Oh Wise Ones - Is My Rising TDS Related to Raising the KH/GH

Jonatk

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I am starting to get an algae problem after one year of having my 275L tank set up. I do a weekly 30% water change and remove debris from the gravel etc, and that keeps everything in check.
Water Quality normally
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0 - 5
ph 7.2
I treat every day with Easy Life Liquid C02 and Easy Life Profito once a week, although I have now changed to Excel Flourish C02
I had lost a lot of fish at the beginning of the year and I was pointed towards my KH and GH levels being low, virtually 0 for both. So I started adding NT Labs KH buffer and Seachem Equilibrium to my tank water.
Now the PH is 7.8, KH and GH are both 6 - 7 using the NT labs Test Kits.
I also bought a TDS meter. Tap water tests at 100 and the tank has slowly risen to 460.
Plants are starting to acquire algae on their leaves and 2 days after doing the water change the glass will have a slime build up on it. I also have pin head size pieces floating around in what was crystal clear water.
I have noticed that my floating plants, Salvina Natans aren't growing too.

Has adding the equilibrium increased in TDS and given the algae everything it needs to grow faster, Or is it something else?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Now the PH is 7.8, KH and GH are both 6 - 7 using the NT labs Test Kits. I also bought a TDS meter. Tap water tests at 100 and the tank has slowly risen to 460.
Any salts you add to the water, become ions and raise the conductivity. TDS measurements are actually conductivity measurements, just estimated from the conductivity (in microS) multiplied by 0.64 to give ppm TDS. A rise in TDS doesn't tell you which ions you've added, just that you've added some more.

If you raise the amount of water you change, then the TDS will fall. If you add 1/2 tap water then the TDS will fall to 280 ppm (100 + 460) = 560, then divided by 2. I'd cut back on the Equilibrium, and probably stop the KH buffer. It isn't a product I've used, but it may contain a sodium salt (probably NaHCO3) and there are much cheaper/better ways of adding dKH.
I have noticed that my floating plants, Salvina natans aren't growing too.
That is useful to know, it means that the growth issues aren't CO2 related. Could you get a picture of the Salvinia?
Easy Life Profito
Are you adding any other fertilisers? Profito doesn't contain any nitrate (NO3-) or phosphates (PO4---), despite what the sellers of Profito tell you, plants need lots of them, they are two of the three macro-nutrients (potassium (K) is the other one).

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
What are the GH and KH of your tap water?
The OP (@Jonatk ) should be able to get values from their watery supplier, but they are going to be fairly low, just because the TDS value is ~100ppm, meaning there aren't many ions of any description.

cheers Darrel
 

Jonatk

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Tyneside
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HI @dw1305, done a close to 50% water change tonight and the TDS is down to 316. I'll leave it another 24/48 hours before doing another. Typically what should the reading be?
Its been hard to get a picture of the Salvina. In general it is all very small with slight brown edging to the leaves and stunted roots. It used to need culling on a weekly basis. At the time I lost the fish, I also remember the java fern dying off too. ( see attached photo - holes in it ) I have had to start again with a lot of the plants. At the moment algae it forming on most surfaces. I have Purigen in the external to remove some tannins from the water at present, and I don't treat with any other ferts.
You mentioned cheaper ways to raise KH, what would you suggest. Should I still try to raise GH too.
Sorry about all these questions but there aren't any Aquatic shops in the North East with any decent knowledge.

Cheers
Jon
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
@Jonatk, the tank looks fine (like ) and your plants still look reasonably healthy.
Typically what should the reading be?
There isn't a set value, it depends on where you start. Basically if your TDS value keeps on rising you need to change a bit more water.

Have a look at <"Setting up a ...."> and <"No water change.....">.
n general it is all very small with slight brown edging to the leaves and stunted roots. It used to need culling on a weekly basis.
and I don't treat with any other ferts.
OK, your plants are now lacking one of the essential nutrients for plant growth, there are fourteen of them and plants need them all in differing amounts. Have a look at the <"Liebig's law of the minimum"> link (in the linked thread).

