using remineralising agents with EI and RO water

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by chris1004, 14 Jan 2009.

  1. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    Hi can anyone help me with my concerns. If I use a reminaralising agent with Ro water whilst using EI dosing I am concerned that I may be adding too much trace mix as the contents of the remineral+ that I am currently using include trace elements as well as potassium and magnesium which I will also be adding via the macro solution. Also I was wondering if there was a formula that I could use alongside EI dosing (I have got a handle on that) wherby I just add a teaspoon of this and another of that per degree KH/GH that I wish to achieve. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    In terms of the re-mineralisation salts and the trace mix, you dont need to worry. You cant really overdose trace and to be honest the more the merrier! The whole point of EI is to give the plants more nutrients than they need so that they are never deficient. If the tank already has some nutrients in it from the re-mineralisation salts and you add more, thats no bad thing :)

    In terms of the GH/KH, I belive half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda per 100 Liters raises the KH by about 1 dH. Im not sure about the GH.

    Sam
     
  3. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    I thought that would be the case with the trace elemants but I think I kind of worded my question wrongly this morning and it was more of a leading question than direct. So I will try again.

    At the minute I am paying about a tenner for a 250g pot of remineral+ which does last quite a long time but it contains many of the same (?) ingredients as I will be dosing with the EI dosing regime that I am contemplating switching to, worse to my mind than the seemingly unnecessary duplicity is that I will have no knowledge of how much x or y is going into my tank. I do get the "estimative" bit but I would still like to know.

    Now if I haven't misuderstood things completly and I am dosing NPK and trace in sufficient ammounts then all I now need from my remineralising agent is to raise the kh/gh to my desired parameters. Or are there other elements which may be added by my current agent that are required specifically by the fish? From what I can assertain from the list of ingredients on the packaging it doesn't seem so. But I am not a chemist either, far from it I drive a lorry to keep the wolfs from my door.

    Two particular powders which I have noticed whilst on the AE website are GH booster and Calcium sulphate (caso4). there are two referances there as well about mixing. Either by mixing caso4 with mgso4 at a ratio of 3:1 or by using the premixed gh booster which contains caso4, k2so4, mgso4 anfd feso4 which may all also help with the dosing of the tank for the plants, I think?

    If anyone has any help I would appreciate it particularly with regard to making certain that my fish have all that they need from the water (plants I can loose without tears).
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Firstly you should stop worrying about raising GH/KH because there is not really an inherrent plant requirement for any particular value of GH/KH. This only serves to complicate your life. Yes, plants do need small quantities of calcium, sulfur and magnesium which may not be present in any of your dosing powders, but the required values are so low that they are easily accomplished by simply adding a teaspoon or so of GH Booster (or of the brand name stuff) per week. Most people have sufficient quantities of these ingredients in their tap water and can simply remineralize using a percentage of tap. From the plant's perspective I would not bother buying brand name remineralizing agents when Gh Booster does what you need it to do for a much lower price. The GH value simply reflects the level of Mg and Ca in the water, that's all. There is no need to be fussy about achieving some special target level. I wouldn't even bother trying to raise the KH. I've not seen any negative effects of low KH, or of high KH for that matter, except for perhaps a couple of species which do better in low KH water.

    So really, just dose the EI values and add a teaspoon or two per week of whatever reminerlaizing agent you have and call it good. I mean, really, forget about all those mixing ratios. These minerals are to plants what vitamin tablets are to us. Think about the size and weight of vitamin pills you would use in a week compared to the amount of meat you would consume in the same time period. It's not even close. NPK/CO2 rules the roost. Concentrate on this because NPK [is the meat and CO2 is the potato. The rest of the ingredients just need to be non-zero. :D

    Hope this helps...

    Cheers,
     
  5. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    Thanks ceg4048 (or may I call you clive?). I have read an awfull lot about things in general on this forum and thanks to you and others like you I feel I have learnt an awfull lot since joining UKAPS about 3 weeks ago I can't thankyou enough for the time and effort that you have put into this forum I have found the entire subject of dosing, particularly with the ei regime, enlightening. Overall I have spent an awfull lot of time on this forum recently just reading through older posts mainly and gaining snippets here and there.

