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Re: Seachem Florish and KH question

Gail responds:

> Bob wrote:
>  >And what does this Tropical Water Conditioner do?
>  I was having some trouble with green spot algae on the glass and the
>  aquarium shop man told me the water in my town contains high phosphate
>  levels.  Since then I have been using a "tap water purifier" then adding
>  the tropical water conditioner to put back trace elements etc.  Its made by
>  Aquasonic (Aust. made) 

Most "tap water purifiers" capapble of removing phosphate will not remove 
sodium chloride (NaCl), indeed they tend to rais the levels of Na, and 
usually also Cl.
>  The label states: contains mix of trace elements and 9 salts in the correct
>  proportions.  Raises hardness by 80ppm, and salinity by 130ppm.  Low salt
>  (NaCl) content permits culture of sensitive fish and delicate plants."

Your water is in all likelyhood already salty enough, or even too salty.  Get 
a copy of the water quality report from the local water authority.  See what 
you have.

>  >Why do you want to increase hardness (GH) and alkalinity (KH)? 
>  I understood that the recommended kH for freshwater fish was between 70 -
>  170ppm, and gH up to 150ppm for corydoras, loaches.

Here we see another one of those generalizations.  It is a set of water 
parameters dreamed up by some fish "expert" who wants to make the keeping of 
fish relatively easy, but it is not definitive enough for those following it 
to understand what is being achieved.  For the average, run-of-the-mill 
"bread-and-butter" fish sold by local pet shops and department stores, these 
water parameters will be tolerated.  "Bread-and-butter" fish are the tetras, 
catfish, barbs, and gouramies that make up the majority of what the LFS 
sells.  It is sort of a compromise of all the tropical water parameters from 
South America, West Africa, India, Indo-china, and various less common fish 
origins.  It really works pretty poorly once you become a more knowledgeable 

  Mine is about 20 -
>  40pmm for both.  

Because most water purifiers (and I am out on a limb making this 
generalization) replace CaCO3, MgCO3, and a host of less common compounds of 
phosphate and the like with salt.  Yea, NaCl.

>I thought I would try and raise both the hardness and
>  alkalinity.  I thought that raising the kH might stabilise the pH which is
>  normally about 6.8 but with CO2 can get down to under 6.00.  

CO2 injection causes the formation of carbonic acid (H2CO3).  Because 
alkalinity is primarily a measure of CO3, the CO2 injection will stimulate a 
lowering of pH no matter what the kH is.  The pH will still go down.  You ran 
the water through a purifier, and whether it was your intent or not, the 
majority of what the purifier did was to take out CaCO3.  Now you want to 
increase the level of CaCO3.  Stop using the purifier.  It will save you 
money, and effort.  Confirm with your water utility or your own tests what 
phosphate levels are.

And I also
>  thought it would be good for the plants.

You've already increased the salinity by running it through a purifier.  The 
amount of salinity you will boost it by (130ppm) is pretty high, on top of 
that.  This is probably not very good for plants at all.

Whether more hardness is beneficial to plants could keep folks here debating 
for days.  A little bit more, maybe, like 60ppm, and you're already getting 
that and more from your Aquasonic.
>  Are you 
>  >keeping rift lake cichlids or livebearers?  Then yes, you want it higher.
>  If 
>  >you are keeping Angels, most killies, South Ammerican dwarf cichlids, 
>  >anabantids, Discus, tetras, or West African cichlids, your water is fine.
>  I have a 40 gal tank with 4 overhead lights (although 2 stopped working
>  this week) 
>  The water temp is about 30c (86F) even though I put 2 frozen bottles of
>  water in during the afternoon/evening.  (I may have to do this more
>  frequently)
>  Iron about .1 (no more)
>  Nitrate 5ppm
>  Ammonia  <.1
>  Home made Co2
>  Clear water!
>  Fish = 6 Corydoras, 2 kuhli loaches, 2 plecos, 6 dwarf gouramis
>  Plants = blue stricta, Giant swords, medium swords, Marble queen, water
>  wisteria, rotala macranda, Banana plant, ludwigia, hygrophilia, ambulia
>  Filtration: Fluval 303
>  25% weekly water change,  Daily gro plant fertilizer (Aquasonic),  Flourish
>  sometimes.
>  Substrate:  Riversand with laterite underneath.

Your fish would probably appreciate either the CaCO3, or the Aquarisol water 
conditioner.  Both strikes  me as extreme.
>  I have in the past had big trouble with blue-green algae and have closed
>  down the tank over the 'wet' season, but I have had it up and running for
>  about 2 months and apart from a couple of days of green pea-soup water,
>  have had crystal clear water.  In the past though I have had frequent fish
>  deaths (one or two a week) and I don't want that.  I know the heat really
>  knocks the plants and the fish around.  I'm considering buying a chiller,
>  although today I thought for about the same price I could buy a split
>  system a/c for the room that the whole family could enjoy.

Your regimen of Flourish and Aquasonic sound adequate to handle the mineral 
needs of the tank.  I think the addition of CaCO3 would only add to the 
expense of maintaining the tank.  As always, YMMV

Bob Dixon