05-01-2012, 12:38 PM
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Over the past 2 years I have done much experimenting with GH due to my zero GH and zero KH out of the tap. It was interesting that for years prior the plants were fine, but i did have some dolomite in the filters and using Flourish may have been sufficient if borderline. The dolomite gave out, I assume, since the plants suddenly showed a calcium deficiency though it took me a few months and with help from Diana Walstad to sort this out.
First on the API test, I agree the colour change is difficult, especially if it is that low. It wasn't until i raised the GH in my tanks to 5 or 6 dGH that I saw the colour changes very clearly, they are dark orange and then dark green. So my first comment is, can you confirm the GH with your water supply folks? Just to know we're on the right track.
Second, if raising GH is necessary, I would aim for 5-6 dGH. My plants have shown remarkable growth and dark green, esp the swords, over the past couple of months since I started Equilibrium. Walstad says 4 dGH is the minimum for plants to provide sufficient calcium (primarily) and magnesium and potassium. I've got my routine down pat now, 1 tablespoon in this tank, 3 in that, etc, at every water change. I was testing GH immediately prior to the weekly water change for several weeks and it was consistent so I don't bother testing now.
You will love being able to keep soft water fish healthy. My neighbour is amazed when I am frequenting mentioning during our dog walks "oh, saw another baby fish today...".
Almost forgot, your pH issue. In most of my tanks, i ignore the pH and let it fall where it may. Depends upon the species, I do use aragonite in the 90g and 115g to keep the pH in the low 6's, but in the other tanks it is down at 5 or less, I don't have a kit that measures below 5. I never bother about KH, that would only be another set of chemicals or additives. The beauty of Equilibrium is that it is simply mineral, it raises GH but does not affeect pH or KH.
Last edited by Byron; 05-01-2012 at 12:43 PM..