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  1. JamesC

    Ouch

    Hardness of water comprises of 2 parts, temporary and permanent or more commonly known to the fishkeeping world as GH and KH. The 2 tend to go hand in hand so when GH is high so is KH. When you have a KH of 15+ I can tell you that a good number of plants don't do at all well. Then again some...
  2. JamesC

    Ouch

    I can name a couple more that I have in my tank that uses RO water. Utricularia graminifolia and rotala macrandra. In hard tap water they just die. Without a doubt this is the case. I only have cardinals but compared to when they are in hard water their colours are much more vivid. I would also...
  3. JamesC

    Storing PH meter

    pH probes should ideally be kept in a 4 Molar Potassium Chloride solution which can also be purchased of fleabay. Never store them in RO or DI water. James
  4. JamesC

    Water Board Results

    Propetamphos
  5. JamesC

    Calcium sulphate

    Gypsum is the dihydrate which is what I use and what AE and Fluid Sensor sell. It isn't that soluble but does dissolve in time. When first added to the tank it may create a milkiness for a couple of hours. The other form is the hemihydrate which is plaster of paris. It gets hot when water is...
  6. JamesC

    kH disapears in tank

    KH test kits don't measure carbonate hardness but instead alkalinity. This thread explains a lot more about it - http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=4869. Therefore if you add a buffer then the alkalinity that your KH test kit measures will change. pH up buffers are normally HCO3...
  7. JamesC

    kH disapears in tank

    I lived in Waterloo and went to the British School Of Brussels in Tervuren. So mainly spoke English but also learnt French fairly well. Do you have much wood in your tank? Can't think of anything else unless you are adding phosphate buffers. James
  8. JamesC

    kH disapears in tank

    Hi Bert, Great to see someone from Belgium. I spent 12 years of my young life living in Brussels. Anyway what substrate are you using? Clay substrates often lower the KH of tanks but over time this does slow down and stop. Wood can also lower KH but not that quickly. James
  9. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Hiya, These large osmosis plants are new to me except for when I've been on holiday. The KH you have is fine and it shouldn't matter too much from what it comes from. The GH is more difficult as normally it is made up from Calcium and Magnesium but can also come from any other multivalent...
  10. JamesC

    Water Chemistry

    Under normal EI levels you should be fine. Just don't go heaping in loads of chemicals as some people do. James
  11. JamesC

    Water Chemistry

    Both ways work. I prefer using using something like GH Booster as I have more control over it. If crushed coral works for you then stick with what you are doing. James
  12. JamesC

    Water Chemistry

    Most of the fish we tend to keep in planted tanks do better in soft water. Most plants do fine in a range of water parameters but some do a lot better when the water is soft. CO2 dissolves slightly easier in soft water which in turns leads to less wastage. Less water marks around the top of the...
  13. JamesC

    Water Chemistry

    Most people would kill to have your water. It is very soft so it would be advisable to add some GH Booster to add a couple points of GH. This would add Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium mainly. As long as you add the normal N and P along with your traces then the world is your oyster in regard to...
  14. JamesC

    How Do I Work Out K/Mg/Ca in Tap Water?

    Doesn't really tell you much. Is there not another report. My Thames Water report is slpit in two halves. One the same as your one and also another report that deals with water hardness. James
  15. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Personally I wouldn't add it as you have no idea to how fast or slow it is going to dissolve and affect the water's parameters. Some people do add it so it isn't a big no no, you just have to be aware of what is happening in that it will raise both KH and GH. James
  16. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Nope, TDS is something else. Water hardness is only concerned with multivalent cations, ie. Ca++, Mg++, Al+++, Fe+++. If you add say some table salt (Na+Cl-) then this doesn't affect the hardness but does raise TDS. Water hardness does contribute to TDS but not all TDS is necessarily water...
  17. JamesC

    Problem raising GH

    The plot thickens!!! Please, please, please do not use buffers in a planted tank and especially not the two together. Acid buffer is phosphoric acid and alkaline buffer is either potassium or sodium bicarbonate. Using these buffers really complicates the water chemistry and is most likely the...
  18. JamesC

