Question on using Seachem Equilibrium
I have a couple of questions about using Seachem Equilibrium in my 10g. The first one is what to make my GH. My tap water GH is very low which is why I'm using Equilibrium. I was thinking 10 dGH so as not to get the water too hard.
Second question is should I make small changes to get GH up to the desired level.
One more: what benefits should I see from raising the GH? This is a lightly-medium planted tank.
I believe your question can only be answered by how your local fish store gets their fish. Many fish are tank raised while others are caught in the wild. I think the general hardness in "tropical Fish Profiles" are for fish caught in the wild. Maybe a more experienced fishkeeper can clear this up.
First, we need to know the GH of the tap water (the tank will be the same unless you are specifically targeting the GH somehow), as this is the starting point but also affects how Equilibrium will react.
Second, what fish are intended for this tank? While rjordan390 is partly correct, there are specific parameters for each species of fish and the fish will be healthier (by being less stressed for one thing) if those parameters are matched, and this generally appies to all fish.
I would not aim for a GH as high as 10 dGH unless the fish need this, hence my two questions above. I use this in my tanks as my tap water is near-zero GH and having soft water fish I keep the GH around 5 to 6 dGH solely for the plants.
I went looking at the latest MWRA report and found the following:
Hardness (2) 7.0 7.2 15.3 15.3 MG/L 0.194
(15.3 ppm is the post-treatment number I believe)
(2) MWRA water is considered soft. Water is measured by hardness - which is the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. MWRA water has a hardness of about 15-20 mg/l or about 1 grain/gallon (1
grain/gallon = 17.1 mg/L). For comparison, hard water would have greater than 75 mg/l hardness.
I don't know what that is in dGH, but maybe my GH doesn't need raising...
I plan to use the tank for soft-water fish. I believe that the smaller Rasboras I would choose would be alright, correct me if I'm wrong.
Thanks for your help.
Most soft water fish will be fine. It is the plants that won't because of insufficient calcium (primarily) but also magnesium and potassium. Comprehensive fertilizers like Flourish do have these minerals, but not enough to make up this much of a shortfall, since they assume most people will have medium hard water. I have tried several options, and Equilibrium has worked the best. It adds the minerals, but does not impact KH or pH at all, so this is good for the fish. And my plants have really taken off.
I would aim for a GH around 5 dGH. One level tablespoon of Equilibrium per 20 gallons will raise the GH by about 3 dGH, so with your water and a 10g tank, half a tablespoon will result in a GH of around 4 dGH. The way I approached this was I started out with the minimal the first week after a water change, then I measured the GH the following week and went from there. I now know that adding 3 tablespoons when I do a 50% water change on my 70g and 90g will keep the GH around 5-6 dGH at the end of each week. These GH changes are not such as to impact the fish negatively. The TDS is still very low.
Thanks again Byron. It was especially important for me to have the information about the plants and GH. I'll pick up the Equilibrium next weekend and take your advice about dosing.
I would invest in a GH test kit, so you know exactly where you stand. You don't want to 'guess' and find out a couple months down the road that you're adding just a little too much with the result of your tanks being quite hard.
API makes a liquid titration style test (comes with KH also, but don't need to worry about that). It's not clear around the 1-2 dGH area (hard to see color change) but above that it's easy.
I have to do the same thing, my water is between 1-2 dGH. I also got an actual scale that measures in grams so I can be exact in the dosing =) Not necessary, but I like to be exact. Just hope the cops don't show up and wonder why I have a scale with white powder all over it ....
Is this worth the buy for a planted tank if I only use it to raise the GH by a point or two 'points'? At this time I only have anubias, java moss, and pennywort but I plan on adding another stem plant. I don't know the exact GH but it's more than likely no more than 3GH. I can buy this and a GH test kit.. would it be worth it toraise the GH to like 3-4 if it is already lower than 3? Or maybe to 6-5?
I've got rummynose tetras, corys, rasboras and a gourami.. so I know they like the soft water. Just thought this may be an easy way to help out my plants a bit as well in addition to my dosing of flourish.
First I would find out what your water is, your water supply utility should know. You can check their website to see if they publish the water quality report, if not you can give them a call.
As a fall back, you can take a water sample to a pet store for a test. They'll probably use strips though which are not very accurate for GH.
4-5 dGH is probably a minimum, but that dosen't mean you'll have problems in softer water. As I mentioned, mine is 1-2 dGH. I raise mine until it changes colors at 4 or 5 drops of the API liquid test (each drop means 1 dGH, so if it changes colors at 4 drops that means I have more than 3, but less than 4 dGH).
In addition to Geo's comments with which I agree, I would ask you about the present state of the plants. If they are growing decently, things are probably fine. Interesting you raise this question here, I just finished posting in your other thread about iron and I mentioned this issue there, so I'll add a bit now.
I have very soft water, about 12ppm or half of one degree GH. My swords continually got brown blotches on the leaves which increased to the point where the entire leaf was brown (dead). Thanks to Diana Walstad, I learned the issue was excess iron, caused by insufficient calcium. Plants need calcium for several functions, including building leaf cells. When calcium is insufficient, the plant takes up additional iron and this excess gets deposited in the leaves, hence the brown blotches. As the iron increases the brown increases and in time the leaf and then the plant dies.
If you have border-line calcium, you do not want to be increasing iron, unless you increase the calcium first. So back to the initial point, if the plants are growing green leaves now, all is probably well. I myself would not spend the considerable money (Equilibrium is expensive) if I didn't absolutely need to i order to provide sufficient calcium, magnesium and potassium (all of which are in Equilibrium). I experimented with other less expensive methods, like using dolomite, aragonite and crushed coral; while these in sufficient quantity will raise the GH, they also send the pH through the roof. And having soft water fish and many wild caught, this is unacceptable. Just two tablespoons of aragonite/crushed coral gravel in the filter of the 115g sent the pH from 6 to 7.4 in a couple days. Equilibrium has no effect on pH or KH.
Another point is plant species. Echinodorus and Helanthium (the "swords") need more calcium, or at any rate they are ampong the first to show a deficiency in calcium. Crypts less so. Stem plants probably will, my Pennywort is certainly better now with the added hard minerals.
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