Reconstituting low GH water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Reconstituting low GH water

So my water out of the tap is ridiculously soft, borderline RO. KH 1, GH 0-1. I've enjoyed great success with plants in this water but I feel like its certainly taking a toll on my shrimp raising/breeding attempts. They seem to molt on a regular basis especially after a water change but I still have the occasional random death. Everything else seems to be in line parameter wise so I figure bumping up the GH a bit couldn't hurt any.
I've read to take caution and raise TDS slowly which I aim to do. Whats the best/cheapest way to raise and maintain a slightly higher GH?
Seachem Equilibrium? GH booster? Something I have around the house already?


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:40 PM
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i got a quick question, how does TDS relate to PPM(parts per milimeter)? cause i have a ppm reader and was hoping i could use that to determine my water parameters.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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I think thats usually measured in mg/L or Parts per million (ppm). Most of this stuff goes waaay over my head but here are a few things I ran across that might help?

HM Digital - Lists different DH values and their corresponding PPM levels
and some absolutely crazy calculators here
Calculator madness


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:17 PM
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MrJG - It's my understanding that you can use epsom salt (MgSO4) to raise the GH, which you may have around the house and would be cheap if you don't. Wait for confirmation on that though.

honor - TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and ppm stands for parts per million. Both are ways of expressing concentrations, just like gallons and liters are different ways of expressing volume. Although TDS can only be used for ions or salts (Mg+, Ca+, etc.). If you've ever taken any chemistry courses, molarity and molality are other ways of expressing concentration that you could potentially interchange with ppm and TDS. If that just confused you more, disregard that statement.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:29 PM
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not confused, just wondering if there was a conversion i could use to test my hardness instead of getting a gh test kit.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Check on the epsom salt... I was thinking you could do that but I was wondering about adding a little calcium back as well for shrimp wellness and yoga. Of course I'm making the assumption that epsom salt does not contain some... doesn't look like it from a quick google search.


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:38 PM
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I think you're right there. How about some sort of crushed shell for Ca?
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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I'm just kicking myself now. I got an order from rexgrigg.com just a week ago... shoulda just got some booster when I ordered.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Whats the best/cheapest way to raise and maintain a slightly higher GH?
The use of Epsom Salt (MgSO4) and Calcium (CaSO4 or CaCL2) at a Ca:Mg ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 is good for starters.

1) Epson Salt can be found at your local Pharmacy, Walmart, Supermarket... etc for cheap, no need to get this from any online vendor and pay more in shipping.

2) CaSO4 can be bought form either Orlando, Rex, Greg Watson or whomever else that has it for the best price.

3) CaCl2 too can be had from any of the above but it can also be found in your local pool supply store known as Calcium hardness increaser (Brilliance is one such brand).

4)
GH Boosters/Equillibrium can be used as well but if you currently do not have Potasium deficiencies then I would say not to use it as K increases TDS quite a bit. Not saying it will cause any issues with your shrimp but if you're big on water quality and maintaining low TDS, then why add if you don't need it


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. So I'm totally getting schooled here and I like it. So If I'm reading that correctly the relationship between GH and TDS does not go hand in hand. Its possible to slightly increase GH without bugging my tank inhabitants by also increasing TDS.

I was wondering about the extra K in boosters. I figured if I went that route I'd just cut down on my regular dosing a bit to keep it level.

So if I have epsom salt already I can use the CaCl2 OR CaCO4 for calcium supplements? With the season warming up I imagine even the local supermega mart might even have some.

Thanks for everyones input, its much appreciated.


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:54 PM
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So If I'm reading that correctly the relationship between GH and TDS does not go hand in hand.
I'm not saying that because they do , just trying to say you already have Mg~Ca that adds to the overall TDS why add a K if you're already dosing it via NPK daily or 3X week routine. Then again like you've said, you can always cut back on your regular K dose to compensate

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So if I have epsom salt already I can use the CaCl2 OR CaCO4 for calcium supplements?
Definitely...thats what I do

Quote:
With the season warming up I imagine even the local supermega mart might even have some.
The stores always have em for about $2~$2.99 for a big box here in DE...weight feels around 3lbs.


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help. I'm off to see if I can find some.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2008, 06:52 PM
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I had some trouble finding the calcium chloride....it wasn't labeled as such on the bottle, it was called "Spa Hardness Increaser" with no ingredients. It's a white flaky looking stuff. I confirmed what it was by looking up the web site after I bought it. I always toss some into my tanks after water changes along with my epsom salts....0 gh and kh from the tap.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2008, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mrkookm View Post
The use of Epsom Salt (MgSO4) and Calcium (CaSO4 or CaCL2) at a Ca:Mg ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 is good for starters.
This wouldn't mean 3:1 based on volume though....since CaCl2 is 63.7% Ca by weight, and MgSO4 is only 25.3% Mg by weight.

So to add a ratio of 3:1 Ca:Mg, since you only need about 40% of the Ca as you do Mg by weight to get EQUAL amounts of each, to triple the amount of Ca that you are adding compared to Mg, you would need to use the ratio by weight of 1.2:1 Ca:Mg. How this compares volume wise I'm not sure, I'm thinking that Mg may be heavier since it's usually a smaller grain size.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2008, 09:41 PM
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Ratio by PPM value (eg)

2ppm (Mg) x 3= 6ppm of (Ca) or 2 (Mg) x 4= 8ppm of (Ca)
5.75ppm (Mg) x 3= 17.25ppm of (Ca) or 5.75ppm x 4= 23ppm of (Ca)

Now the above ratio is not absolute so don't get caught up with it, it's only a guide. The plants don't care about the ratio really, what is important is that you have enough of each as to not cause a problem. For example I use a 1:8.33 ratio


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