    Problem raising GH

    I used Equilibrium to 'rebuild' RO water and didn't like it at all. Most of it is potassium sulphate which won't affect GH and it raises the TDS to silly levels. Some plants I found didn't approve of this so I had to stop using it and formulate my own recipe. But if you have soft water and wish...
  19. JamesC

    Problem raising GH

    I use RO water so I know exactly what goes in to the water in respect to added nutrients. As long as I do regular water changes I know the upper limits of what nutrients are possible in the tank. With GH and KH I add back in exactly what I remove with the water changes so levels remain very...
  20. JamesC

    Problem raising GH

    I've used the Hagen ones in the past and found them to be pretty good, BUT don't take what any test kit tells you as gospel. I've never used the test kits you have so am afraid I can't be much help there. The main reason that many people suggest not to use test kits is for the very reason that...
  21. JamesC

    Problem raising GH

    Are you sure that you haven't got your test kits mixed up? Only say this as Equilibrium doesn't affect the KH and only raises the GH. James
  22. JamesC

    Almond Leaves

    I would say they lower KH by releasing acids, but I doubt that the GH would change much if at all. The carbon would most likely remove the colour but also would probably also remove the other compounds released by the leaves so in effect neutralising the effect of adding the leaves anyway. James
  23. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    No because the potassium you add is part of the nitrate and phosphate which you don't want to change for the time being. Once settled you can then change the amounts to suit your tank. Magnesium isn't added with standard EI but if you do add it then yes you can drop it. I would go for the 500ml...
  24. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    They look quite good. I just brought a set off ebay with an accuracy of 0.1g. Got them pretty cheap if I remember. The important thing is that you can calibrate them so also add in the cost of the calibration weights if you don't have them. Every now and again I just check that they are accurate...
  25. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    Tom, thanks for posting the link. I found some very interesting bits in the article and I quote Myself and many others have also noticed this with a small handful of plants. Rotala Macrandra being one of the main ones that I have problems with when NO3 levels become high. James
  26. JamesC

    Phosphate buffers

    Could it be because it's bad to have phosphate in your tank as it will be plagued with algae :lol: James
  27. JamesC

    Phosphate buffers

    Didn't know they were bad. Could be because they are sodium salts of phosphoric acid so having a lot of sodium in the water may cause some problems. Only guessing though. Curiously I used to add sodium phosphate, aka Fleet enema solution which is a laxative, to my tank in the days before...
  28. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    Yeah, changed my mind. Wasn't because of any potential nasties in the water but because I wanted more control over the water parameters. None at all. Peter is a really friendly guy and writes good english as well. You will have to email him to arrange postage. I paid via paypal which made life...
  29. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    Yes, I use the remineralising recipe except I use calcium chloride anydrous and potassium bicarbonate. The other forms I have listed are the commonly available ones. Makes no difference. It's doing very well, actually it's doing great. I used to cut my RO water with tap water but there were a...
  30. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Yes, using sodium or potassium bicarbonate increases alkalinity and not KH as sodium and potassium are not multivalent ions, ie they only have a single + rather than for example calcium that has ++ None really for our purposes. The amounts that I give will adjust the alkalinity the same. KH is...
  31. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    I've just run my tank with a zero KH for a couple of weeks and though all my tetras loved it my cory's were not happy. I'm now in the process of slowly raising it back up to 1 KH which is were I like to keep it. Your pH stabiliser could well just be sodium bicarb so to save money you could make...
  32. JamesC

    Calcium hydroxide in fresh water

    Most test kits aren't as bad as people like to make out. The errors come from how the tests are done and reading the scales. Things like when it says hold the bottle upside down it means upside down and not at a 45 degree angle. The GH and KH ones I've always found to be pretty accurate. PO4 and...
  33. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    UPDATE: It seems quite difficult to purchase potassium bicarbonate in small quantities so I have changed the formulation on my website to now use potassium carbonate instead. Potassium carbonate is easily available from Aqua Essentials and Fluidsensor Online. The only chemical they don't sell...
  34. JamesC

    Calcium hydroxide in fresh water

    Potassium bicarbonate - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_bicarbonate I get mine from a chemistry lab. Most people use baking soda so I'd use that if you can't find potassium bicarb. A KH of 2 should be fine. I only add 1.1 KH and inject CO2 like there is no tomorrow and don't suffer any...
  35. JamesC

    Calcium hydroxide in fresh water

    You could use calcium hydroxide to add Ca++ and raise the alkalinity but I wouldn't recommenend it as it's a pretty caustic compound. Although it doesn't add any carbonate it does raise alkalinity which is what your KH test kit measures. Remember most plants don't need carbonates and actually do...
  36. JamesC

    JamesC's remineralising recipe

    Hi, To answer your questions: 1: Yes normally they are sold in those forms but not always though. Plaster of Paris is CaSO4.0.5H20 and Gypsum is CaSO4.2H2O. 2: Because plants need chloride 3: Yes, the carbonate ion can neutralise 2 protons (H+) whereas the bicarbonate ion only neutralises 1...
  37. JamesC

    Anybody Else Given up on Dechlorinating?

    Not dechloring probably doesn't harm fish long term but I'd guess that it does irritate their gills etc short term. As for filter bacteria try washing your filters out in fresh tap water and see how much of a hit they take. From my experience it is a big hit. I really can't see why for just a...
  38. JamesC

    Anybody Else Given up on Dechlorinating?

    I have no need for it as I use RO water but I have a friend who didn't dechlor for years and then one day he lost nearly all his fish after a water change, most likely due to higher than normal chloramine levels. Rushed out and brought some dechlor and all was well afterwards. Somebody else I...
  39. JamesC

    water chemistry within the planted aquaria

    Great find. Hadn't seen it before. Thanks for posting. James
  40. JamesC

    ketapang (Indian almond leaves)

    I used to put indian almond leaves in my shrimp tank some time ago. Shrimp do really seem to like them. Some fish breeders I believe use them to get certain types of fish to breed. If I remember correctly they did make the water go a bit brown but it never bothered me as it was just a breeding...
  41. JamesC

    Understanding my water supply report?

    PCV is Prescribed Concentration or Value. ie the prescribed limit allowed Total is the total number of samples that were taken to be tested. Min is the lowest figure they got. Max is highest reading they got. Mean is the mean figure of the samples. A bit like the average but not quite. It this...
  42. JamesC

    A question regarding water filtration

    I wouldn't use filtered water from those filters unless you know exactly what is happeneing. The carbon in them is fine and removes chlorine and other things. It's the water softening part you have to be careful about. I would guess they use an exchange resin to soften the water in the form of...
  43. JamesC

    Understanding my water supply report?

    What are the EI recommended amounts. I'd just add 5-10ppm weekly to your tank and see how it goes. James
  44. JamesC

    Understanding my water supply report?

    LD, Your dGH comes from the CaCO3 figure which is 282mg/l or 15.8 GH But again this figure for the total hardness is quoted as CaCO3 so is impossible to work out how much of it is made up from calcium or magnesium. James
  45. JamesC

    Understanding my water supply report?

    From first post GH = 9.7 = 69.8mg/l Ca From water report Hardness (Total) as calcium = 68.25 This either means that all the GH is calcium or (much more likely) they just quote the GH as Calcium which is why the two figures are pretty much the same. Thames water do exactly the same and don't...
  46. JamesC

    Understanding my water supply report?

    You dGH is 9.7 but what the calcium and magnesium levels are in that are anyones guess. Nitrate is 22.6 mg/l which isn't too bad. No mention of potassium Salt (NaCl) levels may affect some sensitive plants, but most should be fine. Iron is ok at 1ppm Copper is low Not sure about lead. James
  47. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    I used to get it wrong as well up until recently as I thought adding CO2 would increase KH. When CO2 is added to water carbonates are formed so I naturally thought that as the carbonate content had increased then the KH had increased. It's quite easy to tell if you have a KH test kit or an...
  48. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Because when we talk about water hardness it is always related to calcium and mangnesium ions. As carbonate hardness is a measurement of a part of water hardness it must relate only to Ca++ and Mg++. It is confusing and many people get it wrong, even Wikipedia's entry for carbonate hardness is...
  49. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Here are some links that have more info if you wish to delve deeper: Chemistry And The Aquarium - A superb article about alkalinity. Aimed at reef tanks but is still relevant for freshwater. Towards the end it talks about why CO2 doesn't affect alkalinity. Alkalinity at Wikipedia Hard Water...
  50. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    When you add CO2 to water the following happens 1) CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 2) H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3- What is formed that affects alkalinity is H+ and HCO3-. As can be seen from the above equation equal amounts of of H+ and HCO3- are formed. Total Alkalinity = [HCO3-] + [OH-] - [H+] From the above...
  51. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    Those levels should be fine and are what Thames Water's levels are like. Only a few fussy plants like Tonina won't grow. Exceptionally high would probably be over 30dGH. James
  52. JamesC

    All about Water Hardness

    The topic of water hardness seems to often cause some confusion. This hopefully will clear up some of the confusion, and probably create some more. Most people measure their tap and tank water using two test kits, GH and KH. GH stands for General Hardness (Total Hardness) and is a measurement...
  53. JamesC

    Ro Woes

    This is going nowhere so I'm locking the thread. James
  54. JamesC

    Ro Woes

    :lol: :lol: :lol: That is so true. I actually found when I used RO water that the remineralising compounds weren't that good because they use sulphate salts which caused the TDS to go sky high. I had much better success cutting with tap water. James
  55. JamesC

    Ro Woes

    Pure water by definition doesn't have a pH at all. RO water is pretty close and because it has no buffering capability the pH reading you get is almost meaningless. In theory though pure water would have a pH of 7.0 so any carbonate or bicarbonate that is present in the remineralising agent will...
  56. JamesC

    Tap water GH

    Could well be. I find Thames Water's water parameters change quite a bit during the year, hence why I don't use it. Blyxa has a habit of melting if water parameters change, but grows back fine again. James
  57. JamesC

    Tap water GH

    220ppm is quite high but still ok for a lot of plants. James
  58. JamesC

    Tap water GH

    General hardness isn't really the problem and that level should be fine with most plants. GH is actually a good thing. It's KH or alkalinity that causes the problem and shouldn't be too high. James
  59. JamesC

    Large water changes,any danger to fish?

    Large frequent water changes are fine but large infrequent water changes may cause problems. This is due to the tank water's parameters changing over time. James
  60. JamesC

    Temp question

    Just to add I brought one of those desk clip on fans a few years ago when we used to have summers to lower the temp of my tank. On average I found it lowered the temperature by about 4 degrees, normally from 32 to 28, but as LD mentioned with quite an extra amount of water loss. James
  61. JamesC

    po4 levels

    Or could be low CO2 as well. James
  62. JamesC

    How to make water soft? how does it affect plants?

    If you wish to grow tonina fluviatilis successfully then it's the KH (CO3, HCO3) you are mainly concerned with. A KH of less than about 3 seems to work well. Easiest way to lower KH is cutting your tap water with either RO or rain water. Peat will also lower KH but it's not that easy to control...
  63. JamesC

    Water report for Bromley area (Thames Water)

    That would be sodium chlorate. Too much chloride is bad for plants but the amounts in the tap are fine normally. James
  64. JamesC

    Water report for Bromley area (Thames Water)

    Doesn't tell you much really as far as we are concerned. Pretty much the same as mine. This area uses chloramine, but have forgotten where I found that out. Tell tell signs are the levels of ammonia which results from the breakdown of chloromine in the pipes. As Clive said chloride and chlorine...
  65. JamesC

    Is it possible to have limescale and still not enough calciu

    Leaf curling could be low magnesium, low nitrate, low CO2 or low boron. There are also other less likely options but you'll most likely find it's one or more of those 4 I mentioned. HTH James
  66. JamesC

    Spring water

    Being it's summer holidays I've been away a lot and also very busy with family, so haven't spent as much time as I would like on the tank. I have noticed some changes with some of the plants though. The ones that haven't faired very well and may well need to be ditched very soon: Tonina...
  67. JamesC

    Spring water

    I've been using RO water with a bit of tap water added for some years now as I have found I always had problems with using Thames water straight from the tap. Now that my RO unit needs to be changed as it's getting a bit ancient I have decided to try fresh spring water. I am rather lucky in the...
  68. JamesC

    GH/KH

    Adding CO2 doesn't affect GH at all but it does very slightly raise KH, but not by enough to worry about. James
  69. JamesC

    Added GH booster and KH went up!

