Calcium and Magnesium deficiency - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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Calcium and Magnesium deficiency

Hi Guys


I got Ca and/or Mg deficiency. I'm using r/o water with equilibrium as GH booster. My question is how much more Ca and/or Mg do I add? Do I add after water change or do I dose during macro or micro dosing period? Any help will be much appreciated thank you


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 06:23 AM
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Hi Guys


I got Ca and/or Mg deficiency. I'm using r/o water with equilibrium as GH booster. My question is how much more Ca and/or Mg do I add? Do I add after water change or do I dose during macro or micro dosing period? Any help will be much appreciated thank you
Depends on the plants. I personally target 6 dGH, but one thing to keep in mind is that Equilibrium has a significant amount of K. It's not really meant to be a full remineralizer from RO but rather a GH booster with trace elements.

I ran into an issue of way too much K over time from doing similar (but with Nilocg's GH booster), and I ended up having to switch to individual elements.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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Depends on the plants. I personally target 6 dGH, but one thing to keep in mind is that Equilibrium has a significant amount of K. It's not really meant to be a full remineralizer from RO but rather a GH booster with trace elements.

I ran into an issue of way too much K over time from doing similar (but with Nilocg's GH booster), and I ended up having to switch to individual elements.


Hey Thx Nate


Do you recommend using Nilcog GH booster instead? Whats the target ppm for Ca and Mg ?Maybe i'll add 50% less equilibrium and add Ca/Mg on the side?


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 06:41 PM
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Hey Thx Nate


Do you recommend using Nilcog GH booster instead? Whats the target ppm for Ca and Mg ?Maybe i'll add 50% less equilibrium and add Ca/Mg on the side?
If you are sticking to RO, I would definitely consider using CaSO4 amd MgSO4 to create a base for Equilibrium to build off of.

I don't have specific targets for Ca and Mg - I just dose a little bit more than the calculator at RotalaButterfly.com indicates. EI targets are 15 ppm Ca, 5 ppm Mg, and 7.5 ppm K (which send low, but the sulfates are a large portion of the ppm).

For every 10 gallons of water (two buckets for me), I end up adding a total of 1 tsp of CaSO4, 1/2 tsp of MgSO4, and 1/8 tsp of K2SO4 (all just slightly heaping). This will initially start you out around 5-5.5 dGH, but over time it will accumulate to about 6-6.5.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 07:26 PM
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To add on to what Nate is saying, your target for Ca:Mg should be either 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. For every 3 or 4 ppm of Ca you add, you'll need to add 1 ppm Mg. Rotalabutterfly.com has a wonderful nutrient calculator that will break that down for you based on dose or target ppm.

In my 5 gallon buckets, I dose 2.04 grams of CaSO4 and 1.61 grams of MgSO4 to reach 6.05 dGH and a 3:1 calcium to magnesium ratio. I add NaHCO3 for my KH buffer, dosing 2.05 grams to get a KH of 4. My math is based on there actually being 4.5 gallons of water in my 5 gallon bucket. Please note, your numbers to achieve desired GH and KH maybe a little different because I use RODI water, not RO.

Long run, WAY cheaper to roll your own GH booster to add to your RO water.

@natemcnutty I had the EXACT same problem using potassium bicarb for KH buffering, maybe you posted on that thread even, where I was having inverts die because of the excessive amounts of K. Switched to NaHCO3 and now everyone is happy as can be.

Last edited by mgeorges; 04-20-2018 at 07:38 PM. Reason: correction
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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thank you guys!! much appreciated last but not least thanks to seattle_aquarist for guiding me the deficiency


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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If you are sticking to RO, I would definitely consider using CaSO4 amd MgSO4 to create a base for Equilibrium to build off of.

I don't have specific targets for Ca and Mg - I just dose a little bit more than the calculator at RotalaButterfly.com indicates. EI targets are 15 ppm Ca, 5 ppm Mg, and 7.5 ppm K (which send low, but the sulfates are a large portion of the ppm).

For every 10 gallons of water (two buckets for me), I end up adding a total of 1 tsp of CaSO4, 1/2 tsp of MgSO4, and 1/8 tsp of K2SO4 (all just slightly heaping). This will initially start you out around 5-5.5 dGH, but over time it will accumulate to about 6-6.5.

Sorry hate to bother you but do I does mg/Ca during water change or does every other day?


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 11:52 AM
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I typically would dose the mg/ca on water change day. If you have the ability to test for GH and Ca, then you can estimate the Mg. Once you change your ca/mg dosing style, I would suggest checking levels at the end of water change day and partway thru the week.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 03:35 PM
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Sorry hate to bother you but do I does mg/Ca during water change or does every other day?
Yeah, as @Immortal1, at water change. I've been playing with dosing throughout the week, but no difference so far (three weeks in). Trying to fix wrinkled leave on L. Repens red... Most everything else looks fine :-/
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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I typically would dose the mg/ca on water change day. If you have the ability to test for GH and Ca, then you can estimate the Mg. Once you change your ca/mg dosing style, I would suggest checking levels at the end of water change day and partway thru the week.
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Yeah, as @Immortal1, at water change. I've been playing with dosing throughout the week, but no difference so far (three weeks in). Trying to fix wrinkled leave on L. Repens red... Most everything else looks fine :-/


thanks guys!! so just dose during water change day?


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 05:29 PM
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thanks guys!! so just dose during water change day?
For Ca/Mg, yes. Micros don't stick around long enough in the water column, so those are generally dosed every 2-3 days. I've seen a lot of people switch to doing all macros right after water change too, but most I believe dose macros every other day (the day they don't dose micros).
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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For Ca/Mg, yes. Micros don't stick around long enough in the water column, so those are generally dosed every 2-3 days. I've seen a lot of people switch to doing all macros right after water change too, but most I believe dose macros every other day (the day they don't dose micros).


thank you once again nate!!!


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