Do I need to add trace elements to Rain Water? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Do I need to add trace elements to Rain Water?

I have access only to rainwater, therefore all my tanks are straight rainwater. Natural rainwater tests at below 6 ph on my test kit. I just purchased a GH and KH test kit, and the instructions say count how many drops it takes to change the liquid to a certain colour. Well, the first drop changed the water from clear to the appropriate colour which if I understand correctly means the GH and KH measures 0-1 dKH or under 17.9 ppm GH/KH. I have a couple of questions, which go hand in hand really:

1) given these natural water parameters, presumably also lacking in certain elements and minerals fish would normally have, what do I need to add back to my water to maintain good fish health for my 5 foot tank - (setting up next week) inhabitants will eventually be schools of tetras (cardinal, rummynose, maybe embers) and also sterbai corys and a few bristlenose. There will be plenty of driftwood in the tank which is chucking out tannins galore (so I'll be using a bag of purigen in the filter just so I can see the fish lol) and it'll be heavily planted. Would dosing the water with seachem fresh trace be advantageous? Or is there a diy combo I can makeup?

2)Until just recently, I used to keep african cichlids, and used a diy mix of bicarb soda and epsom salts together with coral in the filter to effectively buffer the water. That kept it consistently at 8 ph. This time round for my tropicals, I'm wondering how best to buffer the water naturally to keep it at about neutral or just below without using ph up all the time. My understanding of GH and KH in general is not great, but from what I've read when keeping tanks at a ph below 7, without sufficient KH, ph swings are very likely. I don't want to crash my tank, I want to keep it stable. Would adding a small amount of coral in a mesh bag be worth trying, monitoring the ph over a couple of weeks to check it doesn't raise too high? I'm using MTS capped with fine gravel, and will be sprinkling some dolomite underneath everything, so once it's up and running I'll test the water first, ph may be acceptably raised from the dolomite, but I'm assuming the dolomite won't last forever.

Sorry for the long post, your insight would be appreciated.
Regards, Kara
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 02:18 AM
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I dont have a real answer for other than I have used rainwater for many years and just started adding ferts about 2 months ago. I never had any problems before but now my red plants fade to green, so idk?

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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I believe most red plants need strong light and a good source of iron to retain their colour. Are you dosing iron?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 03:17 AM
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yes my fe is ok and i have bright lighting, but back to karas post, i believe people have used crushed coral to buffer their water. you can also plan your substrate to help buffer the water.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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I've just spent the last few hours reading past posts about GH and KH and how to raise it and to be honest, I'm even more confused than ever! I've read about bicarb soda and epsom salts, but some opinions say the sodium chloride is not recommended for planted tanks, plus I'd like an all in one kind of solution to replace whatever else may be missing in my rainwater. I read about seachem's Equilibrium and thought that might be a good way to go, until someone said it's hard to dissolve in the water. Rex Grigg's Grumpy's Gh booster is said to be good, but I can't get it here in Australia. THoughts?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 06:29 AM
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seachems product will dissolve in water and is recommended. it may take a swirl then pour and swirl then pour but it should help a little. and imo any trace or ferts you add will help so long as you dont get too impatient w/it and dose too much. I dose seachems line and dont have any algae issues and good plant growth.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, after some thought and a little more reading, I'm planning on treating the newly set up tank water with seachem equilibrium to bring the gh up, and some bicarb soda to bring up the kh. Thereafter, I can use equilibrium to treat water changes as needed, and possibly down the track a little, use the equilibrium in the weekly or fortnightly dosing schedule suggested by tom barr. Does this sound reasonable?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamivy View Post
I've just spent the last few hours reading past posts about GH and KH and how to raise it and to be honest, I'm even more confused than ever! I've read about bicarb soda and epsom salts, but some opinions say the sodium chloride is not recommended for planted tanks, plus I'd like an all in one kind of solution to replace whatever else may be missing in my rainwater. I read about seachem's Equilibrium and thought that might be a good way to go, until someone said it's hard to dissolve in the water. Rex Grigg's Grumpy's Gh booster is said to be good, but I can't get it here in Australia. THoughts?
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, not sodium chloride.

As far as I know, Rain water is really devoid of most nutrients. In some areas it could contain pollution, but I assume that is not the case for you, as we've talked about this before.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by over_stocked View Post
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, not sodium chloride.

As far as I know, Rain water is really devoid of most nutrients. In some areas it could contain pollution, but I assume that is not the case for you, as we've talked about this before.
Sorry, bad grammar in my sentance. I was referring to the sodium in Bicarb Soda, not epsom salts - some opinions I read say adding any sodium to the planted aquarium is not a good idea, other opinions say the amount is so small that it's negligible. Mind you, the sources that said bicarb soda wasn't the best were tryng to sell alkaline buffers, so perhaps thats why.

And you are correct, pollution is not a concern in this. Anyway, if anyone feels that I'm approaching this the wrong way, please jump in, otherwise Seachem's Equilibrium and Bicarb Soda is the route I'll take.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-12-2010, 10:21 PM
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ding ding ding we have a winner!!!!

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamivy View Post
Sorry, bad grammar in my sentance. I was referring to the sodium in Bicarb Soda, not epsom salts - some opinions I read say adding any sodium to the planted aquarium is not a good idea, other opinions say the amount is so small that it's negligible. Mind you, the sources that said bicarb soda wasn't the best were tryng to sell alkaline buffers, so perhaps thats why.

And you are correct, pollution is not a concern in this. Anyway, if anyone feels that I'm approaching this the wrong way, please jump in, otherwise Seachem's Equilibrium and Bicarb Soda is the route I'll take.
I'm not selling you a thing (I could quick add some baking soda to my store if you'd buy it!) and I will say that baking soda(sodium bicarbonate) is fine.


The question is do you really need it.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Well, everything i've read says a dKH of under 3 means you are likely to have ph swings. Is this true? I've asked Tom Barr this on a current thread at aquariumlife, he hasn't replied yet, but from his comments in previous posts on that thread, raising the KH is of no importance, thus my confusion about whether the ph swing view is accurate or not. He did say this however: "Adding a little more KH to your dosing will only help if you rely on KH as carbon source for those plants that use it, but since you dose CO2.......then KH is not used, only CO2, the much preferred form of carbon." (He was talking to someone with a high tech tank at the time) Since I'm not dosing CO2, and have a dKH of 0, I infer from this comment that raising the KH would presumably be beneficial for the plants in my low tech tank? I could have completely misunderstood his comments, (not unheard of!)and I am quite confused about it now, so am hoping for clarification. What is your opinion on the ph swing theory when dKH is under 3 overstocked?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 02:33 AM
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Put a bag of coral in your filter and you'll be fine. No need to add Bicarb soda. The carbonate from CaCo3 will do. Plus it will raise your PH and supply Ca. You'll need to add Mg (epson salt) as well.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-13-2010, 02:40 AM
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or any RO mineralization buffer.

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