KH/GH?? Soft water and CO2 addition - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
KH/GH?? Soft water and CO2 addition

20 GallonH
3.25 wpg
pH 6.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
GH/KH 1dGH/1dKH if my AP test kit is to be trusted, of which I'm not sure
Heavily planted
4 dwarf gourami, 1 juvenile bristlenose pleco

I have a 20Gallon High that has been up and running for 2 weeks now and doing very well. Based on what I read at rexgrigg.com and here I started it heavily planted and added fish on day 3. All the occupants are happy, the plants are doing quite well, but I'm starting to get heavier algae, more than my small bristlenose pleco can handle.

I want to get CO2 going. I wanted to from the start, but wasn't sure about what I was going to use. Now I have a Red Sea Turbo CO2 Bio System that I purchased a few days ago, but the AP GH/KH kit I bought didn't seem to be working, or at least I just wasn't sure of the readings. I had to put all this on the backburner while dealing with non-aquaria/real life type issues, but now I really want to get my CO2 going.

I've tried the GH/KH test again today. It's supposed to turn orange first for GH, then you keep adding drops until it turns green. Mine turns green right away. The KH is supposed to turn blue first, then you keep adding drops until it turns bright yellow. Mine just turns to a pale yellow right away. If it just turns to the end colour right away, the instructions say you take this as a 1dKH or 1dGH reading respectively. The colour is so pale though, I wasn't sure what to think. Testing straight tap water, it does the exact same thing. So I added some baking soda to tap water and tested that. The KH test turns blue like they say, and after several drops I got it to turn yellow, so that test seems to be working. The GH with the same water, however, just turned green right away again. I'm assuming my GH test isn't functioning. If I have a KH reading of 10dKH on this baking soda laced water, should I not have a GH higher than 1dGH? I think I'll take this kit back to Big Als this afternoon, and maybe a sample of my tank water to see if they'll test it for me. Oh, I checked the dates on the bottles, and both tests are over a year old, if that matters. The KH is nearly 2 years old, while teh GH is 14 months old.

Anyway, if my KH test is working, it means I have 1dKH, even from my tap water. So, I've got essentially no buffering capacity for when I add CO2. Is baking soda my best option for raising this? Do I just add it directly to the tank water, and will I have to do this constantly to maintain it? I've also read on here about adding a CaCO3 source to my filter to help the buffering capacity.

I'm going to return this test kit and try and make sure I'm getting correct readings first, but I'm just wondering what some of you might advise I do prior to setting up my CO2. Sorry about the long post. Thanks in advance for any help.
joan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-14-2005, 11:40 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Spar's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,018
good idea on getting a new testkit. it is very possible though that you have no KH in your tap water. I have 1dKH in mine. Judging by your pH, I would think it is accurate too. especially since you dont inject co2 yet.

Baking soda is definately the best way to raise KH. 1 teaspoon per 50g's raises it by 1dKH.

YOu will want it to be at leat 4dKH by the time you begin injecting co2. just do it all slow though as to keep your pH from jumping too quickly.

If your GH testkit is correct, then definately start doinsg a Ca/Mg mix. Seachem Equilibrium does this I believe. Someone correct me if I am confusing products.

edit>> baking soda (increasing KH only) does not effect GH. So, the tap water testing worked correctly.

Cliff
450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
Spar is online now  
post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
Thanks for the reply, Spar. I talked to Big Als and they said the kit was probably right and that's the way our water is around here. He tried to sell me these two things though:
Kent pH Stable
Kent R/O Right
saying that the pH Stable was much better than using baking soda. I just said I wanted to do a bit more research before I added anything and didn't buy anything until I was sure about what I was going to do.

I'm just looking at the Seachem Equilibrium on the Big Als website and it says it promotes stability of the carbonate hardness. It talks about restoring electrolyte balance but it doesn't mention Ca/Mg. It's all so confusing. I'll see if I can find the Seachem website and get more information on it.

Thanks again!
joan is offline  
 
post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 02:16 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Spar's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,018
Baking Soda is perfectly stable and I wouldnt waste money on a commercial product made "specifically for fish". I doubt anyone would argue that on this forum.