    Anyhow aside from my personal thanks I do get the not worrying to much about the dosing levels bit with EI which to be honest is one of the reasons why it is so attractive, that and the not relying on a test kit thingy. And when I considered that I was already doing 2x20% water changes a week before coming onto this forum it wasn't a great step to take to go full EI.

    Ultimatly I keep my tank for the fish, everything has to be based around them first, plants are second, so my fears/concerns are chiefly to do with making certain that my fishes needs are catered for and that nothing that I do damages them. My concern about raising the KH in particular is because I use 100% RO water and I set the KH to around 4-5 degrees. I keep the water above KH4 so that I am in no danger of a PH crash (which could seriously damage my fish) and i like the GH on the softish side to suit the fish that I keep. My tap water is very hard and alkaline and to be honest would probably be a cichilid (lake Malawi etc.) keepers dream. The limescale that our tapwater leaves behind in the kettle has to be seen to be believed there is no way I would be happy to keep my fish in it (the tapwater not the kettle :) ). Collecting rainwater isn't really an option for me either so RO it has to be I am affraid.

    Therefore my hangups about the GH/KH are really about the fish as opposed to the plants.

    I hope I have understood it right that I can use the GH booster with no fears as it works out a lot cheaper, thanks again for all your help.
     
  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    You can forget about this too :) The only time I have ever experienced a pH crash was due to a piece of proper bogwood that was removing the KH and it didn't seem to affect the fish at all. A normal tank (without proper bog wood) will run fin on 1KD.

    Lots of people run tanks with undetectable levels of KH with no problems.

    Sam
     
  7. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Sam's dead right here. The KH in all my tanks is 0 and I've never had any losses due to the pH. pH is the symptom of problems, not the cause. Something happens which causes problesm in the fish, they die, you test the water and the pH has dropped too and instantly it was a pH crash that killed them!

    The only time I'd want to have some buffering capacity in the water would be with very messy fish as large amounts of watse generate acids that will deplete it and lead to large amounts of waste by-products building up. However lots of large water changes will prevent this too.
     
  8. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    One of the problems in this hobby is that of conflicting advise. Now I have been keeping fish for quite a while and have read a few books on the subject and talked to other experienced fishkeepers and sales staff within aquatic shops and read many online articles. Some say this and some say that and opinions whether based on fact or not are freely offered. And when I say this I am not meaning to disrespect your advise to me in any way shape or form whatsoever if it works for you and you are happy taking the risk (if indeed there is one) then I wish you all the luck in the world. However the way I see it is that if there is ANY chance of avoiding somthing which COULD happen especially when its not critical that I need to keep the KH lower than 4 then why take the risk?

    I do have some real bogwood in my tank but I suffer from quite the opposite syndrome of my KH rising albeit very slowly. Now I believe this may be due to the gravel not being as inert as I was promised by the salesperson in my LFS but I haven't checked it yet but I can't think what else it could be as I don't have any rocks in the tank. Still I don't have to worry about any of this anymore because as long as I put in 50% kh4 each week I can happily bury my head in the sand (or gravel :) ) so to speak.
     
  9. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I do understand your point of view but believe me I have some very rare and precious fish that I keep in these conditions.

    The actual conditions many fish in the wild experience are similar to these and the levels of hardness in SA waters are even lower than this! There is no 'risk' involved in softer water at all. Do remember pH of the water is more symptom of any problems than any kind of a cause.
     
  10. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    Lots of people say there is 'risk' though Ed especially if you are also pumping in co2. I take your point of it being lower in the wild but other than making the point that the fish and the plants may prefer it that way keeping a relativly small body of water that stable with no buffering capacity in place is surely ( :?: ) walking the preverbial tightrope. Especially when you consider that most of our tanks do not in any way shape or form give a true respesentation as to the stocking densities of both plants and fish per gallon/litre or whatever that would be found in the wild and/or species found residing together in close proximity. Coupled with that is the regular addition of chemicals whether they be ferts or ortherwise and man made foods which we feed to the fish. Again not found in the wild. Add to that concoction artificially high levels of co2, subject the whole lot to intence lighting and keep the temperature stable (which again doesn't happen in the wild).

