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Ridiculously High KH


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I'm located in Davie, FL. Our well water has a ridiculously high KH (14-15 drops to change colors in an API KH test kit).  My frustrations on trying to have a planted aquarium are so high that I'm almost giving up on the hobby.  Rare plants are able to survive, such as anubias and so far java ferns, but still, struggle with what seems to be potassium deficiency.  I have to dump almost a whole bottle of potassium supplements in addition to ferts to have the leaves look somewhat presentable.

Anyone have suggestions on plants to grow or what to do with the water (least expensive solution)?  should I just give up on plants and get hard water fish?

Thanks

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Oh I forgot secret option 3, which is the cheapest probably.

Dilute it down to kh of 4-8 with grocery store RO/DI and then make sure you keep enough plants and low enough fish load that you don't have to do water changes very often.  Then just top off evaporation with grocery store RO/DI water and fertilize as needed.

Easier said than done though.  At least for me, but I ain't rocket surgeon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whether you try a hard water fish tank or not is up to you. I'm changing my largest tank 55g over to a Tanganyikan community tank from a planted tank as I find the fish really more interesting to watch than the fish in my planted tank. The fish in the planted tank are being relocated to a 29g and a 10g. You do need a larger tank to do a Tanganyikan community tank, usually at least 4' long for many of the more common species, but you can do certain species only tanks all the way down to 10g. I have to buffer my water to increase dkh.

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3 hours ago, ererer said:

What's your ph and gh,what size tank, and do you have fish? I've seen hardy plants adapt to higher kh, though they do melt and then grow back after adjusting. 

 

 

 

 

pH on a strip test shows between 8-9, GH takes about 2 drops to change colors.  Right now I have fish I got from puddles formed in my flooded backyard last year, a few bluefin killifish, a few mosquito fish and a few wild sailfin Molly looking like fish.  Don't want to spend money on fish till I figure out what to do with the water

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I agree with @CT_ and @Mmiller2001, either a home RO system or buying distilled water from the store, depending on what size/how many tanks you want to setup and how often you want/need to do water changes and whether you prefer buying distilled water or the upfront cost of the RO system. Walstad method can work well for planted tanks that if properly balanced and stocked don't need very frequent water changes. I'd recommend covering your tanks to reduce evaporation as well. Mix the distilled/RO water with your tap water until you get the kh you want. Partly that will depend on what fish you want and how sensitive they are to ph/kh parameters. If you need to lower ph further, you can try adding botanicals to the tank, but this won't do much unless you have a really low kh (0-2 dkh).

If you want to give your plants a good start, you can also try out dry starting your tank.

As far as specific questions and recommendations involving nutrient deficiencies for plants, I recommend checking out plantedtank.net, they have some very knowledgeable individuals on planted tanks on there.

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I am worried about your GH.  You have very little calcium and magnesium for the plants.  In south TX my KH is 14 also, from well water, but my GH is 14. With a GH of 2, you should be adding calcium and magnesium.  
 

I am also looking to stock with the same fish: blue fins, mosquitos, and sail fins.  I am still cycling the tank but most plants are growing well. 
 

I am trying to find a salifert fresh water potassium test kit.  When I get it I’ll be able to determine if my K is enough   I just watched a video where the person’s java fern was sucking up all the K in her tank.  Once she added enough K, the other plants did well.

its almost sounds like you have an inline water softener that is removing your Ca and Mg.   Make sure you push the bypass valve on the water softener before filling your tank.

3379A671-CF3B-4A87-B96A-9CB6FC03A16E.jpeg

Edited by Steve Pituch
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1 hour ago, tolstoy21 said:

I’m curious to know the KH for the water taken before it goes through any filtration/softening. Same reading as before? Also your softener should have a bypass that allows you to disable it temporarily if you needed to do water changes from a sink in your house.

Same 15-16 drops to change colors.

 

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I just checked my notes and my GH is about 3 with the water softener in-line, 14 when it is bypassed.  So our WS do their intended job.  The added Mg and Ca should help the plants to grow.  If you test for Calcium, you can take that ppm and subtract it from your GH ppm and determine your ppm of magnesium.  You probably don’t need to add any magnesium if you are fertilizing via estimative index.  Just leave the MgSO4 out.  
There should be a valve built into the back of the WS to bypass it  it’s a white PVC push-pull valve. 

it’s interesting that our local fish and water is very similar. 
Regards,

Steve P

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My plants seem to be doing well in my 75gal...  Maybe I've just lucked out? My water params are:
pH - 8.2
kH - 13-14 
dH - 20-21

I have
-jungle val, dwarf sag, ava fern, Java moss, christmas moss, pogostemon stellatus octopus, Hydrophila, hornwort, ludwiga repens, an amazon sword and an anubias (surprisingly it's the one that it's thriving, but it's added a couple new leaves in the past two months).   

I just added a purple lotus lilly, but it hasn't had time to do much as of yet.    The last photo below was taken at the beginning of the month.  Now the hornwort (which I've trimmed 2x), jungle val (thinned once since I wanted some for my 20Long), and pogostemmon all have reached the surface and have continued to grow.  

Plants.jpg

Edited by sreding
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/20/2021 at 7:32 PM, Steve Pituch said:

I am worried about your GH.  You have very little calcium and magnesium for the plants.  In south TX my KH is 14 also, from well water, but my GH is 14. With a GH of 2, you should be adding calcium and magnesium.  
 

I am also looking to stock with the same fish: blue fins, mosquitos, and sail fins.  I am still cycling the tank but most plants are growing well. 
 

I am trying to find a salifert fresh water potassium test kit.  When I get it I’ll be able to determine if my K is enough   I just watched a video where the person’s java fern was sucking up all the K in her tank.  Once she added enough K, the other plants did well.

its almost sounds like you have an inline water softener that is removing your Ca and Mg.   Make sure you push the bypass valve on the water softener before filling your tank.

3379A671-CF3B-4A87-B96A-9CB6FC03A16E.jpeg

Since your parameters are similar to my pre softener filter, what ferts do you use and dosage?

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Macros and micros alternate for the first 6 days. Then water change on the seventh day. 
Macros consist of the following solution 10 ml per 10 gallons:

2.5 tsp kno3

1/8 tsp kh3po4

1 tsp mgso4

1/16 tsp k2so4

In h2o to make 500 ml of solution.

for micros I use:

1 tsp csm+b traces to make 500 ml.  However since iron does not get to plants using EDTA above a ph of 7.0, I add to this 3/8 tsp of (11% Fe with DTPA).  Since adding the last ingredient,  my plant deficiency of yellow leaves has gone away. Dose is also 10 ml per 10 gallons per day.

 

 

 

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