Problems remineralising water using Brightwell Aquatics "NeoTiger KH+/GH+" - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Question Problems remineralising water using Brightwell Aquatics "NeoTiger KH+/GH+"

Dear All,

Just can't figure this out - am I doing something wrong or misunderstanding something, or is there something wrong with the product? Help please!

Here in Singapore, the tap water is quite soft - typically 3-4 deg GH and 1-2 deg KH. So I use tap water for my aquariums, a 50l community planted tank and a small 17l red cherry shrimp tank with just Christmas moss. I'm aiming for a GH of about 7 in both tanks and maybe 2-4 KH. So far I've been using Seachem Equilibrium to increase the GH slightly, and some crushed coral in the filters to add a little KH. But it's a pain to keep weighing out and then getting the Equilibrium powder to dissolve before each water change.

Then I noticed a new product from Brightwell Aquatics in my LFS - "NeoTiger KH+/GH+"
https://brightwellaquatics.com/produ...iger-kh-gh.php

It's a liquid remineraliser and it happens that the dosing pump on the bottle gives enough per pump to raise the water in my 20l water change container by 1GH, so that all seemed very easy. Three pumps, +3GH, no weighing and mixing of powders, great!

But it just doesn't seem to work. I tried first with my normal tap water, and then with a 5l bottle of distilled water bought from the supermarket. In both cases, it seems to increase GH by less than half the expected amount, and barely any change of KH.

Have I misunderstood something or am I doing something stupid? My LFS couldn't help and I'm still waiting for a reply from Brightwell Aquatics, hence I thought I'd ask the forum. Never had any issues using Equilibrium to raise GH and can't think what might be different with this product.

I'll paste the email I sent to BA support below which hopefully has all the details you might need to hopefully offer guidance.

Thank you in advance,
James
(long time forum reader, only just registered!)

Bump: Dear Brightwell Aquatics Support,

I bought a bottle of Brightwell Aquatics “Neo Tiger KH+ / GH+” from yesterday (06/06/2020) and I am having problems getting the desired results. The bottle I have is 500ml size with an expiry date of 051425 and a barcode of 0-96647-00006-0 and product code of NTKHGH500.

I am using a digital TDS meter and API drop tests for the GH + KH measurements.

I wanted to use the product to slightly increase the parameters of the water for my shrimp tank. I normally use tap water which is quite soft (typically GH = 3-4, KH = 1-2 and TDS = 130-140). I’m aiming for 7 GH and about 3-4 KH.

Test 1

I prepare my aquarium water change water in a 20l container. The instructions on the KH+/GH+ bottle say 1ml of the product will increase the parameters of 10l of water by 1GH and 0.57KH, so 1 pump (2ml) of the product should increase the parameters of 20l of water by the same amount (1GH and 0.57KH).

I added 3 pumps (6ml) to my 20l of water expecting +3GH and +1.7KH. The water tested at 4GH (an increase of 1, not 3) and 1-2KH (an increase of <1, not 1.7).

I then added 4 more pumps, so 7 pumps (14ml) in total.
According to the instructions, this should have given me 10-11 GH (+7GH) and 5-6KH (+4KH).
I measured the water at 6GH and still only 1-2KH – much less than expected, especially for KH which doesn’t seem to increase hardly at all.

I retested the water the next day to see if perhaps the minerals took time to dissolve, but still got the same 6GH reading.

Test 2

To perform a more accurate test, I bought a 5l bottle of distilled water from the supermarket this morning. The distilled water measured TDS = 0, GH < 1, KH < 1 as expected.

I also wondered if the problem could be due to the solution not being properly mixed, maybe having settled during shipping / storage. I had shaken it thoroughly as directed, but to check, I emptied the entire bottle into a glass just to confirm that there was no sediment / precipitate left in the bottom of the bottle and that the solution in the jug was uniformly mixed. It was, so this is not the issue.

As a side note, there is an issue with the pump whereby the product leaks out everywhere if you try and shake the bottle once the pump has been unscrewed to release it for use. Given that the instructions say the product is an irritant, this is a concern. The instructions say to shake well, but this results in quite an amount of the product splashing everywhere!

The “Advanced Instructions” on the bottle say that each 1ml of the product will increase the water parameters in 10l of water by 1GH and 0.57KH.
The bottle has a pump dispenser which gives 2ml per pump, so one pump would increase the 10l of water by double the above figures (i.e. 2GH and 1.1KH).

My 5l distilled water bottle has half the volume (5l vs 10l) so I would expect the parameters to be increased by double the amount,
i.e. one 2ml pump should increase the parameters of 5l of water by 4GH and 2.3KH.
However, my results were quite different.

