Persistently high GH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2019, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Persistently high GH

Is there anything besides a reactive stone that would maintain high GH levels? I suspect not but want to go through the process of elimination before tearing out colonized hardscape for testing.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2019, 08:21 PM
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There are all types of substrate that can reduce hardness, not touch it, or raise it persistently. What type do you have?

i assume you've ruled-out your water source and dosing regimen.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2019, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @Deanna. The substrate is pool-filter sand; dosing is Flourish Comp administered as top-off water @ 0.5 mg/L per half-gallon; and water source is distilled remineralized using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ @ half strength to lower the GH, KH, and TDS. The latter two have reduced accordingly but the GH remains high. KH is in fact already at or below target level while TDS is still 15-45 ppm above the target range.

I also added Flourish root tabs recently; I can't rule out leaching into the water column but see nothing obvious.

I've removed the small dark stone in the right center foreground in the first pic and placed it in a cup of DI water overnight for GH and TDS testing tomorrow.

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Last edited by Rainer; 12-01-2019 at 08:46 PM. Reason: .
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-01-2019, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer View Post
Hi @Deanna. The substrate is pool-filter sand; dosing is Flourish Comp administered as top-off water @ 0.5 mg/L per half-gallon; and water source is distilled remineralized using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ @ half strength to lower the GH, KH, and TDS. The latter two have reduced accordingly but the GH remains high. KH is in fact already at or below target level while TDS is still 15-45 ppm above the target range.

I also added Flourish root tabs recently; I can't rule out leaching into the water column but see nothing obvious.

I've removed the small dark stone in the right center foreground in the first pic and placed it in a cup of DI water overnight for GH and TDS testing tomorrow.
You may be dosing a fair amount of Ca and Mg between the Salty Shrimp and the Seachem root tabs and: yes, the root tabs will leach into the water column. I would go the easiest route first:
- remove the root tabs (they are unnecessary if you correctly dose the water column)
- stop the Salty Shrimp

See what the GH does in a week and maybe that will be the answer.

I think it's also important to keep your eye on the GH components as you do this: Ca and Mg. I'd get API's Ca test kit and follow these instructions to get a better reading;
- 20 ml sample water.
- Add 5 drops of reagent #1.
- Add 1 drop at a time of reagent #2 and mix.
- Each drop of reagent #2 = 5ppm calcium.

Once you know Ca level, you can either calculate Mg level (Mg ppm = (GH ppm – 2.5 x Ca ppm) / 4.1) or get @Zorfox's excellent calculator, which is good in more ways than one.

If, after doing all of this, you still have the issue, then I'd use the acidic water test in a glass for each item in your tank (including some substrate). I'd probably start the pool filter sand test right away.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2019, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
I also added Flourish root tabs recently; I can't rule out leaching into the water column but see nothing obvious.
Seachem root tabs contain calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. Both can be found in many GH boosters and dissolve very rapidl in water. The root tabs will definitely increase GH. The question is how much.

Quote:
If, after doing all of this, you still have the issue, then I'd use the acidic water test in a glass for each item in your tank (including some substrate). I'd probably start the pool filter sand test right away.
Yes I would also do this but you would have to rinse off each item fist with Distilled water to remove the GH and KH you are adding with the root tabs and salty shrimp. then run the acidic water test. I doubt the pool filter sand is the source but test it anyway.

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There are all types of substrate that can reduce hardness, not touch it, or raise it persistently. What type do you have?
There are substrates that reduce KH but I know of no substrates that reduce GH. Since you are using distilled water, salty Shrimp, Flourish, and sachem root tabs, most of your KH comes form potassium or sodium bicarbonate. The GH test will not detect sodium or potassium. It will only detect calcium and magnesium. So the only way to reduce your GH is to find the source of your excess calcium or magnesium and elliminating it. Your substrate should be mostly silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide and iron oxide and should be inert with minimal effect on GH, KH, and PH.

Note I never had much success with flourish comprehensive in my RO water aquarium. Algae was a constant problem with it. It depends on your water source having some micro elements in it. But your distilled water is very close to pure water. Which can easily cause a nutrient deficiency which can cause algae problems.

I would recommend considering switching to Nilocg.com Thrive+ fertilizer. I think it would work better in your aquarium with distilled water They also sell ThriveS but I wouldn't recommend it sine it is missing Copper which plants and shrimp need. With NO copper your plants would likely not have enough to grow. For your tank with distilled water make sure the fertilizer you use has copper in it. Yes too much copper can kill shrimp. But I have not found any fertilizers with a dangerous amount of copper in it. So I wouldn't worry about copper.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2019, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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I tested the suspect rock after it steeped 24 hrs in a small volume of DI water: dGH = 1-2 (off shade of green on first drop of Sera test); TDS went from 11 to 22 during that period. It's back in the tank now.

