Originally Posted by Quicksilver2299
There are many things that can affect the PH, but PH is completely independent of GH. Most plants prefer softer water though, so it's not necessary to raise the GH much for their sake. If you plan on keeping shrimp, you would want to raise it to around 6-8. The PH and KH are closely related, and the low KH of 1 can allow for relatively easy PH swings versus having a higher KH. There's nothing wrong with having a KH of 1, but you definitely don't want it at 0 unless you used a buffering substrate (Ex: Controsoil). Here's a great article to help out: https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/ph-kh-gh-tds.html
. There are many helpful in-depth articles on that site, so I'd recommend bookmarking it.
As for the stains - there are many different things that could be in the water that wouldn't register on a GH test. A TDS test could give a better idea of why it's happening. What color are the stains?
So, what is the exact issue with the plants?
Info that would help understand:
What kind of light and how long is the lighting period?
Are you injecting CO2? Based on the PH/KH, I'm assuming no.
Are you using any fertilizers, and how much/how often?
Any pics would be helpful.
Thanks for the link! Very helpful information. I've ordered a tds meter, so will be interesting to see the results when it arrives.
That's the thread I originally started, which has the pics of what it did look like.
In those photos I had stopped dosing anything, because I was having crazy diatom issues and plants were still dying (with the exception of the Anubias and crypt, but I feel like they were still struggling). I was originally dosing flourish comp, which had some benefits for the plants, but didn't seem to actually be helping them grow. I did have a photoperiod of 8hrs, dosing comp weekly and I killed a lot of plants. Val, Java moss, frogbit, tiger lotus and elodea all died. I reduced photoperiod to 5hrs, and eventually stopped dosing too... And then I let mystery snails take over the tank because whatever at that point haha. I did notice that I was having a lot of problems with deficiencies in the snails shells also, so I presume that would be the low gh. Either low calcium, or low magnesium not allowing calcium uptake.
The below photos are now after one week. Photoperiod is 5-6hrs. Trying some different plants and what was left of the third batch of val and second batch of Java moss. Snails have been removed.
Dosed comp (5ml per week is all I've ever added) and added roughly three teaspoons of the gh booster. I do have two baby crabs in there now, so I'm guessing I will need to keep up with the gh booster, maybe even add more if they need as much as shrimp.
I've also added a single root tab near the red plant (was a freebie), for experiments sake.
No Co2. I was hoping to avoid that by picking plants with very low requirements.
I've also added the info for my light, I had to email them for it. My understanding is that it is slightly above 'low' level.
I feel like I had better luck in my old tank. Still couldn't grow everything, but all I was dosing was 5ml of iron every week (that's what my lfs told me to do) and had a cool white and blue led shop light. My val was over a metre long and I had great success with cardinal plants, stricta and some red plants. I killed it all by using cheap root tabs that escaped my substrate and leached too much salt.
Oh and I forgot to add that the stains are white.