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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question about doing MgSO4 with PPS. As soon as I run out of my EI macro mix, I'm switching over to PPS-Pro. I've already switched my traces. This is on a 45g, but it's kind of a test before I build my 180.

Out of the tap, my water is as soft as it gets, practically 0 dKH, and about 2 dGH. Using baking soda and "Barr's" GH Booster, I artificially raise my parameters up to 4 dKH and 8 dGH. This happens once a week due to water change. I haven't tested my water right before a water change, so I don't know what my hardness levels are at by the end of the week.

I started upping my GH after months of trying to find out why my reds wouldn't go red. After a lot of research, came across a post(on here, I think) by Tom Barr telling someone to raise their GH. I gave it a shot, and BOOM, reds exploded.

My question is, how does this effect Mg+ dosing with PPS-Pro? Or vis versa, how does upping my hardness effect Mg+ dosing? My largest goal of switching to PPS-Pro is reduce water changes. As I see it, PPS-Pro takes care of Mg+ and K+, but what about Calcium? Without water changes(and the subsequent increased GH from the booster), my tank would deplete all available calcium.

Additionally, how should I go about increasing KH via PPS?
 

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I don't adjust my KH (it is about 0 to 1 dKH) but I increase my GH by 3 dGH (which is also 0 to 1 dGH) using a GH Booster such as Seachem's Equilibrium. 16 grams or one tablespoon of Equilibrium per 20g increases the GH by 3 degrees or by 1 meq/L.

For many tap water suppliers, there is enough Ca, but Mg (via Epsom Salt) is too low and people only dose Epsom Salt for Mg.

Recently, most experiences indicate that increasing KH is not necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't adjust my KH (it is about 0 to 1 dKH) but I increase my GH by 3 dGH (which is also 0 to 1 dGH) using a GH Booster such as Seachem's Equilibrium. 16 grams or one tablespoon of Equilibrium per 20g increases the GH by 3 degrees or by 1 meq/L.

For many tap water suppliers, there is enough Ca, but Mg (via Epsom Salt) is too low and people only dose Epsom Salt for Mg.

Recently, most experiences indicate that increasing KH is not necessary.
I've had issues directly related to no KH and co2. 4dKH solution in my drop checker indicates green=good and when I have 0 dKH my fish have issues. If leave everything the same, except increase KH in the tank, fish are fine.

Assuming a heavily planted tank, and no water changes(or at least, infrequent), your plants will deplete Ca+.....there's no worry about this?
 

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Plants don't care about KH and pH so fiddling with soda doesn't do anything beneficial. Also, to your post about red plants, plants are not red because of more Iron, more trace elements, more of so-called booster, more GH, more P and so on and so on. Real red plants are red no matter what as long as they get the basics what all plants need. Then there are plants that will turn red when stressed by low NO3, high light intensity or close to toxic chemical levels. Under strong MH lamps even Echinodorus tenellus grows reddish.
Plants prefer CaSO4, not CaCO3 from tap, so make sure you have 20 - 30 ppm of Ca by CaSO4 in the aquarium. Don't worry about KH and pH, no need to even test for it. I use zero KH water only and when substrate increases water KH over 2 dKH I lower it with water changes. Mg is taken care of by PPS-Pro dosing so no need to test or dose extra.
 

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Plants love Ca from CaSO4 more then tap Ca from CaCO3, but most plants can still adapt to tap CaCO3. Dissolving CaSO4 in aquarium takes 30 minutes, but CaCO3 two days, make your choice. This does not have to be dosed daily which actually makes it worse for plants. Also, plants need so little Ca that it takes months to lower Ca from 30 to 20 ppm. PPS does not contain CaSO4 in any solution because it doesn't dissolve in small quantity of water. It has to be dosed in dry form if needed.
 

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Hi jmhart,

I have very soft water here in Seattle and was having trouble with the new growth of my plants, especially my stem plants, even when dosing PPS Pro.

The growth was very slow and the new leaves were small and deformed. I found this link:
http://www.finostrom.com.gr/images/aqua/fertilizers/map.htm
and determined it was likely either calcium or magnesium deficiency. I treated my tank with MgSO4 and CaCl. Now my plants are growing much faster, and the leaves are normal size and shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi jmhart,

I have very soft water here in Seattle and was having trouble with the new growth of my plants, especially my stem plants, even when dosing PPS Pro.

The growth was very slow and the new leaves were small and deformed. I found this link:
http://www.finostrom.com.gr/images/aqua/fertilizers/map.htm
and determined it was likely either calcium or magnesium deficiency. I treated my tank with MgSO4 and CaCl. Now my plants are growing much faster, and the leaves are normal size and shape.
Thanks, but I've been dosing MgSO4 an CaSO4 for quite some time, but trying to figure out how to apply it to PPS.
 

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I'm also curious, as I also live in Seattle and know how soft the water is here. Just how much CaCl MgSO4 are you dosing, Roy, and are you using PPS?
 

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Because I didn't want to overdose, I dosed MgSO4 and CaCl at 1/2 the amount recommended on Rex Grigg's site. http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/dosing.html
I saw results in about a week. Since I do water changes regularly, I figure I will have to do it again as I remove the Ca and Mg with the water changes.

Picked up the MgSO4 (Epsom Salts) at Bartells and food grade CaCl (as well as food grade CaSO4) at a local wine / beer brewing supplies shop. I chose to use the CaCl because it dissolves clear while the CaSO4 dissolves "milky". Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After doing some testing and a bit more research, I tend to agree with Edward. Ca+ doesn't really seem to be a limiting factor. Assuming monthly water changes, I think upping your GH with GH booster with your water change, and then dosing according to PPS or PPS-Pro (with Mg, no Ca) will be the way to go.
 
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