I'm very hesitant to stop the Salty Shrimp for fear of crashing the KH, which is already very low for some of the snails, as well as for the trace elements it adds. Wouldn't it be better to test the half-strength mix without any added fertilizer and confirm it is around the predicted 3 dGH?

Next steps will be to remove the root tabs and run the sand test.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2019, 09:33 AM
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Yep, root tabs are 14.9% Ca. Simple truth in your tank and plants you keep, not needed. Mayaca go 100% water column feeding. C. Helferi youíd be better off taking your planting tweezers inserting a small clump (size of a couple peas) beside each plant crown so roots can find it. It has a very high CEC value after a couple weeks of organic breakdown and itís nutrient content will mirror your water column dosing is.

Also Iím going to be critical here, and I mean it in constructive way... I get impression from other thread you are a diligent, often times overbearing control freak. I think I alluded to you on your other thread that you over depend on SS and absolutely dialing it in to what is supposed to be optimum levels for keeping certain species.

Aquariums donít work that way, if you try to dial them into what some guy on Internet states is perfection you will fail time and time again simply because your tank is not his tank. Aquarium itself lead you to perfection not forcing a aquatic ecosystem to bend to your will of what you think perfection is.

I personally think you need to stop root tabs, let them slowly decay away. Cut salty shrimp change water so GH is 75% of what you think is supposed to be optimal and also increase slightly, say 10% what your currently dosing is on ferts but it should be across 2 doses twice a week.

Also if you are overly aggressively vacuuming substrate at water changes trying to make it look perfect, stop that, you are your own worst enemy there.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2019, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @DaveKS, thanks as always for your help and for the welcome candor, as well as apologies for having been unconsciously overbearing. This is a reaction to my first stint in the hobby, where I ran a EI-based injected CO2 tank that, despite the "fire and forget" reputation of EI, never found its balance and suffered. That and the need to find a narrow band of parameters that supports the largest amount of marginally compatible invert species, along with the constant warnings from breeders, including some on this site, to master parameters before even attempting to keep sensitive shrimp, jar me out of my usual laid-back attitude.

Dosing is the top-off regimen you recommended in an earlier thread, along with the mulm from regular feedings, and vacuuming is generally done only at trimming time.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-03-2019, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post
There are substrates that reduce KH but I know of no substrates that reduce GH.
Some people make peat a part of their substrate, which will lower GH.

@Rainer: although I believe that the steps mentioned, above, will solve your problem, if you can't get GH where you want it, there is a new product that will, essentially, soften your water. I can't recall the name, but @Edward mentioned it somewhere (can't find that thread, either). Perhaps he will chime in with the name.

Last edited by Deanna; 12-03-2019 at 03:09 PM. Reason: add
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2019, 08:35 AM
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I think you should take some SS and mix some water up to your spec and just put small pump in it and just let it set for 4-6 days and see if GH changes with nothing else in there to influence it.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2019, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer View Post
Hi @DaveKS, thanks as always for your help and for the welcome candor, as well as apologies for having been unconsciously overbearing. This is a reaction to my first stint in the hobby, where I ran a EI-based injected CO2 tank that, despite the "fire and forget" reputation of EI, never found its balance and suffered. That and the need to find a narrow band of parameters that supports the largest amount of marginally compatible invert species, along with the constant warnings from breeders, including some on this site, to master parameters before even attempting to keep sensitive shrimp, jar me out of my usual laid-back attitude.

Dosing is the top-off regimen you recommended in an earlier thread, along with the mulm from regular feedings, and vacuuming is generally done only at trimming time.
Dont apologize for your diligence and care when it comes to keeping shrimp.

I have read many of your threads when they pertain to shrimp and I do not find them or you at all overbearing. Nor do I find you a "control-freak."

I find that assessment misses the mark.

You must be meticulous and exacting when it comes to shrimp care-- especially the more sensitive shrimp varieties. You are in the arc of a learning curve when it comes to shrimp-keeping ( as am I), ask as many questions as you need to in the process.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-04-2019, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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@Discusluv thanks for the kind remarks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
I think you should take some SS and mix some water up to your spec and just put small pump in it and just let it set for 4-6 days and see if GH changes with nothing else in there to influence it.
I don't have a pump but I'll slosh it around a couple of times each day, test, and report back.

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Last edited by Rainer; 12-04-2019 at 10:19 PM. Reason: invalid test results
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