How to raise hardness safely?

MiniPop

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Every week the TDS in my tanks go down by about 10 ppm. I'm not sure why--I think maybe it has to do with the plants removing minerals from the water. How do I get it back up gradually and safely? Would a bit of crushed coral work? Thanks!
 

Inner10

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Without knowing any other parameters TDS is a completely useless number. Don't add crushed coral just because your TDS is dropping. Test your KH and GH to establish a baseline.
 
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MiniPop

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Inner10 said:
Without knowing any other parameters TDS is a completely useless number. Don't add crushed coral just because your TDS is dropping. Test your KH and GH to establish a baseline.
I just tested KH and GH. December 2019 KH and GH were 8 and 11, and today it's 6 and 9. Would crushed coral be a good choice in this case? I guess I'm most worried about changing the parameters too fast and hurting the shrimp.
 

Inner10

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MiniPop said:
I just tested KH and GH. December 2019 KH and GH were 8 and 11, and today it's 6 and 9. Would crushed coral be a good choice in this case? I guess I'm most worried about changing the parameters too fast and hurting the shrimp.
No, it wouldn't you have to find out what's dropping, check your KH and GH of your tank and see if it's actually going down, or if your measurement is just your filter picking up material. Are you running carbon in your filter?

TDS is not hardness, nor KH.
 

Chanyi

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TDS is not just minerals, it's anything dissolved in the water that can conduct electricity.

Plants will uptake nutrients that contribute to TDS, substrate with higher CEC's will uptake TDS.

What substrate do you have?
 

tjander

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What about your PH? Also what is your water change / top off routine. Your KH and GH will not drop unless are diluting the water of your tank from your top off / water change water. Bottom line we need a lot more information about what your doing in your tank before we can suggest a plan. I would not get wrapped up on TDS readings until we know all your water parameters.
 
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MiniPop

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Inner10 said:
No, it wouldn't you have to find out what's dropping, check your KH and GH of your tank and see if it's actually going down, or if your measurement is just your filter picking up material. Are you running carbon in your filter?

TDS is not hardness, nor KH.
Um. I just said I checked KH and GH and they have dropped. I used a liquid test kit. No, it's a 10 gal tank and only a sponge filter.

Chanyi said:
TDS is not just minerals, it's anything dissolved in the water that can conduct electricity.

Plants will uptake nutrients that contribute to TDS, substrate with higher CEC's will uptake TDS.

What substrate do you have?
Oh okay. I have regular gravel.

tjander said:
What about your PH? Also what is your water change / top off routine. Your KH and GH will not drop unless are diluting the water of your tank from your top off / water change water. Bottom line we need a lot more information about what your doing in your tank before we can suggest a plan. I would not get wrapped up on TDS readings until we know all your water parameters.
My PH is 8.2 today. In Dec 2019 it was 8.3 so it went down slightly.

I change the water 10-15% weekly by mixing tap water with RO water to match TDS with the tank, using a TDS meter. Could this be the problem? I should be matching the new water's KH/GH to the tank's, and not TDS?
 

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MiniPop said:
I change the water 10-15% weekly by mixing tap water with RO water to match TDS with the tank, using a TDS meter. Could this be the problem? I should be matching the new water's KH/GH to the tank's, and not TDS?
Yes... the whole point of water changes is to remove dissolved things within the water (NO3, dissolved organics etc.)...

New, incoming water should be a little less than the TDS of the out-going water.

Match the kH and gH, resulting in the same pH, as the tank water.

If you blend RO to tap, just use the same mix every time and you'll never have to worry.
 
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MiniPop

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Chanyi said:
Yes... the whole point of water changes is to remove dissolved things within the water (NO3, dissolved organics etc.)...

New, incoming water should be a little less than the TDS of the out-going water.

Match the kH and gH, resulting in the same pH, as the tank water.

If you blend RO to tap, just use the same mix every time and you'll never have to worry.
Hmmm, that makes sense. So I should have been using the same RO/tap mix every time instead of trying to match the TDS. I only started matching because the TDS in the tank was dropping and I was worried the new water was too different from the tank's. I used to put in the same TDS water every time.

I also used to top off with RO water and mixed their powdered food with RO but I stopped doing that. Not sure if stopping has helped or not because TDS still dropped this past week. I don't check GH/KH every week so I don't know if it was just TDS or hardness that dropped this week.

Do you have any suggestions on what I should do now? I'm starting to see shell problems in the snails that live with the shrimp. I've also had my oldest shrimp die from molting issues. Although the rest of my 50+ shrimp are fine.

I also have another shrimp tank that has even lower KH/GH (5/7) that dropped from 6/9 since Dec 2019. The snails in there look pretty awful but the shrimp are fine so far.
 

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Yes... Use the same RO:Tap mix every time, no need to worry about matching TDS.

Now, I’m not sure on the snails / shrimp, but You might want to consider bumping gH 2 degrees.... 1.5 from Ca and 0.5 from Mg just to be safe.

