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hughesyau

Raising KH/GH manually using epsom salt and bicarb (or alternatives?)

23 posts in this topic

Hey people,

 

Is there anything I should be weary of using epsom salt and bi-carb to raise my KH/GH?

 

We used to use a marketed product, that would raise the kh/gh and "help protect slime coat". Since I've learnt a lot over time I realise this is not a necessary addition and is quite expensive, compared to doing it yourself.

 

I am aware that salt (NaCl) should not be consistently present in the tank or its medicinal effects will wear off/be less effective. Is this a similar thing regarding epsom salts? (I ask as I believe for some reason epsom salt is used during some medications also???)

 

I believe we would have to do a 100% water change every few months, to prevent an excessive build up of sodium in the tank, from the baking soda/sodium bicarbonate. Is this correct?

 

Is there a different type of carbonate that is better to use with less to worry about than sodium bicarbonate?

 

Few queries above I am hoping to get a better understanding on, with your help.

 

Look forward to the replies.

 

Thanks

 

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No to the Epsom, it can damage their kidneys long term. Baking soda is fine, however, and there are tutorials for using that to buffer on this site. Let me hunt down the link for you.

I'm also very partial to Wonder Shells :)

Here you go!

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/110296-stabilizing-your-tank-ph-with-sodium-bicarbonate-baking-soda/

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Ok. Thanks for yet another response Arctic, you are a gem.

I believe baking soda will only raise either KH or GH, not both? (On my mobile at the moment so cant easily verify which)....

If this is true, how can I go about raising the other safely then? Our water here is rather soft which I didnt think goldfish overly liked?

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The baking soda will stabilize your pH by raising your KH. That will help with the soft water, though it isn't perfect. It will also raise your pH a bit and that sounds like it will be of benefit to you.

The Wonder Shells will not affect your KH but rather affect your GH. They give plenty of trace minerals to help with osmotic regulation but do not change the ph of the water or act as a buffer and thus are helpful especially in tanks that need to remain soft.

I have very stable tap water that is right in the 7.1-7.2 range of ph. Not ideal for goldfish but it isn't volatile, so I don't personally use baking soda. I just use the Wonder Shells to increase trace mineral content and improve redox potential. If my water was softer or more acidic I'd use both. It's up to you. Certainly just using the baking soda wouldn't hurt things at all and DNAlex explains this well in the linked post and tables. Whether or not you pursue additional additives, salt shouldn't be one of them. It won't help what you're trying to achieve :)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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OK I am very glad i asked the question before going ahead and doing it!

i tried to search for wonder shells and perhaps they are labelled something else in Australia...

Do you refer to a product like the "Weco Wonder Shell"? (http://www.petmountain.com/product/aquarium-water-conditioners/11442-505234/weco-wonder-shell.html)

If so, I would assume I should get the largest size for a 220l aquarium? In your experience how long do they last for?

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Those are it. The directions and claims are all wrong, though :). Just get the jumbo size and put it in a very still part of the aquarium. And with the baking soda dosing, make sure when you do water changes to only add baking soda to the the after you're replacing, and always test your hardness to verify where it is at.

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Unfortunately I cannot find a similar product easily in Australia and ordering from the US makes it a lot more costly.

 

Rather than purchase wonder shells, I believe I could possibly add Calcium carbonate or Calcium chloride? Would these work for raising the GH?

OR... Would I be better hunting down some dolomite and placing that in a bag in my canister filter?

 

Or, am i better off just using baking soda for PH/KH and not worrying about my GH??? As I am aware that stable, consistent water parameters should be a main aim?

 

Sorry for all the questions, as time goes on I'm sure I'll ask less and be able to answer more

 

Thanks

Edited by hughesyau

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There is a company called American Aquarium Products that could ship them to Australia. That may be an option. Even when they ship to me in Alaska it is $30-ish USD, but they're prompt and the products arrive safely. I just buy a ton of them at once and only order twice a year.

