gH vs. kH (Drifting Apart) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
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Question gH vs. kH (Drifting Apart)

When I started into the hobby I used to see where my hardness levels were at, just so I know my area. The gH and kH were always close in numerical value to each other...but I tested my tanks recently and in one of them they are WAY apart from one another. Is this bad?

My oldest/most healthy tank (5G-Betta-RCS) has a gH of 75ppm and kH of 35ppm

My 4 month old tank (5G-RCS) has a gH of 140ppm and a kH of 52ppm...I am also loosing RCS the last week or two.

For the most part I practice a walstad method, my tanks are topless and I believe this is also a key to it. The evaporation allows fresh water to be constantly added, along with trace elements (and Prime). Maybe this is why the gH was on the rise? I do not have nitrate issues so the only thing I need to do a water change for is TDS if I am topping the tank off.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 05:46 AM
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If you are using tap water for top offs, this is probably the source of the hardness increase. The minerals in the water will remain in the tank and only the water evaporates. When we replace it with water with minerals in it, the overall hardness increases as a result.

You could try using RO water for topping off, if you have it available.

That being said, it's probably not a huge deal unless you feel the need to adapt the parameters for the livestock being kept.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Would this be why my red cherry shrimp are dying? The 140ppm gH?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-30-2016, 08:30 PM
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Would this be why my red cherry shrimp are dying? The 140ppm gH?
I doubt it. They can handle much higher gH than that, but they don't handle fast changes well. Without regular PWC's, maybe you are getting high concentrations of certain minerals or organic material they aren't handling well?

For example, there is trace copper in most water as well as the trace ferts you are using. Over a long enough time, that could build up to toxic levels. A PWC cleans that up, but how often would depend on how long it takes for that to build up.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-31-2016, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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I doubt it. They can handle much higher gH than that, but they don't handle fast changes well. Without regular PWC's, maybe you are getting high concentrations of certain minerals or organic material they aren't handling well?

For example, there is trace copper in most water as well as the trace ferts you are using. Over a long enough time, that could build up to toxic levels. A PWC cleans that up, but how often would depend on how long it takes for that to build up.
Good advice, I do run Purigen in the tank hoping to remove traces. I will keep up on PWC. I heard frequent filter floss pad replacement is also effective at removing copper??

I tested my tap water:
gH - 70ppm
kH - 50ppm

This means the kH in my tanks are no different than my tap water only the gH is. Can anyone elaborate on this?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-01-2016 at 05:01 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Question: The kH in my tank is 15-20ppm lower than the top off water I add, is my tank "consuming" kH?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-14-2016, 10:41 PM
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Question: The kH in my tank is 15-20ppm lower than the top off water I add, is my tank "consuming" kH?
I think so. I think it's your aerobic bacteria in the tank that does it. I don't understand the process but would like to read about it if somebody is willing to summarize it. Anyone out there, is denitrification what causes KH to drop? You're not injecting CO2 are you?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-15-2016, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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I think so. I think it's your aerobic bacteria in the tank that does it. I don't understand the process but would like to read about it if somebody is willing to summarize it. Anyone out there, is denitrification what causes KH to drop? You're not injecting CO2 are you?
I am very interested in the explanation as well! No I am not injecting any CO2 but I use the full lineup of Seachem products including Excel.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-11-2016, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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I have been testing every other week for a while now, always 35ppm kH and the gH is always 90ppm. It has been a few weeks since I tested last and my kH is the same however my gH is now up at 140ppm. Not sure if it has been the AquaBlue Wizard or what but that is good for my red cherry shrimp I think? They are breeding like rabbits. Would be nice to get that kH up though...
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