EI/PPS MgSO4 dosing or GH booster? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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EI/PPS MgSO4 dosing or GH booster?

I'm a bit confused about the addition of MgSO4. PPS calls forit but EI does not, yet says it provides 10 ppm...from where? the CSM+B?
PPS also calls for CSM+B...am I not dosing enough MgSO4?

I'm using 1 gallon tap (80 kh - 180gh - pH 7.6) to 5 gallons RO/DI. (see tank specs below)
I was thinking of switching to all RO/DI and add GH booster.

Does GH Booster just bring RO/DI water up to buffer or does it supply enough for the plant usage as well?

Should I dose MgSO4 with EI?

If I switch to 100% RO?DI & GH Booster, would I need to add MgSO4?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 08:05 PM
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WOW you got this every way but sideways...LOL...
First, if you want to know for sure about the MGSO4 you can go on-line to see your cities water quality report. Then get a copy of it and ask on here what is the category that you should check. Because it list the mineral content including that one which is covered by the MGSO4. If it is high enough you can skip the GH booster. A few just use it anyway.
The SO4 has what the KNO3 doesn't, but you will note that SO4 is also in K2SO4 which some EI formulas have and some list as optional.
I say GH booster because the plants need calcium to go/w the MGSO4 and that is usually CaSO4. Both of which are in GH booster.
Better to use either Equalibrium from Sea Chem for reconstituting RO water than GH booster. That or Salty Shrimp equal product(likely more expensive).
I have no photographic memory so I only gave you an outline but not the names on the minerals that you are using in the SO4/GH booster. Someone more competent will need to supply you/w that or those names. Goes/w what you look for on the city water quality report. Hope this gets you to the next step down the line on this.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-09-2015, 10:37 PM
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EI has always stated folks should add GH booster to aquariums as part of it. This goes back to 1996. Early 1990's for PMDD.

Various folks have rewritten the EI method a few times and left it out.
I add GH booster after each water change, about 1 tablespoon per 60 Gallons of tank, some folks use the 2:1:1 proportion K2SO4:CaSO4:MgSO4 that was modeled after SeaChem's EQ "equilibrum". But most folks get enough K+ from KNO3 and KH23PO4 anyhow, so you can use just the CaSO4(Gypsum) and MgSO4(Epsom salt) at 1:1 or 2:1 etc.

Higher GH's often give better coloration, so you are not going to go over board and cause issues if you add too much.

KH is another matter.

Still, EI has always addressed GH as both Ca and Mg.
Anyone saying otherwise is incorrect.




Regards,
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
EI has always stated folks should add GH booster to aquariums as part of it. This goes back to 1996. Early 1990's for PMDD.

Various folks have rewritten the EI method a few times and left it out.
I add GH booster after each water change, about 1 tablespoon per 60 Gallons of tank, some folks use the 2:1:1 proportion K2SO4:CaSO4:MgSO4 that was modeled after SeaChem's EQ "equilibrum". But most folks get enough K+ from KNO3 and KH23PO4 anyhow, so you can use just the CaSO4(Gypsum) and MgSO4(Epsom salt) at 1:1 or 2:1 etc.

Higher GH's often give better coloration, so you are not going to go over board and cause issues if you add too much.

KH is another matter.

Still, EI has always addressed GH as both Ca and Mg.
Anyone saying otherwise is incorrect.
Tom would the amount of weekly GH booster change based off of the GH of the source water. For example, if the GH of the source water is 7 would you only dose a small amount of GH booster compared to RO water with a GH of 0? Then if you are adding GH booster you would not include Mg in your macro dosing (I think this is what the OP is asking) Is there a range of Ca or Mg you'd recommend? Also in the case of RO water what is best to set KH at?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
EI has always stated folks should add GH booster to aquariums as part of it. This goes back to 1996. Early 1990's for PMDD.

Various folks have rewritten the EI method a few times and left it out.
I add GH booster after each water change, about 1 tablespoon per 60 Gallons of tank, some folks use the 2:1:1 proportion K2SO4:CaSO4:MgSO4 that was modeled after SeaChem's EQ "equilibrum". But most folks get enough K+ from KNO3 and KH23PO4 anyhow, so you can use just the CaSO4(Gypsum) and MgSO4(Epsom salt) at 1:1 or 2:1 etc.

Higher GH's often give better coloration, so you are not going to go over board and cause issues if you add too much.

KH is another matter.

Still, EI has always addressed GH as both Ca and Mg.
Anyone saying otherwise is incorrect.
Do you just make up the quart of Equilibrium they recommend and dose your tank from there or do you just dose it dry? I have been having problems with my KH and GH being low causing mini cycles. I've dosed Baking Soda which has helped and bought the Equilibrium but haven't yet dosed it.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB13 View Post
I'm a bit confused about the addition of MgSO4. PPS calls forit but EI does not, yet says it provides 10 ppm...from where? the CSM+B?
PPS also calls for CSM+B...am I not dosing enough MgSO4?

