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Ca, Mg and Gh

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Frank Lawler, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    Hi everyone, perhaps you can help me a bit here? A few weeks ago I added Gypsum and Epsom Salt to my tank, and it made a significant improvement in plant growth. Also raised my GH from the usual 5 or 6 all the way up to 14! Now growth is slower, and the wisteria is having a hard time again. I want to add Gypsum and Epsom Salt again, but am reluctant to do so since GH is still way up at 14. Should I hold off until the GH drops, and in the meantime try to find some other limiting factor?
     
    #1 Frank Lawler, Aug 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2010
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Large Water Change Time

    Hi,

    I would do a large water change and add the gypsum and Epsom salts then. :)

    Biollante
     
  3. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    It so happens that I just did a water change (although only a modest 30%) and added more gypsum and Epsom salt. GH now measures 13.
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Now That I Have Engaged What Passes For My Brain

    Hi,

    A starting GH of 4 -5 dGH (~70-90 ppm), a modest amount of GH booster should be sufficient. Some gypsum, less Epsom salts. :) While 13-14dGH is within the range of most plants, while I like to see 6-7dGH, 4dGH should be sufficient to grow almost anything. :)

    {Not that I am nosy or anything.:eek:}
    Do you know the components in the tap water that produce the 4-5dGH?
    What size is your tank?
    Is the tank heavily planted?
    What are the major plants?
    Fish?
    Big fish?
    Any inverts?
    Snails?

    Biollante
     
  5. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    29 gal, heavily planted with Parrot's Feather, Wisteria, Java Fern, Rotala Macranda, and some Riccia. Only big fish is one 5" long SAE; the rest are tetras and rasboras, about 20 in all. No snails or inverts. Can call the water district tomorrow to get the Ca/Mg content of tap water.
     
  6. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    Water district has the following measurements: GH 62 mg/L, Ca 10.5 mg/L, and Mg 9 mg/L. Got somewhat confused trying to work out the Ca/Mg ratio according to my Hagen Ca test kit, mainly because not sure if the 10.5 is Ca++ or CaC03, or if the 9 refers to Mg++. However, this is not a problem when using the Hagen kit on my tank water, which, if I am doing the math conversion correctly, gives 14 dGh, 100 ppm Ca++, and 35 ppm Mg++ . Since my plants definitely look better with gypsum and Epsom salt dosing (in an earlier post Tom attributed this to a correction in Mg++ deficiency), I don't mean to obsess about numbers, as Goethe warns us against It's more a matter of curiousity and also wanting to be sure that such a high Gh is not harmful.
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Other Stuff

    Hi,

    The water district is reporting a little over 3dGH, the general hardness attributed to Calcium and Magnesium amounts to little more than 1dGH. Where is the other 2dGH coming from? :confused:

    GH measures ionic chemicals with cations of a +2 valence. We generally only find Calcium, Magnesium as the significant players, I suppose ferrous iron, should be considered.

    GH

    • In addition to Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg) and ferrous iron:
    • Beryllium (Be)
    • Strontium (Sr)
    • Barium (Ba)
    • Radium (Ra) add to general hardness.

    I guess for our purpose I would treat you water as very soft, 1dGH and add around 6dGH that will bring it to the high end of soft. :gw

    To start say after 50-70% water change adds 11 teaspoons (~35 grams) of gypsum and 2 teaspoons (~10 grams) of Epsom salts, measurements are not critical, just in the ballpark.

    Then for every 5-gallons of water changed add 2.25 teaspoons (~7 grams) of gypsum and half-teaspoon (~2grams) of Epsom salts.

    If you are depending on a test kit to gauge your GH, make sure it is calibrated, I like to calibrate for the low end, high end and right in the middle of what I am aiming for.

    Generally, I think we are better off accepting the amounts we add to what is in system, usage and water changes.

    I do not think you have any flora or fauna that would object to anything from 4dGH to 24dGH, plus. I am curious as to what makes up that “extra” 2dGH out of the tap. :)

    This dosing level should keep the total dGH around 10, with 7dGH or so being from Ca and Mg.

