high gh using distilled water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 01:07 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 01:19 AM
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Do you have limestone rocks or similar in the tank?

Coral sand?

Snail Glades,
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 01:29 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 02:47 AM
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Is it possible the test solution is faulty?

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 03:02 AM
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Take some of your inert gravel put about 1/2Ē 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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Take some of your inert gravel put about 1/2Ē 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 04:21 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 05:05 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Adding 4grams of Equilibrium to 1gal of distilled water should give you a GH of around 5. Thatís 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 10:25 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 19 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 10:18 PM
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Hummic?
Humic, one to many M in spelling.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 03:30 AM
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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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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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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.
Hi. You are definitely right about the wc. But with my current situation with 8.3 pH and really hard tap water, I simply cant use the tap. Im afraid if i start doing wc, itll mess with the balance of the tank because it took me a while to get it stable. I do have some seachem equilibrium, but I am not sure how much to add to the distilled water for wc, since the gh reader doesnt seem to be accurate. Any ideas?

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hi-Chiu View Post
Hi. You are definitely right about the wc. But with my current situation with 8.3 pH and really hard tap water, I simply cant use the tap. Im afraid if i start doing wc, itll mess with the balance of the tank because it took me a while to get it stable. I do have some seachem equilibrium, but I am not sure how much to add to the distilled water for wc, since the gh reader doesnt seem to be accurate. Any ideas?
There is a dosage calculator on their product page.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 06:13 AM
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but I am not sure how much to add to the distilled water for wc, since the gh reader doesnt seem to be accurate. Any ideas?
DaveKS has already given you instructions on how to test your test kit.
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Adding 4grams of Equilibrium to 1gal of distilled water should give you a GH of around 5. Thatís how you would test your kit.
After you mix the 4 grams of equilibrium with one gallon of distilled water, you use your test kit to test on the water. If your test kit is accurate the test kit should indicate a GH of 5.If it doesn't you have a test kit issue.

Since it took you a while to get your water this hard I would suggest only doing very small water changes. So just before you add water remove a little bit like a few cups of water and then add your distilled water to get back to your normal water level. Don't add any equilibrium the tank.

Over time this gradually will reduce the GH. At some point you will eventually reach a reasonable GH and then you should only add Equilibrium as needed to maintain your GH. What the reasonable GH? It is whatever you want it to be. i think a GH target of 10 might be reasonable for now. Once you reach the GH target only add Equilibrium when the GH drops below 10. If the tank continues to run well at a GH of 10 you could then try to gradually reduce it further.

Quote:
not sure what my KH is
The API test kit you have has the chemicals needed to do a GH test and a KH test. So you have the test kit needed to measure KH.
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