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Problem raising GH

firstman

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Hi all, I have a 40 gallon planted tank and I am trying to raise my GH to around 4-5 degrees from 1 degree using Seachem Equilibrium at the dosing rate recommended. I am testing GH/KH with Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit. When I add Equilibrium the KH goes up to around 5 degrees, which is good, but the GH stays the same.

Has anybody else had this problem? Either using or not using this product? Any recommendations?

Please give any info you may have. Thank you in advance.
 

JamesC

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Are you sure that you haven't got your test kits mixed up? Only say this as Equilibrium doesn't affect the KH and only raises the GH.

James
 

firstman

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Can only go by what the bottles say. They clearly say GH/KH right on them. And the instructions say that the KH will turn the test water blue after the first drop and then keep adding one drop at a time until it turns to its yellow endpoint, and that is what happens with the bottle labeled KH. So I could only assume that the bottles are correct. ;)

The GH is supposed to turn orange after the first drop and end up green. But it is a yellowish-green after the first drop, never have I seen it turn orange, or ever really seen it turn green for that matter. No matter how many drops I add.

Have been wondering if there is a better GH test kit I could get that is a little more precise/clear. :?
 

JamesC

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I've used the Hagen ones in the past and found them to be pretty good, BUT don't take what any test kit tells you as gospel. I've never used the test kits you have so am afraid I can't be much help there.

The main reason that many people suggest not to use test kits is for the very reason that you are having. You are trusting the test kits and then thinking that something is wrong. I can guarantee that adding Equilibrium will not affect KH and will raise GH as indicated on the side of the bottle. I've used it before and it does what it says. If your test kits are telling you differently then they must be wrong.

James

**EDIT**
It could also be possible but highly unlikely that the label is wrong and you haven't got Equilibrium but Alkaline Buffer instead. This would raise KH and keep GH the same.
 

firstman

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JamesC said:
It could also be possible but highly unlikely that the label is wrong and you haven't got Equilibrium but Alkaline Buffer instead. This would raise KH and keep GH the same.
No it is definitely not Alkaline Buffer. I have it, and Acid Buffer, and they look nothing like Equilibrium. Good thought though.

JamesC said:
The main reason that many people suggest not to use test kits is for the very reason that you are having. You are trusting the test kits and then thinking that something is wrong.
If you don't use a test kit to monitor your levels. Then how would you know where you stood? How would you know that you needed to add a product like Equilibrium? Or that levels were ok?

JamesC said:
I can guarantee that adding Equilibrium will not affect KH and will raise GH as indicated on the side of the bottle. I've used it before and it does what it says.
Seachem has a very good reputation and I trust that their products do as advertised. That's why I am so confused about the test results.

JamesC said:
If your test kits are telling you differently then they must be wrong.
That's what I am afraid of. Will need to go out and get a new test kit and see if it works better.
 

Themuleous

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firstman said:
JamesC said:
The main reason that many people suggest not to use test kits is for the very reason that you are having. You are trusting the test kits and then thinking that something is wrong.
If you don't use a test kit to monitor your levels. Then how would you know where you stood? How would you know that you needed to add a product like Equilibrium? Or that levels were ok?

For the very reasons you are having :) there can be a tendancy to use tesk kits to make sure things are ok in the tank, when in actual fact the fish and plants are a much better indicator of how a tank is doing than any test kit. People can find themselves desperately trying to fix a 'problem' when one doesn't in actually exist. Similarly, most fish and even some so called 'sensitive' fish are highly adaptable to a range of water conditions these day.

Stability is far more important than the specific detail of any given water parameter.

Sam
 

firstman

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Apparently I am under the wrong impression. In most things that I have read the consensus is that the majority of plants prefer a range of 3-6 degrees GH. I am not an expert and this info may be out-of-date. IDK. I understand that there are signs that will let you know there is something wrong. Don't really want to wait until there is something wrong, to know there is something wrong, when I can just monitor levels regularly. But that is just me.

