GH & KH Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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GH & KH Questions

Hello everyone, I hope this is the right place to post this.

I've been having troubles with my duckweed (I know its supposed to be immortal but I apparently found a way to kill it off). The only other plant in my tank is an Amazon Sword (some type of sword plant, not 100% that its Amazon).

My water parameters are:
PH. 7.4-7.8
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
KH: 5 (so 50-100 ppm)
GH: over 20 (400+ ppm)

I do not have a nitrates tester but I'll get one today. (I'm writing this as I get ready to head to the petstore).

According to the book that came with my API test kit live plants want a gh/kh of 50-100 ppm could that be an issue?
The API test also says the GH should be to high for my guppies but they seem healthy, colorful, and never stop breeding.

For the record the tank has been set up well over a year and the GH/KH are slightly higher than my tap water. I use aquarium gravel/sand for the bottom, 2 sea shells, and have some cuttlebone in the tank for the snails to munch on.

Could the shells and cuttlebone raise the GH/KH?
Is this something I should try and fix?

I really want to go full planted 90% of my tank is plastic plants.
I also dose weekly with API leaf zone and every other day with CO2 booster for the amazon sword. I've only been doing that for a couple of weeks and I'm unsure if it is actually helping.

P.S. Thanks for the help and if this is already posted somewhere on the forums I'm sorry I didnt see it when I was searching.

EDIT: I will also take a water sample with me to the petstore to double check my results.

Last edited by Drewet88; 12-23-2015 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Added a sentence.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewet88 View Post
Could the shells and cuttlebone raise the GH/KH?
At the pH of your tank, their effect will be minimal. The large values are due to your tap water, since the levels are only slightly higher then your tap water.

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Originally Posted by Drewet88 View Post
Is this something I should try and fix?
Ideally, IMHO yes. But there's only one way to lower GH and KH, and that is with a water source that has less of these.

Guppies breed in virtually everything. Don't take their success as a sign of water quality.

Feel free to edit.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 01:11 AM
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I've been having troubles with my duckweed (I know its supposed to be immortal but I apparently found a way to kill it off)
Oh! Let me in on that secret! I have a LOT of it to kill off.

My water parameters are:
PH. 7.4-7.8
Great for Guppies
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
KH: 5 (so 50-100 ppm)
Not a problem
GH: over 20 (400+ ppm)
At the higher end, but not a problem.

I do not have a nitrates tester but I'll get one today. (I'm writing this as I get ready to head to the petstore).
Good. Once things are going well, NO3 is probably the test you will use a lot more than ammonia or nitrite.
According to the book that came with my API test kit live plants want a gh/kh of 50-100 ppm could that be an issue?
Not at all. Live plants thrive over a very wide range of mineral levels. There are a few specialized plants that do require soft water, but the ones you have (Echinodorus and duckweed) thrive in almost any fresh water
The API test also says the GH should be too high for my guppies but they seem healthy, colorful, and never stop breeding.
Guppies are hard water fish. 20 degrees may be at the high end for them, but I sure would not try to 'fix' it. It ain't broke.
For the record the tank has been set up well over a year and the GH/KH are slightly higher than my tap water.
This is common. As water evaporates it leaves behind the minerals, so the GH and KH usually climb slowly, unless something is removing them. Microorganisms use carbonates, and fish and plants use calcium and magnesium
I use aquarium gravel/sand for the bottom, 2 sea shells,
Sea shells can also be a source of calcium, magnesium and carbonates.
and have some cuttlebone
Definitely a source of these minerals.
in the tank for the snails to munch on.

Could the shells and cuttlebone raise the GH/KH?
Yup
Is this something I should try and fix?
Nope

I really want to go full planted 90% of my tank is plastic plants.
I also dose weekly with API leaf zone and every other day with CO2 booster for the amazon sword. I've only been doing that for a couple of weeks and I'm unsure if it is actually helping.
It is helping. Go ahead and get more plants. Do you have a good light?

EDIT: I will also take a water sample with me to the petstore to double check my results.
Always good to double check! Make sure to ask for the actual numbers. Don't settle for "it is good' or 'it is bad'.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 01:26 AM
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^What Diana said.

Also, really hard water is fine for 90+% of FW plants and fish. And if you were to reduce the hardness to a point that would be fine for the other <10% of FW plants and fish, then you'd likely have a problem with keeping <10% of hardwater plants and fish. So you're good. Also, a couple seashells and some cuttlebone won't do a whole lot. Crush them up and you have a more extreme change, but still probably insignificant given your starting parameters anyway.

And while test kits for a bunch of stuff are interesting and may help you to understand how much of this stuff works, there's a really good chance you will rarely, if ever, use them past the first 6-12 months. So don't pour a lot of money into them. API kits from Amazon are fairly reasonably priced.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I've been having troubles with my duckweed (I know its supposed to be immortal but I apparently found a way to kill it off)
Oh! Let me in on that secret! I have a LOT of it to kill off.

I really want to go full planted 90% of my tank is plastic plants.
I also dose weekly with API leaf zone and every other day with CO2 booster for the amazon sword. I've only been doing that for a couple of weeks and I'm unsure if it is actually helping.
It is helping. Go ahead and get more plants. Do you have a good light?

EDIT: I will also take a water sample with me to the petstore to double check my results.
Always good to double check! Make sure to ask for the actual numbers. Don't settle for "it is good' or 'it is bad'.
So I'm pretty sure the secret to killing off Duckweed is to stare at it daily checking to see if there is more than the day before. I'm guessing its just shy and doesn't perform well with an audience.