Otherwise, if they're still prohibitive to order, just stick with baking soda and something like aragonite sand/crushed coral :)

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I know of no reason to worry about GH. Goldfish tolerate a very wide range of water conditions as long as these stay steady.

 

Pond people often use crushed oyster shells to stabilize pH.  You can buy these from a farm supply store for a very reasonable price.  You won't get fast results, but they will last for years.

 

Many people here have used baking soda to raise pH on a regular basis for years with no ill effects.  If accumulation of anything concerns you, just schedule a monthly 100% water change.

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What are your KH and GH from the tap?  

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I cannot remember

I am home in 2 days and will test.

when we first got into the hobby we took a sample of our tank water to the fish shop and they advised it was very soft

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I would just like to add that I (and many other aquarists) have been using a nice amount of Epsom in my planted tanks for many years.  To date, I've seen no ill effects with regular usage.  I would rather not spend extra money buying premade products when I can very cheaply make the same things for myself. 

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Thanks for your input.

There is so much different information and ideas floating around I really do not know which way to go!

I come up with an idea, do some research, change my plan... and the cycle repeats!!!! LOL :yawn

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I would just like to add that I (and many other aquarists) have been using a nice amount of Epsom in my planted tanks for many years.  To date, I've seen no ill effects with regular usage.  I would rather not spend extra money buying premade products when I can very cheaply make the same things for myself.

I suppose it depends on your magnesium qty - what's your dosage?

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I also believe Epsom can be used safely long term to raise GH.  Like with using baking soda, it is recommended doing regular (perhaps monthly) 100% (or 2 large back to back) WCs to keep the levels from creeping up.  :D

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My dosage depends on how high I need to raise gH and how many gallons of water I'm changing.  

 

I do also do as Lisa says and do back to back water changes, but that's ever so rarely.  Once every 2-3 months, or when I think about it.  :idont

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Are you aiming for 130 degrees GH or so? That's not an additive I've seen recommended widely even on my planted tank forums, so this is interesting to me :)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I wonder how well additional top ups and weekly water changes will do for topping up and replacing depleted ions also, not just raising one element of the GH?

(If my understanding is correct)

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I've been on tpt for quite a few years now, and I'm pretty sure that it's widely used.  :idont

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I'm in the low additive, low tech tank school of thought and only add things to my water column if I have to :). I don't monkey with my tanks at all except for the WS's and the occasional CO2 dosing. Heresy, I know!

I hadn't noticed much but Excel products and CO2 systems in the signatures over there, but I didn't look closely. I'll go poke around for dose tables, thanks for the heads up!

Edited by Arctic Mama

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The more I research, the more questions I have ...  :doh11:

 

I have read all the articles on wonder shells and their slow release etc.

Lots of people use epsom salt to raise their GH, however this could quite likely result in a magnesium deficiency in the water I believe? (http://www2.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/HARDNESS.htm)

 

Rather than fork out over $80 for probably only half a years supply of wonder shells.... Why not utilise a purer form that would add both magnesium and calcium to the water? (Two main requirements of hard water)

For example :

Food Grade Calcium Chloride : http://www.melbournefooddepot.com/buy/calcium-chloride-calcic-granules-300g/F00621

Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt) OR Magnesium Chloride : http://www.blants.com.au/magnesium-chloride-flakes.html

 

????? :idont 

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If you try it, report back to us on how it works. You can definitely experiment by watching your GH and KH tests and give us data :)

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Well from the research by Carl from American Aquarium Products you helped me stumble upon, unless I bought specific test kits to test for specifics rather than general hardness overall I think it would be hard to determine...

As all calcium, no magnesium would still provide the same GH results and not allow you to realise the magnesium deficiency...

However I may consider doing an experiment in an empty tank (so I dont cause a fish massacre) and maybe purchasing these kits when I am home a bit more as I am quite curious.

For now, i think i may have to continue using this Aquasonics water conditioner to maintain my GH and keep water conditions stable for now, or consider these wonder shells as Carl made some good points.

Thanks again for your help Taryl

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