03-14-2010, 07:11 PM
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Natalie, the dangers of using powders or concoctions is getting the amount correct (how would you know how much?) plus what else might be in them. At least with rocks we know how they work.
Coral I have been told (by scientific types) is not effective because it is calcium but not magnesium, and you need both. Of course, you could use coral for the calcium and Epsom Salt for the magnesium. But the last time I messed with ES I nearly killed my plants.
Dolomite works in any water, it simply dissolves slowly over years. If it is not working redchigh, use a bit more; it takes some experimenting to find the correct amount. I know half a cup in my filter adds 1.5-2 dGH hardness to my 115g tank. The pH buffering is linked to the hardness degree, so 2 dGH is not going to raise the pH high, just keep it from falling. My 115g has a pH of 6 whereas the other two tanks without dolomite have pH 5. Water is same, same pwc schedule and amount, similar fish, etc.
Odd about dolomite, it used to be the substrate gravel for marine tanks and rift lake; I guess everyone wants sand or something now, and it is no longer in demand. My little bag of it I bought in 1996, used it all now.