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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Raising GH in Tank

Hi Everyone,

I am trying to raise the GH of my tank because I want to keep some cherry shrimp, and I have been advised that my tank parameters need adjustments. Currently, my water has a gh2 and kh1 (ph 6.2). Many have advised me that I should be doubling my gh before adding shrimp, which has lead me to consider salth shrimp GH+.

That said, I am concerned about raising GH too quickly as the tank is a community tank with other inhabitants...snails and dwarf pencilfish.

With that in mind, I have two questions for using salty shrimp.
1. How quickly can I raise the GH of my tank water? Can I just add enough to get to a GH of 4 or 5? Would that be too fast if done at the next water change?
2. Should I be concerned about changes in water conditions due to evaporation? I don't have any extreme evaporation, but it has occurred to me that adding the same amount of salty shrimp weekly would increase my the gh overtime... Are weekly water changes at 50% enough to offset this?

Thanks for any input guys.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 10:13 PM
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If you search for "gh booster" then you will find a number of products to choose from.

When doing regular water changes, up gh/kh of the new water to the same levels as your tank water.

http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-chem.html

Your pH will increase, read the above on specifics.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-14-2018, 12:42 AM
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I have soft water as well and use Equilibrium for upping GH and alkaline booster for increasing kh(depending on the shrimp) but there are plenty of products out there. Just do small water changes with the new water mixed to the GH and KH you want and you'll gradually get the whole tank to those parameters without stressing out the current inhabitants.

Then you will be ready for some shrimp! 🙂

Oh and about evaporation. If you can top off with RO water that's ideal. If not you can test your GH and KH levels every so often, snd if they are increasing just put a little less of the GH KH boosters in to your water changes. That way you can find a good balance.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-14-2018 at 06:26 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-14-2018, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input dakotablue. I was thinking the same thing regarding the evaporation. I don't have an rodi unit, so I guess I will try to stick with lowering my gh booster in water changes.

Do you always use a Gh/kh test when doing water changes or do you use a tds meter for a quick proxy?

Bump: Does low KH have a big impact on cherries? I was thinking of just raising the GH because of future possibilities with CRS.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by loveflying1991 View Post
Thanks for the input dakotablue. I was thinking the same thing regarding the evaporation. I don't have an rodi unit, so I guess I will try to stick with lowering my gh booster in water changes.

Do you always use a Gh/kh test when doing water changes or do you use a tds meter for a quick proxy?

Bump: Does low KH have a big impact on cherries? I was thinking of just raising the GH because of future possibilities with CRS.
If you are doing significant weekly water changes, topping off evaporation with your tap will be fine since your tap is already so low in mineral content.

To answer your other questions, increasing by 2 dGH per week is fine. For neocaridina, you should be shooting for closer to 8 dGH, and SaltyShrimp GH/KH+ is what you would want to use. This will increase KH and bring the pH up to more proper parameters for them.

Having said that, your water being so acidic is already perfect for caridinas. I'd jump right to CRS and remineralize with GH+ (no KH) unless you just really want the neos too. In that case, you'll want to bring dGH up to 6 and leave KH alone.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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If you are doing significant weekly water changes, topping off evaporation with your tap will be fine since your tap is already so low in mineral content.

To answer your other questions, increasing by 2 dGH per week is fine. For neocaridina, you should be shooting for closer to 8 dGH, and SaltyShrimp GH/KH+ is what you would want to use. This will increase KH and bring the pH up to more proper parameters for them.

Having said that, your water being so acidic is already perfect for caridinas. I'd jump right to CRS and remineralize with GH+ (no KH) unless you just really want the neos too. In that case, you'll want to bring dGH up to 6 and leave KH alone.
Thanks for the input natemcnutty. Something I've been struggling with is deciding between CRS and cherries. It did occur to me as well that my water right now seems to favor CRS if I bump my GH as you suggested. My only concern is whether my EI dosing, co2, and weekly 50% wc will negatively impact CRS because they are more sensitive than neos.

What do you think?

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 08:50 PM
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So, this isn't a planted tank with CO2 issues, correct? In that case, I'd move KH to 3-4 dKH, which can be done right away. IMO, your KH is too low and might result in uncomfortable acidic conditions developing too rapidly. If you have a planted tank with pressurized CO2, then a KH of about 2 dKH is reasonable and higher would work as well.