Because Salvinia is a floating plant you can discount carbon (C) and oxygen (O), the plant has access to these from the atmosphere. That leaves (in order of how much plants need of them)
  • The three macro elements, which are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) (but plants actually need a lot more N & K than they do P.).
  • The meso elements which are magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca) and sulphur (S).
  • and the micro elements (or trace elements) which are iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), boron (B), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo) and silicon (Si).
Your issues are likely to be around nitrogen or phosphorus, because they are lacking in your fertiliser and plants need plenty of them

My suggestion would be to try an <"all-in-one mix">. The cheapest option is as <"dry salts">, but other options <"are available">. The sellers of various fertiliser mixes imply that there is some <"secret ingredient with their mixes"> but, with the <"exception of iron">, it isn't true.

Because you have been adding the Profito trace fertiliser you are unlikely to be suffering from trace element deficiency, but because your water is now harder (from the Equilibrium and buffer) you might have iron deficiency issues, and these would show up in <"new leaves"> first.

I think both Equilibrium and Profito contain magnesium?, so levels should be OK.

If the nutrient lacking is mobile within the plant (which is most of them, with the exception of Fe and Mn) you should get a pretty quick growth response.
You mentioned cheaper ways to raise KH, what would you suggest. Should I still try to raise GH too.
You can raise both dKH and dGH you can do it with a calcium carbonate (CaCO3) based source. I usually suggest <"oyster/cockle shell chick grit">, but a bit of cuttle "bone" will also do, you can get these really cheaply from ebay etc for caged birds.

If you just want to raise dKH you can use potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), again you can buy this cheaply as "food grade" via ebay etc.

Have a look at James' Planted Tank <"re-mineralising agent..."> for some more details of ways of raising dGH and dKH.

cheers Darrel
 

Jonatk

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Thanks for all that, (@dw1305) I'll read those links tonight.
In the photos I had tried to show algae on the swords and anubias, and also the ferns with holes in.

Dry mix ferts seem to be the way to go for me. I'll place an order tomorrow.
I'm almost reluctant to raise the GH and KH again, because before that, the plants were doing great.
Would mixing the KH up and Equilibrium together in the same bottle have caused problems.

Cheers
Jon
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'm almost reluctant to raise the GH and KH again, because before that, the plants were doing great.
A lot of plants <"do better in softer water">, possibly because most nutrients are more available at lower pH.

Personally I would only add a small amount of buffering. I can get it from our tap water (from a deep limestone aquifer) and the rain-water I use in the tanks also has some amount of buffering. I measured alkalinity in one of the tanks at work a few years ago (in the lab., via an acid base titration) and the water was about 150 microS and had about 4dKH (assuming that all the alkalinity came from carbonates). I haven't measured any of the parameters lately (other than conductivity) because I know that the <"Duckweed Index"> and 100 - 150 microS works for me.

I add a <"small amount of "Epsom Salts"> (MgSO4.7H2O) to the tanks, mainly because it isn't going to do any harm and it is really cheap to buy, a kilo is about £4, and would last me for all of eternity.
I had lost a lot of fish at the beginning of the year and I was pointed towards my KH and GH levels being low, virtually 0 for both.
I don't know why your fish died (and it is horrible when it happens), but my guess is that it wasn't anything to do with water hardness. If you get water hardness (both dHG & dKH) <"data for the rivers and lakes"> that most of the fish, that we keep, come from they are really low

A lot of the "information" offered about hardness and pH stability is just plain wrong, some of it is because people are trying to help, but don't understand the science. I think <"pH and hardness is particularly problematic"> because pH is a ratio, and you can't extrapolate from hard to soft water.

My personal opinion is that there is also a certain amount of <"deliberate misinformation">, often from people who have an agenda of selling you products they know don't work.

I noticed last night when I was on the Seachem help forum that they have re-titled their acid and alkaline "buffers" as <"acid and alkaline "regulators">, I assume that this is because they have fallen foul of some regulatory body, because <"buffer"> is a chemically definable term and their "acid buffer" was an acid, not a buffer.

cheers Darrel
 

Jonatk

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7 Jan 2018
Messages
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Location
Tyneside
Ok. That's excellent Darrel, thank you.
Ive got oyster shell in the external and the dry mix ferts have been ordered. The TDS is down to 240.
I'm still getting what I think to be free floating algae spores after a day of doing the water change, but Ive knocked one of the lights of until I start dosing with the ferts.

Cheers
Jon
 
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