Does less potassium if using Equilibrium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-22-2020, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Does less potassium if using Equilibrium

Sorry, title should say Phosphorus, not Potassium.

I recently got an RO filtration system and have been cutting my tap 50/50 with RO for my water changes, then using Equilibrium and Sodium Bicarbonate to increase gH and kH. I forget where I read this, but someone said if using Equilibrium to not dose as much phosphorus (or maybe none at all). I am doing EI dosing on a 20g high tech planted tank, so should I drop the P from my NPK mixture? Reduce P? Is there another product on the market to raise gH without adding Phosphorus so I can leave my EI mixture alone?

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Last edited by mossman77; 04-22-2020 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Mistake in title
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post #2 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-22-2020, 08:29 PM
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Equilibrium has Potassium (K2O) not Phosphorus. As well as some iron and manganese.

I know I stopped using Equilibrium to reconstitute my r/o water due to the Potassium input. Whether that made a difference I'm not sure I'll know

Curious... If your just cutting tap water, why are you reconstituting?

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post #3 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Haha, sorry, getting those confused. Crap, I think I skipped the P last mixture I made. Pretty sure I did skip it. Dang it. I'll make a new batch now.

Half RO and half tap gives me a gH of about 4 and kH of 2, so I need to bring those numbers up to 4 and 8 respectively, which is where most of my tanks settle naturally. Is that what you were asking?

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post #4 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mossman77 View Post

Half RO and half tap gives me a gH of about 4 and kH of 2, so I need to bring those numbers up to 4 and 8 respectively, which is where most of my tanks settle naturally. Is that what you were asking?
kH can be 0.5 - 1.0 without much issue, so long as you are on larger, regular weekly water changes.

What we are "confused" about, is why you are cutting 50/50 and then dosing back up, when you could cut, for example, 75% tap and 25% RO and be at 4 and 8 respectively...
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post #5 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 04:51 AM
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Agreed with @Quagulator , kh really isn't that much of an issue. Pay more attention to GH. And yes, I was confused on why you would cut then add back.

If I read you post correctly, you tap is 4kh/8gh which you say your tanks naturally sit at. Which makes sense. So then why cut with r/o in the first place? Most people with r/o either use it to cut really, really high kh/gh values down to something more manageable or use pure r/o to remove any unknowns in their tap. Starting from scratch if you will.

If you have the r/o unit I would perhaps look into using pure r/o for your high tech tank. Read up on here why people do it. You can reconstitute to your liking but really kh doesn't need to be that high. Plants will definitely appreciate it on the lower side.

Fyi, I run pure r/o (to cut out any unknowns as my tap is at 6 kh/gh and would be fine to grow any plants) reconstituted to 1dkh/6dGH using baking soda for KH and a 3:1 ratio of dry Ca:Mg on my high tech 10gal running co2 at a 1.2ph drop and using EI dosing for ferts. Actually all my tanks, 5 with a 110gal on the way, run with that water makeup. I got the dry Ca & Mg at Nilocg but there are other places online you can get it at as well. Just use rotallabutterfly.com to get your amounts/ratios. At 20 gallons, or rather the 10 gallon makeup water, the bags of Ca & Mg will last you a lifetime. Interestingly enough those 2 bags cost about the same amount as the small container of Equilibrium and it does essentially the same thing. Better since you don't have to account for the added K in your EI dosing. I didn't think it was a big deal but since I made the switch my cryptocorynes have been producing new leaves more than they ever have. And algae growth is almost non-existence, where before I would always get a dusting on the glass. Now if I can ever get that dang Fissidens moss to co-operate.

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post #6 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Correction, I bring my kH up to 4 or 5 degrees and gH to 7 or 8.

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post #7 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 01:50 PM
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Correction, I bring my kH up to 4 or 5 degrees and gH to 7 or 8.
What does your tapwater readings look like?

You are spinning your wheels cutting with RO and then dosing back up to those levels, meaning you are removing kH and gH with RO, and then adding them right back in.

