Shrimp Tank GH General Hardness
General hardness abbreviated as GH is also known as water hardness. GH is simply the measure of the total salts contained in your aquarium water. Calcium and magnesium are the primary salts dissolved in hard water.
Water abundant in GH is referred to as hard water, while one low in GH is regarded as soft. Generally, water that has little or no calcium and magnesium is considered soft, whereas water that has plentiful of calcium and magnesium is considered hard.
Even though GH is an essential component of water chemistry, there is no need for panic among people using tap water that dont know their GH because in general tap water will be made to have a specific GH depending on source and municipal area. (Hardy species of shrimp can be kept in these conditions)
This is why its very important that you first know your GH levels if you seriously want to get into shrimp and give them the best conditions possible, Most of the time this water will be more than adequate for easy to keep species of shrimp like cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp.
So, what are the reasons for monitoring the GH in your shrimp tank :
Your water is either hard or soft.
Anyone who has ever breed fish can attest that not all fish can flourish in a similar environment and conditions this is the same for shrimp. If, for instance, your water source is too soft or too hard, it will be unlikely for you to keep specific types of shrimp that thrive in the middle of this range. You’ve to keep your GH in check, and based on the findings; you can either raise or lower it accordingly.
It’s indisputable that some shrimp flourish in hard water while others do well in soft water. If you intend to keep these shrimp, you have to find out what parameters that type of shrimp does best in and setup your shrimp tank accordingly.
Importance of Aquarium GH to Your Aquarium
Osmoregulation is one of the main reasons why you should keep track of your aquarium GH. Osmoregulation is a natural process that takes place in your shrimp without stimulation. It’s similar to breathing.
In simple terms, osmoregulation is the process by which shrimp counters the salts and water within the body with those from the outside.
In case of a disparity between the two, it can stress your shrimp, and in some instances, it can result in the death of your shrimp. This is where some of you will be familiar with the term “white ring of death.”
This disparity is the reason why saltwater fish won’t flourish in freshwater and vice versa, its also the reason drip acclimation is so Important, never under any circumstances throw healthy looking shrimp directly into another tank, in exceptional conditions if half the shrimp are already dead in a bag then yes do what you can to save whats left to avoid killing all of them.
Electrolytes are minerals and salts that transmit electricity when dissolved in water. Some of these minerals include calcium and magnesium.
These minerals play a crucial role in the development of muscles and bones, digestion, gills development, and strengthening the shrimps immune system to fight off various infections.
Electrolytes are a necessity if your shrimp is to remain healthy, thus the need to ensure they are plenty in your aquarium water.
Note that water that lacks GH is free from electrolytes for your shrimp to consume. This can result in adverse health complications for shrimp such as failing to molt properly.
Besides shrimp, aquatic plants demand electrolytes to some extent to support their growth. For instance, plants depend on calcium to grow.
In case your water is too soft, then your GH may be insufficient to provide your shrimp and plants with the electrolytes they require to flourish and stay healthy.
From the above, there is no doubt that adequate GH is paramount in your shrimp tank depending on the species. GH levels keep on changing from time to time because plants and shrimp consume, this is why water changes and good food rich in calcium are important.
It is also possible to have extremely high GH levels in your shrimp tank if the water is subject to evaporation leaving behind calcium and magnesium minerals.
Never top up shrimp tanks with tap water as this will increase the general hardness every time you do so.
We will of course go more into shrimp species specific details when we do some species profiles.
I hope this helps you understand a little bit more about GH and how it affects shrimp tanks.
Happy Shrimp Keeping
Marks Shrimp Tanks