As for GH, I may have been wrong about Seachem Equilibirum.. I would do a search on the forum for the type of substance you add to the water to raise your Mg/Ca. There was a post yesterday I was reading that had the correct product mentioned. I will try to find it for you.

Hopefully someone else jumps in also to reccommend the GH supplements. I dont have to mess with it because I have 7 dGH in my tap water as is. Just no KH for some reason. I do use RO Right to raise the hardness of my tadpole tank, just never actually tested to see what all it was raising. I will test it for you in a 5g bucket real quick and post the GH/KH results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joan
Thanks for the reply, Spar. I talked to Big Als and they said the kit was probably right and that's the way our water is around here. He tried to sell me these two things though:
Kent pH Stable
Kent R/O Right
saying that the pH Stable was much better than using baking soda. I just said I wanted to do a bit more research before I added anything and didn't buy anything until I was sure about what I was going to do.

I'm just looking at the Seachem Equilibrium on the Big Als website and it says it promotes stability of the carbonate hardness. It talks about restoring electrolyte balance but it doesn't mention Ca/Mg. It's all so confusing. I'll see if I can find the Seachem website and get more information on it.

Thanks again!

Cliff
450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
Spar is online now  
post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 02:22 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Spar's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,018
The post that mentions what to add for KH and GH is this:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=17529

The excerpt from it was from Shalu:
"The true biotope water might have near zero kh and gh, which is hard to mimic in the tank, without causing problems. Anyway, the easiest/free way to add back kh and gh is, mix partial RO and tap water. You can use a different RO/tap ratio to achieve different kh/gh. Of course you loose the flexibility of adjusting kh/gh indepenently, but works fine in most cases. Or, if you want buy commercial products, get RO right or Seachem Equilibrium. Or use generic chemicals, baking soda for kh, CaCl2, MgSO4 etc for GH."

You can get those CaCl2 and MgSO4 from www.gregwatson.com for very cheap. A bag or 2 will last you ages. May as well start buying the CSM+B, Iron, Pottasium, Phosphates, etc, while you are at it, assuming you may not dose all of that already. Once you start injecting co2 you will need to get on a good schedule.

Hope this helps

Cliff

Cliff
450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
Spar is online now  
post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
Thanks for all the help, Spar.

No, I think you were right about the Equilibrium. From the Seachem website:
Quote:
Equilibriumª is specifically designed to establish the ideal mineral content for the planted aquarium. Equilibriumª contains no sodium or chloride (which can be detrimental to a planted aquarium at elevated levels). Equilibriumª is ideally suited for use with RO (reverse osmosis) or DI (deionized) water or any mineral deficient water. Equilibriumª raises the essential mineral/electrolyte content (General Hardness) of the water to balance with and promote stability of the carbonate hardness. To maintain KH, we recommend Alkaline Bufferª.

Guaranteed Analysis (Amounts per 1 g)
Soluble Potassium (K20)
23.0%
Calcium (Ca)
8.06%
Magnesium (Mg)
2.41%
Soluble Iron (Fe)
0.11%
Soluble Manganese (Mn)
0.06%
The description at Big Als just didn't have the complete information.

I thought baking soda would be fine. I've heard everyone here mention using it.

I'll try a search here to see what else I can use.
joan is offline  
post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
Oh, you went and found me a post! Thanks Cliff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spar
The post that mentions what to add for KH and GH is this:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=17529

The excerpt from it was from Shalu:
"The true biotope water might have near zero kh and gh, which is hard to mimic in the tank, without causing problems. Anyway, the easiest/free way to add back kh and gh is, mix partial RO and tap water. You can use a different RO/tap ratio to achieve different kh/gh. Of course you loose the flexibility of adjusting kh/gh indepenently, but works fine in most cases. Or, if you want buy commercial products, get RO right or Seachem Equilibrium. Or use generic chemicals, baking soda for kh, CaCl2, MgSO4 etc for GH."

You can get those CaCl2 and MgSO4 from www.gregwatson.com for very cheap. A bag or 2 will last you ages. May as well start buying the CSM+B, Iron, Pottasium, Phosphates, etc, while you are at it, assuming you may not dose all of that already. Once you start injecting co2 you will need to get on a good schedule.