GH is a little different and, for the sake of the fish, I'd tend to focus upon TDS. TDS below 200-300 is ideal for community fish, 400-500 starts to pressure them and more can weaken them so that other things can take hold, such as disease. GH components can heavily affect TDS levels (a TDS meter on Amazon is around $15). I'd raise GH by 1 dGH daily until you reach your target. This will allow the fish enough time to adapt to the TDS changes. Generally, a 10% daily change in TDS is well tolerated by fish.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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So, this isn't a planted tank with CO2 issues, correct? In that case, I'd move KH to 3-4 dKH, which can be done right away. IMO, your KH is too low and might result in uncomfortable acidic conditions developing too rapidly. If you have a planted tank with pressurized CO2, then a KH of about 2 dKH is reasonable and higher would work as well.

GH is a little different and, for the sake of the fish, I'd tend to focus upon TDS. TDS below 200-300 is ideal for community fish, 400-500 starts to pressure them and more can weaken them so that other things can take hold, such as disease. GH components can heavily affect TDS levels (a TDS meter on Amazon is around $15). I'd raise GH by 1 dGH daily until you reach your target. This will allow the fish enough time to adapt to the TDS changes. Generally, a 10% daily change in TDS is well tolerated by fish.
Thank you for the input Deanna. My tank is actually running pressurized co2. I know this isn't an accurate measure but my drop checker does turn a solid light green by the end of the photo period (not quite lime green).

What are your thoughts on CRS vs cherries given my water conditions?

Thanks for any input.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by loveflying1991 View Post
Thanks for the input natemcnutty. Something I've been struggling with is deciding between CRS and cherries. It did occur to me as well that my water right now seems to favor CRS if I bump my GH as you suggested. My only concern is whether my EI dosing, co2, and weekly 50% wc will negatively impact CRS because they are more sensitive than neos.

What do you think?
With my CRS, I've gone from minimal dosing with no CO2 to half EI and 15ppm CO2 to full EI and 30 ppm CO2, and I would not recommend going past that half EI point. Right now, I inject to about 10-15 ppm in their tank trying too recover that colony.

Everything was running great for about a year at half EI, so I moved up to full EI trying to keep some harder to keep plants. In the first few months, I initially noticed less berried and lower survival rate of babies. Not a huge deal as I was overrunning the tank at the time, but eventually I had to miss a couple weeks of maintenance due to work and started noticing some deaths after returning. It appeared to be bacterial infections, and I've been playing catch-up for the last several months trying to save things. Deaths have stopped, but so has breeding...

I think a big part of it is detritus builds up bacteria a lot quicker in high tech tanks, and I wasn't doing a great job of cleaning either. Lots of variables, but in my opinion, you're setting yourself up for eventual heartache putting CRS in a standard full EI environment. As hardy as I think they are, I don't think they can thrive in it long term.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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With my CRS, I've gone from minimal dosing with no CO2 to half EI and 15ppm CO2 to full EI and 30 ppm CO2, and I would not recommend going past that half EI point. Right now, I inject to about 10-15 ppm in their tank trying too recover that colony.

Everything was running great for about a year at half EI, so I moved up to full EI trying to keep some harder to keep plants. In the first few months, I initially noticed less berried and lower survival rate of babies. Not a huge deal as I was overrunning the tank at the time, but eventually I had to miss a couple weeks of maintenance due to work and started noticing some deaths after returning. It appeared to be bacterial infections, and I've been playing catch-up for the last several months trying to save things. Deaths have stopped, but so has breeding...

I think a big part of it is detritus builds up bacteria a lot quicker in high tech tanks, and I wasn't doing a great job of cleaning either. Lots of variables, but in my opinion, you're setting yourself up for eventual heartache putting CRS in a standard full EI environment. As hardy as I think they are, I don't think they can thrive in it long term.
Thank you for sharing your experience! From what you've shared, if I raise my GH like you suggested in the post above and reduce my EI to half, would that be acceptable for CRS or Tangerine Tigers(really like their look).

Or should I try to get my water more in line with cherries and continue my ferts and co2?

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 09:15 PM
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Thank you for the input Deanna. My tank is actually running pressurized co2. I know this isn't an accurate measure but my drop checker does turn a solid light green by the end of the photo period (not quite lime green).

What are your thoughts on CRS vs cherries given my water conditions?

