high gh using distilled water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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high gh using distilled water

Hi. So I recently checked my water parameters on my heavily planted low tech 20g and was surprised with the high gH. I used the gh tester from api and saw the gH was 16 (16 drops for water to change to green). I was confused by this because I use only distilled water. I do not do wc and just top off when it gets low. Does anyone know the reason for this high gh? My water has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0-5 nitrates.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 12:19 AM
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Do you have limestone rocks or similar in the tank?

Coral sand?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Do you have limestone rocks or similar in the tank?

Coral sand?
I have some dragon stone and I use some inert gravel and eco complete substrate.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 01:47 AM
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Is it possible the test solution is faulty?

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 02:02 AM
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Take some of your inert gravel put about 1/2” in a 1 cup size glass, cover with distilled water and let set for 24hr and test.

Distilled water is hungry enough it could be dissolving rocks and gravel. You should never use straight distilled water except for topping off for evaporation. Always use some Equilibrium or similar hardness additive to at least bring it up 3GH and let set in open bucket for 12hrs before you use it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Take some of your inert gravel put about 1/2” in a 1 cup size glass, cover with distilled water and let set for 24hr and test.

Distilled water is hungry enough it could be dissolving rocks and gravel. You should never use straight distilled water except for topping off for evaporation. Always use some Equilibrium or similar hardness additive to at least bring it up 3GH and let set in open bucket for 12hrs before you use it.
yea i remineralized it with equilibrium once because i only top off the aquarium with distilled water.

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Is it possible the test solution is faulty?
Im not really sure how to check if the test kit if faulty. It might be or maybe the dragon stone or substrate is releasing solids.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 03:21 AM
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Adding 4grams of Equilibrium to 1gal of distilled water should give you a GH of around 5. That’s how you would test your kit.

I missed part earlier about you not changing water. When Hummic and other natural acids build up from decomposition they can very much start dissolving minerals in rocks and gravel. You have to do partial water changes every now in then to keep that in check/reset it.

What are your PH and KH readings?
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 04:05 AM
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Adding 4grams of Equilibrium to 1gal of distilled water should give you a GH of around 5. That’s how you would test your kit.

I missed part earlier about you not changing water. When Hummic and other natural acids build up from decomposition they can very much start dissolving minerals in rocks and gravel. You have to do partial water changes every now in then to keep that in check/reset it.

What are your PH and KH readings?
Hummic?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Adding 4grams of Equilibrium to 1gal of distilled water should give you a GH of around 5. That’s how you would test your kit.

I missed part earlier about you not changing water. When Hummic and other natural acids build up from decomposition they can very much start dissolving minerals in rocks and gravel. You have to do partial water changes every now in then to keep that in check/reset it.

What are your PH and KH readings?
my ph is about 7. not sure what my KH is

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 09:25 PM
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I do not do wc and just top off when it gets low. Does anyone know the reason for this high gh?
The GH test basically only detects calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Fertilizer typically have some magnesium and some have calcium. Plants and animals need both. Some rocks and gravel can have calcium and magnesium in them, especially sedimentary rocks. These can leach out of the rocks if your water is slightly acidic. If you are using CO2 it probably is slightly acidic. Ca and Mg dissolve best in acidic water. The fish food you also add to the tank also contains Ca and Mg. Also distilled water and DI water may have a tiny amount in it.

It is never a good idea to simply do no water changes. Over time Ca and Mg and other minerals from all of the above sources can build up and possibly make the water toxic.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Hummic?
Humic, one to many M in spelling.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Hummic?
Humic, one to many M in spelling.
Thank you Dave for teaching me something. I did not know what humic is.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humic_substance
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