Do Active Substrates Remove Ca/Mg?

pteroaltum

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Do active substrates such as ADA's Aquasoil and Brightwell's FlorinVolcanit (AKA Controsoil) remove Ca/Mg (GH) from the water column or do they only reduce carbonate hardness (KH)?
 
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PhilipS

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pteroaltum

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Just an update for anyone who happens to stumble onto this post in the future: while I cannot speak for ADA Aquasoil, the Brightwell's FlorinVolcanit (AKA Controsoil) does indeed sequester calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), thus lowering GH.


Last month, I capped my established 100% RO-remineralized tank's substrate to Controsoil and my plants started to stunt like nobody's business. Everyday, at least one shrimp died (bees, cherries, tigers, etc.) while some of the others were lethargic, lost color and/or cloudy white body. I did everything I could for the little suckers and plants. Nothing helped until I dosed 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x (yes!) the Salty Shrimp's Mineral GH+. Leaves started to grow back normally and shrimp deaths tapered off. Things do well for a week and the leaves commenced to stunt again (even the Anubias sp.) and shrimps started to go to la-la-land again. Lots of expletives were uttered. Tried everything under the sun except dosing more Ca/Mg because, by logic and math, I added enough GH to negate any reason why I RO my tap water in the first place. Ran out of things to do so I added more Mineral GH+. Lo and behold, leaves started to grow just fine again. UGH!


I should note that I do not test my water. The last time I touched a test kit was many moons ago. I should just get a GH test kit to be sure that the stupid substrate is sucking up all my GH. I avoided ADA's Aquasoil for the ammonia and ended with FlorinVolcanit's GH vampirism. "From the frying pan into the fire."


Since I am a bona-fide geek, will someone explain to me the mechanism by which Controlsoil captures Ca/Mg? Does ADA Aquasoil and other active substrates do this? I tried to google but only KH is mentioned.


Much appreciated. Thank you.
 

Dennis Singh

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I should note that I do not test my water. The last time I touched a test kit was many moons ago. I should just get a GH test kit to be sure that the stupid substrate is sucking up all my GH. I avoided ADA's Aquasoil for the ammonia and ended with FlorinVolcanit's GH vampirism. "From the frying pan into the fire."

You can't blame the soil here, Pure RO water for any system is bad news if not remineralized. Causes a lot of algae problems. I don't know the science behind it. Ask Barr he'll tell ya. I once went pure ro and it was nothing but problems. I remineralize with tap water now, its strong enough. ADA would give you the exact same results
 

pteroaltum

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Here is SaltyShrimp's Bee-Shrimp Mineral GH+'s label:


Bee-Shrimp Mineral GH+ has especially been developed for the keeping and breeding of bee shrimp, bumblebee shrimp and tiger shrimp in an aquarium, to mineralise RO water, rainwater, fully desalinated water etc. It raises the total hardness (GH) without significantly influencing the carbonate hardness (KH). This is especially important for shrimp originating from softwater habitats (ratio of KH/GH: 0.06/1.0).


Dosage


Use Bee-Shrimp Mineral GH+ to re-mineralise RO water, rainwater, fully desalinated water etc. to reach a total hardness of about 6 GH and/or a conductance of about 200 +/- 50 uS (Microsiemens). For this purpose, an evenly full measuring spoon (about 3 g) to 20 litres of water is sufficient.


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I have been using this product for a long time (...and RO water for the pesky little shrimps) without any issues...until I capped the existing Eco-Complete substrate with this active substrate. So much for doing something nice for them and the plants. :(


As aforementioned, I actually add 2x, 3x, 4x and even 5x the recommended dose. That should theoretically raise my GH to astronomical levels. Yet, that is what my plants like. I didn't RO for this. Annoying. :D


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I keep very unfussy plants: Rotala rotundifolia, Anubias sp., Bucephalandra sp., DHG 'Belem,' Marsilea sp., Micranthemum umbrosum, Hemianthus callitrichoides, frogbit, mosses and liverworts. At a GH of 6 (as recommended by the standard dosage), none of these plants have given me any issues. But, ever since the soil addition, the R. rotundifolia gives me a flush of healthy leaves then stunt then grows new shoots right below then stunt and the cycle continues ad nauseum. The Anubias sp. grows these slightly wrinkly leaves with the tips curling downward. All the other plants haven't shown me anything weird...not even the fussiest of my plants: M. umbrosum. Over the past 30 days, 10 shrimps (bees, tigers, cherries (oh my!)) have died: all adults, no juveniles. The rest are still getting pregnant and just had a fresh batch of crystal red babies yesterday. Let's hope the mother doesn't die tomorrow. jinx jinx jinx!


I really should get a GH test kit for some hard data. Ugh! I abhor test kits! Just want to chilllll with the aquascape and fauna. Hahaha. ^__^
 
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PhilipS

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GH booster Recipe:





2:1:1 K2SO4: CaSO4:MgSO4 OR


1:1 CaSO4 and MgSO4


1Tsp of GH booster after water changes per 20 gallons of new water.