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 Using API GH/KH Kits & understanding the results

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Posts : 26
Join date : 2015-01-12
Location : Barboursville, VA (Orange County)

PostSubject: Using API GH/KH Kits & understanding the results   Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:09 am

Hello Fish Friends,

  OK...my tank is doing fine and my guppies seem to be happy and thriving.  I've gotten most of my water parameters
in sync with pH 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate 10-20.  I decided to purchase the API GH/KH kit to see what
hardness my water is.  I am on a well and my water tests at 7.0 from the tap and I've suspected my water is very soft
because soap foams quickly when I mix dish detergent with water (so says youtube) Question

   I'm a little confused as to how to read the results.  the KH went from green to yellow after 6 drops, which indicated
a carbonate hardness of 100-200 ppm and the instructions say this is good for guppies.  When I did the GH test, the
water turned green after 1 drop (it never was orange).  According to the instructions by GH is 0-50 ppm...and maybe not
so good for guppies?  I don't exactly understand what these readings mean...is it saying that my water is super-soft?  Maybe
I should be keeping Angel fish instead of guppies?

    Per these instructions my GH would be more suited for guppies in the 100-200 ppm range.  How would I go about increasing
the GH?  

    I'm new to fishkeeping...and I had no idea I would be turning into a chemist of sorts over a few fish affraid   But I want
to get this right.

Thank you all for all your help, you've really made the learning experience easier.
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Posts : 895
Join date : 2013-09-17
Location : Richmond, Va.

PostSubject: Re: Using API GH/KH Kits & understanding the results   Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:55 am

Hey Dave,
Thanks for asking your questions. I used to be concerned about my water hardness. I thought is was important for breeding Angelfish. I found out that in my case it wasn't. It's been so long since I have check my water hardness I don't remember exactly what were the readings. I do remember that it was slightly high. I found out through experience that it wasn't worth fretting over unless there is some extreme reason for concern. IMO, if your fish are doing well, it's best to be aware and understand  your water hardness to detect changes if there is  problem in the future than to adjust it. I keep mostly Angelfish, Guppies and Neons together without hardness related problems. Everybody's experiences can be different. You are on well water and I'm on municipal water. That's a difference.

We have some very knowledgeable folk here and I'm interested in hearing what others have to about water hardness...study

Keep on Fishin' fish

     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
(Swordtails, Neons, Kuhlii Loaches and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
10 gal. Planted Show Tank
(Guppies and Bristled Nose Plecos)
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Posts : 507
Join date : 2012-11-29
Location : Wake Forest, NC

PostSubject: Re: Using API GH/KH Kits & understanding the results   Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:15 pm

That's a little odd for KH and GH to be so different in well water or untreated stream/lake water; usually they are fairly close. I'm wondering about your test kit: "0 to 50 ppm" is a wide range. 50 ppm would be OK for guppies; 10 is too soft IMO. For guppies and other livebearers I would add some aragonite (or crushed coral) gravel in a box filter to boost the GH to 50 ppm (3 dGH) or higher. They will probably live longer and be more disease-resistant with greater hardness.

Tap water from a city water treatment plant often has high pH, and KH higher than GH because they add buffering chemicals to keep the pH high (to prevent pipe corrosion). The buffers they use do not add any GH (calcium and magnesium). Raleigh water has a pH around 8 out of the tap, but is very soft (GH around 25 to 35 ppm).

Fish keeping is a good reason to learn (or re-learn) some chemistry!
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