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    https://barrreport.com/threads/aquatic-plant-images-wanted.14374/
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  1. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    So, I'm not sure if I want to change this and could use a nudge in the right direction. KH (alkalinity) prevents pH swings. Should I be concerned with the GH?
     
  2. pepetj

    pepetj Lifetime Members
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    I would double check your GH readings with another test. I doubt you can have a pH7.0 with over 27 degrees of GH.

    Liquid reagent tests for GH and KH use tritation method which is basically counting drops and shaking after each is added until the color changes. You need to wash the vial and cap in tank water and avoid touching it with your fingers to have valid, reliable readings.

    As for screening purposes, 5ml sample of water would work OK, but for accuracy I suggest using 10ml and consider each drop as 0.5 degrees. Then divide the number of drops (including the one that actually made the reagent color change) by two and multiply by 17.9 to get your ppm values.

    If I am mistaken please correct me, I'm just a newby here.

    Pepe
    Santo Domingo
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'd think the relevant bit here would be compressed CO2 vs. not. At 7.0pH and 8KH I'd believe that you're running CO2 with some tap water that's pretty hard and 8.0+ pH. Otherwise, I find my self having small seizures when I try to think of how it would all balance out given the parameters of most tap water. Maybe it would be easier if you gave us the water quality report for your region?

    -Philosophos
     
  4. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Possible Local Water Culpability

    First I would like to thank you for your responses and reassure everyone that my real goal is to understand GH and ways to maintain it and a stable pH. Gh = 447.5 ppm after three tests. Could a yeast reactor create that much CO2? I kind of doubt it.
    DC Water and Sewer Authority
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hardness info on more recent years seems limited. Here's the most recent thing I could find with GH (total hardness):

    2003 DC water quality report

    Looks like you're starting from a minimum of >100ppm out of the tap from any source. Test the GH of your household tap water.

    What all are you dosing in to your aquarium? DIY CO2 shouldn't raise GH unless it's overflowing in to the aquarium, in which case there might be some more noticeable symptoms; like your fish failing to pass a sobriety test.

    What's the method for reading your test kit? GH*# of drops? Color gradient? You could always test your test kit if you've got a scale and epsom salts.

    -Philosophos
     
  6. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    I was adding K2SO4 and aquarium salts to the water changes. I stopped adding salt (0.0 Nitrites) and the 1/2 a cap of K2NO4 I've been adding two or three times a month. The substrate is an iron fluorite and three Seachem Flourish Tabs. Tap waters GH tests are with a drop check ( Or. to Gr.), 214 ppm. I'm thinking old plumbing, a pair of water changes and a new test kit. Is it more then that? Do I oust the testing method?
    FYI (Save some time.)

    Oto spotting.
     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The test kit might be fine. Here's a way to test it:

    44.1 mg/l MgSO4.7H2O = 1 dGH (~17.86ppm)

    44.1mg in 1L is a bit hard to measure out for most scales. Take some DI water, measure out 1L, measure out 4.41g of MgSO4, dissolve it in to the 1L of DI water. Take another 1L measure of DI, then add 40ml of the previous solution to it, stir it around. GH should test out to 4. I believe you can increase resolution by doubling the volume of liquid testing, then dividing the number of drops by 2 to get it in increments of 1/2dGH.

    Odds are you're going to need to dilute this stuff down with RO water. I've got little experience with GH being too high, so I couldn't tell you when the fish or plants will start feeling the effects. I'd guess that whether it's magnesium or calcium, and in what ratios have as much to do with it as anything.

    -Philosophos
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    What problems are you seeing in the tank, with either the fish or the plants? And, what is the tank size, the lighting, CO2 method, fertilizing method, etc.? It is hard to figure out what could be a problem without that information.
     
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Vaughn,
    A lot of the information you asked for can be found on the link by my signature. I was adding some Seachem Acid Buffer to the water change to lower the pH when I first started the tank. A few pieces of clay pottery, two pieces of bog wood and some old plumbing that leads up through the tap.
    After the water change the KH (dKH 6) and pH (7.6) balance out and the GH is lower (GH 286.4). The Tetras and shrimp seam happy and except for the Otos who are always hiding the inhabitants seam normal. The plants may have issues,* but nutrient rich water low in phosphates (PO4 0.5 ppm) is a good thing, right? The Crypts seam to be making it.

    * I was tired of the slime that grew at the bottom of the bubble ladder and took out the CO2 yeast reactor (BBA, GDA problem is expected to get worse) and paid for a light fixture only to take two bulbs and run one 10K, 24 watt T5HO from 11am - 7pm and the 460nm actinic from 8am - 12pm and 7pm - 7:30 pm. LMAO all the way to the poor house.
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Keeping the phosphate level low is not a good goal. Without sufficient phosphate the plants can't grow at the rate that the light intensity dictates. Having excess phosphate isn't a problem in a planted aquarium, except perhaps when you have lots of other problems. One such problem I think you are having is far too few plants. It is hard to keep only a few plants growing well and healthy. And, they can't keep up with the ammonia the fish are providing, so algae can always start growing.
     
  11. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Further to VaughnH's advice, the fundamental problem is poor CO2. You should never add pH buffers and should stop trying to adjust the GH or KH because none of that will make any difference and is a complete waste of energy. Add more CO2 and supplement with Excel. Turn the CO2 on an hour or two before the lights go on and increase the CO2 injection rate. These things, in addition to adding more Phosphate will fix your problems and will make life much less complicated.

