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Hi All,

I am blessed and cursed with soft water. My dKH < 1.0 and my dGH < 2.0 as of last week. I know some would love to have soft water but I suffer with nutrient issues periodically. Typically not toxicity issues but deficiency issues.

I think most of us would agree that most of the nutrients we 'feed' our plants can become a toxicity issue if overdone just as underfeeding can cause deficiency issues.

When Tom Barr visited GSAS in 2010 I asked him how he deals with soft water (which he has in the Bay Area). He said he didn't worry much about dKH but did try to target a dGH = 5.0 except for soft water species tanks. I used to use Seachem Equlibrium after every water change. Then I started mixing up my own GH Booster as recommended by Tom Barr; it was 1/2 K2SO4, 1/4 CaSO4, and 1/4 MgSO4. But it caused a huge overdosing of potassium (K). Then I went with the formula of:
3 parts Potassium Sulfate, 3 parts Calcium Sulfate, 1 part Magnesium Sulfate by weight.
but it still caused excessive dosing of potassium. Now I mix up my own booster mix using the same ingredients. 1 part K2SO4, 1.25 parts CaSO4, and 1 part MgSO4 by weight. This give me a potassium level about the same as my calcium level and approximately a 3:1 Ca:Mg ratio.

I have used CaCl2 instead of CaSO4 when dosing Ca and Mg individually. Dosing equal amounts of CaCl2 and MgSO4 by volume (i.e. teaspoons) will give an approximate 3:1 Ca:Mg ratio. I always pre-mix my CaCl2 outside the aquarium, it creates a strong endothermic reaction (generates heat) and I would hate to have a fish eat one of those little white balls.
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