General/carbon hardness (gH/kH) in water and how it affects cycling: some help?
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #1
slidewithme
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Default General/carbon hardness (gH/kH) in water and how it affects cycling: some help?

For those that aren't aware or haven't used a kH/gH testing kit, the results are determined by the number of drops it takes to change the color of the water you're testing. kH goes from blue to yellow, and gH goes from orange to green. the measuring chart goes from 1 to 12 drops, or 18 to 215ppm.

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Continuing onto this:

http://www.reddit.com/r/PlantedTank/...hat_just_will/

I bought a kH/gH testing kit.

(Image links)
Results for general hardness - Literally off the charts for the tank water

Results for carbon hardness - ~18ppm for the tank water

Can someone help me translate what this means for my tank? I'm getting so caught up in numbers I'm starting to forget what I'm aiming for here. Right now, this is what I've got for my tank:

- pH: 6.0

- Ammonia: 1ppm

- kH: 18ppm

- gH: Undetermined, way too high to get a reading

- Nitrites: 0ppm

- Nitrates: 0ppm

I don't want to use any pH up or down solutions, because those can cause more problems than they solve. I'm thinking I need to bring down the general hardness (gH), but I'm not sure how. Crushed coral was mentioned, which I can put in my Eheim. Also, if it's pertinent, I have a huge amount of evaporation going on in my tank. I add about 5g of water (to the 40g tank) a week when I do a water change.

API, the maker of the test kit I used, recommend using their Water Softener Pillow to decrease gH. Would that help, or just cause more problems like the pH adjusters?

... please help?
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