General hardness booster - needed?
Is a general hardness "booster" needed for a planted tank when using pressurized CO2? For the life of me, I can't seem to find a simple answer.
I understand that CO2 dissolved in water = carbonic acid and I guess my ultimate question is: Is the general hardness booster used as a buffer against pH changes? Is it really needed and, if so, what is the ideal target hardness? If it's not for buffering, why use it?
My water is relatively soft, according to a former worker at the local water system worker, but a dip-stick check says it's moderate (I know not to trust dip-stick tests...). I don't have the exact stats on hardness unfortunately. It's not a listed parameter on the local water system web site.
Here one GH booster.
Barrs GH Booster
Tom Barr's general water hardness booster contains: Potassium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate. 1 lb.
One Tablespoon or 16 grams will raise the GH of 20 gallons of water by 3 degrees or 1 meg/liter.
With that said (now this is getting over my head) I think it has nothing to with buffering ph since that is tied to KH. I think it is just what it says to boost GH for those who have very very low GH. Now calcium is tied to both GH and KH so I don't know?
Ok I stand corrected. If you read the article Byron wrote about water hardness. http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/
This was taken out of that: adding a calcium or magnesium base to increase both the GH and KH will naturally result in a higher pH.
So that one booster should buffer both GH and KH and the ph.
I knew calcium was related to both and know I had seen it somewhere on here lol. Anyways I won't use that unless you have very soft water because it is going to raise your GH and your KH which will help buffer you ph. If you have hard water that stuff might be a bad thing.
You seem to be on the right track here. I have never used CO2 diffusion so I don't know how this reacts in soft water. I know Mikaila has used it, but her water if memory serves me is medium hard to fairly hard, and I expect that buffers the effect of the CO2. She would be best to advise on this aspect.
As for buffers for soft water, while the preparations likely work they are expensive long term; I have used Seachem's Equilibrium. A much cheaper solution is to use a natural calcareous substance. I used to use dolomite but can't seem to get any. But i only last week discovered aragonite [thanks to an article in TFH about adding some mineral to soft water for plecos]. This is from what i can find out almost identical to dolomite. It contains calcium and magnesium which raise GH and correspondingly KH and pH. I am using CarribSea's Florida Crushed Coral which also contains aragonite and magnesium calcite. A small amount in a mesh bag in the canister filter [which is what I previously did with dolomite] will probably do the job. I only started this yesterday and when I have an idea of the effect (which cold be a few weeks) I will post a thread. With dolomite, it lasted years before it gave out. I spotted this by the leaves of the large swords showing calcium deficiency and iron excess, as I have written about in another thread; this never occurred while the dolomite was effective.
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