Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jayc

Why the need for Calcium & Magnesium

Recommended Posts

jayc

I thought I'd add this topic to accompany Blue Bolts great thread on correct ratios and dosing of Calcium and Magnesium. http://www.shrimpkeepersforum.com/forum/showthread.php/4383-GH-Ca-MG-Ratio

So why is Calcium & Magnesium important to both aquarist who keep fish and those of us who keep shrimp?

CALCIUM SULFATE:

CaSO4 Calcium sulfate in your aquarium will keep a more stable electrolyte balance (for osmotic function), while magnesium is another important element that works with calcium.

A proper amount of Calcium and Magnesium in your aquarium will affect your shrimp or fish health positively, including fish from low pH environments such as Apistos, Discus or German Rams

Magnesium and Calcium have been shown to increase resistance to degenerate diseases by lowering the acidity in the body. This will help with prevention of ich and fungus in your fish.

Calcium also helps in healing and stress, and without proper calcium levels healing may be difficult or impossible. Calcium is also important and has been shown to both prevent and treat Hole in the Head disease common to cichlids (also referred to as HITH).

The addition of antibiotics (such as Tetracycline) will lower calcium absorption, while the presence of correct amounts of calcium in the aquarium water will considerable reduce the toxic side effects of Malachite Green which is why a GH (for freshwater calcium measurement) of 100 ppm (for freshwater) is SO VERY important to ich treatment.

Calcium can adversely affect the kH of a discus aquarium when combined with sodium carbonates or bi carbonates, which is generally kept at a pH below 6.5. Not that calcium has a direct impact on raising or lowering kH, but that it assists in buffering the water to avoid swings in kH and thus pH.

I have successfully used sources of calcium in discus (low pH) aquariums by using a mix of RO (Reverse Osmosis) water and tap water (dilution will vary depending on your tap and tank water parameters). Then add electrolytes/mineralsto the RO water and add peat to the filters. This method has been used successfully with discus and calcium added with no pH climb.

The peat will leach minerals into the water that will bond with the Carbonate thereby preventing it from bonding to the “H+†ion, thereby lowering KH and subsequently pH. This is a good method for planted tanks as the nutrients can also be used by plants.

Calcium sulfate is soluble in water. However, it's solubility is extremely poor. Only a small amount will dissolve, and this will take place extremely slowly over time. To improve solubility, use a mortar & pestle to crush into a fine powder before adding to water.

Calcium is particularly important to the average shrimp and invertebrate keeper.

Calcium plays a huge role in Osmoregulation. And as such plays a big role in assisting the shrimp's moulting cycle.

Ever have shrimp die during a failed moult? Check the Calcium levels in your water.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is important for proper osmotic functions in fish and invertebrates. Magnesium is essential for Calcium assimilation, so when magnesium levels are low, the calcium supply becomes exhausted. For this reason, Magnesium is better added in the proper balance with calcium (which both are essential to each other for proper utilisation).

Epsom salts that contain magnesium sulfate, are best used for therapeutic reasons such as to aid in flushing the system as it aids in and speeds osmotic function, and helps to move fluids out of the body.

Sulfates, one of the major components of Epsom Salt, have been shown effective in improving nutrient absorption and toxin elimination.

Magnesium, the other major component of Epsom Salt, plays a role in the activity of many enzymes.

Also note that Epsom salts (MgSO4) do NOT evaporate or decompose, so only add more after water changes.

Where to Buy:

Calcium Sulfate CaSO4 can be purchase from

Magnesium Sulfate can be purchased from

  • Aquotix online store (aquariumonlinestore.com.au)
  • Bunnings (Manutec Epsom Salt)
  • Big W (Manutec Epsom Salt)
  • Ace Chem (http://www.acechem.com.au) - bulk orders

If there are more sources, let me know and I'll update the list.

Edited by jayc
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BlueBolts

Thanks for the follow up info jayc....EXCELLENT. :encouragement:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jayc

Thanks BB.

You're still the master.

I knew the benefits. But finding the correct dosage was the key you provided.

It was like having the medicine to an illness but not knowing the dosage to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mr_c265

I see a few things wrong with this, the formula for Calcium Carbonate is CaCO3. Calcium only affects KH if it is added as CaCO3, not as Gypsum or Calcium Sulfate as is the formula you have written.