So cut RO:Tap to where you like it, then bump gH an additional 2 degrees.

Use the nutrient calculator, punch in the water change amount (tank volume option, but type in the amount of water you are changing / adding back into the tank).

Select DIY, punch in CaSO4 or MgSO4, select dose to reach target, punch in your target, and it will spit out how much to add.
 
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MiniPop

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Chanyi said:
Yes... Use the same RO:Tap mix every time, no need to worry about matching TDS.

Now, I’m not sure on the snails / shrimp, but You might want to consider bumping gH 2 degrees.... 1.5 from Ca and 0.5 from Mg just to be safe.

So cut RO:Tap to where you like it, then bump gH an additional 2 degrees.

Use the nutrient calculator, punch in the water change amount (tank volume option, but type in the amount of water you are changing / adding back into the tank).

Select DIY, punch in CaSO4 or MgSO4, select dose to reach target, punch in your target, and it will spit out how much to add.
Are you saying to raise the GH I need to buy calcium and magnesium in fertilizer form? I can't do it by just mixing tap water and RO? Sorry if I'm not understanding you correctly.
 

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MiniPop said:
Are you saying to raise the GH I need to buy calcium and magnesium in fertilizer form? I can't do it by just mixing tap water and RO? Sorry if I'm not understanding you correctly.
Yes, unless you test and can confirm the Ca and Mg concentrations in the tapwater...

Many of the times Ca is dominant, and Mg is needed. Because gH is the sum of Ca + Mg, we can never be sure.
 

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If you don't do regular tests on your tap water your whole system can change by just mixing 50/50 and this won't work for shrimp, your gh could be dropping in the tap water and by adding pure ro water you reduce that again this in turn will show a drop in tds readings and take your gh to a dangerous level for shrimp, we only use a tds meter as a guide and nothing else. You'r already using ro water so why aren't you using all ro water and remineralis with salty bee gh+ this will give you perfect results every time and you'll find you have more control over all your peramaters and that means happy shrimp
 
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richie.p said:
If you don't do regular tests on your tap water your whole system can change by just mixing 50/50 and this won't work for shrimp, your gh could be dropping in the tap water and by adding pure ro water you reduce that again this in turn will show a drop in tds readings and take your gh to a dangerous level for shrimp, we only use a tds meter as a guide and nothing else. You'r already using ro water so why aren't you using all ro water and remineralis with salty bee gh+ this will give you perfect results every time and you'll find you have more control over all your peramaters and that means happy shrimp
Ah I see. That's true, I have often wondered if tap was the best choice since I have no control over what's in it. Would Salty Shrimp Shrimp Mineral KH/GH+ work? It's marketed for neocaridina and raises both KH and GH. Or is there a particular reason Bee GH+ would be a better choice?
 

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You are correct kh/gh+ is the one you'd require I use gh+ plus because I buffer my water using active soil
 

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MiniPop said:
I just tested KH and GH. December 2019 KH and GH were 8 and 11, and today it's 6 and 9. Would crushed coral be a good choice in this case? I guess I'm most worried about changing the parameters too fast and hurting the shrimp.
Sorry about the reply, apparently I'm blind or dumb or both. It's normal for nitrates and nitrites to acidify the water a little and eat away at your KH, that's what it's there for. I'm also surprised that much GH was eaten up. Normally we see an increase in TDS because organic solids dissolving in water and evaporation.

Coral will increash KH and GH, but it will also increase PH. If you put it in and leave it eventually your PH will creep up to 8.Some. It will only increase Ca and not Mg. Without testing for Ca exclusively you don't know which one you are short one.

Anyway, personally I'd rather adjust my water parameters throught partial water changes instead of adding things right into my tank. But both methods should work. What I wonder most is what's using up what and why. I've never kept a big shrimp colony so I don't know if they are like little calcium sponges.
 

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I think the reason your GH and KH were falling is the mix of RO and tap... follow what Richie said and you will be fine...
 
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Inner10 said:
Sorry about the reply, apparently I'm blind or dumb or both. It's normal for nitrates and nitrites to acidify the water a little and eat away at your KH, that's what it's there for. I'm also surprised that much GH was eaten up. Normally we see an increase in TDS because organic solids dissolving in water and evaporation.

Coral will increash KH and GH, but it will also increase PH. If you put it in and leave it eventually your PH will creep up to 8.Some. It will only increase Ca and not Mg. Without testing for Ca exclusively you don't know which one you are short one.

Anyway, personally I'd rather adjust my water parameters throught partial water changes instead of adding things right into my tank. But both methods should work. What I wonder most is what's using up what and why. I've never kept a big shrimp colony so I don't know if they are like little calcium sponges.
No worries. I hope I didn't come across as mad or annoyed. I appreciate you trying to help!

My pH is already 8.2 from the tap water, so maybe adding coral isn't a good idea. I think I'll try the Salty Shrimp product and adjust through water changes.
 

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