Low GH & Low KH Help

B3NT17

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Hi all!

I have a 200L planted tank with Co2. I am using RO water and the parameters are:
PH 6.5
KH1
GH1

I need to increase my GH and KH. I got the Seachem Alkaline buffer to boost KH and was thinking of Seachem Equilibrium to boost GH. Are the above enough for what I am after? Raising KH will also raise my PH so not sure about that.

Also - Can I dose them directly in the aquarium right after a water change?
 

seangee

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What fish are you planning to keep?
Those water parameters are perfect for most of the fish I keep (tetras, corys, gourami, rasboras, pencilfish, loaches). I would do anything to have water coming out of my tap like that.

Oops just reread it and you are using ro like me. For my softwater fish I don't try to increase KH/GH. For the shrimp I use Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ which increases GH/KH in the ratio of 2:1. They also do a GH+ which raises GH without affecting KH. Dennerle makes similar products. I avoid the Seachem products because:
  1. They require you to use (ie BUY) multiple products)
  2. Equilibrium never fully dissolves
  3. Equilibrium discolours the water
 
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B3NT17

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I currently have Amano shrimp and cardinal tetras, but will be increasing fish next week but on the lines of different types of tertras and some other shirmps..

I was looking into the crushed coral in filter system Did you ever try this?
 

seangee

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I was looking into the crushed coral in filter system Did you ever try this?
No. My cardinal tetras thive in 0KH and 0GH. In the tank where I have cherry shrimp I use GH/KH+ to raise the levels to 6dGH and 3 dKH. I don't need it that high for the shrimp but I have a nerite snail in there and 3dKH is what I need to keep the pH neutral between 75% weekly water changes. Using the powder means I know that my parameters are always exactly the same. I mix it with the water before adding it.
 
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B3NT17

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Ah yes forgot to mention I have 5 nerite snails too! Will look into your product as it seems to be good also
 

Byron

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I agree with @seangee on the GH/KH for soft water fish species. My tap water is basically zero GH nd KH with an acidic pH, and I never add any so-called "buffering" because I simply keep soft water species that thrive in such water. The shrimp is another factor obviously, but don't raise the GH/KH more than necessary, the fish will be better.
 
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B3NT17

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Since my RO water is giving GH1 and KH1 it might be that I need to change my membrane.. I was told that I shouldnt increase my KH and just increase my GH instead.. Im at a loss now
 

Byron

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Since my RO water is giving GH1 and KH1 it might be that I need to change my membrane.. I was told that I shouldnt increase my KH and just increase my GH instead.. Im at a loss now

There is a lot of well-intentioned but inaccurate advice circulating in this hobby. Again, I am only dealing with fish here, not shrimp. Soft water fish which includes most of the species from South America (tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish, catfish like cories and plecos, dwarf cichlids) and most from SE Asia (rasboras, loaches, most of the danios and barbs, gourami) all live in water that is either zero GH or less than 1 dGH. Moderately hard and hard water fish (livebearers, rift lake cichlids, some of the rainbowfishes) need the calcium and magnesium and thus higher GH. Many soft water species can manage with some GH but that does not mean it is needed. There is nothing wrong with a GH and KH of 1 d for soft water fish.
 

StevenF

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For my RO aquarium I use a small amount of GH booster. Yes you don't need much for soft water fish and shrimp 1 degree GH should be fine. I don't add any KH to my tank. Instread I have a sea shell in my filter. My PH stays close to 7. GH is mainly a measuree of calcium and magensium, Fish, Shrimp, and plants need both. A GH booster like Sachem Equilibrium will provide both plus sulfur which plants and shrimp also need. With GH boosters as fish and plants consume it excess sulfur will also aquimulate in the tank which will push the PH down. The sea shell is mainly solid carbonate KH. It will only dissolve in the water when the PH drops below 7. So when the PH drops below 7 do to excess sulfur the sea shell will dissolve and react with the sulfur keeping the pH at 7. Note many fertilizers will also push the PH down due to sulfur and other ingredients in the fertilizer.

Note I would not assume your RO filter will supply both calcium and magnesium. It may only provide enough of one or the other. You need both. So using a GH booster will insure you have both. GH booster can be added to the tank dry right after a water change.

Also note that animals also needed sodium and iodine and several other elements for proper health. RO tanks tend to be low on these. And No GH booster or fertilizer has these animal specific nutrients. Fish can get these from fish food but shrimp and snails primarily get it from the water. Since RO water lacks these nutrients I would also recommend adding a small amount of sea salt to your aquarium after a water change. Note it must be sea salt and not regular processed table salt. Sea salt has a mix of many nutrients that are good for a tank while regular processed table salt is mainly sodium. For a 200L that works out to 1/8tsp+1/32 tsp.
 
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B3NT17

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Thanks for the replies! what GH booster do you use? I read that equilibrium darkens the water and is not the best additive. Curious to know what you use
 

Byron

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Equilibrium is a plant additive, not intended for fish. I discussed this at length with the scientists at Seachem a while back. Now, that doesn't mean it is not going to help the shrimp, I'm just noting the fact. Seachem make a product intended to provide mineral for fish, but I repeat the fish you have do not need this at all. So concentrate on the shrimp.

I certainly would not harm the fish by using sea salt, that will achieve nothing beneficial. I have an article on the detriment of salt for all freshwater fish on Neale Monks' site:
Salt FW Aq Art Hosking (wetwebmedia.com)
 

StevenF

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Thanks for the replies! what GH booster do you use? I read that equilibrium darkens the water and is not the best additive. Curious to know what you use

I just make my own with calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate. In the past i was using calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate. I generally aim for 3 parts calcium to one part magnesium. The ratio doesn't have to be precise. Calcium and magnesium levels tend to very quite a lot in nature.

Equilibrium like most GH boosters also has potassium. In met cases you don't need more potassium. The amount in a fertilizer should be enough. Equilibrium also has some iron sulfate in it. that is primarily why some people se a brown color. Many people try and to premix the equilibrium with a small amount of water prior to adding in to the tank. This can cause the iron to precipitate out creating the brown color. If you add it directly to the water you won't have this issue. Most other GH boosters on the market don't have iron

Note all plants and animals need calcium magnesium sulfur chloride and iron to live. None of the ingredients are toxic to fish, shrimp, or plants exspecially at a low dose 1 to 2 degrees GH.
 

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