Virtually all of the plants we grow in our tanks prefer soft water, the softer the better (very low kH) which is safe (0.5 degrees) with regular water changes. 1.0 or 2.0 is fine if you are truly worried about the mythological pH crash.

gH in the 6-8 range are a decent starting point.

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post #8 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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Okay. I'll leave the kH alone then, and like the idea of using Ca and Mg from Niloc to raise gH.

I started using RO because I thought it was best to remove all the nasties/unknowns from the city water and start with pure water. And I'd like to get into saltwater eventually, but that didn't really factor in at the time.
I've been cutting tap with 50% RO mostly to avoid having to start with a kH and gH of zero. A happy medium between full tap and full RO. I trust you guys know what you're talking about, but surely there are benefits to using RO and adjusting parameters to the desired levels as opposed to using straight tap water only because kH and gH are within acceptable levels?

A kH under 1 is fine for livestock as well?

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post #9 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 12:40 PM
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Okay. I'll leave the kH alone then, and like the idea of using Ca and Mg from Niloc to raise gH.

I started using RO because I thought it was best to remove all the nasties/unknowns from the city water and start with pure water. And I'd like to get into saltwater eventually, but that didn't really factor in at the time.
I've been cutting tap with 50% RO mostly to avoid having to start with a kH and gH of zero. A happy medium between full tap and full RO. I trust you guys know what you're talking about, but surely there are benefits to using RO and adjusting parameters to the desired levels as opposed to using straight tap water only because kH and gH are within acceptable levels?

A kH under 1 is fine for livestock as well?


Yes, the benefits of RO is that you are removing all things that you'll find in the tapwater, but if your cutting 50/50 you still have 50% of the unknown there. For the most part, kH and gH are the main factors we look at, not really anything else. These two things make up the majority of the TDS in tapwater (correct me if I'm wrong anyone).

Yes, a kH of under 1 is fine as long are you do regular, large water changes to replenish that little bit of kH.

Depending on tank size, I can remineralize 100% RO water for 2 years at an initial cost of $50, and then each following year for $12.50.

CaSO4 for Ca / gH
MgSO4 for Mg / gH
KHCO3 for kH and Potassium

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post #10 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-25-2020, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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The way I look at it is I'm putting 50% less of whatever contaminants in my tanks by cutting with RO.

I just did a WC and am sitting at kH of 4 and gH of 7. I'll try to get the kH down over the next couple weeks with straight RO changes.

Forgot if I mentioned, but I am EI dosing with weekly 50% WC's and have Amano shrimp in the high tech tank. I'm also planning on adding a school of Celestial Pearl Danios (if I can find them) or similar small colorful schooling fish. I wanted to make this clear if it happens to change the advice given here.

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post #11 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 12:26 AM
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I started using RO because I thought it was best to remove all the nasties/unknowns from the city water and start with pure water.
If that really is the case than it's a no brainer to go full RO. It's not that difficult, nor expensive as Quagulator has pointed out, to get KH/GH back up. You can target whatever KH you want but really you don't need to go that high. The important part is GH.

Celestial Danios are quite accepting of different water parameters. It is true that they tend to prefer hard water but hard water in aquatic environments is GH so if you want to do anything for them I would say bump up the Ca:Mg ratio alittle bit. KH wouldn't need to bump up, although it is important to note that in nature when GH is up typically so is KH. The choice would be yours. And that's the beauty with RO water. You have full control to change if, say, you decided to go with some tetras that typically prefer soft water. You can easily adjust.

And yes, take weeks to make the adjustment in kh/gh values.
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post #12 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Is it okay to bring down the kH from 4 to 1 over a weeks time? E.g., perform a few 10-20% water changes with straight RO? Or will this stress out the Amanos? I would increase the EI dosing after each WC to keep the plants happy.

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post #13 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 02:17 PM
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Is it okay to bring down the kH from 4 to 1 over a weeks time? E.g., perform a few 10-20% water changes with straight RO? Or will this stress out the Amanos? I would increase the EI dosing after each WC to keep the plants happy.
I've dropped mine from 15 to 1 and have gone from 1 to 15 over 1 month.

