Ideal GH for planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Ideal GH for planted tank?

I am remineralizing RO water for all my tanks (eventually will be RODI water but for now some TDS is getting through since I don't have the highest water pressure in my house).

My fish are all pretty much either soft water fish or fish that are adaptable to a wide range so I am not too concerned about them. Just wondering what is the minimum GH that is suitable for a planted tank?

Currently using Seachem Equilibrium (and their acid and alkalinity products as well) and getting about 4.8 GH and 3.4 KH (and shooting for a pH of about 6.5). Would a GH of half that be bad for plants? Should I stick with the formula I am going with now or is it safe to go lower without any negative impact?

No stem plants really and I doubt I will be adding any in the future. Mostly stuff like Cryptocorynes, Anubias, Echinodorus, and Aponogetons.


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 11:37 PM
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Ideal GH for planted tank?

Why do you want to go lower on gh/kh? To lower the ph? Why? From what (7.3ish?) to 6.5?

Are you looking into low kh plants like blood vomit or something?

If there is no specific reason than I wouldn’t change anything. Ph is not very important without a specific requirement/reason.

As far as a specific preferred gh I would target 4 and up to make sure you are getting calcium and magnesium in decent amounts.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Not looking to change KH or pH just considering lowering GH. GH requires the highest amount of product when remineralizing so cutting it in half would require buying it less often.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 11:55 PM
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Since you ask specifically about a planted tank: Plants need calcium and magnesium, though not in huge quantities. It's normally desirable to have some carbonate buffering, with 4 dKH often quoted as a desirable figure. That implies a slightly alkaline pH, unless you are routinely CO2 injecting. I think Sam the Slayer is asking the righ question: Why do you want to go lower? The figures you posted seem fine for all but the most sensitive soft water fish. So I gues the bottom line is, yes, stick with the formula you have.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-03-2020, 06:29 PM
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I use R/O water reconstituted to 1dkh/6dgh. When I was looking up what values to target it was 4dgh minimum. I'm at 6dgh due to easier dosing for my situation (more stable from water change to water change).

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-03-2020, 06:51 PM
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Since you ask specifically about a planted tank: Plants need calcium and magnesium, though not in huge quantities. It's normally desirable to have some carbonate buffering, with 4 dKH often quoted as a desirable figure. That implies a slightly alkaline pH, unless you are routinely CO2 injecting. I think Sam the Slayer is asking the righ question: Why do you want to go lower? The figures you posted seem fine for all but the most sensitive soft water fish. So I gues the bottom line is, yes, stick with the formula you have.
There is a largish group of people on here that try to shoot for 1-2 KH for plants.

Dont ask me why-- its all over my head.

But, 1-2 KH seems so contradictory to what you commonly see outside the forum and which you quote- 4 dkh.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-03-2020, 07:37 PM
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Just wanted to be clear, I was not pushing my 1dkh environment. I gave mine since the OP gave his.
I know the topic can get heated at times. I just wanted to say what I had found out when I did the research on reconstituted r/o water.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-03-2020, 07:50 PM
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Fairly typical numbers you will see from the active RO users on here are in the neighborhood of:

1 - 2 degrees of kH from a potassium or sodium carbonate source.

6-8 degrees of gH roughly = 30ppm Ca and 10-15ppm Mg from CaSO4 and MgSO4

Seems about the cheapest way to remin RO water without added Fe or too much excess Potassium.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-03-2020, 08:37 PM
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Fairly typical numbers you will see from the active RO users on here are in the neighborhood of:

1 - 2 degrees of kH from a potassium or sodium carbonate source.

6-8 degrees of gH roughly = 30ppm Ca and 10-15ppm Mg from CaSO4 and MgSO4

Seems about the cheapest way to remin RO water without added Fe or too much excess Potassium.
Yes, there you go.

Thanks for further elaborating on the numbers--
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 03:14 AM
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If you measure the level of nutrients in a plant and rank them from the highest to the lowest you get

1. N
2. K
3. Ca
4. Mg
5. P
6. S
7. Cl
8. Fe

As you can see plants generally need more Ca Mg than phosphorous. And meny fertilizers dose Magnesium at micro or trace level. And most fertilizers don't even have calcium. this make no sense at all.

