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Calcium Additions (long)
I've thoroughly read through the Krib on all of the pertinant information,
I am very impressed with the work that everyone has done. I would like to
personally thank George Booth, Sears and Conlin and everyone else that has
contributed valuable information. For those of us that are neophytes in
chemistry, These things really help.
After some deep thought(and much reading) and some experimentation, I have
confirmed that I have(had) a calcium deficiency in my 70 gallon tank.
Briefly Tank 1 setup. (The tank with Algae) This was a brand new tank from
70 Gallon 48" x 18" x18"
Substrate: Duplarit G as installed exactly by instructions.
KH 7 Degrees
GH 6 Degrees
Nitrate's running 5-10ppm
Phosphates running .1 - .2 ppm
6ea 48" 40 watt bulbs. (4 Vita Lite and 2 Chroma 50's)
Fish: A Pair of peacock Goby's, mating and soon to be with Fry (I Hope) 3
SAE's and that is it.
Tank 2 Setup (The healthy tank)
Substrate, Common Gravel 2-3mm no substrate additives, (Flourish Tabs
Only) I had this tank setup for years with many different types of fish,
After a major disaster, I just let this tank sit (remaining water
evaporated out of it) and I did not have any fish in it for 2-3 years,
just sat there dry. (You'll understand in a minute). After setup I let
this tank Run for weeks without fish, testing for ammonia just in case the
gravel was holding it as a LFS fish store thought it would. Gravel appeared
to be fine. After I initally set this tank up for plants I did KH and GH
testing and then forgot about it. NOW it appears much different than tank
1, Same water, same water changes look at the difference in the GH.
Plant wise this tank is doing wonderful, I have an apogentus crispus (I
believe) with leaves 3 inches wide and 40 inches long(the will hang out of
the tank all the way past the bottom of a 29 gallon.) A Java fern with 25
full height leaves (height of the tank) and a couple a sprigs of hygro that
took over the tank in only a few weeks. (among other plants)
Nitrate's running 3-5ppm
4 ea 20 watt 24" bulbs (2 triton and 2 vita-lites
Fish: (Too Many I'm trying to isolate my Peacock's in the other tank) 10ea
Neon/Cardinals (mixed) 5ea Zebra Danio's 2ea Blue Neon Dwarf Rainbows; 3
ApistoGramma Cacatoids(sp) 2 Huge Blue Rams. 2 SAE's
On to the story.
Tank 1 has been a breeding ground for hair algea, I tried a bunch of
things including a Phos-Sorb bag and I had also suspected that the algea
growth was due to lighting, so I switched out 6 Chroma 50's to 4 Vita-Lites
and that did not have any effect. I then noticed one day that in tank 1
(the problem tank) that the snail shells were rather thin. So I got
testing the water and discovered the huge disparity in GH between the two
tanks, I also noticed that my Hygrophillia were showing significant signs
of a deficiency.
After adding a teaspoon of Lime within 24 hours my nitrates dropped to 0
(and I believe became limiting), my phosphates are at .1. One week later
I am seeing good growth in my hygro's and the nitrates are still 0.
Phosphates are still .1 and I believe I see the algae dying fairly steadily.
I have just added Potassium Nitrate to my PMDD I hope this will drop make my
phosphates the limiting nutrient instead of the nitrates.
In retrospect I believe the reason the top tank is doing so well is that
much of the time that tank was setup originally it contained very hard water
(this was before I started doing a plant tank). When it evaporated dry it
left a large amount of calcium in the gravel, This has fulfilled the
calcium needs of that tank. (of course this is just a hypothesis)
I cannot do water changes as much as I would like to especially this time of
year. I have to haul my water from a nearby spring and it has rained so
much I cannot get it into my holding tank(yes I have running water I just
like living in a place where a deep well yields no water) <grin>. I am
currently only doing about 20% every 2 weeks. I believe this compounded my
Anyway on to my question. What is the best way to add calcium to my
water, Since the 1 teaspoon of lime I added did not change either my KH or
GH, How do I know when I am approaching deficiency levels.(other than
Is the lime I added acceptable for continued use ? Is there a better way
(eggshells or seashells limestone). What do others do in my situation.
Below is the breakdown of the lime that I have available. I am not a
chemist so I really am guessing at some of this. I have read everything on
the Krib I can find. The label reads exactly as follows
Hoffman Hydrated Horticultural Lime
Guaranteed Dry Weight Analysis
Calcium (Ca)................... 50.0%
Calcium Carbonate Equivalent ..128.0%
Calcium Hydroxide ............. 99.0%
Magnesium Hydroxide ........... 0.5%
Calcium Oxide.................. 70.0%
Magnesium Oxide................ 0.7%
Total Oxides .................. 70.7%
2% Maximum CaO and MgO Combined as
Total Neutralizing Value 128.0% CaCO3 Equivalence
From Magnesium Sources 1.7% CaCO3 Equivalence
Total Neutralizing power in terms
Calcium Carbonate ...... 121.0%
Minumum Calcium Carbonate
Equivalent Derived From
Magnesium Source ....... 1.7%
Pennsylvania E.N.V ........... 127%
WI Neutralizing Index ........ 127%
Oregon Lime Score ............ 124%
Virginia E.N.V................ 127%
ECCE ......................... 127%
Moisture not more than 2%
Derived from Limestone
Thanks again for all of the help and info.