    The point that I am trying to make is that it is surely dangerous to fall back on the "well its like this in the wild" argument when discussing our tanks as most tanks are simply not a true representation of such parameters nor could they ever be by the very definition of "wild".

    I am certain that you wouldn't deliberatly put your fish in any peril its just this old thing of conflicting advise again, coupled with me prefering to er on the side of caution. Perhaps one day I may grow a set of khonas big enough to go against the grain but for now I'll stick with what I have because I just don't need to go any lower.
     
  11. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham

    I do understand your reluctance but you're worrying about something that doesn't effect the fish. pH is a symptom of various things in the water that the fish are sensitive to, not the actual thing they are sensitive to. If you inject CO2 with a solenoid to turn it off you are 'subjecting' your fish to a pH change of 1 degree twice a day! Do they mind? No as the pH of the water isn't something they seem to react to. I even know someone who kept Neolamprologus brichardi (pulcher), a sensitive Tanganyikan cichlid, in slightly acidic water and they thrived due, we thought, to the high hardness of the water. If you read any book it will tell you that Tanganyikans will rapidly die in acidic conditions. (By the way their water was not intentionally acidic but he doesn't test his tank water regularly unless there's something wrong.)

    You are attaching too much importance to pH and, by a consequence of that, to the temporary hardness of your water. There is no 'tightrope' to walk so the analogy is flawed. I was not trying to use the 'it's like it in the wild' arguement to make out that you have to keep your tank like this. My point was that many of our fish, especially the rarer small shoaling fish we tend to use in planted tanks now, experince conditions where it's lower than we use.

    By all means add some buffering capacity to your water - you just don't need to!
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    I'm in total agreement with Ed. There is no correlation between pH (or pH stability) and fish health. Fish health is much more dependent on clean water and nutrition than pH. Ed breeds some of the most delicate and sensitive freshwater fish and in most case the lower the pH the higher his success. If low pH was an issue his success rate and that of other breeders would surely be adversely affected. CO2 injection increases the acidity of the tank by 10X or more at peak injection rates. Water changes raise the pH instantly, and overnight pH rise due to solenoid shutoff has similar effects. No adverse affects have been noted either long or short term. It's very easy to blame pH for fish ailments but this is simply an illusion. In the same way people have been blaming nutrients for algae when it turns out that it's the lack of nutrients that causes algae.

    Cheers,
     
  13. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    Ed, I am not trying to pick a fight with you here but I do love a debate as it can so often lead to a better understanding of an issue so I appologise now if the following seems rude and/or ignorant.

    How you can say that the ph doesn't effect the fish when nearly all the literature that I have read clearly states that it does? I am not worried at all about a ph change of 1 degree or so over the course of a day but the possibility of a ph crash does.(i.e where the water becomes so acidic that my fish may perish as a result.) Fact is it can (and does) happen, it may well be a syptom of somthing else being wrong within the tank but with no buffering capacity within the kh value there can't be any room for error and its my understanding that if a ph crash does occur it can happen quite quickly and may prove lethal to the fish.

    PH aside for a minute, why would I want to take the KH below 4 anyway? what benifits does it offer? Maybe if I want to breed discus or other delicate soft water species maybe. Even then I doubt it would be necessary, as you quite rightly pointed out fish are very adaptable and there are more important things like diet and sanctuary that effect breeding success than just water quality. But I'm not trying to breed these fish and if I were it certainly wouldn't be in a tank where co2 was being injected either so my fears of having a low kh wouldn't be as heightened.

    Aswell as the PH/KH issue, and please correct me if I am wrong but if I try to achieve 30ppm of dissolved co2 in water with a kh of 0 then I will have to pump in far more co2 than I would to achieve the same ratio of ppm in water with a higher kh value. Not only that but according to chucks co2 calculator the ph would be around 6.0 as opposed to 6.6 with a kh4 value and is therefore 6 times closer to any toxic ph values that may or may not exist (but I am sure that eventually the water can be made too acidic for fish to exist). Or have I got hold of the wrong end of the stick again :? ?
     