Sodium Carbonate or Potassium Carbonate will by themselves affect KH, Calcium has nothing to do with it.

Peat works by removing calcium from the water column through ion exchange, although it will also dissolve Calcium bearing minerals due to chelation from humic and fulvic acids.

Calcium supply is constant, Magnesium just controls uptake by organisms. Without Magnesium, there is still plenty of Calcium, it is just unusable.

It's also worth explaining that GH is made up of both Calcium and Magnesium. It is the weight of CaCO3 that is the molar equivalent of all 2+ valence ions, so to increase GH you aren't relying solely on CaCO3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jayc

Thanks for picking up that mistake. Indeed CaSO4 is indeed Calcium Sulfate. Fixed.

In regards to that sentence about Calcium / KH / carbonates ... I'll need to re-word it.

I didn't mean that calcium has a direct impact on raising KH ... rather, it is more an aid in maintenance of these parameters by neutralizing acids that result from organic decomposition.

I knew I shouldn't have rushed that section. I guess what I was trying to say there was something like ...

Too much calcium can make it difficult to reduce pH when keeping fish or invertebrates that prefer softwater.

Sentencing structure of that paragraph welcomed.

Thanks for the other notes too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Squiggle

Very cool write up dude, like you said, know we have both the reason & ratio for calcium & magnesium, thanks for sharing :victorious:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jayc

Added a section on "Where to buy"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Callan

Nice job JC and an excellent learning tool for people new to not only shrimp keeping but also fish. Especially those keeping livestock at low ph levels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



  • Must Read SKF Articles

  • Join Our Community!

    Register today, ask questions and share your shrimp and fish tank experiences with us!

  • Posts

    • sdlTBfanUK
      In case it helps I have looked up the figures of the 2 tanks with cherry shrimp in them and they are as follows, Main tank     PH7,, GH5, KH2, TDS 225 (mixed water) Betta tank  PH7.5, GH6, KH3, TDS 222 (tap water + mineraliser) They are fairly similar to each other but neither is really in the 'IDEAL' recommendation range of CHERRY shrimp ,so it confirms that cherry shrimp are more adaptable and can thrive even outside those 'IDEAL' parameters? I suppose neither are that far out but it just shows there is a bit less necessity to get everything 100%, though if you aim for perfect you will probably get better results all round? Simon
    • jayc
      Oh, if you are planning on keeping Cherry shrimp aim for 6-8GH as Simon said above.
    • sdlTBfanUK
      Do you know what the water parameters are of this tank? Is the new male old enough to breed, assume it is as they only need to be 3 months I think but is that a possibility? Simon
    • sdlTBfanUK
      The usual GH range for Cherry shrimp is 6-8 and with the 1 part tap, 3 parts RO water mix you will be 50% there for G|H and just under 4 for KH! There are 2 products, one is GH+ and one is GH/KH+ so you need to get the right one for whichever route you plan to go, all RO water would be GH/KH+, mixed water would be GH+! IF you are planning the mixed route then that would be an easy adjustment you can do now by taking 25% water out and replacing with dechlorinated tap water, then adjust with the GH+ when you get it? This is the one I use, it is so simple as it is a liquid and even calculating is easy as each drop = +1gh (about 20ish TDS) / litre: https://www.pro-shrimp.co.uk/shrimp-king/803-shrimp-king-mineral-fluid-double-gh-4001615061413.html If you want to get this I have just done a dummy test on the website and you get delivery on it as long as it is one item, which is normal, but I thought you may need to pay as it is a bulky item to send? The soil should have lots of what the plants need I would have thought and the poop from the snails/shrimp must be some fertiliser? As JayC says you could leave the CO2 running for now as there are no shrimps, but I would probably turn it off and stop using fertiliser and just keep a close eye on the plants at this stage, after all you can start using them again IF the plants start looking unhealthy, but neither may be needed and it is better to know from the start and will make life easier long term. As I say I have never used either and my plants grow fantastic, in fact I wish they would grow slower, doh! Simon
    • jayc
      Ahhh ... the age old question of how to trigger your shrimp to breed. We will have to assume you have at least 1 male. What are you feeding them? Feed frozen bloodworms twice a week. The additional protein will give them more energy. Add more Indian Almond Leaves (aka Cattapa leaves) to the tank to promote more tannins and biofilm. Try raising temps to 23C or 74F. A 10% water change might help the females moult.
×
×
  • Create New...