Increasing GH in a mainly sword tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Increasing GH in a mainly sword tank

Hello all - Quick question - I just started recently dosing with the PDMM premix from Greg W. I have noticed that my kh is about 4 and my GH is only 1. I'm assuming between the CO2 and new lights that the swords are stripping it out of the water. I can't seem to remember if marine salt would increase GH (along with KH I assume) Is the dosing for that 1/tsp per 10gallon correct? Or with regular dosing of the PDMM premix that will increase (currently using 2 ml / day). Tank size is 135 gallon, 400 watts 6700 PC lights, and CO2 injection. PH is about 6.7 to 6.8.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 05:24 AM
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NMS:

My understanding of GH is that it reflects Ca and Mg (KH is carbonate). A quick and unscientific way to increase GH is to toss a few sea shells in the filter basket.

*What are the parameters out of the tap?
*Are you using DI?
*You can increase the sensitivity of drop titration tests by doubling the volume and halving the results.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 06:15 AM
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One can use Epsom Salts for the Mg and Calcium Chloride for Ca without increasing your pH, I believe. Some of us were talking about this on another thread recently. I use oyster shells to increase both KH and pH, but I have very soft water. Or talk to Rex Grigg, who really knows this stuff. bob





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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 03:52 PM
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Dare I suggest an aquarium product

Kent Botanica GH+ contains only calcium and magnesium. What I like about it is it's a liquid (no pre mixing or dissolving, although it needs shaked ), it's already blended, it doesn't cloud the water after you add it, and it contains no potassium (only calcium and magnesium)... although to some that may not be a benefit. To me it is, because I dose K seperately.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Funny - suggesting an aquarium product. Never would have thought to use one of those LOL God, must have spent a small fortunes on the various aquarium jungle juices over the years. Thanks for suggestion....
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypancistrus
Dare I suggest an aquarium product

Kent Botanica GH+ contains only calcium and magnesium. What I like about it is it's a liquid (no pre mixing or dissolving, although it needs shaked ), it's already blended, it doesn't cloud the water after you add it, and it contains no potassium (only calcium and magnesium)... although to some that may not be a benefit. To me it is, because I dose K seperately.
I used to use Kent's GH+ solution, too. I stopped because it's like 4 orders of magnitude cheaper to mix up one's own. This I have done since switching to the Greg Watson dry chemicals. Further, the stuff does not recite the relative abundance of Mg and Ca so it leaves you guessing if it's important for you to maintain a given [Mg(2+)] for your plants.

Like one of the earlier posters, I'm in a very soft water situation. Out of the tap my GH (and KH for that matter) are both at or under 1. New York City tapwater, yesss! Until recently, I'd been maintaining GH of about 3, but my swords were very wrinkly and I've decided to try upping the Ca.

I've been dosing magnesium to 10 ppm, and then making up the balance of my GH with CaCl2. Maintaining a GH of 3, this means Ca could be in short supply, so I'm upping my overall GH while maintaining Mg constant.

NOTE: GH UNITS, & TESTING.
1 dGH is ~17.9 ppm CaCO3, ~ 7.14 ppm Ca(2+).
Atomic wt. of Ca = 40
7.14 mg/l = (7.14/40)mol/liter = .179 molar.

That is, a solution which is 0.179M in Ca(2+) will test out at 1 dGH.

And since the test kits react the same with Ca(2+) as Mg(2+), it is also true that a solution which is 0.179M in Mg(2+) will test out at 1 dGH. Note, this is MOLES per liter, not GRAMS per liter. It makes a difference; be sure you understand why.

Figuring how to dose Ca and Mg to the required molarities is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.

Don't mess with seashells, coral, etc. hoping to get KH and GH right. For one thing, you don't know the Ca/Mg ratio in seashells or coral. It may well be that there's only vanishingly small Mg available, or it could be quite the reverse (and I imagine it differs between species of shells/coral). Coral dissolves sloooowly, and CaCl2 and MgSO4 dissolve instantly.