With each weekly 50% water change I would:

Week 1 - 75% Tap 25% RO
Week 2 - 50% Tap 50% RO
Week 3 - 25% Tap 75% RO
Week 4 - 100% RO remineralized to 1 degree kH.

Reverse order when swapping back to 100% tap.


I'm sure it can be done faster, but I've wiped out all my fish / shrimp before from simple, preventable mistakes and I wasn't about to do that again.
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post #14 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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I've dropped mine from 15 to 1 and have gone from 1 to 15 over 1 month.

With each weekly 50% water change I would:

Week 1 - 75% Tap 25% RO
Week 2 - 50% Tap 50% RO
Week 3 - 25% Tap 75% RO
Week 4 - 100% RO remineralized to 1 degree kH.

Reverse order when swapping back to 100% tap.


I'm sure it can be done faster, but I've wiped out all my fish / shrimp before from simple, preventable mistakes and I wasn't about to do that again.

Okay. I don't have that much patience, so I'll probably be a little more aggressive than that. My Amanos are pretty hardy and no fish in the tank at the moment. I'm currently at kH of 4 and gH of 7. Should I bring the gH down to the 3 to 6 range?


Here is the current state of my tank. I'm getting good growth, but also getting algae growth on the plants. I'm also dealing with a hair algae issue, but the Amanos are keeping it at bay. I have two Finnex Planted 24/7 lights running in 24/7 mode, dosing EI, and CO2 at 4bps. My drop checker turns lime green during the day and into the night, but is a turquoise color in the morning. Should I boost the CO2 a bit more? I added the Alternanthera reineckii rosanervig two weeks ago. It was showing good growth for the first week or so, but has since slowed down and algae has started to accumulate on the lower leaves (same with the golden jenny). The foliage is also kind of wavy, if that points to anything. The stargrass and golden jenny grow like crazy though..about an inch per day. Suggestions?


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post #15 of 65 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 08:02 PM
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Okay. I don't have that much patience, so I'll probably be a little more aggressive than that. My Amanos are pretty hardy and no fish in the tank at the moment. I'm currently at kH of 4 and gH of 7. Should I bring the gH down to the 3 to 6 range?
Leave the gH at 7, 3 - 6 is too low. EI calls for a small gH boost as well.


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Suggestions?
Reduce light intensity if possible.
Reduce photoperiod to 5 hours per day max (until algae has subsided, then slowly increase back up to 8 hours per day over a few weeks).
Ensure you are providing adequate nutrients for the plants (unhealthy plants promote algae).
Dose Flourish Excel or equivalent Met14 at the “after water change” rate on the Excel bottle once per day.
Manually remove all algae you can.
Manually remove excess organics in the tank by gravel vacuuming and cleaning filter media in old tank water every water change.
Manually remove any decaying or dead plant matter.
Increase water change frequency, and the amount of water changed.
Consider spot treating badly affected areas or dipping plants / hardscape in a Flourish Excel, Met14 or H2O2 + water solution. Google search which method you think would work well, and for general ratios to mix a safe solution. Certain plants can’t tolerate these chemicals, so ensure you do a little research prior to dipping / spot treating plants.
If using CO2, ensure CO2 is dropping the pH of the tank water a full 1.0 – 1.2. To do this, measure the pH of tank water with no CO2 dissolved in it, and then measure again 2-3 hours after CO2 has been running. Ensure the drop in pH is a full 1.0-1.2. If the drop is not there yet, slowly up CO2 over a few weeks until at least a 1.0 drop is achieved, and watch fish / livestock carefully. Adjust CO2 down if you notice fish gasping at the surface and consider running an airstone at night when pushing a 1.2 or greater drop. For example, a tank water pH of 7.5 with no CO2 dissolved in it, should reach a pH of 6.5 – 6.3 for CO2 to really shine, and for maximum plant health.
Consistency in CO2 levels is key to plant health. Keep CO2 levels as stable as possible once a desirable level has been reached.

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