My lighting isn't good enough right now currently at .75 watt/gal. But I could be at 1.5 watt/gal tomorrow, I have the fixture it just isn't set up yet.

I want to add more plants I just have to see what I can get my hands on, I really want to try a java moss wall or carpet.

I didn't see your post before I left and I accepted the "It's good" from the guy at Petsmart... Next time I'll get the numbers, I'm in there more than I should be (ever since the last LFS closed).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
^What Diana said.

Also, really hard water is fine for 90+% of FW plants and fish. And if you were to reduce the hardness to a point that would be fine for the other <10% of FW plants and fish, then you'd likely have a problem with keeping <10% of hardwater plants and fish. So you're good. Also, a couple seashells and some cuttlebone won't do a whole lot. Crush them up and you have a more extreme change, but still probably insignificant given your starting parameters anyway.

And while test kits for a bunch of stuff are interesting and may help you to understand how much of this stuff works, there's a really good chance you will rarely, if ever, use them past the first 6-12 months. So don't pour a lot of money into them. API kits from Amazon are fairly reasonably priced.
OK I won't worry about the hard water.
After testing my parameters with the API nitrates test kit I got 0~5 nitrates (not exactly yellow but pretty close) which I'm pretty sure isn't possible (I would think it would be higher but I did do a partial water change before leaving to the store.)

I looked online and saw I should've shaken the bottle for a couple of minutes and not 30 seconds since its been sitting on a shelf so I'll try again tomorrow when the lights are on. If the number is still 0~5 would I need to start fertilizing if I added more plants?

Ok recheck is done now that I am fully awake and the tank lights are on, the nitrates are 10 ppm. I will check again to make sure it was just a bad test yesterday and not my tank jumping 5ppm a day

Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-24-2015 at 02:09 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 01:38 AM
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I cannot keep duckweed in one of my tanks because it has an AquaClear filter and the duckweed gets pushed deep into the tank rather than swirling lazily on the surface. In tanks with other filters it thrives beyond imagination. Same water, lighting and fertilizers.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by keymastr View Post
I cannot keep duckweed in one of my tanks because it has an AquaClear filter and the duckweed gets pushed deep into the tank rather than swirling lazily on the surface. In tanks with other filters it thrives beyond imagination. Same water, lighting and fertilizers.
Thanks for the reply.
At first I had a HOB filter in the tank I tried to make it work but I took it out and put in an old in tank filter (wrapped in filter padding) in so it would stop pushing the duckweed around. Now the only thing causing a disturbance on the surface is the bubbler, its not overly strong and only causing a disturbance in one small corner of the tank. And with the amount of Duckweed I have left in that tank it isn't anywhere near the bubbles.

It seems like the duckweed I put in the turtle tank water is doing really well. I wish I could just grow it in the turtle tank but they eat it as soon as it hits the water.

EDIT: Off topic but I didn't want to start a new thread. Would a sump be overkill for a 20 gallon tank? If not is it possible to have a sump without causing too much surface disturbance, I would really like to hide my heater, airline, etc. and thought a sump would be the best way.

Last edited by Drewet88; 12-24-2015 at 12:40 PM. Reason: To ask off topic question
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewet88 View Post
I've been having troubles with my duckweed (I know its supposed to be immortal but I apparently found a way to kill it off).
Eheim Surface Skimmer does the trick. Syphon out the skimmer daily with 3/8" hose. Clean internal sponge weekly.

Baby shrimp and fry will get caught in the skimmer please run the syphon into a white bucket.

Cheers!

-PhilipS ><>ļ

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 04:47 PM
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My guess is that your GH test kit is out of date. The API GH test kit has a very short shelf limit. After what seems like far too short a time it tends to stop working at all, so you can drip as many drops of the reagent as you want and the color still doesn't change. Some people decide they have very low GH because the color seems to be the final color, not the starting color. Others decide they have very high GH because they can't get the color to change at all. The Tetra GH test kit works better in my opinion, but I find it hard to find it in the stores here.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Eheim Surface Skimmer does the trick. Syphon out the skimmer daily with 3/8" hose. Clean internal sponge weekly.

Baby shrimp and fry will get caught in the skimmer please run the syphon into a white bucket.
I'm confused are you giving me advice on how to kill duckweed (if so I have that figured out lol) or advice on a sump? Luckily all the buckets I have are white already lol (only ones I could find with lids).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
My guess is that your GH test kit is out of date. The API GH test kit has a very short shelf limit. After what seems like far too short a time it tends to stop working at all, so you can drip as many drops of the reagent as you want and the color still doesn't change. Some people decide they have very low GH because the color seems to be the final color, not the starting color. Others decide they have very high GH because they can't get the color to change at all. The Tetra GH test kit works better in my opinion, but I find it hard to find it in the stores here.
I just bought a new master test kit this week, but it didn't come with new GH/KH solution. Instead of going back to the store to buy more solution I think I'll have the pet store check it again and this time I want take "its good" for an answer.

O and I checked my Nitrates again today and its somewhere between the 5ppm and 10ppm so I might be gaining 1-2 ppm/day can that be right? If I keep checking every few days do I just do a water change when it gets to 20 ppm of nitrates or every Sunday like I've been doing regardless of levels?

O when I checked my nitrates it was about 30min after a feeding if that matters.
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