What problems are there with having a kH of 1 degree? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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What problems are there with having a kH of 1 degree?

I'm not talking about potential pH swings n co2 injected tanks. I have done enough reading about the theory of low kH ph swings and IMO its a bunch of malarkey.

What I am interested in is from a nutrient standpoint. What could I be missing. The TDS in this tank are ~150ppm but I do dose EI and also do weekly WC's with 100% RO/DI water and add nothing back to the water.


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 08:38 PM
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Kh I don't think matters much, I think the GH is more important. My Kh is routinely around 1.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Would a low kH normally correlate to a low gH?

What im worried about is a lack of minerals in the tank.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bsmith View Post
Would a low kH normally correlate to a low gH?

What im worried about is a lack of minerals in the tank.
With your RO/DI you should have 0kh and 0gh as the DI unit strips the water of everything. I add a bit of Baking Soda but still run a KH of 1 or less. As for my GH I add Barrs GH Booster as it supplements calcium and magnesium that the plants need.

Are you adding a GH booster of any kind?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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I have GH booster and Epsom salt. But since all my tanks are soft water tanks I try to keep TDS down. I notice if I dose recommended GH booster and Epsom salt per EI suggestions the TDS in my tanks is close to 500ppm!

That is not a soft water tank at all.


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 01:39 AM
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GH is the concentration of divalent metal ions, like calcium and magnesium; with the majority in natural sources coming from calcium. If it's too low, plants may show deficiency.

KH is the concentration of carbonate ions. These only serve to buffer the PH. It's common for tapwater to contain calcium in the form of calcium carbonate, which raises both GH and KH.

But there's no guarantee of any relation between the two. My water company adds a significant amount of sodium carbonate, which raises KH but not GH (sodium's not divalent); which is why I have a GH of only 2, and a KH of 8.

Recently I started adding GH Booster to all my tanks, to bring the tapwater to a GH of 5. For the 46G, I'm adding 1 tbsp. every 50% water change. That's beyond typical EI recommendations. My TDS in that tank is 314. My 10G is the highest TDS at 378, probably because it's overstocked.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 03:37 AM
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I thought it was the other way around with a low gH being ok even to zero but 1 to 3 would be better, but kH can affect pH but more importantly can effect the way plants take in nutrients and can determine if fish eggs hatch etc.

I could be totally wrong but I've heard a higher kH (7 and up) can interfere with a plants ability to take in nutrient, so in high kH water you may need to double up on nutrients, I've heard this can effect Fe in paticular.

I have also read that a kH greater than 10 can effect fish eggs from hatching.

I like to have atleast a little of both and for me a gH of 1 and a kH of 3 would be ideal, I don't know why.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 03:49 AM
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If you start reading about kH, gH, & TDS is gets real complicated and it's very hard to understand how they all relate to each other, but gh has some needed minerals Ca & Mg, kH also has needed elements and can determine the effectiveness of your CO2, and TDS contains elements from both gH/kH with other elements throw in like silicates and other stuff we don't need at all.

I'm still saving for my RO/DI unit so I'm sure I'll be even more confused than this soon.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 06:47 AM
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If you use a GH booster like Kent's RO/right, or mosura mineral plus, it raises your TDS by much less... GH boosters for planted tanks are usually dirtier, like seachem equilibrium is the dirtiest I've seen, raises TDS like MAD. Whereas mosura mineral plus raises TDS by 150 to get your GH to 4-5, and RO right is similar.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 09:48 AM
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Most of my Discus and Apistogramma tanks were always combinations of RO and peat-filtered RO, adding a higher proportion of the straight RO to keep conductivity very low. The result was always low pH, low TDS tanks, but as far as the plants go I went with the obvious: a heavily-supplemented substrate.

From there, it was just a matter of choosing plants that were from lower pH environments, or at least fairly adaptable to them. Those that pop readily to mind, like Echinodrus amazonicus, did very well, one Amazon planted about a foot in from one end of a 55-gal essentially took over that whole third of a tank, carrying about two dozen very broad, 20-in leaves in a huge bouquet.

More delicate plants, like Rotala indica, seemed to react fairly normally as well. Fast-growers like Water Sprite not only worked well in these tanks, but in the low pH, low flow Betta breeders also.

Never seemd to have many algae problems in those tanks, either...
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 02:28 PM
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im sorry. and tds is???

Spawned my interest after you said equilibrium is dirty and raises this alot... and acted like that was bad...

Do explain?


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 02:56 PM
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TDS = total dissolved solids. In order to check for this accurately you need a TDS meter, as the strips are very inaccurate.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 05:43 PM
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You need GH for calcium and magnesium primarily, since those are much needed plant nutrients. A GH of 1 degree would almost guarantee a shortage of either or both. KH can be about as low as you can get it with no effect other than low pH, especially if you use CO2. Personally I think that a KH of 1 degree is a good minimum to shoot for, but I can't prove that. High KH can be a problem for some plants and fish.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
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You need GH for calcium and magnesium primarily, since those are much needed plant nutrients. A GH of 1 degree would almost guarantee a shortage of either or both...
Dolomite as part of the substrate?...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 06:33 PM
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My understanding is that ph correlates to kH. If you have a very low kH your ph will also be low. High kH = high pH. The gH will not affect the ph, so you can have soft water with high ph, aka, low gH, high pH.

For example, my local water has a moderate kH, keeping the ph around 7.7-7.8 but the gH is ridiculously high. We call it liquid rock, but the kH isn't so high that the pH is too high to work with.

I believe TDS measures everything in the water, so raising kH also raises TDS, however, if you have a "clean" product it will not add more than what is required.

If using straight RO, the safest way, IMO, to increase the kH a bit if needed, is to add a small amount of coral to the filter. I try to avoid it because the more acidic the water to start, the faster the coral will dissolve. I just personally like to avoid additives, period.

If you have a kH reading after going through the RO it isn't likely working properly. The TDS should be nearly nil if the membrane is working properly.


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