Wonky pH/GH/KH readings: Help me troubleshoot. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-28-2016, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wonky pH/GH/KH readings: Help me troubleshoot.

Alright, I am setting up a new 20 gallon long tank. It has not been cycled as of yet (picked up ammonia today for that).

I am going to provide as much info as possible, so bear with me.

Tank: 20 gallon long

Substrate: Black Diamond Blasting Media

Fliter: Aquaclear 30

Heater: Aqueon Pro 50

Lighting: Low - Fluorescent Hood

Prime Conditioner for the water

Decor: 1 betta cave (glows in the dark, came from walmart) 1 fake aquarium decor thing (came from petsmart). I added a big hunk of mopani driftwood today.

Plants: A decent sized clump of Subwassertang, and a large red lily bulb that will be removed because I had no idea they got so big. *reasons to research all plants before you buy them*

I plan on removing all the fake decor and planting with several low light species. I may also add some river stones that my LFS carries (which they say will not effect pH).

I tested the tank water two days ago and these were the results.

pH 8.2

KH 8 drops on API test

GH 11 drops on API test

I originally filled the tank from the water house attached to the side of the house... thinking that since the tank would sit empty for several weeks while cycling that it would not matter.

Today I tested the water from my faucet.

pH between 7.4 and 7.6

KH 7 drops on API test

GH 10 drops on API test

I then tested the water directly from the outside hose (the original water source for the tank.)

pH 8

KH 8 drops on API test

GH 10 drops on API test


There are definitely differences between the water sources - who the hell knew that could happen?


So, here are my questions, concerns, and the such.

1. I plan on leaving some tap water, and hose water overnight to off-gas, then retest the pH of both. To see if there really is a difference. And to see if this accounts for the higher pH inside the tank.

2. Is it possible that the pH, GH, and/or KH in the tank will lower as it matures and is cycled?

3. Could the fake decorations be a cause of the higher pH?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2016, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
1. I plan on leaving some tap water, and hose water overnight to off-gas, then retest the pH of both. To see if there really is a difference. And to see if this accounts for the higher pH inside the tank.
Very good idea, virtually always there is a significant difference. Measuring pH right out of tap is usually not very useful.
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Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
2. Is it possible that the pH, GH, and/or KH in the tank will lower as it matures and is cycled?
It is possible due to a reaction with something present in the tank (e.g. some substrates, driftwood, peat - even plants - can do this).
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Originally Posted by Niyona View Post
3. Could the fake decorations be a cause of the higher pH?
If they are some kind of plastic - unlikely, but if they are made from some kind of stone (or similar - concrete etc.) then it is very much possible. You can put them in some container with distilled water for a few days and measure GH and KH daily to see if they are changing. Also, check your substrate the same way - just in case.

BTW, your KH and GH measurements are pretty consistent: KH 7-8, GH - 10-11. Difference in 1 degree can be just a measurement error or simply a result of evaporation (as water evaporates from tank, KH and GH increase). And you see pH difference mostly because you didn't measure it correctly (measured right out of tap).
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2016, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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The results of leaving both water sources to off-gas overnight.

Both sources off-gassed to pH 8.2 - so that accounts for the slightly higher pH in the tank itself.

At this point, I am going to stuff this puppy full of plants and driftwood, do a cycle and see where it sits at that point.

I may do some research on peat - as I really did have my heart set on tetras. I am also now wondering if there are any of the crayfish that won't eat through all the plants - those could be fun to keep as well.
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