I'm using 1 gallon tap (80 kh - 180gh - pH 7.6) to 5 gallons RO/DI. (see tank specs below)
I was thinking of switching to all RO/DI and add GH booster.

Does GH Booster just bring RO/DI water up to buffer or does it supply enough for the plant usage as well?

Should I dose MgSO4 with EI?

If I switch to 100% RO?DI & GH Booster, would I need to add MgSO4?
NiloCG GH booster Contains Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate(1:3:3 ratio). But the website says 1/4tsp per 10G but when i calculated this, I am getting only 0.5 Mg whereas the ideal is 2.0 to 5.0PPM. I am on the same boat as you.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantetra View Post
NiloCG GH booster Contains Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate(1:3:3 ratio). But the website says 1/4tsp per 10G but when i calculated this, I am getting only 0.5 Mg whereas the ideal is 2.0 to 5.0PPM. I am on the same boat as you.
Me three, this would make perfect sense if not using pure RO water. So I would think you would just need to add more booster if you use RO?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-10-2015, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bcarl_10gal View Post
Tom would the amount of weekly GH booster change based off of the GH of the source water. For example, if the GH of the source water is 7 would you only dose a small amount of GH booster compared to RO water with a GH of 0? Then if you are adding GH booster you would not include Mg in your macro dosing (I think this is what the OP is asking) Is there a range of Ca or Mg you'd recommend? Also in the case of RO water what is best to set KH at?
I generally add it either way, 1-2 degrees ain;t gonna make much difference if it's high and sometimes the GH is all Ca++, so the extra Mg helps, you can look at the local tap water report to make the call, sometimes just MgSO4, and that can be added to the trace mix. CaSO4 is you are low on that, but I've never seen a place that was high on Mg and low on Ca++.

So you can add it either way or modify to suit your local conditions. EI is all about adding a bit more than you actually "need". But not going too far overboard either, no need to waste some either and lard it on, but doing so........does no harm either.

Overtime, most folks realize this.
Those who do not, are still doing it wrong.

Sometimes folks overlook some thing and that gets them. 10 years later they figure it out. Some get it from day 1.

KH/GH is low here, I generally add another 1 degree or a bit more for GH. I do not adjust KH. If you add KGH, 1 degree is plenty and only if you use pure ROetc, but there's no good reason to do that either. Just blend the tap with the RO to target 1-4 dKH.

No need to dose baking soda etc then.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soxfandowd View Post
Do you just make up the quart of Equilibrium they recommend and dose your tank from there or do you just dose it dry? I have been having problems with my KH and GH being low causing mini cycles. I've dosed Baking Soda which has helped and bought the Equilibrium but haven't yet dosed it.
Dry dose. GH booster is cheaper than SeaChem.
I add about 1 TABLE spoon per 60 Gallon of tank 1-2x a week of GH booster. This meets all plant species requirements for optimal growth with low KH and good light, care, CO2, ADA aqua soil, algae eaters etc.

Ferts are EASY, CO2, good habits, general care, consistency, not so much.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 01:00 PM
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If you add one TBLSP of booster per 60 gal a week what is the initial GH of the source water?
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 03:48 PM
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In Tom's area the tap water is very soft.
I am down stream from him, different water system, and the GH and KH out of my tap is about 4-5 degrees.

Basic point:
If you need it at all, then dose a complete GH booster (Ca and Mg) to raise the GH about 1-2 degrees. Do not just dose magnesium (Epsom salt).

If you want to dig into the problem in more detail, then test your water, or get a water report from your water company that details Ca and Mg.
Then dose each of these separately to get a 4:1 ratio of Ca:Mg.

You can target your fish's preference for GH. The most picky soft water fish are generally happy with a GH up to about 5 degrees. Most community fish, bred in captivity for many generations are OK with a GH up to or over 10 degrees. Hard water fish need a GH over 10 degrees, and up to 20 is fine.

Most aquarium plants are OK over that full range. There are a few highly specialized plants that really do require a lower GH.

If your tap water already has a GH over about 3 degrees, then I would not worry about it. Water changes are fine, or else dose enough GH booster to raise it by a degree or so just to be sure. (faulty test, imbalance in Ca:Mg, other unknown problem)

If the tap water is too hard for the fish, then make a tap + RO blend that suits them. You can use tap water for the mineral portion, the plants will likely be fine. Or use pure RO and add all the right minerals in the right ratios.
When in doubt you can always do more tests.
Only you can test your own tap water, and any blend you make, and create the water recipe your fish and plants need.
Any dosages given on line are suggestions only.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 04:04 PM
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Hi Diana, Thanks for the wonderful explanation. That answered many of my questions even though it is not my thread. The only remaining doubt is, if your water is medium hardness, how do you maintain the GH and Magnesium at 2PPM? I have GH booster that will have Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate(1:3:3 ratio). It says dGH of 1 if I add 1/2 tsp according to the calculator but Mg will be 0.5PPM. So should I try and add 2tsp to get 2PPM Mg and raise Gh by 4 degrees or maintain the GH according to the liking of the fish?