I am not having any problems with my tank or growth. I want to raise the GH to see if there is any difference in growth rate. But as far as everyday parameters are concerned, my tank is very stable.
 

JamesC

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firstman said:
If you don't use a test kit to monitor your levels. Then how would you know where you stood? How would you know that you needed to add a product like Equilibrium? Or that levels were ok?
I use RO water so I know exactly what goes in to the water in respect to added nutrients. As long as I do regular water changes I know the upper limits of what nutrients are possible in the tank. With GH and KH I add back in exactly what I remove with the water changes so levels remain very constant. If you use tap water then the most accurate way to find your hardness levels is to look at your water boards website.

Plants actually use very little in the way of GH and can live quite happily when levels are as low as 2 dGH. A lot of plants can also live happily when the GH is 10+, but saying that having a GH of between 3 and 6 is a good level to have and will grow virtually anything.

I used to do lots of testing in the early days and to be truthful I actually think it did more harm than good as I was always trying to chase levels which probably a lot of the time were inaccurate.

James
 

ceg4048

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firstman said:
Apparently I am under the wrong impression. In most things that I have read the consensus is that the majority of plants prefer a range of 3-6 degrees GH.
It's questionable whether those that comprise the consensus actually understand or can explain the reason(s) they claim that this range is supposedly preferable. That range is a nice target, but there is nothing magical or even urgent about it. It's more important to understand what GH is and what attributes about it are important to plant growth. So the better question is "What is GH and why is it important for plants?". An explanation can be found in this sticky All About Water Hardness

Cheers,
 

chris1004

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Hi firstman/all,

I understand exactly where you are coming from on this one but don't have a diffinitive answer for you. All I can say is that I have recently been using equilibrium and can confirm what James has said in that it doesn't raise KH at all. I can also confirm that the API test kits that you are using should turn the colours that you are saying, and despite there inaccuracies are the best indicater that we have available, just take the results as ball park figures instead of precise in particular the nitrate test results which are pretty much useless on home testing kits.

Have you tried adding some equilibrium to ro or distilled water then measuring the results? It may be that your adding the equilibrium to tapwater with an already very high KH which is confusing you.

To be honest with you I am not all that impressed with equilibrium and I'm intending to change my remineralising agent in the near future (going to give james's remineralising recipe a bash).

I used to use dennerlle remineral+ and found it very good and had no issues with it but thought that I would give equilibrium a try as its supposed to be a dedicated planted tank remineralising agent. So far though I'm not impressed.

Regards, Chris.
 

JamesC

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I used Equilibrium to 'rebuild' RO water and didn't like it at all. Most of it is potassium sulphate which won't affect GH and it raises the TDS to silly levels. Some plants I found didn't approve of this so I had to stop using it and formulate my own recipe.

But if you have soft water and wish to add some potassium, calcium and magnesium then it should be fine to use as long as you don't add too much trying to raise your GH.

I wouldn't worry about GH as long as you have some, it's the KH value which is of much greater importance and needs to be low for a variety of plants.

James
 

firstman

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chris1004 said:
Hi firstman/all,

Have you tried adding some equilibrium to ro or distilled water then measuring the results? It may be that your adding the equilibrium to tapwater with an already very high KH which is confusing you.

No I haven't added it to RO or DI H2O. I am not confused about the KH going up. I am using Alkaline and Acid Buffer together to help maintain pH levels and the increase in KH is expected. I just can't figure out why the Gh will not rise at all.I contacted my local water supply and they reported the water supply in our area to be very soft at 16mg/L. When I added enough Equilibrium to my water to raise the GH to approximately 6 degrees, the test showed no increase. :? Well, I didn't add all the Equilibrium at 1 time, I did enough to raise to 3 degrees, partial water change, then added more to increase additional 3 degrees. Should have had Gh of around 4-5 degrees. But this wasn't the case. Stayed at an undetectable level. :twisted:

To be honest with you guys, I am still pretty 'green' when it comes to the planted aquarium and its requirements. Don't really know how to tell if there is something wrong by the way a Ludwigia Repens looks. Or if there is something wrong because there is a bit of brown algae on the edges of a couple leaves. Have no idea. I just want to do what is best for my plants and fish friends alike.
 

firstman

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JamesC said:
Some plants I found didn't approve of this so I had to stop using it and formulate my own recipe.
Do you know off hand if the Amazon Sword if particularly sensitive to Equilibrium? I am noticing some 'white-washing' of the leaves. Not sure if this is because of the Equilibrium or from the product Rid-Ich+ I used to treat Ich from some YoYo Loaches I acquired. I know that I shouldn't have used it, switched to Maracide as fast as I could.

JamesC said:
But if you have soft water and wish to add some potassium, calcium and magnesium then it should be fine to use as long as you don't add too much trying to raise your GH.
Could you give me an approximate amount to use for a 40 gallon. My water is soft @ 16mg/L.

JamesC said:
I wouldn't worry about GH as long as you have some, it's the KH value which is of much greater importance and needs to be low for a variety of plants.
Ok thanks, my KH generally stays around 3 degrees. Don't think that is much of a problem. Is 16mg/L considered 'some' ?

Thank you to all who have helped me in my CRISIS :) and offered some advice to help me thru.


James[/quote]
 

chris1004

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firstman said:
Do you know off hand if the Amazon Sword if particularly sensitive to Equilibrium? I am noticing some 'white-washing' of the leaves. Not sure if this is because of the Equilibrium or from the product Rid-Ich+ I used to treat Ich from some YoYo Loaches I acquired. I know that I shouldn't have used it, switched to Maracide as fast as I could.

Thats almost exactly what has happened to my sword since starting to use equilibrium, the leaves have yellowed and in some cases completly erroded away / die off. When I look up plant defficiencies it would appear that this is probably due to sulphar which would be consistant with what James has said about pottasium sulphate being used in large quantities.

I am pretty sure that my dosing regime covers all the necessary bases with regards to nutrients as I tend to dose fairly heavily with both my macro and micro nutrients as well as having a good substrate and using flourish root tabs for my swords and crypts. Nothing has changed in a major way except my remineralising agent.

I am stumped as to why you can't raise your gh reading though, somthings definatly not right, can you get a gh reading with your test kit from tapwater? You should be able to compare that result from somone nearby so you know the test kit is working ok.

Regards, Chris.
 

JamesC

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firstman said:
I am using Alkaline and Acid Buffer together to help maintain pH levels and the increase in KH is expected.
The plot thickens!!!

Please, please, please do not use buffers in a planted tank and especially not the two together. Acid buffer is phosphoric acid and alkaline buffer is either potassium or sodium bicarbonate. Using these buffers really complicates the water chemistry and is most likely the cause of many of your problems. If your tap water is KH 3 then this is perfect for a planted tank and many would chop off there right hand to have this. I run my tank with a KH of about 1 and pump in CO2 like there is no tomorrow with no problems with a low pH. pH change due to CO2 is not a problem for livestock BUT pH change due to adding buffers is a problem as it changes the KH.

Once you have 'clean water' in your tank you may find your test kits work better. You say your KH is 3 which is excellent and your GH is 16mg/l. This doesn't mean much as I need to know 16mg/l of what. Is it Ca++ or CaO or CaCO3? I'll guess it's 16mg/l CaCO3 which would mean your GH is just under 1. From what it says on the side of the Equilibrium bottle work out how much you need to raise your GH by 2 to 3 and add this to the tank. Then everytime you do a water change add enough equilibrium to raise the GH by the same amount on the volume of the replaced water only. This will then keep your GH constant.

With regard to your plants it could be several things causing your problems. I don't know enough about your setup to be able to comment more but at a guess I'd start with CO2 and Nitrogen.

James
 
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