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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I prefer to mix my dry ferts with water and dose that way. If I dose dry my fish get all excited thinking it's food and then are very disappointed when they take a taste and find out it's not. Also, in the case of the GH booster is doesn't seem to dissolve very quickly leaving white spots & chunks all over the aquarium and plants. I've tried crushing it as good as I can but doesn't seem to help much. I'm not sure if GH booster can "burn" the plants or not if it sits on the leaves until it dissolves. Also noticed some of the white powder stuck on my fish. I know it will eventually dissolve but I just don't feel very comfortable with it that way.

I've tried boiling water first then adding the powder to the water but it still doesn't dissolve. Even boiled the water again and still didn't dissolve. Let sit for a couple days and still hadn't dissolved. And 1 tsp doesn't seem to dissolve very quickly in 60 or so gallons of water in the tank.

So .. does anyone know how to get the GH booster to dissolve? Or how much water is takes to dissolve 1 tsp?

Also, does it hurt anything dosing more GH Booster than is recommended using EI method? For example, in my 75 gal lowish light, low tech tank, it's recommended to dose tsp 1x weekly. I was experimenting with doing water changes every 2 weeks instead of weekly. However, I found my GH drops from 6 degrees to about 2 degrees in 2 weeks. I'm not sure why that is but thought I could dose GH booster 2x/week to see how that works out if there's no adverse effects in doing so. Just FYI, I'm using a modified EI dosing regime based on lower light and water changes less often .. EXCEPT for the GH booster.
 

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It is quite unusual that your GH booster is not dissolving in hot water (or even water that is reboiled).

Have you tried stirring it vigorously while heating it? It should dissolve then.
 

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I went to Walmart and bought a tea strainer with a fine mesh. I just dump the GH booster in there and swish it around the water. It isnt dissolved but it comes out in a fine white cloud that settles on the gravel and disappears withi an hour.

The stuff that doesnt fit through the strainer, I kind of manually smoosh it through with my finger, and the stuff that doesnt even go through then, I just dump in and it dissolves within a few hours. But thats usually only a trivial number of clumps.
 

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I grind mine with a pestle and mortar into a fine powder. Then I mix into room temp water. Very little particulate remains and if I pour it into the tank it disappears very quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I've tried mashing some of the bigger particles before and after putting it in boiling water. Still has some fairly big particles and some smaller particles left. And yes I stir it vigorously, mash some more, then put it back in the microwave and still has particles remaining. I usually try to pour the water mixture in the tank and then when I get to the bottom of the container pour it into the HOB filter but for some reason it doesn't usually come out and then when I add more water from the tank to the container the big chucks fall out.

I may try the stainer and/or mortar pestle options.

Appreciate all the relies. At least I know other people do get it more dissolved than I do so there's hope. LOL

EDIT: I should add that the GH booster is kept in my basement apartment which is kept pretty cool. Temps running around 60 degrees right now, so don't know if that might have anything to do with it not dissolving quicker even when boiled. I couldn't believe it didn't dissolve when boiled AND reboiled. I know the cold temps affect my Nitrate test kit solutions ... instead of shaking it for 30 seconds I have to shake it for almost a min. or even longer when it gets colder. I can tell if it's too "thick" when I put the first drop in the tube.
 

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I put the full dose in a pint canning jar with a good lid and shake it with tap water. Then I drain off the cloudy water into the tank, being careful to reserve the undissolved bits. Then refill the jar with more tap water, and shake it a lot, again. Repeat the draining/refilling until almost all the GH booster has dissolved. If I am treating a lot of water (lots of GH booster) that can be half a dozen times. Then I go ahead and dump the rest into the tank where there is good water movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Appreciate all the responses. So it's not just me that has problems with it dissolving ... that's good to know.

I just got concerned when some settled on the body of my fish and took a little while to go away. That was the first time that happened probably because they thought I was dumping in some food and swam right into it.

I'll keep trying different things from all the very good suggestions provided. Especially since I'm going to try dosing it 2x/week ... my GH seems to be dropping now during the week. It used to stay stable.
 

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If you have a HOB filter you could drop it in there. The constant water movement will dissolve it, though it might take all day. That is actually good. Slower change in hardness is easier on the fish.
 