As for KH it's trivial to obtain baking soda and use it to modulate your KH as needed. Even here in NYC a box of the stuff is cheap, like 85 cents, and should last a very, very long time.


--Trapper

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-03-2005, 08:28 PM
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Holy cow, I'd have to be a chemist to understand all that!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapper
Figuring how to dose Ca and Mg to the required molarities is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.


I failed my high school chemistry tests... "moles" makes me recall how hard a time I had understanding it.

Hehe, I just want something I can add to raise my GH quick and easy! I figure that Kent Botanica GH+ already has balanced levels of calcium and magnesium (being marketed as formulated for planted tanks).
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypancistrus
Holy cow, I'd have to be a chemist to understand all that!





I failed my high school chemistry tests... "moles" makes me recall how hard a time I had understanding it.

Hehe, I just want something I can add to raise my GH quick and easy! I figure that Kent Botanica GH+ already has balanced levels of calcium and magnesium (being marketed as formulated for planted tanks).
Hyp.,

If you want a more thorough description of the calculations than that which I supplied above, just let me know. It's quite useful stuff, really.

Trapper

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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So is Ca or Mg the one that is in more demand by the swords? This I have a feeling will always primarly be a sword tank. So need more dry chems to make up the MG/Ca juice and individual kits. So does anyone make a good Mg kit that isnt like $65?
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomoresalt
So is Ca or Mg the one that is in more demand by the swords? This I have a feeling will always primarly be a sword tank. So need more dry chems to make up the MG/Ca juice and individual kits. So does anyone make a good Mg kit that isnt like $65?
First off, I have no idea about the test kit question. I've been happy with my GH test kit (Tetra).

I'm not sure whether Ca or Mg is more important for swords. I guess you could look around and see who's got great swords and just duplicate their water. If your water is really soft to begin with, it's easier to customize it with respect to GH.

--Trapper

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 02:45 PM
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapper
Hyp.,

If you want a more thorough description of the calculations than that which I supplied above, just let me know. It's quite useful stuff, really.

Trapper
What dummies like me need to know is simply how many teaspoons (or grams) of magnesium sulfate and how many teaspoons (or grams) of calcium chloride do I need to add per gallon (or 5 or 10 gallons) of water to raise GH by 1 degree of hardness.

For the life of me, I cannot find this information on Greg Watson's site, any forum threads, or any reference sites that are linked in forum threads, yet everyone always tells people to buy Greg Watson's products. (Maybe I'm missing it?) What's an amateur to do?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypancistrus
What dummies like me need to know is simply how many teaspoons (or grams) of magnesium sulfate and how many teaspoons (or grams) of calcium chloride do I need to add per gallon (or 5 or 10 gallons) of water to raise GH by 1 degree of hardness.

For the life of me, I cannot find this information on Greg Watson's site, any forum threads, or any reference sites that are linked in forum threads, yet everyone always tells people to buy Greg Watson's products. (Maybe I'm missing it?) What's an amateur to do?
Contact me outside the forum for this. montagnard[underscore]army[at]yahoo[dot]com

In about a page of e-mail or less I can get you totally up to speed for this GH problem.

Briefly, though:
IN PPM:
-------
The number for Ca(2+) is ~7.14 ppm Ca(2+) = 1dGH.
The number for Mg(2+) is (40/24) * 7.14 = ~11.9 ppm for 1dGH, where (40/24) is the ratio of the molecular weights of Ca and Mg.

MOLARITY:
----------
0.179M Ca(2+) = 1 dGH
0.179M Mg(2+) = 1 dGH


I hope this is helpful. Shoot me an e-mail if I haven't cleared it up. I have other tips for measuring chemicals, making stock solutions, and so forth.

--Trapper

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 04:58 PM
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Thanks for posting, but that isn't helpful. I don't need to know how much ppm = 1 degree hardness. What I (and I am sure many others) need to know is
Quote:
how many teaspoons (or grams) of magnesium sulfate and how many teaspoons (or grams) of calcium chloride do I need to add per gallon (or 5 or 10 gallons) of water to raise GH by 1 degree of hardness.
If I am sitting with the bags of powders from Greg Watson and need to measure them, mix them, and dissolve them so I can raise my GH, all of these equations and molecular weights aren't going to do me any good.