And I just found out that my location has the hardest water in the US.
http://www.qualitywatertreatment.com...ater_guide.htm


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Last edited by plantetra; 10-11-2015 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Add details
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 06:48 PM
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In regards to GH booster, ďIf in doubt, break it outĒ. Adding 1-2 degrees wonít phase any plant Iím aware of. Very sensitive inhabitants? Well thatís a horse of a different color. Although, they would have to be a very sensitive specimen.

Basically, if you know the Ca and Mg levels in the water, you can make an informed decision whether you need Magnesium, Calcium or both. However, when all you know is the GH your better off adding it. If anything add Magnesium. GH is a TOTAL measure of divalent metal ions Ca and Mg being the most significant. We have no way of knowing how much of each with just GH.

Iím not aware of a magic number for Ca and Mg levels for every plant species. However, a Ca level of 10 ppm and a Mg of 5 ppm in your tap water would be more than enough, provided that regular water changes are done.

As far as ratios are concerned, I see no need to bother. If you simply maintain enough of every nutrient to prevent limitation the ratios are not important. In fact, it confuses most people. One would have to make grossly large errors before any plant species would show signs of distress.

Plantetra,

According to this USGS study you have more than enough Ca and Mg. On page 44 there is a seasonal analysis. Selecting the lowest numbers Ca is 48.5 and Mg is 22.6. I have much lower levels than that (Ca 27 - Mg 17) and have no issues.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 07:11 PM
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In regards to GH booster, “If in doubt, break it out”. Adding 1-2 degrees won’t phase any plant I’m aware of. Very sensitive inhabitants? Well that’s a horse of a different color. Although, they would have to be a very sensitive specimen.

Basically, if you know the Ca and Mg levels in the water, you can make an informed decision whether you need Magnesium, Calcium or both. However, when all you know is the GH your better off adding it. If anything add Magnesium. GH is a TOTAL measure of divalent metal ions Ca and Mg being the most significant. We have no way of knowing how much of each with just GH.

I’m not aware of a magic number for Ca and Mg levels for every plant species. However, a Ca level of 10 ppm and a Mg of 5 ppm in your tap water would be more than enough, provided that regular water changes are done.

As far as ratios are concerned, I see no need to bother. If you simply maintain enough of every nutrient to prevent limitation the ratios are not important. In fact, it confuses most people. One would have to make grossly large errors before any plant species would show signs of distress.

Plantetra,

According to this USGS study you have more than enough Ca and Mg. On page 44 there is a seasonal analysis. Selecting the lowest numbers Ca is 48.5 and Mg is 22.6. I have much lower levels than that (Ca 27 - Mg 17) and have no issues.
I use your calculator. Thank you for that.
You could add the tap water infor based on states into your calculator


I have RCS and Ghost Shrimp, Tetra and Oto. I hope these are not sensitive ones.

My result -
Add 3,471.73 mg (approximately 3/4 teaspoon(s) ) of NilOCG GH Booster

Mg = 0.8668
Ca = 4.2882
K = 8.3666
S = 8.0052
dGH = 2

How does this compare to "Selecting the lowest numbers Ca is 48.5 and Mg is 22.6."?

Is it the same unit?


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 07:44 PM
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I use your calculator. Thank you for that.
Your'e welcome. I enjoy combining hobbies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantetra View Post
You could add the tap water infor based on states into your calculator
That would be great. Unfortunately, that alone would be a major undertaking. If there were a website that did this I could probably interface with it. Otherwise, the simple task of maintaining such a database would be exhaustive.

Quote:
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I have RCS and Ghost Shrimp, Tetra and Oto. I hope these are not sensitive ones.
Not in my experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantetra View Post
My result -
Add 3,471.73 mg (approximately 3/4 teaspoon(s) ) of NilOCG GH Booster

Mg = 0.8668
Ca = 4.2882
K = 8.3666
S = 8.0052
dGH = 2
Hmmm. That's an error in the online calculator. I will look into it. However, as mentioned before I really won't be updating that web calculator. Instead, I will focus on a Windows calculator.

I assume you are calculating for 20 gallons?

The correct output should be,

8.68 gm approximately 2 1/16 teaspoons

That addition will add the following,
Code:
Element		PPM
Ca		10.7204
Mg		2.1671
K		20.9165
S		20.0129
dGH		2

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantetra View Post
How does this compare to "Selecting the lowest numbers Ca is 48.5 and Mg is 22.6."?

Is it the same unit?
Your tap water already has at least 48.5 ppm of Ca and 22.6 ppm of Mg per that water report I linked to. You don't need to use GH booster if you do regular water changes. That makes your life a lot easier.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 11:22 PM
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Looking at a nationwide map and saying your water is hard or soft or anything is not good. That map is a little bit missleading, anyway. It reports gpg, grains per gallon. This gives a big number to even fairly soft water, to make you buy their equipment.
If you are interested in your own tap water then get a report from the company that supplies it, and get your own test kit.
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