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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright guys and gals,

I have a 20 gallon long. I'm running co2 and medium-high light, EI daily rated for 20-40 gallon tank....but I've recently toned the KNO3 back just a bit to help promote reds in the tank...

Anyway, with the estimative index being all about not having to check parameters all that often I have for the first time checked my GH and KH and had previously been "experimenting" with adding magnesium (Epsom salt) and calcium sulfate (from a bag of plaster of paris). So I got myself the API GH and KH test kit and here is what my tap water and what my aquarium read:

Tap GH: 2dkh
Tap KH: 2dkh

Aquarium GH: 14 dkh:eek:
Aquarium KH: 6 dkh

I have been adding 1/2 Tsp of magnesium sulfate on days that I dose macros and once a week with water change I add 1/4 Tsp of calcium sulfate....Is my aquarium's water too hard? I have neon and glowlight tetras that seem to be fine. I did notice a few dead snails the other day which may have been a result of too much hardness? I don't know.

Eventually I'd like to keep cherry shrimp in this tank....what changes should I make to my dosing of magnesium and calcium?

- Garrett
 

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I also would like someone to chime in on this one as I have been suffering with Mg and Ca deficiencies lately. I too have 2 GH and 2 KH out of the tap with a tank GH and KH of much higher values.

My solution so far has been to dose enough Ca and Mg to buffer 2 dGH during water changes only. This ensures I have enough Ca for the week. I then dose a reduced Mg ammount with every Macro dose (1/16 tsp for 10 gallon tank 3 times a week).

If your GH and KH are too high, just do a large water change, then dose less for the following week was my solution.
 

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Figure out what GH is best for the livestock.
Soft water fish are generally best with GH in single digits (under 9 German degrees of hardness) and lower is better. A good target is 3-5 degrees.

Set the KH about the same.

Do this when you do a water change, then monitor it through the week.
If the plants are using so much of either Ca or Mg that the GH is dropping, then you might want to supplement it mid week. I have never had to add this mid week. Once a week, with the water change was enough.

Some substrates remove the carbonates from the water, so there are a few tanks where I have supplemented the KH mid week. (potassium bicarbonate or baking soda)

Good that you are supplementing both Ca and Mg, not just one or the other. Have you done a Ca test so you know what ratio to add these?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the suggestions. I will be implementing these into my next week of water change and dosing. I do not have a Ca test but I'll probably pick one up soon.

I made a mix of 3 parts CaSO4, 3 parts K2SO4, and 1 part MgSO4 and 1 tbsp raised 20 gallons by 3 degrees upon testing it.
 

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That sounds about right. Plants use Ca and Mg in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca to 1 part Mg. The water does not have to have that exact ratio, but more Ca than Mg is the way to go.

Adjusting the dosing so the level stays stable is a good goal, and should be pretty easy to do.
 

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FWIW, I believe Tom Barr has reported many times that reducing nitrates to bring out reds in plants is pretty much a myth.
 
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