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Even if you get some clumps into the water, it'll sit at the bottom, but eventually dissolve. Whenever I make a white mix (KNO3, KH2PO4, GH Booster, and sometimes KSO4), I shake it a whole lot and then put it down. And whenever I pick it up, I shake it a bunch. Eventually, all the solids dissolve. But in the meantime don't worry about adding too much to the tank at once (due to clumps) - in the long run, assuming you do regular water changes, it all evens out over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think I'll just put in all into the HOB filter then I won't have to worry about it. I wouldn't even have to pre-dissolve then if I didn't want to.

The tank water being so cool probably makes it takes longer to dissolve too.

Good point about slower change being easier on the fish. Hadn't really thought of it that way.
 

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About the pH dropping, I suggest testing your KH (buffer). Mine is 3, but that might be too low. You use baking soda (very little at a time) to increase the buffer.

I use Seachem Equilibrium, but it probably about the same as GH Boost. I mix it in my 5g new water bucket with 2-1/2 gallons and there is always a precipitate and white grains in the tank, and the water is a little bit cloudy for about 1/2 hour. It all dissolves.

You should find out what's eating the Equilibrium. My guess is bacteria and/or plants, especially if they're showing good growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's not the PH but [STRIKE]GH that started dropping[/STRIKE]. Nevermind about the GH dropping. I just checked my log while typing this and saw it's been steady at 3 since I started checking it a couple months ago. Was a different tank that runs about 6-7. Oops. :redface: Guess that's why I started using GH booster 2x/week. What is a good number for GH? I thought I read about 6-7 was good. Or does it really matter as long as it's steady?

My KH does run only about 3 dkh but holding steady now for several weeks since I changed my substrate to STS. I don't add baking soda but do have oyster shell grit in the filter.

Actually my PH skyrocketed 2 weeks ago. It's usually been about 6.4-6.8 at most but it went up to 7.6. I was experimenting with doing water changes every 2 weeks instead of weekly. And just a couple days before that water change is when it tested so high. I'm still testing some things weekly until I get ferts, new substrate, water change routine, etc dialed in. Don't think the every 2 weeks water change schedule is going to work out .. nitrates build up to much and the PH rises a lot. FYI, I do NOT dose KNO3.

After my last water change a couple days ago I used an airtight container and shook the daylights out of it, then poured a little into the tank but the bulk directly into the HOB. Added some more water, shook hard again, repeated until only a few smaller chunks was left which ended up in the HOB. That method seemed to work really good. I guess the shaking is way more effected than my mashing and vigorous stirring. LOL

So everyone's input and suggestions were helpful and very much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
After looking over my log for 75 gal tank .. thought my KH was holding steady but it did drop after this last water change. Funny how memory works or in this case didn't. lol

Had only started checking KH & GH when first got kits 8/30. Both had been at 2-3dkh for those couple weeks. I say 2-3 because I notice a very faint change at 2 but a bit better change at 3. I guess I really should call it 2 and that's what I eventually did later.

9/15 - changed substrate to STS .. I didn't note it but added baking soda after final fill. Also added 2 new large pieces of driftwood that had been soaking for almost a month outside. For about 3 weeks after the KH would drop to 1 .. GH stayed fairly steady at 2-3. Weekly 50% water changes. PH had been steady at either 6.4 or 6.6 (hard to tell exact colors on the chart) . At some point I doubled the amount of oystershell grit in the filter but didn't note what day.

