the softener. But if it is softened, it is not working real well!
Just looking for explanation for some kind of weirdness.
So my water usually comes from a River which could explain the low Ca and Mg levels since it does not have time to build up before goes to tap. Here is the info on the possible water sources I get my water from depending on time of year usually.

Below are the three possible water sources that I get water from. Each site has a 2015 sample and 2016 sample so going off of 2016 dates. The well only have the 2016 date sample. I test my GH nearly daily and tap is ALWAYS 6. Always 6 drops. And absolutely no water softener. Tap water GH is 6.

Chalk Bluff Winter/Spring (December to April)
Ca 7.2ppm
Mg 2.2ppm


Glendal treatment (turns on last week of april turns off first week of november).
Ca 9.0ppm
Mg 3.0


Well comes in only when absolutely needed (Peak water usage time during summer)
Ca 11.2
Mg 7.3


Below is the actual water report minus the Ca and Mg levels. I had to call to get the Ca and Mg report since the original report did not contain this data.

Water Report Page 1

Water Report Page 2

Water Report Page 3

Water Report Page 4


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 06:21 PM
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Not spotting anything specific. Perhaps a bit more chromium than expected? But other wise it looks much the standard.
I have not looked at too many reports lately but this is one that I have from Pflugerville, Tx which was the last one I studied much.


Water drawn from lakes, springs, wells and hard enough that I feel a softener is almost reguired. It has some different metals and minerals but not the confusing levels you are seeing.
Sorry, not a chemist and no help!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Clownplanted this might give you food for thought.

From the Zorfox calculator. This would bring RO water up to 4dGH.

60 gallons 4.5 tsp CaSO4

Ca 17.867269167
dGH 2.5
S 14.295420258

60 gallons 3 tsp MgSO4

dGH 1.5
Mg 6.501282156
S 8.577251034

Interesting those GH/Ca/Mg numbers on your water report seem strange. Do you have a GH kit?

And based on the numbers above, you might be able to throw in just a little CaSO4 and call it a day.

Anyways, thought it might be interesting to you.
Do you feel that would be enough Ca and Mg? In addition to what my water has that would put me at about 25 Ca and 8 Mg.

I measure GH almost everyday. And tap is always 6gh. Right now my Ca and Mg levels from tap are 7.2 and 2.2.


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
Do you feel that would be enough Ca and Mg? In addition to what my water has that would put me at about 25 Ca and 8 Mg.

I measure GH almost everyday. And tap is always 6gh. Right now my Ca and Mg levels from tap are 7.2 and 2.2.
That's actually even more than recommended EI dosing. My numbers are less than that, and I have seen no signals that I need more. And remember I am dosing into RO water that starts at zeroes.

I'd go with that and not worry about it too much if it were me.

The concern I would have is that with the numbers in your first post, you may be creating a negative effect from those very high numbers. That was a whole lot of dosing for GH. Some species are sensitive to rock hard water.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
That's actually even more than recommended EI dosing. My numbers are less than that, and I have seen no signals that I need more. And remember I am dosing into RO water that starts at zeroes.



I'd go with that and not worry about it too much if it were me.



The concern I would have is that with the numbers in your first post, you may be creating a negative effect from those very high numbers. That was a whole lot of dosing for GH. Some species are sensitive to rock hard water.


Will update shortly. Redoing water and calcium test kit just got here.


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 12:43 PM
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Just a thought. How are you measuring GH, test or calculating from TDS?

Edit: Saw now you use drops. Hmm, weird. I have no explanation, thought maybe you where calculating from TDS, which would skew your results. Btw, Potassium will not raise GH but raise your TDS pretty substantially.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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So here is my plan so let me know what you guys think. Do the amounts seem good?

Gh Booster=2 Tablespoons=(Ca:11,K:21,Mg:2.1) dGH+2
CaSO4=1 Tablespoon=(Ca:10) dGH+1.4
MgSO4=2 Teaspoons=(Mg:5) dGH+1.15
Total Ca:28,K:21,Mg:9 Total GH=10.5(including TAP)


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 05:25 PM
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I measure GH almost everyday. And tap is always 6gh. Right now my Ca and Mg levels from tap are 7.2 and 2.2.
Ca 7.2 and Mg 2.2 is a dGH 1.5 not 6. Either your water report is incorrect or there is an error with your testing procedure.

It seems to me your'e just overthinking this. You're dosing EI macros/micros so why are you not dosing the recommended amount of GH booster? Simply add enough GH booster to raise GH 2 degrees. That alone is more than enough Ca and Mg. If your plants are showing signs of calcium deficiency after that then you know it's not because of insufficient Ca.

I've seen hundreds of hobbyists blindly try and "dose away" signs of what they believe are deficiencies only to cause more problems. Diagnosis of deficiencies or toxicities are not done by looking at the plant and comparing it to whichever chart you decided to look at today. Instead, look at the entire picture and only use those charts for additional insights. They are not a one shot way to decide whether you have too much or too little of something.

You can rest assured that dosing EI will not leave any room for deficiencies. In fact, water testing seems to confuse more people than not doing it in the first place. EI was conceived to eliminate the need for testing.
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