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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan on doing a full planted 20 gal. I have a ro system on the way as my tap levels vary weekly. I want to use 100% ro. I will be using fluval stratum lava rock and mobani wood. My filtration is a sunsun 604 w matrix and purigen.
I currently have (seachem) equilibrium, acid buffer, alkaline buffer
I will use the following live plants
Ammania gracilis
Water sprite
Dwarf hair grass

I will use the following breeds of fish
Neon tetra
(Hopefully) shrimp
And an undecided center piece

What parameters should I aim for? And how can I achieve them?

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628 Posts
Well you can reconstitute RO water with Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate. I've had luck mixing RO with tap water. I just read a post that suggested 4 to 8 dGH. You should have at least 4 dKH in in my opinion. When it comes to TDS I don't know but I heard 150+ is too high. Your pH will probably be fine. You have both of the buffers but I don't think they will be necessary. Maybe that Alkaline Buffer will be what you use to get your dKH. Your going to need something with CO3. You could experiment with crushed coral in a filter bag to add Calcium and CO3. Salty Shrimp gets a lot of recommendations as an RO water reconstitution mix. It's a 2:1 ratio of Calcium and Magnesium according to another post so the filter sock of crushed coral wouldn't throw your ratio too far off by adding more Calcium. Sounds fun. Wish my tap water wasn't so good.

I haven't used Equilibrium. It says it doesn't have Chloride or Sodium. So I think that will be better than the Calcium Chloride. Looks like you already have a good plan. A combination of Salty Shrimp and Equilibrium might be the ticket to evening out the Sulfate and the Chloride.
The filter bag of crushed coral would add pure CaCO3.
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75g, 40g, 20g
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My biggest problem with Equilibrium is that it adds a lot of potassium (K) to the water. Depending on what you do for macro nutrient dosing, you will probably end up with too much K.
A better way to go is individual salts from someone like NilocG.
CaSO4 for Calcium
MgSO4 for Magnesium.
K2CO3 is typically used to raise your dKH (look on EBay).
To give you an idea what I am doing (use Rotalabutterfly for dosing calculations), I dose my drum of RO water to 16ppm Ca, 5ppm Mg, and 1dKH. This results in around 75ppm TDS. Your pH will depend partially on your source water, but expect your degassed pH to be under 7.

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I agree with Immortal1. I moved away from Equilibrium because the ratios were not as correct as they should be. Seachem just made it as a general GH booster for planted tanks, but it has been around for a long time and the other dry dosing methods that have popped up lately are far superior.

After buying the NilocG multi pack and using dosing calculators I can control each of the majors and ratios of micros and the plants are doing much better and it is much easier to maintain a dosing schedule and know with a fair amount of certainty your Macro/Micro levels.

If you are not going to get into ferts and dosing then at least look at one of the newer GH booster products as they are better suited for planted tanks IMO. Examples would be NilocG and Barr's GH boosters which seem to be better tailored for a planted tank.

As for parameters, just target a good range and keep it stable. Stability is more important that any targeted parameters. Look at the variations in these user tank parameters:

Wide variations from everything from KH/GH, Micros, Macros but if you go look at their tanks, they are all beautiful.
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