Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
I would not bother making a batch of Equilibrium. Prep it with each water change.
Put a measured amount of Equilibrium in a sealed jar (1 pint canning jar works well).
Add water. Shake.
Pour the milky water into the prep container, add more water to the jar.
Repeat until the Equilibrium is dissolved. There may still be a few granules in the jar, just dump those in, too.
Making a larger batch would work as jr125 says: The Equilibrium settles out. You can shake it prior to using it, but then you are shaking 1 gallon of water instead of 1 pint, and need to test it to see how well it has dissolved. Plus you need to find storage for a gallon instead of a couple of small jars (1 is Equilibrium, the other is the mixing jar, which is part of my tool kit, be used for other aquarium chemicals, too)
Fish food has reasonable amounts of N, P, most traces. If your NO3 and PO4 are good, you can assume the traces are OK, too.
Fish food is low in K, Fe, Ca, Mg.
Equilibrium has K, Ca, Mg, small amount of Fe. But if you no longer add it, because the Ca and Mg (GH) are OK, then supply other K and Fe. I would switch from Flourish Comprehensive to Flourish Iron (and continue with the Flourish Potassium), if you want to use a liquid, or to chelated iron and K2SO4 if you want to use dry ferts. Continue to monitor the GH and probably just dose the new water when you prep it for a water change.
Sources of GH:
Could the substrate tablets be entering the water column? Do they have Ca or Mg?
Are there any rocks in the tank that could be adding to the GH? (Note that substrate tends to remove the carbonates, so the KH would probably not rise, even if the rocks were calcium or magnesium carbonates)
Are you adding any other source of Ca or Mg? Cuttlebone, Epsom salt, other?
Are you topping off with water that has Ca or Mg?