GH/kh for plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2016, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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GH/kh for plants

I recently just started testing my gh/kh, and am wondering how it affects plants? Currently, my kh is 2, and gh is 5. What does this mean for plants. I know kh is really low, and I need to get it up, but not quite sure how to go about this. I have been noticing a slow decline in my pH. Thanks for any help!

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2016, 07:56 PM
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Many people have successful tanks with low KH, so that isn't a big problem, unless you plan to keep fish and plants that require a high pH and/or require lots of carbonate available in the water. The 5 dGH is also adequate, but it might be that your water is very low on magnesium. You can add some GH booster, like Seachem Equilibrium, which will increase the magnesium enough to avoid that problem. Or, you could add some Epsom
Salts, which would add only magnesium. See https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...-regimes_.html for more information.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2016, 10:17 PM
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Epsom Salts.
Something like this? That's under $10 for 4KG. equate Epsom Salts | Walmart.ca
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2016, 10:55 PM
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Your parameters seem quite good (unless you have your heart set on Rift Lake cichlids or melanotaenid rainbowfish). There are many plants that need soft water to thrive and will fail to do so in hard water, while I am hard-pressed to think of any examples of the opposite situation (Cryptocoryne balansae may be one). Most popular planted tank fish (tetras, rasboras, etc.) also do better in softer water. I also find that low GH is helpful for preventing various types of algae - I never get Cladophora, staghorn, or other tough filamentous algaes in my softwater tanks. Personally I would just dose some MgSO4 along with your macros to prevent deficiency.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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I wonder if that's why my swords aren't doing well. I have osmocote plus tabs under them.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not able to find anything on my water report about magnesium, maybe it's completely void of it?

Would going to EI supply Mg, or should I still dose equilibrium or Epsom?

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 09:22 PM
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EI dosing now includes dosing a GH booster at each water change. That includes the needed magnesium.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 09:41 PM
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I wonder if that's why my swords aren't doing well. I have osmocote plus tabs under them.

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The holes and chlorosis in the older leaves look like a potassium deficiency.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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EI dosing now includes dosing a GH booster at each water change. That includes the needed magnesium.
So going to EI would definitely be a better option. Since my gh is 5, how much would the gh booster raise it if I was to do a reduced dosing of EI?

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The holes and chlorosis in the older leaves look like a potassium deficiency.
Thanks! I've been trying figure these out forever. I thoight it might be nitrogen deficiency since my nitrates or onlt at 5. But now that I think about it, they looked the same even when my nitrates were consistent at 20. The small sword has been in my tank for about 6 months, and has only grown new leaves, but never bigger than it is right now. I think I'm definitely going to go the EI route, or maybe pps pro.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-31-2016 at 03:41 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 10:07 PM
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I wouldn't add gh booster yet. I would add more potassium first. I add the same about of pottasium sulfate as potassium nitrate. 1/4Teaspoon in a 40b 3x week.

Wish i had your water
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't add gh booster yet. I would add more potassium first. I add the same about of pottasium sulfate as potassium nitrate. 1/4Teaspoon in a 40b 3x week.

Wish i had your water
Thanks. I'm going to try and get EI this week.

I'm still trying to figure everything out for ferts and plants, as I only started getting into plants about 10 months ago after a couple year hiatus with tanks. Hopefully once I get EI, everything will do much better.

Is there any reason to get pps pro over the EI besides mandatory 50% WC?


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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 06:51 AM
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There are many plants that need soft water to thrive and will fail to do so in hard water, while I am hard-pressed to think of any examples of the opposite situation (Cryptocoryne balansae may be one).
Typically soft water plants actually DO BETTER in harder water, with a few exceptions. Soft water plants are evolved to tolerate soft water but hard water plants aren't and cant survive very well in soft water. Alternatively hard water plants outgrow soft water plants in hard water, but soft water plants WILL THRIVE in hard water without competition from hard water plants.

If you have hard water (or visa versa) and are wondering why certain species seem to be outcompeted, look at where your plants occur naturally.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 07:36 AM
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What level of nutrients is sufficient for our plants to grow well?

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Hopefully once I get EI, everything will do much better.
I also hope that once you begin to use EI everything will do much better, although I doubt it. Your plant biomass (according to the pictures) is very low, and EI is extremely exagerrated fertilizer method even for densely planted tanks under high light. Plants can grow fine even under very low nutrient levels => like the ones in Amazonas river → the bigest river on our planet with one of the most diverse ecosystem in the world [mean values]: 5-8 ppm CO2, 7 ppm HCO3, 0.4 ppm N (= 2 ppm NO3), 0.01 ppm NH4, 0.025 ppm P (= 0.08 ppm PO4), 0.9 ppm K, 7 ppm Ca, 1 ppm Mg, 2 ppm Na, 3 ppm Cl, 4 ppm Si, 0.1 ppm Fe, 0.006 ppm Mn, 60 S/cm conductivity.

So most aquatic plants can grow very well under 10 ppm CO2, 2 ppm NO3, 0.1 ppm PO4, 1 ppm K, 7 ppm Ca, 1 ppm Mg, 0.1 ppm Fe, given you use some soil substrate, high light, and make regular water changes once a week with fresh, new nutrient dosage. If you want to be safe, you can double some of these values (like NO3, PO4, K, Ca, Mg), but there's no real need to go any higher. And if you experience any deficiency symptoms under these levels, it's hardly caused by too low amount of nutrients, but rather by some other factors (like poor maintenance, bad nutrient distribution via decent flow, insufficient light levels, etc.). Some symptoms of bad growth may be also caused by toxicities, not deficiencies.

I don't want to go into war with EI users here. So, if EI-users' arguments seem better to you, just discard this post.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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I just want my plants to do better. I don't need/want them to grow fast, just be healthy. I probably have high end of low lighting.

If my water isn't suitable for swords, I'm completely fine with it, and will go a different direction. Once I added O+ and a new light (my old light was very low), my crypts have started to take off (except maybe the parva, which I can't tell how it's going yet).

I have seen some beautiful, lush low tech tanks, and that is kinda what I'm after if it's feasible.



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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 06:20 PM
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Hi
Your plants need balanced fertilizer, not root tubs.

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