  14. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    Hi, you posted the above whilst I was replying to Ed so my previous post was excluding your comments. I do agree entirely with your thoughts of the ph not adversly effecting the fish, but only to a point. There surely is a tolerance range within which they are happy and this as documented in all books and will be species dependant.

    However there must surely come a point where fish cannot survive whether it be below ph 6 or ph5,4,3,2,1 etc. They cannot survive in battery acid for instance (a bit extreme but you get my drift). My fears are ONLY about avoiding a possible ph crash with a very low kh.
     
  15. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    :oops: :oops: :oops:

    The penny drops......

    I've read this through again and walked away for a bit, had a think and it hit me like a sledge hammer the truth finally gets through....Still us truckers do have a reputation of being strong in the arm and thick in the ed... :lol: :lol:

    30ppm co2 is 30ppm co2 is 30ppm co2 regardless of the kh/ph value. Its just that the PH changes in direct correlation to the KH. So if there was a problem with say the co2 injection wherby it rises to a dangerous level for the fish the PH value would become more acidic but it would be the excess co2 which caused the damage and not the acidity regardless of the KH value and it would cause just as much damage to the fish at KH0 as it would at KH20......DOH!!!!! :D
     
  16. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    When injecting CO2, having a lower kH means the ph would drop further than it normally would.

    For instance tank "A" has pH 7, kH10 - the CO2 injection may only lower the pH to 6.8
    Tank "B"also has a pH of 7, but kH4 - the CO2 injection will lower the pH further, to 6.6
    This is the wrong way round. High kH means it is harder to inject CO2. Low kH is easier to inject CO2.

    Although dont worry because for what we call a high kH in this hobby it will make the slightest difference in difficulty to inject CO2. Unless you had a kh of 30dkh+ for example!
     
  17. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Chris I never thought you were doing any of the above at all. I love a good debate too and have found, especially since starting teaching, that you don't really understand anything until you have to explain it to someone else.

    Also bear in mind with this hobby that lots of people will tell you that adding phosphate and nitrate to your tank will cause algae! :lol: I think the importance on pH levels for fish is a similar myth; I think the TDS, hardness and other factors are the important ones and the pH is simply one easily measurable element that changes as a result of these. CO2 messes that up somewhat by altering the pH without changing these other factors.
     
  18. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

    Messages:
    565
    Until I came on this forum I was running a phosphate remover in my filter :oops: and trying hard to keep the nitrates as low as possible :oops: and testing with a home test kit to the point of paranoia :oops: .Thanks to the advice from my LFS and a couple of books that I have read with regard to keeping plants and, getting rid of / keeping at bay, algae. Although for me algae has never really been a big problem, but then perhaps I have just been lucky 8) , or maybe 5oto's, 1SAE, a pleco, a uv steriliser and 2x20% water changes a week worked ;) .

    Of course I thought I was doing everything right because I was doing it by the book.... :rolleyes:

    Three weeks on and I am introducing PO4, K and NO3 in large quantities (at least it seems that way at the moment because I am not used to it :wideyed: ), not only that but I have learnt a new lingo, mgso4, kh2po4, k2so4. My lighting has been checked and slightly modified, I have tripled my water flow and now I am happy with the water chemistry bit to. :D .

    I have dosed just twice with NPK and once with the trace elements so far and already I can see a marked improvement in the growth and colour of my plants, and I thought that they were ok before :!: The second 50% water change is due tommorow so my first proper week of EI is next week (the ferts didn't arrive until tuesday just gone, which was good service as I only ordered them on sunday from AE).

    Thanks guys for all your help, and thanks Ed for your patience.

    As Clive might say "I have been assimilated" :lol: :lol:
     
  19. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Have read this thread with great interset, it answers many of the questinso people ask with CO2. Worth remembering for future reference :)

    This is not correct, Arron :) CO2/KH/pH is a fixed relationship. 30ppm co2 drops the pH by a fixed amount (1pH point in fact :)) regardless of the starting KH.

    Also, adding 30ppm co2 to water of 20KH is just as easy as it is adding it to water wil 1KH,

    Sam
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice