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Best way to raise GH/KH in a heavily planted tank?

FISHnLAB

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Hi guys, I am looking to increase the GH/KH in my low tech heavily planted tanks. What is the best way to accomplish this without causing any issues with my plants or wildlife? I have a bottle of Seachem Equilibrium I bought a while back for the GH but, my real problem is the KH. I want to add a shrimp colony to one of the tanks with Fluval Stratum as a substrate and its KH is near non-existent. I hear a lot of people just use Salty Shrimp Mineral GH/KH+ and like it but, it's a bit hard to find here and expensive. Others seam to use Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Magnesium Chloride, or Dolomite. All of which are much easier to get a cheaper.

So, can you guys please suggest the best way to increase my GH and especially my KH? Thanks👍.
 

Wookii

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You don't need to raise the KH for shrimp unless you are specifically trying to increase pH, which is unlikely to be necessary. I run all my RO tanks at 0 KH without issue.

If you want to increase GH (5-6 is ideal for most shrimp) then Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate work well as adding equal weights of each is almost bang on the often quoted ideal ratio of 3:1 (Ca:Mg), making things especially simple to dose.
 

FISHnLAB

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You don't need to raise the KH for shrimp unless you are specifically trying to increase pH, which is unlikely to be necessary. I run all my RO tanks at 0 KH without issue.

If you want to increase GH (5-6 is ideal for most shrimp) then Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate work well as adding equal weights of each is almost bang on the often quoted ideal ratio of 3:1 (Ca:Mg), making things especially simple to dose.
Hey Wookii, thanks for the help👍.

Oh, I was under the impression too low of KH will affect their breeding/molting and general health but, I am very green when it comes to shrimp and am still in the learning phase before I get them. My plan is to start a breeding colony in this tank(16 Gallon plant propagation tote with the Fluval Stratum for Substrate) by introducing a dozen Neocaridina Davidi. They will be expensive selective bread Blue Velvet Neo's so I don't want any problems. I would appreciate any suggestions or reading material that may help me succeed. Thanks again guys👍.
 

Wookii

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Hi, thanks for the help👍.

pH - 7.8
TDS - 45ppm
KH - 3dKH
GH - 5dKH
NH3 - 0
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 0
PO4 - 0

Definitely no need to boost the KH then!

No, KH doesn’t contribute towards breeding or moulting, that’s Calcium.

Do you know the calcium and magnesium contributions to the GH? In the UK you can sometimes get this information from the water supply company but I don’t know about Canada.

You could probably add a little more GH if you wanted as Neo’s will do well in it, but you may be fine as is.

Neocaridina are easy shrimp to maintain, so I wouldn’t sweat it too much. Blue Velvets should be fairly inexpensive too, so don’t let anyone charge you top dollar for them. High grade ones over here are about £2.50 each.

When you get them just drip acclimate them to your tank water, and add them to the tank. They’ll pretty much look after themselves after that, and will likely start breeding in short order depending on the maturity of the shrimp you are sold.
 

FISHnLAB

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Definitely no need to boost the KH then!
Ok, good.
No, KH doesn’t contribute towards breeding or moulting, that’s Calcium.
Copy that, thanks.
Do you know the calcium and magnesium contributions to the GH? In the UK you can sometimes get this information from the water supply company but I don’t know about Canada.
No. I always meant to look further into finding a municipal water report as I couldn't find one online. My plan B was to buy a freshwater Calcium test kit so I can do the rough math but, the plan got put on the backburner I while back when I started my new tank build. Do you think this is a viable approach? In my main display tank, the one I just built, there is a ton of Mountain/Seiru Stone so I don't think Calcium will be a problem but, I plan to put Shrimp in the propagation tank too which is just Fluval Stratum and a ton of plants so that one may run into low Calcium issues. I could get some Cuttlefish Bone, Feeding Blocks, etc. or, I have a bottle of Seachem Equilibrium unopened in house that I bought a while back. What do you think?
You could probably add a little more GH if you wanted as Neo’s will do well in it, but you may be fine as is.
Roger, see above.
Neocaridina are easy shrimp to maintain, so I wouldn’t sweat it too much.
Ok, good to know, thank you👍.
Blue Velvets should be fairly inexpensive too, so don’t let anyone charge you top dollar for them. High grade ones over here are about £2.50 each.
I'm looking at closer to £5 here for some from a local selective breeder. I live in a small isolated town though and it is £3-4 for plain Red Cherry's at the local pet store so that doesn't seam crazy.
When you get them just drip acclimate them to your tank water, and add them to the tank. They’ll pretty much look after themselves after that, and will likely start breeding in short order depending on the maturity of the shrimp you are sold.
Good to know. If I go with the local breeder over the pet store(I can no longer order online due to the cold), I should be able to ask for a specific mix of maturity level and hopefully male to female ratio. What would you suggest for that? 50/50 or maybe 33Male/66Female?

Thanks for all of your help Wookii👍.
 

Witcher

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Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate work well as adding equal weights of each is almost bang on the often quoted ideal ratio of 3:1 (Ca:Mg),
that will definitely do, but my preferred ones are CaNO3 and MgNO3 (plus H2O) as they obviously add more of the N to the water column and less of Cl and S (which are abundant in most of UK areas anyway). Don't going to start the ideal Ca/Mg ratio war though ;)
 

Wookii

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that will definitely do, but my preferred ones are CaNO3 and MgNO3 (plus H2O) as they obviously add more of the N to the water column and less of Cl and S (which are abundant in most of UK areas anyway). Don't going to start the ideal Ca/Mg ratio war though ;)

They add too much NO3 though as far as I can tell. I wanted to go the exact same route as you suggest, and try and eliminate the Sulphate and Chloride, but when I looked at it some time ago, to hit, say, GH 5 using CaHO3 and MgNO3 results in 110ppm dose of NO3!

Edit: That was to RO water incidentally - it might work in @FISHnLAB 's case just to top from a 5dGH starting point.

Also, I've never been able to find a source for MgNO3 in the UK (most of those I've seen seem to just be a mixture of MgSO4 and KNO3)
 

Witcher

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They add too much NO3 though as far as I can tell. I wanted to go the exact same route as you suggest, and try and eliminate the Sulphate and Chloride, but when I looked at it some time ago, to hit, say, GH 5 using CaHO3 and MgNO3 results in 110ppm dose of NO3!

Edit: That was to RO water incidentally - it might work in @FISHnLAB 's case just to top from a 5dGH starting point.

Also, I've never been able to find a source for MgNO3 in the UK (most of those I've seen seem to just be a mixture of MgSO4 and KNO3)
True - it can rise N heavily, I should be more precise and add that I keep water hardness at very low levels (1-2 GH ) plus use some Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate for compensation (to keep lower levels of N if needed) but not as much as we have in the tap (I use remineralized RO/rain water).
I'm pretty sure you can find Magnesium nitrate on ebay - agro grade, lab grade is difficult to get indeed.
 

LMuhlen

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True - it can rise N heavily, I should be more precise and add that I keep water hardness at very low levels (1-2 GH ) plus use some Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate for compensation (to keep lower levels of N if needed) but not as much as we have in the tap (I use remineralized RO/rain water).
I'm pretty sure you can find Magnesium nitrate on ebay - agro grade, lab grade is difficult to get indeed.
How do you dose potassium? Most people seem to use potassium nitrate.
 

ceg4048

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I'm in complete agreement with Darrel. When I see post like these I cringe because newcomers will inevitably read this stuff and will start worrying about things that absolutely don't matter at all, and that's when they get into real trouble because their attention and energy is spent on useless parameters so there is nothing left to worry about the things that do matter.
So for example, there is no need to worry about Ca:Mg ratio. This is a myth that comes from agriculture. If you're growing tomatos or peaches you may need to be concerned but our plants are weeds and they do not care. Use as much calcium as you want and as much Magnesium as you want and never worry about some mythical ratio that you actually have no control over.
Here, look. On this tank I went postal testing this so-called theory and dosed Ca;Mg of about 40:1
Our plants really do not care about that stuff. They care about CO2/flow/distribution.
I mean, honestly, most folks don't even know what Ca or Mg are used for in plants. They just see some number repeated over and over, never actually test it for themselves and just accept it as fact. Then they repeat the number to someone else and this becomes "fact". This is akin to fake news. Test these fake numbers for yourself instead of blindly adopting them and passing them on to some other poor soul looking for advice. Simplify your life. Worry about the right things and the hobby will be a little more enjoyable.
tank.jpg
 

Wookii

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I'm in complete agreement with Darrel. When I see post like these I cringe because newcomers will inevitably read this stuff and will start worrying about things that absolutely don't matter at all, and that's when they get into real trouble because their attention and energy is spent on useless parameters so there is nothing left to worry about the things that do matter.
So for example, there is no need to worry about Ca:Mg ratio. This is a myth that comes from agriculture. If you're growing tomatos or peaches you may need to be concerned but our plants are weeds and they do not care. Use as much calcium as you want and as much Magnesium as you want and never worry about some mythical ratio that you actually have no control over.
Here, look. On this tank I went postal testing this so-called theory and dosed Ca;Mg of about 40:1
Our plants really do not care about that stuff. They care about CO2/flow/distribution.
I mean, honestly, most folks don't even know what Ca or Mg are used for in plants. They just see some number repeated over and over, never actually test it for themselves and just accept it as fact. Then they repeat the number to someone else and this becomes "fact". This is akin to fake news. Test these fake numbers for yourself instead of blindly adopting them and passing them on to some other poor soul looking for advice. Simplify your life. Worry about the right things and the hobby will be a little more enjoyable.
View attachment 198162

I guess through the red mist of your rant Clive you weren’t able to see the OP clearly enough to read we’re discussing requirements for Shrimp . . . not plants . . .
 

FISHnLAB

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Hey guys, thanks a bunch for all of the replies👍. Sorry, I haven't been participating, I have been super busy lately with tank stuff as well as unfortunately had 2 different losses in my immediate family. It's been a rough couple of weeks😔. I was in the middle of things(2 seperate builds and new animals added to tanks) so I had to tough it out or everything would have crashed and died. I'm through the worst of it now and the tanks are all doing great with no losses other then a bit of melt with the Ludwigia Super Red in my propagation tank(not sure what caused it but, maybe the new aquasoil).

Anyway, back to the thread...
 

FISHnLAB

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Joined
4 Aug 2022
Messages
319
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'm in complete agreement with Darrel. When I see post like these I cringe because newcomers will inevitably read this stuff and will start worrying about things that absolutely don't matter at all, and that's when they get into real trouble because their attention and energy is spent on useless parameters so there is nothing left to worry about the things that do matter.
So for example, there is no need to worry about Ca:Mg ratio. This is a myth that comes from agriculture. If you're growing tomatos or peaches you may need to be concerned but our plants are weeds and they do not care. Use as much calcium as you want and as much Magnesium as you want and never worry about some mythical ratio that you actually have no control over.
Here, look. On this tank I went postal testing this so-called theory and dosed Ca;Mg of about 40:1
Our plants really do not care about that stuff. They care about CO2/flow/distribution.
I mean, honestly, most folks don't even know what Ca or Mg are used for in plants. They just see some number repeated over and over, never actually test it for themselves and just accept it as fact. Then they repeat the number to someone else and this becomes "fact". This is akin to fake news. Test these fake numbers for yourself instead of blindly adopting them and passing them on to some other poor soul looking for advice. Simplify your life. Worry about the right things and the hobby will be a little more enjoyable.
View attachment 198162
I completely agree Clive and have fallen into this trap a number of times already unfortunately. That's part of the reason I closed my Journal, I was just being pulled in so many different directions and it was taking away from the hobby. I stepped back and started making more decisions myself based on my research instead of blindly following the directions of others. I must say that yours and Darrel's posts have been so helpful in my quest for knowledge. Over the years you too have posted so many in depth and knowledgeable posts with links to references and the like. It's been very helpful and I just want to thank you guys so much for your contributions to this site👍🍻. I also want to thank many others for all of there help to me personally as well as for posting many helpful things for others as well.
 

FISHnLAB

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I guess through the red mist of your rant Clive you weren’t able to see the OP clearly enough to read we’re discussing requirements for Shrimp . . . not plants . . .
Both actually.

And, I see why this topic rubs him the wrong way. The level of mis & disinformation in this hobby, as well as people focusing on largely irrelevant things is immense and super hard to navigate for a newcomer. I'm pretty certain it leads to the exit of many from this hobby(I was almost one of the exitees).

The shrimp are going into a propagation tank completely stuffed with plants. There main function until I get the 90 they are destined for in the spring is to keep my plants and tank clean along with a group of 8 Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I'm considering adding a half dozen Otos as well. Here is the tank. I'm building a screen lid for it today along with a Cholla Wood hide for the Shrimp. I'm picking up the shrimp from a local breeder on Saturday...
20221130_125940.jpg

20221130_125933.jpg

20221130_125924.jpg
 
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