    I hope this helps. :D

    Biollante
     
  8. Ekrindul

    Ekrindul Guru Class Expert

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  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Very Soft Water!

    Hi,

    I would say you have very soft water and at minimum, I would boost the GH 3dGH and more like 6dGH. :gw

    Assuming this http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/857-Introduce-yourself-and-tell-us-what-do-you-keep?p=52855#post52855 is still accurate I would certainly add at least 6dGH (~110 ppm). ;)

    The snails are good indicators. My guess is that the shells on the snails are showing stress or perhaps some are even failing to thrive. Similarly with the shrimp, you may be experiencing shrimp deaths or at least breeding difficulties.

    Biollante
     
    #9 Biollante, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2010
  10. Ekrindul

    Ekrindul Guru Class Expert

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    Both tanks have recently changed. Most of my livestock is in a 55 gallon tank now, fairly heavily planted, still t5HO lighting. Other tank is a 20 gallon long with just the krib. Some of the nerites do show some Ca deficiencies in their shells. No shrimp deaths, but I didn't expect them to breed in non-brackish water, though I've read they can breed in very hard water. They do egg up though. Same with nerites--eggs but no hatching.

    What types of plant problems should be evident with such low levels of Ca/Mg?

    I didn't expect it to be so soft. I grew up with water so soft you never felt like you washed the soap off. I went to college at UT Austin where the water feels like sand. Euless water feels right in between, but perception isn't a good indicator obviously :p Thanks for the answer. I will order some GH booster tonight.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Don't Knock Learning To "Feel" The Water-A Little Soap-It Is Amazing What It Can Tell

    Hi,

    We tend to overlook Calcium’s importance to plants, for that matter all living things, a good read as it applies to aquatic plants is Calcium’s Role in Aquatic Macrophytes, http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/1282-Barr-Report-Newsletter-Calcium. :cool:

    The critters and plants in your tanks will certainly benefit from higher GH. Your shrimp will do much better in 7-10dGH water. When you spot mating behaviors simply remove the female and a couple of males to a small container, get yourself some green water and some infusorians going and you will wonder how the heck they ever got you to pay as much as you did for those little bugs. :eek:

    Specific deficiencies in plants can be tricky… Here goes… :gw

    Calcium is an immobile macronutrient this means we expect to see the symptoms on new growth.


    • Smaller stunted leaves that tend to cup.
    • Yellow or yellowish margins sudden bends and twisting.
    • Die-off of the tips often looks like physical damage.
    • More severe deficiency includes white streaks, white tips and edges.
    • Plants begin to looks as though they were grown in a box or somewhere without enough room.
    • In extreme deficiency, new growth can turn almost entirely white.

    Calcium deficiency is one of the easier deficiencies to demonstrate while maintaining non-limiting conditions for other nutrients.

    It is easiest to spot Calcium deficiency in snails or mussels.

    Biollante
     
  12. Oreo

    Oreo Guru Class Expert

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    It is possible that the missing 2dgh is simple human testing error on the part of the water company.
     
  13. Ekrindul

    Ekrindul Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks, Biollante. I don't recall seeing those signs in my plants, though I don't keep any really difficult plants, but my nerites definitely show deterioation in their shells as they age. I've seen the Amano's mating several times, but didn't realize they could breed outside of brackish water. I'll have to set up a 5 or 10 gallon I've got laying around and try. I have two females that are always carrying eggs.
     
  14. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    Mine were breeding too, but no fry survived.
    They breed in freshwater but the fries go to brackish water near the sea in nature.
    If you can raise the fries in freshwater, it will be big news.
     
