Worst Case Water Chemistry - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Worst Case Water Chemistry

I've been cycling a tank (my first in this house, Portland Oregon) for one week now and just ran a few water tests.

The aquarium pH was below the minimum (below 6) and didn't register on the test, while the tap water pH was above the maximum (7.4) and didn't register.

Both gH and kH were too low to be measured, meaning the test solutions didn't change color at any time.

Is this actually a problem? I try not to worry too much about 'chasing the dragon tail' when it comes to pursuing ideal water chemistry, but according to my test kits, it is pretty grim.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 02:24 AM
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It shouldn't be a big problem. It looks like you have almost RO water because your water is so soft. When you do water changes, you should add a GH booster like SeaChem Equilibrium and add some baking soda to raise the KH.

As far as the pH goes, it's normal for a cycling tank to have huge fluctuations in pH, although in this case, your 0 KH water may have had a pH crash. Baking soda when doing water changes should hopefully help to stabilize your pH, but I would make sure you have a handle on it before adding fish.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 03:43 AM
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It is extremely likely that your GH and KH test kits are not working. Those have definite limits on how long they will work after they are packaged. It also seems like you are using pH test strips, which are not known to be very reliable, instead of titration test kits. So, the first thing to do is to get good test kits, that have a manufacturing date within 6 months or so before today.

I have had GH test kits fail many times, but they always give some color change, just not that which they are supposed to give. KH kits have been more reliable for me, but those too can become out of date, and they still give a color change, just not the right one.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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The kits just came in the mail today and have 2013 exp dates, so they should be fine. They're titration, too. I meant that they didn't change color after the first drop
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 04:33 AM
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If it is soft water, you're in luck. Soft water is really easy to work with. Hard water is really stubborn and doesn't really change even if you ask it nicely. If you want to see terrible water chemistry, come around my parts. My tap is always giving me hell

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2011, 04:51 AM
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Hi Capncrunch7,

Welcome to the great Northwest! Home of soft water and hard.....I forget!

You are not alone, it is not uncommon to have soft water with a dKH below 2.0 and dGH below 4.0 here in the Northwest. My water comes out of the tap at a PH of 7.8 but usually does not drop below nuetral after 24 hours.

+1 on VeeSe's comments. When Tom Barr did his talks last fall in Seattle I specifically asked him about our soft water. He indicated he has the same problem in the SF area and he doesn't worry about dKH but he does try to keep his dGH above 4.0.

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