    Cheers,
     
  12. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have to disagree. Check out the archives over on thekrib.com for apisto spawns; acids are your friend some times. Occasionally people like to think they're being, "holistic" or some such thing by using peat. In actuality what matters is where the H+ is coming from, the consistency with which it's added, and that it's conjugate base is properly addressed. How you do this depends on your own abilities and willingness to put in a certain amount of effort.

    As for GH or KH adjustment, I do it all the time. My water starts off as 100% RO, and I make the hardness what I want from there. The tap water here can be best described as frothy like urine, the pH runs from 7.6-8.2, gH around 180ppm+ and a KH of, "hold my hand, I'd like to cry now." I don't think my plants or fish would appreciate this water. Sure, I could blend, but for the tank size and fluctuations, a couple gal's more of RO is no big deal. I use it for top off at most.

    -Philosophos
     
  13. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm just interested in learning to respect the range of information on this forum. I'm not about to "Chase the Dragon". My tanks GH was so different from the tap water I was just trying to make sence of it all.

    Thanks Philosophos, some great information and as good a reason to have epsom salts around as any.
    Cheers
     
    #13 Tug, Mar 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2009
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Try decreasing the amount of light for now if you've got two separate strips. If you're doing this without CO2, try to increase the surface disturbance of your water. Read a little on ferts for low lighting. Get your self a bottle of excel, too. Your plants will grow better, and it helps with killing algae. From what I've been reading, it can even help egg viability for spawning.

    -Philosophos
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes but it depends on why the individual is making the adjustments to pH, GH and KH. If one is doing it for the fish thats one thing but if doing it for the plants it's another. In a CO2 injected planted tank one doesn't really need to adjust the pH with acids, or peat for that matter. Sulphuric Acid is a typical component of the acid buffers and that is most definitely toxic because it's a strong acid, whereas Carbonic acid is a very weak acid. For Apistos, a low KH water with CO2 injection drops the pH to whatever low level desired. I've used this technique when breeding Apistos and it works brilliantly.

    As far as plants go there are only a very few plants that require a low KH/GH. The rest do just as well in low KH/GH as they do in very high KH/GH. So this is why making adjustments to KH/GH in order to optimize for plants has very little value unless one is growing those handful of low KH/GH species.

    Fair enough mate. The thing both VaughnH and I were trying to point out is that the problem with you tank's performance has very little to do with GH and that the most obvious omissions were PO4 and CO2. We're trying to say that the priority in terms of reducing the algae ought to be in terms of plant nutrition, not water parameters.

    There are a couple reasons why your tanks GH can be higher or lower than you tap. For example if you have gravel or ornaments made out of limestone, or any other soluble components containing magnesium or calcium, adding acid to the tank, whether by acid buffers or by carbonic acid due to your CO2, will dissolve the material into the water column thereby immediately leading to a GH rise. On the other hand, some substrates actually have a tendency to lower KH/GH.

    Furthermore, whatever grasp there is on the KH/PH relationship is tenuous. 6 ppm dKH does not necessarily equal 7.6 pH. That relationship will depend on the level of acids that are added to the water column, so one could easily have a different pH value at 6ppm dKH depending on how much CO2 and other acids (or alkaline sources) are in the water column.

    If you take a sample of tap water in a glass and immediately measure the ph there is a strong probability that if you take a ph measurement 1 hour later the pH reading will be much higher, and that's because tap water normally contains relatively high levels of CO2 (which produces carbonic acid). As the CO2 degases from the glass of water the pH will rise as the level of carbonic acid falls. So making an automatic correlation from a tap water reading is erroneous. Water of any starting KH can be driven to any pH based on the amount of acid added to that water.

    Regardless of how many plants are in the tank if you do not identify the algae and if you continue to chase GH instead there is a likelihood of missing the boat. The type of algae is strongly correlated to the type of deficiency. If you PO4 dosing is poor you will generate PO4 related algae. If your CO2 is poor you will generate CO2 related algae. If your NO3 is poor the tank will generate NO3 related algae. Algae doesn't care about either ph, KH or GH and that's why I feel that these are peripheral issues.

    Cheers,
     
  16. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    In typical conditions, no. With pH at 7.6+ and a KH up in the area of 8, not everything does well. What needs to be done depends on the plants going in, and how important that plant is to the keeper. HC can be an entire reason to get something as expensive and dangerous to fauna as CO2; a gas we have trouble measuring accurately.

    Why is sulphuric acid toxic because it's strong, if it's diluted to achieve a desire pH? Wouldn't it be easier to measure than CO2? The SO4 already finds its way in through K2SO4, CaSO4 and MgSO4 with many fertilizers. The two H+'s will just convert to hydronium and serve their purpose to drop pH.

    -Philosophos
     
  17. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Just to go back to a much earlier post, I don't think GH has any effect on pH.
     
  18. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It doesn't, except when the GH is from calcium carbonate. Then the KH is also high.
     
  19. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Well, then it's not GH that's the problem, it's KH. :p

    Don't some water treatment plants add things to drive the GH up artificially for some reason? I remember something about this but can't recall why it was or what they used. I have a feeling it was magnesium... can't remember the details though.
     
  20. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    ya, MgSO4 is a common one for buffering up GH. Does good things for osmotic pressure in fish, too.

    -Philosophos
     

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