  15. Frank Lawler

    Frank Lawler Subscriber

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    Biollante, thanks for the help. Have begun trying to understand the role of cations in plant growth, and am following your suggestion for Mg dosing. However, can I use my Ca source, which is a 90% Calcium Chloride liquid gpsum product, at the amount recommended, which I assume is for gypsum in powder form? Any ideas there?
    Two days after water change and Ca and Mg dosing, along with CSM+B, there already seems to be a response, just like the last time I added Mg. Have recently introduced the CSM+B because of it's Zinc content. Since all the new growth looks good, I've been paying more attention to the mobile nutrients.
     
    #15 Frank Lawler, Aug 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2010
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hail The Mango Republic, Vegetarian State:Tomato Police & Watermelon Soldiers



    Hi Nipat,

    My apologies, to all I have misled. :eek:

    I never intended to say that the larvae are reared in freshwater; indeed the reason for removing the female is to raise the larvae in brackish water.

    I have only been doing this for the last 6 months so that I can test toxicity levels under EI dosing regimens. I am by no means an expert of any sort, I think http://www.aqua-fish.net/show.php?h=amanoshrimp was the basis for my attempts. At the time I really could not find anything (encouraging anyway) about breeding Yamato Shrimp, now called Amano, I am not sure whether the proper name is Caridina multidentata or Caridina japonica.

    It turned out to be fairly simple. The big difference is the need to transition to brackish water and that the Yamato shrimp start out unrecognizable as shrimp and require phytoplankton to start out. :)

    I use Sterilite or Rubbermaid containers. I have found the Sterilite 28-quart (label says 27-liter), works well through grow out, you can use much smaller containers for the actual spawning. A small air pump can accommodate four containers. I use two air pumps split four ways so each container has two air stones. Oxygenation seems to be the single most critical issue. ;)

    I like to remove a female and two or three males when the mating behavior begins. I use the aquarium water from tank they are removed, hiding places available; I remove the males after mating, several weeks later, the larvae hatch.

    I start raising the salinity a little at a time four weeks after removing the males; ending up with about a teaspoon (6 grams) of salt per liter, I happen to use OceanPure Sea Salt mix. I also add about .25 teaspoon of CaCl2 and a pinch of Epsom salts to the 15 or so liters of brackish water, none of my measurements are very precise.

    Over the next three weeks after removing the female, I gradually triple the salinity of the water.

    I start feeding the larvae green water when I remove the female. When they are large, enough to see I add powdered Spirulina I also add some mild infusorians. I also start adding finely ground dry fish food. I have found that those cheap vacation feeder pyramid things broken up are good around 4-5 weeks.

    I start reducing the salinity around the fourth week so that around first molt it is something less than the one teaspoon of salt per liter and continue to dilute to no salt so by the second or third molt they are in freshwater ready to move on.

    Sorry for the confusion. :eek:

    Biollante
     
    #16 Biollante, Aug 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2010
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Various Error Are Possible

    Hi Oreo,

    Yes, I do consider sampling, averaging or printing errors a good possibility, though I do wonder. :)

    Most of the alternative GH raising materials are indeed required to be reported and highly controlled.:gw

    Biollante
     
  18. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    Since your fast grower exploded in growth after addressing deficiency (Ca and/or Mg), and now you've found those nutrients remain high while the fast grower has stunted, consider the possibility that your Ca/Mg/GH is actually just fine now and instead you are now experiencing some other deficiency. If unsure where to focus, it's not a bad idea to work through the macros (C then N first) since, if you're gambling, they're most likely to be the limiting nutrient.
     
  19. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    Not sure if ‘The Mango Kingdom’ is more appropriate than ‘Republic’.
    Well...speaking more about the untouchable and I could be in jail for 15 years, no kidding.
    So...better back to our critter...


    That's good for you, these shrimps are very expensive, apparently in USA and The Mango [Ahem].
    :gw
     
  20. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,

    I certainly would take Wet’s point. Always consider the macros and it don’t get more macro than Carbon.

    However, the damaged shells are a strong indicator of Calcium deficiency. If you can see the deficiency in the shells of you snails, mussels or clams, then I would assert Calcium deficiency is likely in your fish and in your plants as well. :gw

    Biollante
     

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