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If you have soft tapwater (GH and KH of 3 or below), I think that mixing a calcium mineral source with the soil before setup is a good idea.

In setting up tanks in the past, I mixed dolomite lime (CaCO3 and MgCO3) with the soil (a few tablespoons of powdered dolomite lime per gallon of soil) without problems. Flexible dosage.

This mixing not only gradually released needed calcium and magnesium into the water. It also added bicarbonates to the system as the calcium carbonate broke down. About half of aquatic plant species can use bicarbonates-in addition to CO2-as their carbon source [my book, pp 97-98].

Hobbyists can mix soil with powdered dolomite lime, crushed coral, crushed shells, oyster grit, or aragonite. The smaller the particle, the faster the effect. Soil liming would easily correct calcium deficiencies in soft tapwater, plus provide another carbon source for many plants.

For correcting softwater deficiencies in tanks already set up, my recipe (using CaCl2, MgSO4, KCl chemicals) does not add bicarbonates. This may be a deficiency. If your KH is 3 or below after the Ca, Mg, and K additions, I would consider adding a little BS (baking soda). To increase KH by one degree, I see recommendations to add ¼ tsp BS to 13 gal or 1 gram BS to 10 gal. Sounds about right and dosage is flexible.
 

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I added crushed oyster shell to my soil when I started my tank. This box will probably last me 100+ years. ;)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MTDM59Z
If you have soft tapwater (GH and KH of 3 or below), I think that mixing a calcium mineral source with the soil before setup is a good idea.

In setting up tanks in the past, I mixed dolomite lime (CaCO3 and MgCO3) with the soil (a few tablespoons of powdered dolomite lime per gallon of soil) without problems. Flexible dosage.

This mixing not only gradually released needed calcium and magnesium into the water. It also added bicarbonates to the system as the calcium carbonate broke down. About half of aquatic plant species can use bicarbonates-in addition to CO2-as their carbon source [my book, pp 97-98].

Hobbyists can mix soil with powdered dolomite lime, crushed coral, crushed shells, oyster grit, or aragonite. The smaller the particle, the faster the effect. Soil liming would easily correct calcium deficiencies in soft tapwater, plus provide another carbon source for many plants.

For correcting softwater deficiencies in tanks already set up, my recipe (using CaCl2, MgSO4, KCl chemicals) does not add bicarbonates. This may be a deficiency. If your KH is 3 or below after the Ca, Mg, and K additions, I would consider adding a little BS (baking soda). To increase KH by one degree, I see recommendations to add ¼ tsp BS to 13 gal or 1 gram BS to 10 gal. Sounds about right and dosage is flexible.
Great advice!

The one question I have is if my Dirt + STS tank is set up already, is there anyway to add something like oyster shell to the tank for long release in the soil?
(I.e. root tabs or some large particulate of oyster shell/dolomite/aragonite, etc. Deep to the STS).

Or is intermittent baking soda Dosing the way to go, (although more time intensive intermittently)?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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The one question I have is if my Dirt + STS tank is set up already, is there anyway to add something like oyster shell to the tank for long release in the soil?
Along these lines, I saw someone recently was trying a Wonder Shell in their aquarium - has anyone had experience with these and know if they are a viable way to increase GH/KH for an already-established tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The one question I have is if my Dirt + STS tank is set up already, is there anyway to add something like oyster shell to the tank for slow release in the soil?
(i.e. root tabs or some large particulate of oyster shell/dolomite/aragonite, etc. deep into the STS).

Or is intermittent baking soda dosing the way to go?
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) won't provide any Ca, Mg, and K. Most root tabs contain K but not Ca and Mg.

Yes, you could try pushing small pieces of oyster shells into the substrate. They don't have to go deep. The manipulations might cause some turbidity, but if you do it gently and before a water change, it might work.
 

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Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) won't provide any Ca, Mg, and K. Most root tabs contain K but not Ca and Mg.

Yes, you could try pushing small pieces of oyster shells into the substrate. They don't have to go deep. The manipulations might cause some turbidity, but if you do it gently and before a water change, it might work.
Perfect. Yes I meant oyster shell as a "root tab".

Thanks!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
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