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Re: Lowering pH when adding hard water nutrients to soft water

Paul Krombholz wrote:
>My initial thoughts after reading Susi Barber's post about her water
problems is that she should avoid adding any sodium bicarbonate, which 
only raises the pH and does not add any nutrients the plants can use.

I reply:
I thought it supplied calcium; I am happy to use an alternative source; or 
even none other than the 2.7% supplied in the Equilibrium, and see how 
that goes - what do you think?  I 'm sure the plants will tell me!  Ditto re 
magnesium, as it also supplies that.  And yes, I am trying to keep it as 
simple as possible!

Its sounding like I don't need to add anything to bring the KH up, is a KH of 
0 okay, as that is what the water supply has - also 0 GH, and 0 Fe, both 
chelated and free.

Also, ditto for calcium:  the Lions Bay water doesn't register on my Hagen 
test kit,  the colour goes deep purple even before I have added any of the 
drops to send it purple, and the level for that according to the kit is <20 

When I add the Equilibrium, I can measure GH, but still no KH or Ca, or Fe 
for that matter.

pH varies between 6.4 to 6.8, not sure why - maybe the amount of rain, as 
it is coming from a stream??

>Vinegar won't permanently lower the pH because it is an organic acid,
>acetic acid. The acetate is food for bacteria, and it is the bacteria that
>are probably the cause of the "little white floaty bits".

Okay, that's good to know, muriatic acid it is, if I still need it - depends 
whether I have to add Soda Bicarb or not to bring the KH up, as above.

David Youngker wrote:
>Considering the success rate most often reported for the water in her 
area, this overlooked factor may play some significant role in her original

Please explain:  I am feeding twice a day, and have lots of snails in the 
tanks too, eg I sold 100 a while ago, and am ready to do that again (nice 
profit for Ramshorns at $1 a snail at my LFS!)

Update:  I changed as much water as I could yesterday (except for about 1 
inch), replacing it with new water at pH = 7, 2, GH = 3, KH =2 (I was 
following David's goal of 1.5, but if your base is 0, you have to add enough 
to get a register so the water stays blue instead of going straight to yellow 
with the first testing drop, as that first drop lets you know you have none in 
there - it could still be 0, or it could be 1 degree of hardness, both are 
yellow in the test.  And I'm not wedded to pH = 7, I was just trying to get 
plants pearling even a tiny bit.

Anyway,  today,  pH = 7.4, GH is still 3 for both tanks, but KH is 3 for the 3 
gal, and still at 2 for the 6 gal.  At least the pH didn't shoot up to 7.8 or 
as before!

Many thanks,

Susi, from beautiful Lions Bay, Vancouver