GH/KH 1dGH/1dKH if my AP test kit is to be trusted, of which I'm not sure
4 dwarf gourami, 1 juvenile bristlenose pleco
I have a 20Gallon High that has been up and running for 2 weeks now and doing very well. Based on what I read at rexgrigg.com and here
I started it heavily planted and added fish on day 3. All the occupants are happy, the plants are doing quite well, but I'm starting to get heavier algae, more than my small bristlenose pleco can handle.
I want to get CO2 going. I wanted to from the start, but wasn't sure about what I was going to use. Now I have a Red Sea Turbo CO2 Bio System that I purchased a few days ago, but the AP GH/KH kit I bought didn't seem to be working, or at least I just wasn't sure of the readings. I had to put all this on the backburner while dealing with non-aquaria/real life type issues, but now I really want to get my CO2 going.
I've tried the GH/KH test again today. It's supposed to turn orange first for GH, then you keep adding drops until it turns green. Mine turns green right away. The KH is supposed to turn blue first, then you keep adding drops until it turns bright yellow. Mine just turns to a pale yellow right away. If it just turns to the end colour right away, the instructions say you take this as a 1dKH or 1dGH reading respectively. The colour is so pale though, I wasn't sure what to think. Testing straight tap water, it does the exact same thing. So I added some baking soda to tap water and tested that. The KH test turns blue like they say, and after several drops I got it to turn yellow, so that test seems to be working. The GH with the same water, however, just turned green right away again. I'm assuming my GH test isn't functioning. If I have a KH reading of 10dKH on this baking soda laced water, should I not have a GH higher than 1dGH?
I think I'll take this kit back to Big Als this afternoon, and maybe a sample of my tank water to see if they'll test it for me. Oh, I checked the dates on the bottles, and both tests are over a year old, if that matters. The KH is nearly 2 years old, while teh GH is 14 months old.
Anyway, if my KH test is working, it means I have 1dKH, even from my tap water. So, I've got essentially no buffering capacity for when I add CO2. Is baking soda my best option for raising this? Do I just add it directly to the tank water, and will I have to do this constantly to maintain it? I've also read on here about adding a CaCO3 source to my filter to help the buffering capacity.
I'm going to return this test kit and try and make sure I'm getting correct readings first, but I'm just wondering what some of you might advise I do prior to setting up my CO2. Sorry about the long post. Thanks in advance for any help.