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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I use 100% RO/DI water and recostitute with Kent RO right and/or Seachem Equillibrium. I was thinking of using Kent liquid calcium and Magnesium Sulfate to reach my target GH istead of these products. My question is does anyone see a problem with using flourish trace to add the other trace minerals?

I know this is a plant forum but to be honest my concern in this case, is will flourish trace provide all of the trace minerals that my fish need since I am using 100% RO/DI water with the Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate. I raise some wild Bettas and other fish that enjoy very soft water. My problem with Kent RO is that I suspect it adds a little too much sodium which my fish don't really like and Equillibrium adds way too much Potassium that my fish don't need at that concentration. So I want to add Calcium and Magnesium without having to add Sodium or Postassium and add just enough trace minerals for my fish while still keeping TDS low.

This is what I was thinking. Adding Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate at a ratio of about 3.5 to 1 to get a GH between 2 and 3 depending on the fish. then adding flourish trace and maybe some iron at the recommended doses.

Do you guys think this will be better, same, or worse then using the RO right or Equillibrium and why? Also any suggestions would be appreciated.

thanks,
aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Bryce,
Thanks for the comments. I'm going to use calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate for the GH. I was originally just adding tap back to reconstitute and this works really well for softwater fish that like a somewhat neutral pH but my wild Betta macrostomas and some of my other fish like water with very low TDS as well as a pH reading as low as 5 depending on the species, although I usually keep them at a pH of 6

My tap water has so much carbonate hardness that adding back enough tap to get a reasonable GH also makes it quite hard to keep my pH where I need it to be. I would have to add enough seachem acid buffer to elicit a pH crash and then add seachem alkaline buffer until it stabalizes at my desired pH. Doing this whole process increases my TDS which I don't want to do.

So what I do now is start with 100% RO/DI water and add calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate until I reach a GH of 2-3 depending on the fish. Then I add 1 quart of tap to 5 gallons of this new water. I've found that this gives me just enough KH and after aging the water with catappa leaves and aeration I get a pretty stable pH of 6.0.

Because I'm breeding my fish I just wanted to make sure that there is also enough of whatever else (manganese, boron, cobalt, etc.) for my fish, especially the developing fry. What I wanted to know is, does Flourish Trace or Flourish if you think it's better have everything that my fish would need for proper egg developement, eloctrolyte balance, etc.

The reason I chose Flourish Trace is that I didn't really want to add some of the stuff in Flourish. For example: nitrogen, phosphate, more calcium, more magnesium, etc. But maybe I was wrong. Should I be adding everything in Flourish back in? Do my fish need nitrogen and phosphate? Also once I get my GH set I didn't want to add any more calcium and magnesium.

So what I really wanted to know is what should I be adding back in besides calcium and magnesium for my fish? and what product would be best, in other words, what pretty much has everything that my fish need without the things that they don't? and at what dosage (do i just follow the instructions)? The reason I don't want to add things that they don't need is that I want to keep TDS as low as possible.

Lastly, in case you guys are wondering the reason I want things to be near optimal is because most of my fish are wild stock. I have some wild Betta macrostoma as well as other wild Bettas and some other wild fish. Some of them are pretty expensive ($300/pair) and so I would really like the conditions to be as close to perfect as possible...especially as the fry are developing and growing.

thanks,
aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hey Bryce,
do you consider a general hardness of 2-3 (35.8-53.7ppm) high?

What is a good source for calcium sulfate? Do you just use a laboratory type of calcium sulfate or an aquarium type of supplement?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Ray,
thanks for the info. I'm using Kent's liquid calcium. I kind of just assumed it was safe since it was made for aquariums. You seem like you know about these kinds of things. What happens to the chloride when it enters the aquarium? Does it seperate from the calcium? If you aerate the water does that get rid of some of the chloride portion? Does the chloride turn into chlorine? I have no idea about these kinds of stuff. I got an A in Biochem during college but that was a long time ago.

Why is calcium sulfate better? Fish don't mind the sulfate portion?

I kind of thought that since I'm using magnesium sulfate, i shouldn't use calcium sulfate to avoid too much sulfur.

I read that there are two kinds of calcium sulfate. One is heated up less then the other and this affects it's solubility. Is that correct and if so which type should I get? Is there any way of knowing which type you are getting? If one is better than the other I would like to make sure I'm using the better type.

My calcium to magnesium ratio is about 3.5 to 1. Will this cause the solubility problem you mentioned? Do you recommend a different ratio? I kind of tried to mimic the the ratio in Seachem's equilibrium. I start out with 100% ro/di water and I add liquid calcium to reach 70 ppm. Then i use magnesium sulfate until I reach 90 ppm of TDS. I then dilute to reach my desired general hardness. Usually a TDS reading between 50 and 70 depending on the fish. after that I add tap at 1 quart per 5 gallons of water and flourish trace at the recommended dosage.....this barley affects the TDS reading. I read that fish like/need other things in their water besides magnesium and calcium for proper electrolyte balance. Everyone's been saying that this is incorrect and that they will get everything else from their food.

I don't even know if this is what I should be doing. Is there a flaw to my process?

