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Serious ferilizers

Jay Reeves wrote:
> I guess I am in the same boat as Rachel,  trying to get KH/GH 
> right.  Michael Rubin's response leads to a couple of questions 
> I have.  

Uh oh.  *Now* what have I done? ;-)

> I have soft water 1-3 KH & 5 GH.  I add Seachem Equilibrium 
> (old formula) and baking soda at water change to maintain 
> 3-4 KH & 7-8 GH.  

Raising your GH using the older formula of Seachem Equilibrium means
you're doing so mostly with Mg.  Therefore I don't think you can infer
that 8degGH means you have enough Ca.

> Should I deposit the old formula in the garden and pick up some new?

Not necessarily.  Just be aware of what you're adding and supplement
accordingly.  In this case you probably would benefit from another
source of Calcium.  I once had a shy pleco in my 10g, and as sometimes
happens he started getting skinny so I began providing him with feeder
blocks.  As he rasped on the blocks to feed, the plaster dissolved, and
the tank's GH skyrocketed from 3degGH to 14degGH overnight!  There's a
clue here... ;-)

> My tap water has a range of 2.2 to 6.3 ppm Ca with an average 
> of 3.3.  If I am only adding baking soda could I have a shortage 
> of Ca?  Water changes are 50% every week or two.  

That really depends on your plants' uptake.  Your tap water has between
1 and 3degGH, meaning it already has some Calcium, and you're adding
more when you supplement with Equilibrium.  BTW, why do you want your GH
to be in the 7-8degGH range?

> Crypts have not done well (permanent melt?) and Tropica "windelov" 
> gets serious blackened leaves in the light, but is very nice if buried

> under overhanging leaves.  Bolbitus h. is growing rapidly but does 
> get blackened leaves.  

I have only seen blackening of leaves in Eichornia diversifolia, and
only in a phosphate-limited environment (AGA award-winning aquarist Erik
Leung recently confirmed this for me).  Ca deficiency has different
symptoms in my tank, most often causing small and deformed new growth in
the fastest growers.  I'll bet you've got enough Calcium, and that
you're describing a different problem.  Tom?

> Also, I do have a bottle of CaCO3 from the hydro store.  If I 
> use this how long does the cloudiness last?  Would putting it 
> into a Diatom filter dissolve it without the cloudiness and how 
> long might that take?

You might try dissolving the CaCO3 beforehand, and adding it to the tank
in liquid form.  I've never had much luck with this, which is why I've
opted for suspending a nylon bag (filled with CaCO3 in a larger particle
form) in my sump.

Michael Rubin ~ San Francisco