After adding 1 pump (2ml) to my 5l bottle of distilled water, the GH had increased to 2 but the KH was still <1 (rather than the 4GH and 2-3KH I was expecting).

After adding 2 pumps (4ml) to my 5l bottle of water, the GH had increased to 3 but still no KH reading (rather than the 8GH and 4-5KH I was expecting).

Conclusion

The product seems to increase the GH by less than half the stated amount (3 actual vs 7-8 expected) and barely increases the KH at all.
The pump mechanism leaks considerably when you try to shake the bottle as directed, which is a serious concern given that the product is noted as being an irritant and not to be got onto skin or in eyes. (The bottle of ShrimpPrep I bough at the same time has the same pump leaking issue).
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 03:11 PM
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Did you measure out the volume of each pump?

It kind of sounds like there is some mis advertising going on with Brightwell but in my experience with these kinds of pumps, you get significantly less than advertised. Occasionally you get more.

On a second note, why not mix Equilibrium in tap ahead of time to make your own? I mean I never found it difficult to measure powder but you could easily mix up a large batch to use in a re-used pump bottle or measure out to a shot glass or something like that.

Just a thought.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @pauld738

The pump volume seems reasonably accurate, or at least not massively wrong. I pumped a couple of squirts into an API drop test tube to see how well mixed it looked and it was pretty much 4/5ths of the way up to the 5ml line marked on the tube (i.e. 4ml of thereabouts). So whilst the pumped volume might not be exact, it is certainly not far enough off to be the problem here.

Now there's a thought regarding the Equilibrium...
You mean premix a strong solution of Equilibrium in a small bottle to basically give a liquid remineraliser? Guess I could adjust the premix strength to give simple dosing to my 20l water change container. That certainly a good Plan B if I can't get anywhere with this BA product. But would still love to know why it isn't working, especially if it's something I am misunderstanding or doing wrong!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-07-2020, 03:33 PM
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Yeah, it sounds like something is drastically wrong with that bottle of NeoTiger.

I don't have direct experience with Brightwell products but I do see other people using it. Hopefully it's just the bottle and not an issue with the entire line.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Just a thought: Could the lack of any increase in KH be due to the fact that the distilled water was slightly acidic (~pH 6.0) out of the bottle? Due to dissolved CO2?

The pH increased to 6.6 after 1 pump of the GH+/KH+ liquid, and to 7.6 after 2 pumps, whilst the KH stayed at <1. Could the KH have been immediately consumed in neutralizing the distilled water and raising the pH?

Still wouldn't explain the GH issue though....

Anyone with some chemistry knowledge who can assist please? Thanks.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-08-2020, 05:57 PM
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PH test kits, pens and probes included, are not accurate in 0 Kh environments. They give off erroneous readings. Liquid kits are worse than probes in this regard.

As for KH, it doesn't get consumed that way. It's more likely the pH fluctuations you saw where due to the test kit, not sure what you where using to measure pH, reacting to kh being added. Even if it was a small amount.

The charts I've seen on pH measurements in low to 0 Kh environments show a trend above 7.0, even though it's wrong.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2020, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks @pauld738, useful info regarding measuring pH at 0kH. I was using an API "low range" liquid drops test kit which goes from pH 6.0 to 7.7. I thought it was a bit extreme for the pH to go from one end of the scale to the other, so makes sense what you said about readings not being reliable at very low kH!

Still waiting to hear anything back from BrightwellAquatics support....
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Finally a response from Brightwell Aquatics and seems I wasn't doing something stupid after all!

Based on the batch number that you have provided, it is indeed coming from a weak batch when the product was first launched. Unfortunately, somehow this batch went into the market and we only realised it much later. We will replace your existing bottle with a new batch together with the faulty pump head, but due to the existing movement control order in Malaysia, we expect some delay in getting the new bottle to you. We hope for your understanding on this.

They have offered to replace my bottle which is good, except that I don't have much faith left in the brand and have already switched to alternative products (sticking with Equilibrium for planted tank and SaltyShrimp for shrimp tanks - in hindsight, the sensible choice from the start were it not for lock-down supply issues!).

For anyone else interested in this product, please make sure you don't have / get this batch (not sure if this was distributed in just Singapore / Malaysia, or more widely):
Brightwell Aquatics “Neo Tiger KH+ / GH+”, bottle size 500ml, expiry date of 051425, barcode of 0-96647-00006-0 and product code of NTKHGH500.

Regards, James
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