Generally plant appear to need about 3 times more Calcium than Magnesium. With magnesium only slightly higher than phosphorous. But I use the word generally since there can be some variation between plant varieties. but if you have a Gh of 4 or higher the exact ratio should mater. Because at that GH level there should be enough for several weeks depending on how fast the plants grow. So if you have a ratio close to what your plants need you might have no problems growing plants at At a gh of 1 or 2 in a medium light tank. In a high light tank with faster light a GH of 3 or 4 should work.

But it is important to remember The typically GH formula of calcium and Magnesium sulfate doesn't only provide Ca and Mg. They also supply Sulfate. Some other GH boosters use chlorides instead of sulfides. Most of the time Cl and S are abundant in water. However if you are using Very soft or RO water you won't have any and many fertilizers doesn't have any S or Cl (such as a NPK CSM+B EI fertilizer you could be deficient in these. I personally use a mix of magnesium sulfate and calcium chloride in my tank to insure I have enough S and Cl as well as Mg and Ca. Also in my NPK fertilizer I don't add any P. This is because KNO3 (10ppm No3) and KH2PO4 (3ppm PO4) has enough K. I aslo don't have K in my GH booster. I also don't worry about my exact GH level in the tank as long as it is resonably stable. But generally I am at about 4.
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Last edited by Surf; 01-05-2020 at 04:10 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 03:20 AM
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... I personally use a mix of magnesium sulfate and calcium chloride in my tank to insure I have enough S and Cl as well as Mg and Ca. Alsoin my NPK fertilizer I don't add any P. This is because KNO3 (10ppm No3) and KH2PO4 (3ppm PO4) has enough K. I aslo don't have K in my GH booster. I also don't worry about my exact GH level in the tank as long as it is resonably stable. But generally I am at about 4.
Is it possible to see a pic of one your tanks so people can see what your dosing method does for plant health?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 12:20 AM
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Rather than harp on people with every post they make - even if they're clownish and can't prove what they claim - it'd be a good idea to post something factual that contradicts what they're claiming. That'd go a long way and would help educate others in the face of misinformation.

Then it wouldn't be necessary to repeatedly push for photos. At a certain point, that becomes just as silly as everything else.


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Triport View Post
Currently using Seachem Equilibrium (and their acid and alkalinity products as well) and getting about 4.8 GH and 3.4 KH (and shooting for a pH of about 6.5). Would a GH of half that be bad for plants? Should I stick with the formula I am going with now or is it safe to go lower without any negative impact?

No stem plants really and I doubt I will be adding any in the future. Mostly stuff like Cryptocorynes, Anubias, Echinodorus, and Aponogetons.
Hey @Triport I have been enjoying following your latest tank set ups.

As I recall you have always done pretty well growing plants. I would not over complicate remineralizing RO water. And with your mix of plants, honestly they are much less sensitive to KH/GH levels than a tank full of stems.

First of all I am not sure why you are using the Seachem products. With your multiple tanks, you are much better off purchasing dry salts and making your own mixes. Not only will save you money, but you can fine tune much easier and only add what you want.

Let's start with GH. Most planted tankers I know shoot for somewhere between 6 to 8 GH, at a ratio of Ca:Mg between 3:1 and 2:1. All you need is CaSO4 and MgSO4. Seachem equilibrium is basically the same thing plus K. And you may not want all the additional K. With your mix of plants, honestly anywhere in those ranges is fine. And lower might be fine too, but not sure why you would want to??

For KH, your RO water should be at zero. You can raise KH (and pH) by using K2CO3 or KHCO3. Most plants prefer softer water, so KH of 1 or even less than 1 is fine.

You said you are shooting for a pH of 6.5?? Why? Regardless should not be very hard to get to. If you dose to 0.5 KH, your degassed pH should be somewhere around 6.5/6.6.

So like I said, pretty simple......a little CaSO4, MgSO4, and either K2CO3 or KHCO3 and you can get to any KH/GH/ph you like.

Anyway, like I said have been enjoying your journals. Looking forward to seeing future updates and pics.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 02:15 AM
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Hi

Reading through this I see Triport has livestock in the tank while all this adjusting might be fine for the plants the fish need to be considered also
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 07:45 AM
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The plants you list have very minimal needs usually. You don’t really state what the co2/light specs of intended tank are. With those plants in non-co2 tank with med light as long as you do say a 25% water change weekly at say 3GH and dose other micro to half EI spec or less 2-3x a week nothing could possibly bottom out. But plant mass also has a bearing on it. Even substrate choices and CEC value and humic content of soil skew the formula.

There really is no specific formula for success, only rough guidelines that will help you zero in on what your tanks uptake and needs are.
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