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+"
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,
(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.
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.
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).
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).