Thanks for any input.
I'd rely upon @natemcnutty for advice on shrimp. I have a bunch of Amano's, but I haven't ever focused upon shrimp. My concern was more with your fish and obtaining safe and slowly adjusted TDS.

Regarding your CO2 levels, a drop checker is good as a 'canary in the mine' thing. Once you find your targeted CO2, the drop checker will give you an easily visible warning if your CO2 is drifting uncomfortably. I have found that the reference solution needs to be changed every 2-3 weeks or it becomes stale and doesn't change color easily. I assume you are using a reputable solution (such as Fluval) or making it yourself correctly (distilled water). You can better determine the actual CO2 level more readily by comparing pH changes from fully gassed to fully degassed. If you don't know how to do that, let us know.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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I'd rely upon @natemcnutty for advice on shrimp. I have a bunch of Amano's, but I haven't ever focused upon shrimp. My concern was more with your fish and obtaining safe and slowly adjusted TDS.

Regarding your CO2 levels, a drop checker is good as a 'canary in the mine' thing. Once you find your targeted CO2, the drop checker will give you an easily visible warning if your CO2 is drifting uncomfortably. I have found that the reference solution needs to be changed every 2-3 weeks or it becomes stale and doesn't change color easily. I assume you are using a reputable solution (such as Fluval) or making it yourself correctly (distilled water). You can better determine the actual CO2 level more readily by comparing pH changes from fully gassed to fully degassed. If you don't know how to do that, let us know.
Hi Deanna, I have never tried to accurately check co2 using ph, so that would be great info.

What I do know is that my API kit for normal range ph won't read my ph once the co2 is on. It drops below 6, which is the lowest my kit seems to show.

Also thank you for your advice on the raising GH in a community tank. I currently have many fry at different levels of development thanks to my very promiscuous dwarf pencilfish, and I wouldn't want to suffer unnecessary losses from them.

Although in the future, I may introduce some new fish (right now it's just the pencils) because I think I need some population control for those guys. I started out with 25, lost 2 through my carelessness, but now have at least 10 subadults and many more fry. But, this is an issue for another thread I think.

Thank you for your advice.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 10:45 PM
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Hi Deanna, I have never tried to accurately check co2 using ph, so that would be great info.

What I do know is that my API kit for normal range ph won't read my ph once the co2 is on. It drops below 6, which is the lowest my kit seems to show.

Also thank you for your advice on the raising GH in a community tank. I currently have many fry at different levels of development thanks to my very promiscuous dwarf pencilfish, and I wouldn't want to suffer unnecessary losses from them.

Although in the future, I may introduce some new fish (right now it's just the pencils) because I think I need some population control for those guys. I started out with 25, lost 2 through my carelessness, but now have at least 10 subadults and many more fry. But, this is an issue for another thread I think.

Thank you for your advice.
OK. First place to start is with the KH. I assume that you have a GH/KH test kit, such as API's. Raise KH to 2 dKH. When you do that, it will also raise the pH and you will get higher pH readings. With every water change, you will have to measure KH in order to learn how much baking soda (NOT baking powder) to add after each water change to maintain the 2 dKH. You can go higher, but @natemcnutty advised that your shrimp will prefer more acidic conditions and 2 dKH will be close and still give you some buffering.

Once you are at 2 dKH, take some of your tank water out and let it sit for 24 hours. This will de-gas it (allow the CO2 to leave). Measure the pH once it is fully de-gassed. Next, when the tank has had the CO2 running for about 2-3 hours or more, test the pH of the tank water. The KH of the de-gassed water and the tank water must be the same, so don't make any other changes to the KH in the tank until after you make the comparison. A one point difference between the two pH values equals ~30 ppm of CO2. That is the mid-green point on your drop checker. You can also find your CO2 level on this site, using pH and KH values: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium CO2 Calculator

Get a GH booster as per @OVT. Amazon or you LFS can provide it. A TDS meter won't accurately reflect GH since there are many other dissolved solids in your tank other than GH components.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 11:49 PM
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Before throwing in baking soda or raising KH, let's make sure you aren't using a buffering substrate. What exactly is your substrate right now?
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Before throwing in baking soda or raising KH, let's make sure you aren't using a buffering substrate. What exactly is your substrate right now?
I do believe that my substrate does buffer. I am using ada amazonia (about 8 months old)

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