    KH is the amount of CO3 and HCO3 ions in the water. As GH Booster contains neither of these two (well shouldn't anyway) then it shouldn't affect the KH when added. James
  70. JamesC

    dkH drops with time?

    Sounds good to me. The nitrogen cycle produces H+ and NO3-, so putting these two together gives you HNO3 or more commonly know as Nitric Acid. James
  71. JamesC

    dkH drops with time?

    Another way of showing the equation is as follows: CO2 + H2O <---> H+ + HCO3- If we add more H+ the equation becomes unbalanced and so to become balaced again more CO2 and H2O has to be produced. This has the effect of lowering the HCO3-. The only way to get the HCO3- to increase is to...
  72. JamesC

    dkH drops with time?

    This isn't quite correct. Adding an acid to the water WILL lower the KH. In water there is an equilibrium between acid and carbonates that can be shown like this: CO2 + H2O <---> H2CO3 <---> H + HCO3 If you add more acid (H+) then the equilibrium is changed and so more H2CO3 is produced which...
  73. JamesC

    dkH drops with time?

    Very true. When CO2 levels are very low some plants can extract carbon from bicarbonates in the water which would have the effect of lowering KH. James
  74. JamesC

    dkH drops with time?

    Without knowing what substrates were used it's hard to say. What they are trying to say is that their substrate does not affect the water's KH. Some substrates will raise KH. James
  75. JamesC

    KH

    Yes it's your gravel that it raising your KH. Just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get too high. 7 is OK but 15 is starting to get high IMO. Regular water changes will help to keep it down. Better to do small changes more often rather than big changes less often. This is to reduce...
  76. JamesC

    RO water

    Yep, I use RO water. I just add a bit of tap water to bring GH up to about 5. I also add a bit of magnesium as my tap's GH is all calcium. KH I try to keep low at about 2 to 3. James
  77. JamesC

    Wessex Water - report as of November 07

    Yes atomic weights are used. This is how I arrived at the answer: Atomic weights: Mg=24.3, C=12 and O=16 So MgCO3 we have 24.3 + 12 + (16x3) = 84.3 To get mass MgCO3 from Mg: 1.9 x (84.3/24.3) = 6.6g But as we are talking in equivalents of CaCO3 and not MgCO3 we have to convert. So...
  78. JamesC

    Wessex Water - report as of November 07

    1.9mg/l Mg = 7.8 mg/l MgCO3 as CaCO3 Hardness - MgCO3 gives CaCO3 265 - 7.8 = 257.2 mg/l CaCO3 = 103 mg/l Ca If you follow that you have a Ca : Mg ratio of 54 to 1, or in other words not much Mg. James
  79. JamesC

    Water Quality

    I think it depends how hard the water is. My London tap water is so bad that I just can't get many of my plants to grow. RO water is really the only option for me. James
  80. JamesC

    Getting an RO unit

    I looked at that PPS-Pro but it was basically PMDD with a bit of PO4 added in to the equation. Not quite sure why it's been claimed as a new dosing method when people have been doing it for years, but there you go. I have taken the PMDD formlulation and added some PO4 in and have been dosing...
  81. JamesC

    Getting an RO unit

    Depends on your tap water what you need to add back if anything. I add a bit of magnesium only because my GH is nearly all calcium. If you're dosing EI then the rest of the required nutrients are supplied that way. James
  82. JamesC

    High phosphate in tap water

    Some interesting topics have come up in this thread. EI is very dependant on good stable levels of CO2 otherwise plants will suffer and algae will prosper. Controlling CO2 levels using diy yeast systems is possible but hard to do. The drop checker needs to be green when lights come on till they...
  83. JamesC

    High phosphate in tap water

    That is a very good question and one I don't know the answer to. Theoretically no it shouldn't but I've noticed some very strange things using EI where I've had an amount of something that has caused a bit of stunting. Lowering the amount has often improved things. It's normally only subtle...
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