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Ideal water parameters

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by rajkm, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    Assuming I have full control over my water parameters, what would would be the ideal levels for KH/GH/PH (start and drop) ?


    Also I read that there is a sweet spot or PH and nutrient availability for soil. Does such sweet spot exist for aquatic plants?
     
  2. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    Anyone?


    Let me say why I am asking this question.


    My tap water is around 1 KH and around 1 GH. I generally use RO water or mix just because I can get it free.


    I want to dial in my PH Controller to a level I should maintain my PH/KH at.


    Last week I was keeping my PH at 5.7 with my drop checker (2 of them) were steady bright yellow. My KH was 5 and starting PH was 7.1 so I had a lot of CO2 according to KH/PH table. Even though the table is not completely valid because of varying parameters in aquarium, between that and my 2 drop checkers I am sure I was beyond 40-50 ppm.


    Just because my fish are not showing stress should I go beyond 30-50 ppm CO2?


    I read somewhere that bacterial activity comes to a halt below 6.0 PH.


    Today I did a big water change using only tap water and lowered my KH to 2 and GH to 4. My current PH is 6.5 which is about what my tap water is also.


    So to target a 1 PH drop I will need to lower my PH to 5.2-5.5 (assuming ferts and other thing lower PH too).


    If I have to keep my PH at or above 6.0 (to support bacterial activity) then I have to increase my KH which I dont know how plants will like since I still have some GSA and I am trying to eliminate that by trying to find balance. I believe they can accept a wide range but I assume there is a optimal range.


    For PH also I believe there is a optimal range for nutrient availability.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No need to monkey with the Tap, you might add GH booster, say 1 tablespoon per 60 Gallon of tank post water change.


    Your tap is similar to mine.


    Use a pH meter, not a drop checker.


    Take a hammer and crush them, or sell to some one else.


    Bacterial activity is not impacted near as I nor anyone else can tell below 6. My tanks run less than 6, 5.7 to 5.8 ranges.


    So how is it that your tap is 1 and then you use RO and the tank has a KH of 5?


    the relative pH drop assumes fully degassed water from the tap. The tap has some dissolved gasses, CO2 etc, and after about 24-48 hours depending on the filter, surface area, films, surface scum, skimmer, etc............the pH should level off and be closer to 7.0 or close. So a pH of 5.8/6.0 would be about right for the KH you have now. Would give at least 30 ppm, but more in the 45ppm range.


    The pH figures often given assume non CO2 enriched water, so the pH is actually about 7.0 or close with your tap, just use that, it's likely very very good tap water.
     
  4. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    I have GLA GH Booster so that adds about 1 dGH to change water. which will bring GH to 2 dGH of tap water.

    That's because I use Alkaline buffer to bring PH up so I could drop it by 1 without going overboard, but last month or so I have been experimenting with Aquavitro Carbonate(potassium bicarbonate) and Mineralize (calcium gluconate and magnesium chloride) to maintain KH/GH and it was throwing my calculation off. I have switched back to Alkaline buffer and GH Booster so now I am back to 2 KH and 4 dGH.


    Actually if i understand correctly, I don't need to add any buffer since the Tap is just fine at 1dGH (unless I use RO)


    Thanks Tom. I will leave the setup as is then. I use American Pinpoint controller with a 5.7 center target (5.6 low 5.8 high).
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Keep it simple and cheap, the brand names offer nothing worthwhile really in terms of the water. The soils might, but other than that,,,,,,,,,,,,,,CO2/ferts/light, water changes, keep it clean, add algae eaters, lots of plants etc.


    This is not new information, it's old, just each new group of hobbyists are doomed to relearn the same basic stuff over and over again.
     
  6. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    Agreed Tom.. I am starting to realize that as I learn more and more about this hobby. And I am learning a lot which is good and bad because you get some conflicting opinion like the bacteria and PH relation which I read on a Aquaphonics website which confuses you from better judgement.


    My stupidity likes to over engineer the simplest things and that's what I think many newbies like me miss. The number of options in the hobby have grown and it tends to make people like me venture out when we really don't need to.
     
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