Why would it take a page of email? It seems to me it should take a short sentance!

I'd prefer to discuss it here. This is the kind of information that everyone needs to be able to benefit from... that's the whole point of having a public forum.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 05:53 PM
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Previously, I wrote:

****
IN PPM:
-------
The number for Ca(2+) is ~7.14 ppm Ca(2+) = 1dGH.
The number for Mg(2+) is (40/24) * 7.14 = ~11.9 ppm for 1dGH, where (40/24) is the ratio of the molecular weights of Ca and Mg.
****


I don't think I can say it more plainly, but I'll try. If you add ~7.14ppm of Ca(2+) to a solution, it will increase its general hardness by 1 dGH.

You obviously do not know what ppm means. It is "parts per million" which in our context is most conveniently thought of as mg/liter. So I have, in fact, told you what weight Ca to add.

I have informed you that you need to get 7ppm of calcium to increase GH by 1 dGH. You can supply this 7ppm of calcium by adding calcium chloride, CaCl2.

The question is how much CaCl2. It is a simple matter.

(1) You first consider the percent of each gram of CaCl2 that's Ca.
The molecular weight of Ca is 40. The molecular weight of CaCl2 is 40 + (2*35) or about 110. This means that each gram of CaCl2 is about 37% calcium. For example if you need, say, 1g of Ca and are supplying it with CaCl2, then you'll need (1.00/0.37) = about 2.7 grams CaCl2.

(2) You next decide how many grams total you'll need.
Let the volume of your imaginary tank = 100 liters;
Let the desired GH increase = 10 (i.e. by 71.4ppm in Ca)
So:
71.4 mg/l * 100l = 7140.0 mg = 7.14 grams of Ca.
7.14 grams = 37% of the weight of CaCl2 to add, therefore
add about 19.3 grams of CaCl2.

For Mg it's the same idea, but the numbers will change. Adding the same GRAMS of Ca and Mg will have a different outcome w.r.t. GH. Adding the same MOLES of Ca and Mg will have an identical outcome w.r.t. GH.

(remember, 0.179M in Ca or Mg = 1dGH)

--Trapper

p.s. this is the condensed version, inasmuch as it does not teach the basic chemistry you need to understand; and it's about a page of email. So nyah!

75g planted: flourite, XP3, 5lb CO2, pinpoint controller, DIY reactor,Amiracle skimmer box, 10g sump with 2 x 300w RENA heaters, 9W jebo UV, rio 1700 pump, 4 x 65W 10k/6.7k.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-04-2005, 07:57 PM
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I know what ppm is.

Quote:
(1) You first consider the percent of each gram of CaCl2 that's Ca.
The molecular weight of Ca is 40. The molecular weight of CaCl2 is 40 + (2*35) or about 110. This means that each gram of CaCl2 is about 37% calcium. For example if you need, say, 1g of Ca and are supplying it with CaCl2, then you'll need (1.00/0.37) = about 2.7 grams CaCl2.
How on earth was I supposed to know this? I ain't a chemist!

SO... 19.3 grams / 10 dGH = 1.93 grams for 1 dGH in 100 liters... 1.93 grams divided by 100 = .0193 grams for 1 dGH in 1 liter... .0193 times 3.785412 liters in one gallon of water...

So we add 73 milligrams (0.0730584516 grams) of Calcium Chloride per gallon of water to raise it by one German degree of hardness (dGH).

That wasn't so hard, was it? It sure didn't take a one page e-mail!

Now we are about half done! What about Magnesium Sulfate? Do we also add the same amount of Magnesium Sulfate per gallon of water? If I want to increase my GH by 1 dGH, do I add 73 milligrams of Calcium Chloride and 73 milligrams of Magnesium Sulfate per gallon? Or do I add 36.5 milligrams of Calcium Chloride and 36.5 milligrams of Magnesium Sulfate?
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