How to properly raise kh and gh from RO water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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How to properly raise kh and gh from RO water?

Hi all,

I have a newly established 30g planted tank. Using RO water as our tap is hard (20+ For gh and kh).

RO water is 1 for both gh and kh.

I am using AquaVitro gh mineralize and kh carbonate and have my tank up to 2-3 for gh and kh after running for 5 days.

Moving forward should I dose my water to the desired gh and kh levels prior to adding to the aquarium to avoid shocking the system?

Cheers.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 08:26 AM
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I dose my tap water as it's very soft (<1 kH, 2-3 gH) and would recommend adding the products to the water before adding to the aquarium. This way you avoid shocking the fish and can make sure that everything has dissolved before adding the water to the tank.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 04:00 PM
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If they are 3 or below I'd say definitely dose. You will have to dose after every water change.

Go to the rotala butterfly calculator site and check how much it tells you to add for the product you own. There are plenty of gh boosting products if you need a new one.

Also, be aware that big rocks can raise your gh and kh, so measure it after a few days to check that. For instance, my rock lush my RO water up to 9 gh and 7 kh. From what I'm told, the gh will mostly be from calcium as rocks dont have much magnesium. You'll need to dose that still and its found in a few micro mixes anywaus like CSM+B.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 07:18 PM
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Yes - definitely add them to the change water, rather than putting them directly into the aquarium. Particularily to prevent KH fluctuations, as they are a threat to plant and livestock health. You can add the GH mineralizer directly to the aquarium if need be, but beware that it will cloud the water for at least 15 minutes. I'd recommend keeping both KH and GH above 2 unless you have a buffering substrate (Ex: Controsoil). Beyond that, just take into consideration the recommendations for future livestock. If keeping shrimp, I'd recommend raising the GH to 6-8.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 07:25 PM
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Caveat for shrimp - these are the things that die if you raise kh/gh too much and too fast.

I dosed my 10gal tank 10x as much as I should have on accident one time and killed all of the shrimp within an hour. The fish were unaffected.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MrMagoo View Post
I am using AquaVitro gh mineralize and kh carbonate and have my tank up to 2-3 for gh and kh after running for 5 days.

Moving forward should I dose my water to the desired gh and kh levels prior to adding to the aquarium to avoid shocking the system?
You will be better off purchasing CaSO4 and MgSO4 for GH. You can adjust to any ratio Ca:Mg you like, and it will be much cheaper in the long run. Most dose it to somewhere around 5 to 8 GH. You can adjust as you see how the plants are doing.

For KH you can use either K2CO3, KHCO3, or NaHCO3. You will either be adding potassium or sodium. I prefer the potassium, but any one will work. And you don't need to raise the KH very high at all. I keep mine at just a little over KH 1. No problem maintaining stable pH drop at all.

If you can, dose the stored RO water. The CaSO4 takes some time to fully dissolve. But I am sure many dose into the tank without issue, and either way should be just fine.

And good luck with the new tank.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
You will be better off purchasing CaSO4 and MgSO4 for GH. You can adjust to any ratio Ca:Mg you like, and it will be much cheaper in the long run. Most dose it to somewhere around 5 to 8 GH. You can adjust as you see how the plants are doing.

For KH you can use either K2CO3, KHCO3, or NaHCO3. You will either be adding potassium or sodium. I prefer the potassium, but any one will work. And you don't need to raise the KH very high at all. I keep mine at just a little over KH 1. No problem maintaining stable pH drop at all.

If you can, dose the stored RO water. The CaSO4 takes some time to fully dissolve. But I am sure many dose into the tank without issue, and either way should be just fine.

And good luck with the new tank.
Thanks Greggz. Great information!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 02:46 PM
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Btw, is it possible to figure out how much calcium is being put into my tank by my rocks so that I can properly figure out how much magnesium I need to add?

I have RO water but my kh is 7 and gh is 9.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
Btw, is it possible to figure out how much calcium is being put into my tank by my rocks so that I can properly figure out how much magnesium I need to add?



I have RO water but my kh is 7 and gh is 9.
It might be helpful to start your own thread with more info, but assuming you are not adding any Mg at all, you will want to shoot for somewhere around 7 ppm of Mg with each water change and possibly increase by 2-3 ppm if you still see with intervienal chlorosis and wavy margins.

Use the calculator here to determine how much MgSO4.7H2O (Epsom salt) you need to dose for your water volume (volume is the amount of water being changed out, not fill tank volume): http://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
For KH you can use either K2CO3, KHCO3, or NaHCO3. You will either be adding potassium or sodium. I prefer the potassium, but any one will work. And you don't need to raise the KH very high at all. I keep mine at just a little over KH 1. No problem maintaining stable pH drop at all.
How high is your ph? I was trying to get a kh of 5 with K2CO3 but my ph went to 8.8+ I always thought a higher kh was better to prevent ph swings?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 02:27 AM
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How high is your ph? I was trying to get a kh of 5 with K2CO3 but my ph went to 8.8+ I always thought a higher kh was better to prevent ph swings?
My KH is just over 1.

IMO, pH swings are a myth. I drop pH with CO2 the same as when my KH was 4. No issue, no swings.

Just for reference, my degassed pH is 7.05, and I drive it down to 5.70 with CO2.

And if your KH is 5, and your pH is 8.8, then you have something else affecting your pH. At KH 5, your degassed pH should be around 7.6. More information will help others help you.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 10:51 PM
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@Greggz thanks for the response, I had never thought about degassing, I always kept a lid on my water bucket, after reading your post I thought about running a airstone in my water with no lid and that seems to have worked, thanks.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
You will be better off purchasing CaSO4 and MgSO4 for GH. You can adjust to any ratio Ca:Mg you like, and it will be much cheaper in the long run. Most dose it to somewhere around 5 to 8 GH. You can adjust as you see how the plants are doing.

For KH you can use either K2CO3, KHCO3, or NaHCO3. You will either be adding potassium or sodium. I prefer the potassium, but any one will work. And you don't need to raise the KH very high at all. I keep mine at just a little over KH 1. No problem maintaining stable pH drop at all.

If you can, dose the stored RO water. The CaSO4 takes some time to fully dissolve. But I am sure many dose into the tank without issue, and either way should be just fine.

And good luck with the new tank.
I guess you don't keep any snails in your tank if you are dropping pH below 6.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 11:24 PM
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I guess you don't keep any snails in your tank if you are dropping pH below 6.
No snails, no shrimp, no bottom feeders, no algae eaters.

I did detail my great Amano shrimp experiment somewhere back in my journal.

Not one survived due to this group................the Amano hit squad! Also eliminate snails 100%.



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