Increasing GH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Increasing GH

I'm considering raising the hardness in my 40 breeder from 6 German degrees (tap) to 10 degrees primarily in the interest of improving the longevity of the Platies I'm keeping.

The tank is fully planted, no co2, and I add about 5 ppm of K2S04 per week along with 3 ml of Flourish Comprehensive. Fish and food seem to provide sufficient N and P. Plants do fairly well, and algae is manageable.

I'm considering using Seachem Equilibrium to raise the hardness and have two questions:

1) What is a safe amount to increase the GH at one time so as not to stress current tank inhabitants?

2) Should I worry about the significant amount of potassium that might accumulate (47 ppm, assuming no uptake) if I make the change over a relatively short time frame?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 05:01 AM
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1 German degree of hardness at any one time, and you could raise it that much a couple of times per week.
This is a VERY conservative idea, based on fish a lot more delicate than Platies. Safe.

I never worried about the amount of K that is added with Equilibrium, and I went ahead and dosed w/ K2SO4 as well. K is one of the things that aquariums can handle a lot more of just fine.
However, if you are worried that the GH booster is not the right balance of Ca, Mg or that it might add too much K, then you can add Ca and Mg without the K in forms such as Calcium chloride, Epsom Salt (Mg), or add things to the filter that dissolve slowly such as coral sand, oyster shell grit or limestone sand or fine gravel.

For my Lake Tanganyikan tanks I used a combination approach: New water for water changes was prepped with Equilibrium, and the substrate is coral sand, in there is oystershell grit in the filter. Lots of snail shells too (shell dwellers), but I do not know how much Ca or Mg that provides. Water is so hard and alkaline they do not dissolve.

Platies are one of the live bearers that have been bred in captivity for so long that they are adaptable to a very wide range of water conditions. GH of 6 degrees is just fine. They are OK with GH much higher, too.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your input.

I got into the hobby a couple of years ago and Platies were some of the first fish added to my first tank. They were great fun until I started adding live plants, and the fry started surviving.

Fortunately, the proprietor of my LFS bought the fry once they were old enough to sex and was gracious enough to take back the males once I realized I'd be better off with just females. The three original females lived happily in the original 20 gallon for a while and then in a 40 breeder as I started upgrading. The first one died at 13 months and the last one at 18 months.

I've read that the average life expectancy is 2-4 years, so I assumed it must be the GH. Everything I read says 10 dGH is the low end for them. Perhaps the originals were just "weak" stock or fell victim to being at the mercy of a newbie fish keeper.

I'll probably try the Equilibrium 1 dGH at a time with water changes over the next few weeks and give it another try. Who knows, maybe the plants will be happier!

Thanks again.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 06:51 AM
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In Seachem's new aquavitro line, there is a GH increasing product called "mineralize." It can be used instead of their Equilibrium. The initial comments about mineralize say that it works very well. Many times Equilibrium turns from a powder to something like a rock. Another option is that you can find GH Boosters at the places that sell powder ferts. The GH Boosters usually stay in their powder form.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 03:46 AM
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I have had Equilibrium turn into a rock. Takes a hammer and chisel to break it apart. Even adding water to the jar does not help very much.
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