What is the purpose of a GH booster? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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What is the purpose of a GH booster?

What is the purpose of a GH booster, and how do you use it?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 07:27 PM
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If your water is very soft, it may not be an ideal environment for a number of fish and even some plants. For instance, most African cichlids and livebearers prefer hard water.

More importantly yet, very soft water has poor buffering capacity, which makes it highly susceptible to e.g. PH crashes. For instance, my tap water in Portland has a PH of ~7.2 but a GH of 1. The mere addition of DIY CO2 lets the PH slam into the ground like a jackhammer.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 08:17 PM
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It is KH, not GH that buffers the water against CO2 induced pH changes. GH is a measure of the ppm of calcium and magnesium in the water. Plants need both to grow well, so if you are uncertain about whether your tap water contains more than a trace of magnesium, GH booster will ensure that you have enough magnesium. And, you get some calcium as a bonus. Yes, calcium is more important, but most tap water contains some calcium, probably enough.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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So I really don't need the stuff until I get some type of co2? I won't be setting up ant type of co2 system until I move, which will be sometime in the next 4-8 weeks.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
It is KH, not GH that buffers the water against CO2 induced pH changes. GH is a measure of the ppm of calcium and magnesium in the water. Plants need both to grow well, so if you are uncertain about whether your tap water contains more than a trace of magnesium, GH booster will ensure that you have enough magnesium. And, you get some calcium as a bonus. Yes, calcium is more important, but most tap water contains some calcium, probably enough.
Ah, yes. In the future, I should probably post AFTER I've had my first cup of coffee... Sorry about that.

Edit: In my defense, I used calcium carbonate, which takes care of both. Now, I don't use anything and have no problems as long as I do only small water changes.

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So I really don't need the stuff until I get some type of co2? I won't be setting up ant type of co2 system until I move, which will be sometime in the next 4-8 weeks.
You probably don't need it at all. I would not mess with any parameters (except temperature, CO2, nutrients obviously) unless I have a real deficiency that causes problems. And even then, it is usually easier to adapt the flora/fauna to the circumstances, not vice versa.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-16-2009, 09:51 PM
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You may never "need" it, but unless you want to test your gh, then go ahead and use it as recommended in one of the dosing regimes. Water changes will probably add all the magnesium and calcium you need, but adding some won't hurt most livestock or plants.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 02:28 AM
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gh booster is more usefull to people who use ro/di systems because they remove just about everything from the water
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 04:34 AM
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Some of us have very soft tap water, with a GH of 1 - 2 degrees, for example. For us, dosing some magnesium is likely to be a good idea. GH booster is one way to do that. I just use Epsom salts mixed in with my trace pre-mix.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2009, 05:35 PM
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Thanks for replying to my topic Hoppy, here is another one for you - do you think it is possible that my water be a tad too hard for several species? Namely rotala nanjenshan. I had it growing well in my old apartment with significantly softer water. Same equipment, same dosing, more consistent co2 than before and the plant is the only plant in my tank that stunts and is also the only plant that makes any mention of "preferring softer water" in my tanks. http://www.plantgeek.net/plant-233.htm
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-23-2009, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KentCurtis View Post
Thanks for replying to my topic Hoppy, here is another one for you - do you think it is possible that my water be a tad too hard for several species? Namely rotala nanjenshan. I had it growing well in my old apartment with significantly softer water. Same equipment, same dosing, more consistent co2 than before and the plant is the only plant in my tank that stunts and is also the only plant that makes any mention of "preferring softer water" in my tanks. http://www.plantgeek.net/plant-233.htm
I can't answer that question. About all I can say is that there are some plants that do much better in softer water. And, of course, there are also some plants that do better in harder water. But, most plants just adapt to the water parameters they are in, and grow reasonably well in that. I don't recall ever growing that particular rotala, so I know little about it.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Some of us have very soft tap water, with a GH of 1 - 2 degrees, for example. For us, dosing some magnesium is likely to be a good idea. GH booster is one way to do that. I just use Epsom salts mixed in with my trace pre-mix.
I does Epsom salts and Calcium Carbonate for this reason. Our local water is all from rainfall and high mountain snow runoff so has a GH of generally 1 and until I started dosing Epsom salts I had all kinds of weird problems with my plants.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 08:03 AM
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^^ Do you have a dosage calculator for epsom salt and calcium carbonate dosing? I too draw water from the same place as you and my GH is also very low.

As cor calcium carbonate.. where would you purchase that? any common name I can shop for?
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonney_Boy View Post
^^ Do you have a dosage calculator for epsom salt and calcium carbonate dosing? I too draw water from the same place as you and my GH is also very low.

As cor calcium carbonate.. where would you purchase that? any common name I can shop for?
I don't really use a calculator anymore. I used the EI guide here and other places in the beginning, but our water is so soft here, and since I inject CO2, I just put in some with my macros every time (for the epsom salts). I normally use baking soda to buffer the pH and I use Tums (believe it or not) for calcium carbonate for the shrimps. I understand that lots of folks are using DAP plaster of Paris for CaCO3.

I actually want to try some CSM+B and will likely just order some GH Booster along with that so that I don't have to worry about throwing the Tums in anymore.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-02-2009, 04:31 PM
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+1 on the DAP! I'm in BC as well and I agree with the low GH. I used the calculator on the other plant site. Dap is mostly (75 - 85%) CaSO4 and the rest is CaCO3. I used the GH booster initially as well but I found it's easier to make my own with Epsom salts and DAP.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-03-2009, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by timwag2001 View Post
gh booster is more usefull to people who use ro/di systems because they remove just about everything from the water
I use RO/DI for 50 percent water change in my 75 gallon planted tank. How much GH booster (Ultimate GH Booster from Green Leaf Aquariums) should I add after the partial water change?


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