Why is raising the GH so often done with EI?

LiamLiffey

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Jul 3, 2008
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Hi folks,
i think i missed the point of raising the GH. It seems that a lot of people are doing so and i was wondering why. If you raise GH, what does happen? For example using seachems equilibrium raises GH, but not KH if i do understand correctly. As far as i know only the KH directly influences plant growth. So what happens then when raising the GH allone? What is inside these products?

Thanks very much for your thoughts

Axel
 

VaughnH

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GH is magnesium and calcium, two needed elements for plant growth. KH is carbonate, which most plants don't use, preferring other carbon sources. So, we jack up the GH a bit, first to be sure we have some magnesium for the plants, and secondly to provide adequate calcium for the plants, and sometime for invertibrates. Some of us just ignore KH, but Tom's latest educational piece here makes the point that some KH is good for the fish.
 

LiamLiffey

Junior Poster
Jul 3, 2008
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Hamburg, Germany
Thanks Hoppy,
so when i am using espomite to get more Mg into my tank i am basically raising the GH. In my tab water is just no Mg but 42ppm Calcium. Do you think i am doing this correct or would you recommend using Equilibrium to also add Calcium? Is there sth else in?

Thanks.
 

VaughnH

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Equilibrium contains other compounds in addition to calcium and magnesium containing ones. But, if you are not reconstituting RO/DI water, you are going to have enough of the other compounds, some of which are in trace element mixes too. Equilibrium was intended primarily for reconstituting RO/DI water, as I recall.

You can add magnesium by using Epsom Salts, MgSO4 with some water in the crystals, by using Equilibrium, and by some other magnesium salts, I'm sure. But, Equilibrium is a good way to do it.
 

sherry

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Feb 23, 2006
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how are folks adding kh? I have nearly none in my tap water.. I raise gh with leftover barr gh booster at every water change. I've been going on the assumption that steady kh is better than lifting kh..
 

VaughnH

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At one time it was gospel that you needed a a KH around 5 or so for the "buffering" it gives. So, most of us were adding baking soda with water changes to reach that level. But, some folks chose not to do so, and they had results at least as good as those of us obsessing about KH. So, the gospet was modified to say that KH is irrelevant for almost all plants and fish. After that, I and many others just stopped measuring KH, let alone trying to maintain a specific level.

But, Tom recently posted an article that made the point that a minimum level of KH was beneficial to the fish. I haven't adopted that idea yet, and I still just ignore KH.

If you want to raise the KH, ordinary bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda is a good thing to use. But, it isn't the best thing for the fish to add a large amount of baking soda at one time to quickly raise the KH.

This hobby continues to evolve and evolve rapidly.
 

sherry

Guru Class Expert
Feb 23, 2006
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I've been ignoring kh too , but mine is less than 1. I do have 4 year old rummy nose tetras, so the fish are doing okay... but I wonder about Tom's point.
 

Carissa

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Jun 8, 2007
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You probably want to do it slowly. Changing parameters too fast can affect the fish negatively. Some types of fish prefer soft water, but most can be acclimated to pretty much anything within reason, assuming you do it very slowly.