Is it possible to have too much KH? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible to have too much KH?

My tank water measures a KH of 10-13, my GH is 2 at best and my PH is 7.1-7.2.

If I understand correctly, anything to raise my GH will most likely raise my KH and anything to lower my KH will lower what little GH I have as well. So, do I use calcium carbonate and just let my KH do what it wants?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 09:33 PM
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I'd double check that test kit. Kh and pH are related...and it's pretty hard to believe a Kh of 13 degrees would give you a pH that's almost neutral.
Are you listing your Kh in degrees, or ppm?

About your question, no, that's not really accurate. You can raise Kh with calcium carbonate or plain baking soda, and the Gh should not rise, but the pH will.
But have someone else test your Kh with a different kit. if you had 13dKh your pH should be 8.0 (roughly)

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 11:35 PM
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Don't think that's quite right...

Calcium carbonate will raise both KH (from the carbonate) and GH (from the calcium: GH is a measure of calcium and magnesium in the water).

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) will raise only KH (again from the carbonate) and not touch GH.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 11:42 PM
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Forgot to mention: malkore has a good point re your KH and pH reading.

It's also rare to see a KH reading so much higher than GH. As far as I know and unless you have strange water, the GH is usually either higher or around the same level as KH.

To recap:

To raise KH and GH: calcium carbonate
To raise KH only: sodium bicarbonate
To raise GH only: Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulphate
To lower KH and GH: use RO water mixed with tap to get the KH and GH levels you want.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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I tested my water from my tap which is softened. I had

PH 7.3
GH 0-1
KH 15

I also tested my unsoftened water and got

PH 7.1
GH 16
KH 15

I'm using a Red Sea kit for my GH and KH. The PH is measured with my probe from my Milwaukee PH meter. I also calibrated the probe today before I tested anything.

I did the KH and GH tests twice. Perhaps I'll bring some water to my LFS and have them check it as Malkore mentioned. I am also having some trouble detecting nitrates with my Red Sea kit. Maybe the kit sat on the shelf too long?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 12:35 AM
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Your kits are whacked... have your water tested at as many LFS's for free as you can and write down the findings...the average would be a place to start.
Your numbers just dont make sense, it must be the kits.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 12:48 AM
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Agreed. Something is definitely wrong with those kits.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 01:21 AM
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Are you letting the water rest before you test or are you testing right out of the tap?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 01:54 AM
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No, I don't think his kits are wacked. I've had no problems using Red Sea's hardness kits and hardness kits just don't really go bad either. Try resting the tap water a full 24 hours too before testing pH. You will find it much higher.

This is just the way my water behaves too. The unsoftened water has almost the same GH and KH - around 20. My softened water has 0-1 GH but the same KH. This is perfectly normal since a water softener only removes Ca and Mg, which contributes to GH. My pH comes out at 7.2-7.3 too since the tap is loaded with CO2. You'll find it balancing around 8.2+ after 24 hours.

Where exactly are you in/around Minneapolis? Chances are you are getting ground water that is hardened by limestone, which adds GH and KH pretty equally.

Lastly, you shouldn't used softened water. This is deprived of Ca and Mg that plants need, plus is technically no softer to the fish. The soft water is full of sodium instead and actually 'harder' since the TDS (total dissolved solids) is higher. Using your hardwater will suit you fine.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 10:29 AM
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Ah! that explains the strange GH/KH ratio!

Never dealt with a softener.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 02:40 PM
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Yeah, I don't deal with water softners either, and the tap water here is great for most fish, so I have no experience with adjusting Kh or Gh, or even pH aside from CO2 injection.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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The water didn't rest for more than just a few minutes before I tested it. I can take some out tonight for a test tommorow and check the PH then. The water being tested is from Burnsville.

Instead of taking buckets of water from my only unsoftened spout 2 flights of stairs away, I just realized I can turn on the by pass valve for my softener and still fill my tank from my sink 4 feet away. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier .

I'll do a couple water changes over the next few days using only my unsoftened water. Are my GH and KH levels still a bit high? What new problems might I be running into?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 10:50 PM
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Yep, the water here is very hard, but it hasn't been a problem with plants or fish. I consider it a blessing. Tom Barr has stated many soft water plants actually do better in hard water, and I do think this is true. Typical 'soft water-only' plants I've tried flourish. I experimented with soft water once but the hard water seems much better. It lead to more robust and full growth.

Here are some stunning tanks from the photo album with hardwater:

Shalu's 100g (excellent info here on hardwater)
Travis's African Cichlid 125g
Rupey's 75g

Last edited by Rolo; 12-10-2004 at 12:52 AM.
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