Does Epsom Salts indicate on GH tests? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Does Epsom Salts indicate on GH tests?

Greetings and salutations all.

My house water is softened. So in order to compensate, I have added MgSO4 (Epsom salts) to raise the general hardness. Yesterday I added the correct amount (according to Rex's site) of Epsom salts to raise my GH to 7 ppm. I tested 12 hours later and GH was still 0. This morning I added 125% of what I added yesterday and this evenings test still reads 0. ...
I am wondering if Epsom salts don't register with my test kit.

So, here is the pertinent information:

30 gallons, moderatly planted
GH=0
KH=13
pH=7.3, CO2=25 ppm
7.5 ml MgSO4 added Oct. 10, 10 ml MgSO4 added Oct. 11
Started my initial dose of macro & micro ferts on Oct. 9
Aquarium Pharmacueticals test kits used.

I'm afraid to turn my tank into a petrified forest.

Steve

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 01:09 AM
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How are you adding the Salt, are you disolving it in water or did you make a solution, it will add to your GH, maybe your test kit is bad. Is it old. You can just measure out the salt and add it to a cup of water and pour it into the tank


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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I added the Epsom salts to a glass of warm water and stirred until it was 90% dissolved, then I added the solution directly to my tank. I purchased the test kit from a Big Als chain store and it is brand new so I am fairly confident that the kit is fresh.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 01:40 AM
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why are you just adding Mg for GH? The main component of GH is Calcium. You should be increaseing Calcium and Mg at a rate of around 4:1.

when adding Epsom Salt, make sure to take into account that your GH will increase by 4.1x the ppm of Mg added. may sound wierd, but if you calculate out and dose 1ppm of Mg, you will actually get a 4.1ppm increase to GH. some issue with molecular weight.

same if you use anything other than CaCO3 to increase Calcium (2.5x ppm).

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 01:41 AM
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It should register. But some gH kits might be more biased towards calcium than magnesium.

BTW, one of the rules. Never test your test kit in your tank.

Also if you are in a house with a water softener the outside hose bibs are not normally softened. Nor many times is the sink in the laundry room.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately Rex, my softener is plumbed in just above the source in the basement. But in the next few weeks I will be adding a 'T' just above the incoming line and pipe it upstairs to a laundry tub. In the meantime I will assume that it is the test kit that is off and continue to estimate according to your page on water chemistry.

I've heard you say 'never test your kit in your tank' a few times. What does that mean?

Ooops, I didn't see your post Spar. So assuming I have more than enough MgSO4, how much Calcium Chloride should I add?

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 02:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matak
Unfortunately Rex, my softener is plumbed in just above the source in the basement. But in the next few weeks I will be adding a 'T' just above the incoming line and pipe it upstairs to a laundry tub. In the meantime I will assume that it is the test kit that is off and continue to estimate according to your page on water chemistry.

I've heard you say 'never test your kit in your tank' a few times. What does that mean?

Ooops, I didn't see your post Spar. So assuming I have more than enough MgSO4, how much Calcium Chloride should I add?
he means to always test out dosing on a fishless/plantless tank prior to risking deaths. I use a 5g bucket with tap water in it.

What GH do you have now, and what GH do you want? I can run a calculation for you.

Cliff
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 03:19 AM
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What I mean is that if you add a known quantity of a material to a volume of water (your tank) and it is supposed to raise a measurement by a known amount and the test kit doesn't show that increase......

DON'T ADD MORE!

Instead test the test kit in a bucket. Or just assume the test kit is bad.

At one time when many people in the hobby first starting adding KNO3 to the tanks they had a bunch of old test kits and/or failed to RTFM. They would add enough KNO3 to raise the level to say 10 ppm but the test kit would not show the increase. So they would add more, test, repeat.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry Rex, didn't hear that. Once again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spar
What GH do you have now, and what GH do you want? I can run a calculation for you.
I have 0 GH and I want somewhere around 5 GH

I would be gratefull, thanks.

I'm learning the Estimative Index now and I think that with the exception of my KH & pH kits, I may put the rest up for sale in a couple of weeks

Steve

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 06:26 AM
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I worked my dosage out based on atomic weights with help from some other memebers here.

For a 4:1 ca:mg ratio, I dose one part magnesium sulfate to every 2.39 parts calcium chloride.

So I would say if you are using spoons and put in 1/4 teaspoon of MgSO4*7H2O, then add two 1/4 teaspoons plus a partial 1/4 teaspoon of CaCl2*2H2O.

Most water softening systems exchange calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ions, so they produce sodium rich water. I don't know if there are any dangers or benefits to this. I would be inclined to think the former.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hypancistrus. My untreated water here is fairly hard (in excess of 15) so there is probably a fair amount of sodium in the tank. It isn't too bad for the fish, but I am sure it doesn't help the plants any. I'm going to have to find a source of Calcium Chloride. It's winter here soon, so the de-icers will be on the shelves. I'll check there first.

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-12-2005, 11:23 PM
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for 30g's, to increase GH by 5. Assuming using Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt).

You would dose the following to acheive near 4:1 Ca:Mg.

CaCl2 = 1.75 teaspoons
MgSO4 = 1.5 teaspoons
results = increase to GH of 4.88d; 3.9:1 ratio Ca:Mg

As an alternative if you can't find CaCl2 anywhere anytime soon, you could use CaSO4, which is in the painting department of hardware stores, labled as "Plaster of Paris".

You would dose:
CaSO4 = 3.5 teaspoons
MgSO4 = 1.5 teaspoons
results = increase to GH of 5.13d; 4.2:1 ratio Ca:Mg

Cliff
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 01:14 AM
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Wow, I never knew Plaster of Paris was CaSO4!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 01:28 AM
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I used Gypsum Replacement from Home Depot, also CaSO4.


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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-13-2005, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shalu
I used Gypsum Replacement from Home Depot, also CaSO4.
Plaster of Paris is 100% Gypsum (which happens to be the real name for CaSO4 ), but good to know there are different product names for it

The Ca content in CaCl2 is much larger than CaSO4. But, not like you are really adding that much anyway. If I were adding 10dGH or some large amount like that, I would prbably begin CaCl2 instead.

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