10/3 - KH 1-2 .. GH 2 .. PH 6.2 or 6.4 .. added 2 tsp baking soda (at the time I hadn't calculated exactly how much to add so erred on low side) .. nitrates 20 .. this was last time KH dropped to 1 so assumed it was the STS still sucking it up .. until yesterday when it again dropped to 1.
10/6 - did 50% wc .. 1 tsp GH Booster .. after this experimented with every 2 wks water change while nitrates lower than normal
10/9 - Kh 2 .. added 4 tsp baking soda
10/11 - KH 3 .. for some reason didn't check GH or PH .. nitrates 30
10/13 - should have added 1 tsp GH booster but because this was the first skipped water change it appears I forgot or didn't note it not sure which.. KH 3 .. nitrates 30
10/16 - KH 3 .. didn't check GH or PH .. Nitrates 40-80 .. my chart it's impossible to tell difference
10/20 - 50% water change, then 1 tsp GH Booster .. 4 tsp baking soda
10/23 - KH 4 ... GH 3 .. PH 7.6 freaked me out .. never, ever been that high in this tank .. added 1 tsp GH booster after test was going to start adding 1 tsp 2x/week
10/27 - KH 3 .. GH 3 .. PH 7.4 or 7.6 .. nitrates between 40-80 .. added weekly dose 1 tsp GH booster
10/28 - brown diatoms back (had just gotten over them when I changed substrate) .. probably showed up a few days before this but this is when I realized I needed to move my Oto's from my unheated 10 gal to my heated 29 gal tank. Would have done it sooner but nothing for them to eat in the 29 gal. So this gives them something to eat and they clean my plants for me .. 1 or 2 at a time. :)
10/29 - GH 3 .. added 1/2 tsp GH boost after test -- was going to add every other day at lower rate but didn't quite work out that way.
11/2 - KH 3 .. GH 3 .. PH 7.0- dropping now .. nitrates 80 possibly higher but that's as high as the chart goes - never seen it that color before
11/3 - 50% water change .. 1 tsp GH booster. Then decided to go back to weekly changes since the high nitrates worried me
11/6 - 1 tsp GH Boost
11/9 - KH 2 ..GH 3 .. nitrates 30
11/10 - 50% wc .. 1 tsp GH booster
11/11 - KH 1 .. GH 3 .. PH 6.8 or 7.0 .. nitrate 30-40 ppm. Wanted to see what happened right after water change .. KH dropped from 2 degrees day before wc to 1 degree one day after. Will add baking soda tomorrow (should have done it already) and GH booster.

Last time I tested tap water was right before substrate change 9/15 .. KH 2 .. GH 3 .. PH 6.4 after about 5 mins .. 6.8 after 24 hrs .. 7.0 after 72 hrs.

Now that it's all type up and I've studied it more, noticed several things:
1) I need to be more consistent with checking the KH, GH and PH at the same time especially when making so many changes. I was so zoned in on KH because of the STS I failed to see changes elsewhere.
2) The PH rise corresponds to the 2 week water changes, lack of adding GH booster that one week and the re-appearance of the brown diatoms. If only I had done a test somewhere in that first 2 weeks.
3) KH seems more stable with longer time between water changes since tap water is low and probably one reason I was trying changes every 2 wks.
4) PH may rise in that time and the nitrates get way out there.
5) Either need to add baking soda weekly after water change or go 2 weeks between changes.

Sorry .. probably WAY too much info but helps me figure it out typing it up this way. What do you notice? Suggestions?
 

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Are you dosing NO3?
If not, then I would do water changes with the goal of keeping the nitrates under 40 ppm for sure, and under 20 would be better.
That may call for weekly 50% water changes.

I think the sporadic testing is creating more confusion than it should.

I would try this:
Plan once a week water change of 50%.
Test the tank before the water change and adjust the new water so the tank will have a set GH and KH. ie: If KH is too low in the tank, then boost the KH in the new water so high that the 50% water change will correct it. Same with GH. Write down what you did.

Test the tank mid week for GH and KH, and correct as needed. Write down what you did.

Set yourself up for success. Do not say you will test or add stuff daily, then skip it. Start by saying and doing a simpler schedule.

Go ahead and test and record the pH, too, but I would rather see the mineral levels maintain a stable level and not worry so much about the pH.

STS will remove carbonates. You will have to keep dosing for that. The oyster shell grit or coral sand will help replace some of it, but that substrate might be pretty greedy, especially at first.
1 teaspoon of baking soda in a 29 gallon tank will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.
1 teaspoon of baking soda in a 75 gallon tank will raise the KH by so close to 1 degree that I would go ahead and try that rate, then test and correct as needed. So, if you want to raise it 2 degrees in the large tank, add 2 teaspoons. You might actually need about 2.25 to 2.5 teaspoons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Not dosing KNO3. One reason for the weekly water changes.

Sounds good. What is good target numbers for KH & GH? I was actually adding about 4 tsp of baking soda to get KH up to solid 4 or 5. Is that too high?

Thanks for you help.
 
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