Why is my GH rising? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Why is my GH rising?

I have a one month old planted tank using only tap water which hasn't had a water change since set up. Only top off with R/O water. Tested my parameters today and got the following...
GH - 30< ( stopped trying after reaching 30 drops)
KH - 7
Ph - 7.5
Now I'm stumped as to why the GH rose when my tap water only has;
GH - 12
KH -8
Ph - 8.0

Only livestock are RCS (20)... No death so far.
I dose excel daily and seachem flourish once a week. Also substrate is one of those petsmart black sand.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 01:57 AM
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Only contributing factors I can think of is the amount of flourish comprehensive, calcium and magnesium could be building up in levels, but it should be getting used up and even if it didn't I highly doubt levels could get that high in a month using regular dosages.

Maybe you have rocks that raise GH?

Are you adding Epsom salt to the tank?

You sure you shook/inverted the test tube after each drop? Just checking.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
Only contributing factors I can think of is the amount of flourish comprehensive, calcium and magnesium could be building up in levels, but it should be getting used up and even if it didn't I highly doubt levels could get that high in a month using regular dosages.

Maybe you have rocks that raise GH?

Are you adding Epsom salt to the tank?

You sure you shook/inverted the test tube after each drop? Just checking.
No rocks and only added what was mentioned.
I even inverted test tube around 5x after each drop.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 02:36 AM
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There may be something in that black sand that is raising GH. Take some and put it in a jar with RO water (if you have it) or tap water. Then put some tap water in another jar as a control. Keep them warm (like your aquarium) and see if they change over time.

In the meantime, do a water change to see if that brings things down to normal.

You might find a http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MRLMG0M?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00 useful. They can be had for about $10.

TDS , what does it mean and why should i test? | The Aquarium Solution (US)

Last edited by Argus; 09-26-2015 at 02:37 AM. Reason: typo
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buu View Post
I have a one month old planted tank using only tap water which hasn't had a water change since set up. Only top off with R/O water. Tested my parameters today and got the following...
GH - 30< ( stopped trying after reaching 30 drops)
KH - 7
Ph - 7.5
Now I'm stumped as to why the GH rose when my tap water only has;
GH - 12
KH -8
Ph - 8.0

Only livestock are RCS (20)... No death so far.
I dose excel daily and seachem flourish once a week. Also substrate is one of those petsmart black sand.

Hi Buu,

It is likely the National Geographic™ Aquarium Sand substrate. There are several posts on various forum about it raising hardness and PH. In fact, I believe I saw a post a week or so ago that said there was a warning on the bag.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Buu,

It is likely the National Geographic™ Aquarium Sand substrate. There are several posts on various forum about it raising hardness and PH. In fact, I believe I saw a post a week or so ago that said there was a warning on the bag.
Just found my left over sand and it's a caribsea super natural black sand. Not sure if it has the same effect as nat geo substrate tho.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 04:17 AM
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Hi Buu,

If it isn't the substrate it has to be something else. You mentioned shrimp do you feed them a special shrimp food that may contain calcium for their shells?

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Buu,

If it isn't the substrate it has to be something else. You mentioned shrimp do you feed them a special shrimp food that may contain calcium for their shells?
Nope none of that. I only feed zucchini and sometimes those dried seaweeds used for making sushi.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 04:51 AM
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Isn't dried seaweed high in minerals?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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Isn't dried seaweed high in minerals?
Checked ingredients and nutritional value for the one I used and it contained no Ca or Mg.

I can't figure out what's causing it.. And the weird thing is that no shrimps died and they were in the tank for about 3 weeks. (I thought too low/high of a GH can cause molting issues)

Took some sand from tank and placed them in a cup with R/O water. Tested GH right after and it was at 0... We'll see if that changes in a day or two.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 05:08 AM
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Wow, this is just weird. Hope you can figure it out and that the shrimp stay well.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 05:45 AM
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Hmm, it has to be something being added into the water.

Any chance you can get a full tank picture, maybe we might see something that you didn't know may be causing it. After all, something has to be causing the increase in GH.
Maybe something is touching the water or evaporation is getting on something and dripping back down into the tank.
Overfeeding fish foods that have calcium?

What do you have in your filter?

Using any crushed coral/oyster?
Any root tabs/osmocote or dirt?

What else besides calcium and magnesium can affect GH levels? Can iron?
If the sand is Tahitian moon sand, I hear it has some iron in it (people actually picked up iron with a magnet).
Keep up the water tests in the cup of water with sand.

Maybe something was accidentally poured into the tank by someone?
I am sure most, if not all are not the cause, but something to rule out.

Test the GH again, collecting water from a different area (high up, low down) of the tank? Haha, worth a try.

But yes, do water changes more often to dilute down the GH closer to your tap water levels in the mean time for your shrimp molts.
Have you seen any successful molts?
Still need to figure out what is causing the GH rise though.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 05:53 AM
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Are you sure your test works? I have never had any luck with the GH test. It often goes bad and will not change colors anymore. A little too much heat is enough to ruin it.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by WaterLife View Post
What else besides calcium and magnesium can affect GH levels? Can iron?
Yes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water
Quote:
Water's hardness is determined by the concentration of multivalent cations in the water. Multivalent cations are positively charged metal complexes with a charge greater than 1+. Usually, the cations have the charge of 2+.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion#Common_ions

With a GH reading this high though, anything other then Ca or Mg would likely mean death of inhabitants.

OP: If your test was accurate, keep removing things from the tank and placing in RO water until you find the source. To speed the process up, and a little vinegar. The vinegar won't register in the test kit, but the acid (in vinegar) will help dissolve Ca and Mg faster.

Feel free to edit.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-26-2015, 06:33 AM
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OP: If your test was accurate, keep removing things from the tank and placing in RO water until you find the source. To speed the process up, and a little vinegar. The vinegar won't register in the test kit, but the acid (in vinegar) will help dissolve Ca and Mg faster.


Thanks for the links, will read through them.


I like your signature, I recall you using that line in a post you made on one of my threads. Haha


Just to help me better understand, the "vinegar molecules" would "consume" the Ca and Mg into what? Any by-products or just dissipates/disappears?


I assume the pH would lower since the GH would lower and/or since vinegar is acidic. Any effect on KH with the added vinegar? Is the pH drop from the added vinegar safer than the high levels of GH (assuming Ca and Mg)? Any recommended safe dilution ratios of vinegar to water volume?
The fumes/smell of vinegar that dissipates, is that something else off-gassing from the vinegar or is it the actual vinegar evaporating?


Haha, sorry to derail, just curious.


And to OP, audionut's recommendation to set up tests for each item to rule them out, is a good one.
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