I could also just add Kent's RO right or Seachem's Equilibirum. What happened is that with both of these products when I reached my desired TDS levels my general hardness is still way too low. Do you think that with either of these products I can just add them until I reach say 60 ppm TDS and that amount would supply more than enough calcium and magnesium for my fish? When i did this and tested for GH i got readings below 1. Basically there wasn't enough hardness to even change the color in the vial. I was worried that my fish needed more calcium and magnesium so I switched to the liquid calcium and magnesium sulfate.

thanks,
aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I'm sorry if I used the wrong words. I was trying to type as fast as I could so that I wouldn't be late for a movie. BTW "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie was really good. Just got back.

I kind of wanted to know what happens when you put magnesium sulfate into water or an aquarium for that matter. Does it stay together like that or does the magnesium and sulfate seperate and if it does, what happens to the sulfate? Does it remain sulfate or does it transform into sulphur?

Also same question with the calcium chloride or the calcium sulfate.

Then, if the answer is that they remain the same, I wanted to know is sulfate better than chloride and why?

In nature when they say that there is magnesium in the water, is it in the form of magnesium sulfate, some other compound, or just magnesium? If so, is there a way to put just magnesium or just calcium in the water. Or does it not make any difference? Apparently it does because everyone seems to think that sulfate is better than chloride.

Then lastly I wanted to know the difference between the different types of calcium sulfate. Apparently one is heated more than the other and is either more, or less, soluble in water. I think that the low heat one is the more soluble one. I would think that it would be better for use in an aquarium but I wanted to know if anyone knows for sure. I read that the low heat calcium sulfate is used in desiccants. I've added water to desiccants before and sometimes it get's pretty warm....so not sure if it's even possible to use this form. I think that's the anhydrite form or something.

Basically I was hoping that someone had all the answers so that I wouldn't have to find my old textbooks, call my old professor (don't even know his number anymore), or research it on the web and still not be really sure of exactly what I'm doing.

thanks,
aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I also heard that people just use plaster of Paris (calcium sulfate) to increase calcium. But I've read that there are also other "stuff" in there as well and I'm not sure if this is ok. If you use things like Barrs GH Booster is there any way to know that the calcium sulfate that they use isn't just plaster of Paris? I would feel much better if someone like Seachem or Kent produced a calcium sulfate supplement for the aquarium. If calcium sulfate is better than calcium chloride how come none of the big companies produce it? I'm not implying that it's not, I just want to know why, in case there's some obvious reason I'm overlooking. Or does someone make it and I just haven't found it yet?
thanks,
aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
thanks guys.

So I should first reconsider simply adding back some tap. Because of my pH issues I would want to use 5% tap max. Do you foresee any problems with only 5% tap?

If i use the equilibrium instead do you think the extra potassium can be ignored? Should I just dose to reach my desired TDS of say 50-60 ppm and feel confident that there's enough calcium and magnesium for my fish? Equilibrium has 23% Potassium, 8.06% Calcium, and 2.41% magnessium. So most of the TDS would be from Potassium? Or should I dose so that I have enough Calcium and Magnesium and just deal with the extra Potassium and high TDS?

aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks guys.

Now getting back to the original question. It seems that you guys are saying that adding back trace minerals are unnecessary and that the fish get everything that they need from their food. I've read that a proper electrolyte balance is important. Does that mean that only calcium and magnesium is important and nothing else matters?

I guess if I'm adding back tap there should be enough of what the fish need.

But what if I use Equilibrium? No need for anything else?

aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the suggestions. I like to ask questions and see what other hobbyists think. Sometimes even if I'm confident in what I'm doing I still just like to hear what other people think.

My Betta macrostoma pair has been doing fine. Knock on wood. :p I have only had this pair for 6 weeks now. The first time they bred was after only having them for 2 weeks. The male swallowed the eggs after 3 days. This is pretty common with this species, especially with wild animals. Not long after that they bred again. The male has been holding for about 2.5 weeks now. He should release soon. If I didn't just jinx myself, this will be pretty quick as far as acclimating a notoriously sensitive wild species and getting them to breed.

Hobbycalif,
With Betta macrostoma you can't really live with the higher pH like you mentioned. Maybe with captive bred stock but definitely not with wilds.....at least not at first. To breed wild macrostomas you want water on the softer side that is at least slightly acidic. I don't know if you are familar with this fish but this was once considered one of the holy grails of the aquarium hobby. Within the last few years there has been much more success breeding these fish but it is still a very pricey fish that is considered to be one of the more difficult wild Bettas to breed.

When I started this thread I really didn't expect to get the responses that I did. I was actually confused by some of the responses. I decided to ask "Seachem" for their opinion. If you go to the sponsor forums and look under Seachem you can see what they wrote. Look under "Flourish Questions" and "Fresh Trace & Discus Trace". About midway through the first topic (Flourish Questions) I asked my question....the second thread (Fresh Trace & Discus Trace) I started myself.

"Seachem" basically said that it is ok to use calcium chloride as it is not harmful to fish (only plants). He also said that fish do need trace elements and that it was a good idea to somehow add these to the water. Eventually he said that I should just use Seachem Equilibrium which I kind of disagree with but I understand why he would say that.
 
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