Can anyone help interpret my water report? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Can anyone help interpret my water report?

I am reeeaaally bad at understanding GH/KH/TDS, Ca, Mg readings for aquariums. I've attached a copy of water report in hopes that someone may be able to answer a few questions for me I have a 50g planted tank, and I would like to know if there is anything I should tweak to in order to maximize plant growth and ensure that my fish are happy. (Is my TDS reading too low/high? Do I need to add GH booster? Would I be better off using R/O water instead of tap? etc.)

Tank specs:
CO2 injected
Med/High light
EI dosing N/K/P & CSM+B
Flora: green gecko crypts, red flame & ocelot swords, crypt spiralis, hygrophilia pinnatifida, bacopa caroliniana, limnophila aromatica, red tiger lotus, & hygrophilia polysperma
Fauna: CPDs, Harlequin Rasbora, & Corydora Hasbrosus, & Malaysian trumpet snails

If there is any info that I left out that would be helpful, please let me know. Thank you in advance!
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Last edited by bcarrot; 10-23-2015 at 06:04 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 04:30 PM
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I'll try to take a first stab at this, surely others will correct my error(s) if any.

TDS - 102
GH - given as total hardness of 70ppm so divide by 17 = 4.1
KH - given as total alkalinity of 42ppm again divide by 17 = 2.47
Ca:Mg ratio close enough to 3, can't tell you if 56 ppm Ca is plenty. Sounds like plenty
There's no iron
Negligible amount of nitrites and nitrates

This water looks ok to me first glance but I didn't really look at your flora/fauna. You know more about their requirements than I do off the top of my head.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 05:23 PM
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Yup, what Daisy Mae said, but I have no idea why your pH is high at 8.5 when the other relative GH, KH, TDS correspond much lower.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I was kind of wondering the same thing. I would think it would be MUCH lower.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 05:43 PM
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my water report checks in with similar numbers, with a pH of around 8.8


it makes water changes difficult....

-120g-
- Praecox Dwarf Rainbowfish, Glowlight Danio, Rummynose Tetra, Leopard Danio, Ember Tetra, Scarlet Badis, Anchor Catfish, Red Cherry Shrimp, Assassin Snail, Neirite Snail
-20G L -
- Celestial Pearl Danio, Dwarf Emerald Rasbora
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 05:43 PM
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Got a test kit yourself? Might be a typo (unlikely haha)
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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I wish! I've tested the pH many, many times and it always reads between around 8.5. UGH
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 09:24 PM
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KH of 2.41 seems low. With a low KH, pH is likely to be affected easily. I think you should raise KH to be the same as GH by adding http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064GZPU4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00.

I don't worry much about pH any more. The amount of CO2 in the water can change it significantly. GH, KH, and TDS are more important when doing water changes, IMO.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 03:24 PM
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The plants you listed will be fine with the tap water you have. You do have very hard water. The fish may prefer a little less harness but most software fish acclimate well to hard water. I personally wouldn't be too concerned.

You do not need GH booster. GH booster is used primarily to raise Calcium and Magnesium. Those are the two most important elements that affect GH. For plants a decent amount of Ca and Mg in tap water would be about 15ppm of Ca and 5 ppm of Mg.

The GH of your water is at least 11. Unfortunately, we can't simply divide the ppm by 17.86 to get gh. It's a little more complicated than that. I won't explain why since it's pretty dry reading for most. Here is an oldie but a goodie explaining GH and alkalinity, Water Hardness. I have a GH calculator based on this type of formula in my calculator.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 05:17 PM
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Ok, trying to understand water hardness better from the reference given by @Zorfox

I missed that the Ca was given as 56 ppm CaCO3.

Does this mean that the Ca contribution to GH is (AW Ca/ AW CaCO3) * 56
ie (40/100)*56 = 3.2

How to interpret Mg content given as ppm CaCO3 as well? Inquiring mind wants to know.

Thanks!

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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This whole time I've been thinking that my water was on the softer side. Ha! Just confirms exactly how little I comprehend this stuff! Thanks for the info, Zorfox!
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcarrot View Post
This whole time I've been thinking that my water was on the softer side. Ha! Just confirms exactly how little I comprehend this stuff! Thanks for the info, Zorfox!
It actually is. I also missed that the Ca and Mg was given as CaCO3!

That makes a HUGE difference. I will explain when I finish moving and stacking boxes for my wife. I will be on restriction if I stop and explain now lol

Sorry for the confusion
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 07:11 PM
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The reason all this is so confusing to me is that the measurments are referencing something else. Same for potassium in fertilizers. If a fertilizer says it's 10% K that does not mean it is. Instead, it's 10% K listed as K2O. Ugggh! I hate equivalents!

By definition, 1dGH = 10 mg/liter CaO

Well that's fine but now we have to convert everything to match that. To do this we use atomic weights.

CaO is made of 1 atom of Calcium and 1 atom of Oxygen.

The atomic weight of Ca is 40 and the atomic weight of oxygen is 16. Btw, I am rounding these numbers for simplicity. That means the total weight od CaO is 56 (40 + 16).

So 10 mg/liter CaO contains 40(weight of Ca)/56(weight of CaO) * 10(it's 10mg/liter) = 7.143 mg/liter of Ca.

Here we go again! By definition ppm Ca is not for elemental calcium but for ppm CaCO3.

Atomic weight CaCO3 = 100

So 7.143 mg/liter of elemental Ca would be expressed as 100/40 * 7.143 = 17.8575 mg/liter(ppm)CaCO3. That's where the CaCO3 equivalent number comes in that we all use.

So all this means that 1dGH = 17.86 ppm CaCO3 and/or 7.143 ppm Ca2+.

Here is yet another twist! Calium is not the only thing that contributes to GH. Divalent metal ions contribute. Basically the other MAJOR player here is Magnesium.

Here comes the atomic weight stuff again.

Magnesium has an atomic weight of 24 so,

100 / 24 * 7.143 = 29.8 means the CaCO3 equivalent of Magnesium is 29.8.

Great but how much Magnesium is that? Well, remember the CaCO3 equivalent number, 17.86? Now we divide. 29.8 / 17.86 = 1.7 mg of Magnesium.

AN easy formula to get the GH from ppm of Ca or Mg would be,

CaCO3 = 2.5 * Ca ppm + 4.1 * Mg ppm

Then divide by 17.86

So now that you're totally confused your water is soft and would benifit from GH booster. Add enough to raise gh 2 degrees with every water change. Maybe I should have just said that to start with lol
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, thank you so much for calculating that for me! I would have never been able to figure that out on my own I had suspected my plants were in need of something more than what I was already supplying. They tend to be on the yellowish green side. I had been wondering if I needed more magnesium. Also, my snails' shells are very thin and brittle so I'd suspected a calcium deficiency as well. I bought some seachem equilibrium. Would you happen to know if that is the same as GH booster? Thank you again. You have been EXTREMELY helpful!
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 12:02 AM
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56ppm Ca as CaCO3 = 56 / 2.5 = 22ppm Ca++
14ppm Mg as CaCO3 = 14 / 4.12 = 3.4ppm Mg++

Feel free to edit.
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