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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, another silly newbie question here. I was wondering how long calcium remains in the water column ? I do my water changes on Sunday, and was wondering if i should add a little mid-week . I don't have a calcium test kit , but my plants aren't showing any of the ' usual' calcium deficiencies so maybe my tap contains enough to sustain an acceptable level through the week... Just figured a little extra mid-week couldn't hurt as I have plenty on hand. I have a heavily planted 20 Gallon if that makes a difference.

Thanks in advance for any input !!

Jim
 

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Hi Jim. What are your water parameters? Do you measure the GH? If GH is mainly calcium and magnesium ions, then using a GH test kit (e.g. API liquid tests) would allow you to see if there is any variation in your tank water throughout the week. But unless your tap water is very very soft (very low GH) then I would have thought the amount you were adding to the tank with weekly water changes was more than sufficient, right?
 

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I have a heavy plant mass with high growth from a high-tech setup. Over a week, I see very little change in Ca levels and I generally try to maintain ~20ppm. This makes me think that, while Ca is critical, it is not consumed in large quantities. However, like many other nutrients, plants seem to need a lot of it surrounding them (as compared to how much they actually use) and a ratio range to other nutrients, such as K and Mg seems to be important. I believe that the implications in Mulder’s chart and ion balance do heavily influence the dosing aspects of Ca, as well as most nutrients.

Some suggest that Ca can become ‘stale’ by losing its’ positive charge and that the entire Ca ion then needs to be replaced by adding new Ca, such as through a water change. However, I have seen very little support for this theory in terms of impact upon plant health. I am more inclined to believe that an ion is an ion as far as plants are concerned. I was doing 50% w/c’s weekly until a month or so ago. I am now doing 50% bimonthly and have noted no difference in my tank health, although it is still early in this experiment. As I understand it, the positive charge is quick to leave, yet I see no sign of Ca deficiency.

So, to directly answer your question, without knowing anything about your Ca levels via a Ca or GH test, you seem to have enough and don’t need to worry about adding any. Plant performance will tell you when you need to start looking at making changes and you are not reporting any problems that appear to be Ca related.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank You so much for your input !!! I went and bought an API GH/KH test kit this afternoon, but i think it's broken !! LOL ...Seriously though, to test the GH, you add drops until it turns from orange to green. My problem is, from the first drop, it turns a light yellow color, almost looks like watered down lemon-aid, but it never changes ! I stopped at 20 drops !! LOL... Oh well... I believe my calcium levels from the tap are going to be just fine.

THANK YOU so much again for your input !! I always learn something with every visit here !!

Jim
 

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My problem is, from the first drop, it turns a light yellow color, almost looks like watered down lemon-aid, but it never changes ! I stopped at 20 drops !! LOL... Oh well... I believe my calcium levels from the tap are going to be just fine.Jim
This is normal, not sure it is broken.
The drops coming from the API bottle should be green, then turn yellow when they hit your sample (unless it is 0GH when the first drop will colour water green). It can be hard to see by the first few drops as the colour is pale, but try looking down through the length of the test tube (without stopper) with it stood on a white surface. The colour should be much easier to make out, compared to looking at the tube through the sides.

You did give the bottle a very good shake first, right? And a shake of the test tube between adding drops? I use my finger to cover the end to shake after each drop. Maybe the end of my finger will drop off in time, but I just can't bear to keep putting the cap on and off...

The yellow colour should get darker with each drop, but will stay yellow. Then with one drop it will suddenly pop green and you have your result. If you've already reached 20 drops (and assuming you've done all the shaking), then you're water is pretty hard and I really don't think you need to add additional calcium!

Is this the tank water you're testing, or your supply (tap) water? If it's your tank water and you've been adding additional calcium then I guess the high GH measurement makes sense! If this is your supply (tap) water then I guess you live in quite a hard water area?
 
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