Hope this helps

Cliff
joan is offline  
post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 02:28 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Spar's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,018
good find

if you ever start dosing K, try to do some math first and see how much K you are adding from the Seachem Equilibrium (assuming you end up using it). I noticed it said 23% K on it. I doubt it would be adding enough to affect the normal K dosing though.

Cliff
450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
Spar is online now  
post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
Well I may just end up putting in an order with gregwatson.com. Seems silly to spend money on all these commercial products when I keep hearing recommendations for Greg Watson's products and the prices are so much better. I need to get set up to start dosing anyway. I think I'll spend some time doing some reading and try to make sure I get everything I'll need in one order.
joan is offline  
post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 01:59 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
You can get MgSO4 much cheaper from the local drug store than you can from Greg (Sorry Greg). I get 7 lbs from CostCo for around $4. It's called Epsom Salts.

Baking soda works just fine for raising kH. Many people use it all the time. It's cheap, it's pure, and it works like a champ.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2005, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
Thanks Rex! You know, I could kick myself for not thinking of epsom salts, as I use it in my rose mixture and in the veggie garden. I guess this gardening underwater isn't so different afterall.
joan is offline  
post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 06:54 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Baking soda works just fine for raising kH. Many people use it all the time. It's cheap, it's pure, and it works like a champ.
I probably missed this somewhere in this thread, but won't the baking soda raise the pH? My KH and GH are very low, but my pH is around 7.6, so I don't want to raise that. Maybe my test kit is bad. I will check all my values again tonight when I get home from work. Is there anything I can add to raise the KH and GH without altering the pH? I just want to add some buffering capacity to my water before adding DIY CO2. Not to mention that I just ordered a CO2 system for a different tank and I need to get this buffering issue worked out before I can start using that as well.

Thanks,
Tina
Talonstorm is offline  
post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 08:37 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Spar's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dallas
Posts: 1,018
unforunantly, unless you wish to use buffers (powder or liquid form) you are stuck with having an increase in pH along with an increase in KH. Assuming you do not inject co2 of course. Peat moss will lower the pH, but my understanding is that it eats away at the KH, so really just offsets it. Anyone ever messed with peat enough to offer an argument to that? Not 100% sure myself. Just know that it does decrease pH.

How "low" do you mean your KH is? doesn't make much sense to have high pH and low KH. My tap water is 7.8 - 8.2 pH with 1 dKH, but it takes it about 2 days to crash, which is expected since no buffering capacity.

How large of a tank are you talking about here?

Cliff
450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
Spar is online now  
post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
You might want to double check your tests, Tina, or maybe try a different test kit before you start adjusting levels. Or take a sample into your LFS and ask them to test it for you.

If I'm understanding all these processes correctly (I hope I am! but it's all very possible that I'm not! )I think you are stuck with your pH rising initially, but as you add CO2 (you said you were going to start dosing CO2 I think, correct?) the pH will come back down. Once you have that set up, then with your regular water changes you'd add whatever you add to keep KH/GH boosted and you'd be maintaining relatively constant levels after those initial adjustments.

In regards to adding peat to your substrate, I think I remember Rex recommending this so perhaps he could comment. (Was that you, Rex?)

I ended up picking up a small jar of Seachem Equilibrium on the weekend because I just wanted to get going on adjusting my levels so I could get to the point of setting up my CO2. Later I'll pick up a CaCl2 source and I already have epsom salts for the Mg, but I was at the LFS and the Seachem EQ was handy. Helps me keep it a bit simpler while I'm figuring all this out. I'm just about to measure my GH/KH and pH and see where things are at now... hopefully CO2 will get started tonight or tomorrow!
joan is offline  
post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Coquitlam, BC
Posts: 363
Okay, after using Seachem Equilibrium and baking soda to impliment small daily adjustments over the past two days, I am now at 3dKH, 6dGH and pH7.

Should I boost my dKH &/or dGH a little bit higher before setting up the CO2?

What I'm thinking is one of the following:

A) Set up the CO2 tonight and make no further adjustments.

B) Make one more small adjustment of dKH &/or dGH tonight AND get my CO2 up and running at essentially the same time.

C) Wait another day on the CO2 while adjusting dKH and dGH slightly upwards once more.


I have to run now so I won't be able to do anything else until later tonight anyway, so I'm curious what some of you think would be the best option.

Thanks!
joan is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome