API kh & gh test kit colors - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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API kh & gh test kit colors

I just received my order today with this test kit. When I tested the kh I added 1 drop, shook the tube, added another drop , shook tube, etc. The water never turned blue but after 3 drops I thought I noticed a very pale yellow. So added another drop and then definite yellow.

Same problem problem with the gh test, water never turned orange but after 3 drops I could see it change to green.

I guess my question, is the blue & orange so subtle as to not notice it? I guess next time I'll do the test in front of a white paper. I just thought the blue & orange would be more noticeable.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 04:26 AM
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If there is even a faint change, you've reached the titration endpoint. So in your case, you would be at 3 dKH and 3 dGH.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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So no problem not seeing the blue & orange first, I assume?

I figured I might have just missed the subtle blue/orange color change, since I was expecting it to be fairly noticeable.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 04:38 AM
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Yeah, the test kit directions make it look like the change will be drastic. Took me a while to realize that once the color changes, you've reached the endpoint. Though if you're still having difficulty discerning the color change, you can do the test in a white paper cup. I just take 10 mL of water I want to test, add it to the cup, and add the reagents drop by drop. In this case, each drop will represent 0.5 of a degree.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. That's what I figured.

And I knew there was something about using more water to get more detailed reading but couldn't find the thread using search. So thanks for the "10mL water for .5 of a degree". Couldn't never come up with the right search terms to bring up anything useful.

I just need to know how much Kh my new substrate is stripping out so I can make needed adjustments.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 04:58 AM
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Also, you may have already known this, but if you hold the vial over white paper and look down through the top of the vial it's fairly easy to notice when the colors change.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip .. I did read about using white paper but that was after I did the test, when I came here searching why I didn't see the blue or orange color.

I'll definitely try that next time.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 07:00 AM
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It is the water that you are using. You have a very low GH and KH. When I test my tap water it is a dark blue after the first drop. That's because the KH is 6 to 7. My GH though is very faint because it tests at 1 to 2. It all depends on the water being tested.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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That's good to know. I haven't had a chance to test my tap water yet but will soon.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 03:36 AM
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Low levels are subtle. Make sure there is no blue or green in the background. I have found that the good light near a window helps, but the green trees outside seem to get reflected into the test tube if I hold it near the window.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah with my API master test when I'm checking the nitrate or PH I stand somewhat sideways mostly with my back to the window and use the white of the chart to check it. Think I use the reverse side which is all white and try that. My levels may be even lower than I thought since I may not have noticed a more subtle change.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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Just a follow up. I got around to checking the KH & GH of my tap water. And did another more accurate read on my tank. Funny thing, when using tap water for the KH I put in 1 drop and it changed blue, took 3 drops total to change to pale yellow. Tested tank water took 2 drops but it didn't change blue first. That 1 drop really makes a big difference! So my previous reading when I saw it change yellow at 3 drops probably changed at 2 and I just didn't notice it hence no blue first. And the blue was pretty noticeable.

So thanks everyone for your input.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 05:39 AM
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If you want to try to fine tune it use different amounts of tank water. For example 10 ml (twice as much as instructed) will give a reading of 1/2 a degree per drop of reagent.

No need, really to do that. Knowing that tap and tank are very close, and very soft is enough. If you want to keep hard water fish you would have to do something like add minerals. But soft water like that, right out of the tap is great!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Diana, I thought those readings would be ok but glad you confirmed that. The tank has Bluegills. I didn't check the lake water they came from but I've had them now almost 1 yr so they've adapted to my tap water. It's only moderately planted in order to have more open swimming space. I'll upgrade to a bigger tank once the fish get a bit bigger. Always on the lookout for one on Craigslist. LOL

Edit: I had trouble with the PH dropping so added some oyster shell grit to the filter which seems to have helped stabilize it. Of course doing 50% water changes about every 5 days helps too. But the PH dropping over those 5 days worried me.

Last edited by sowNreap; 09-05-2012 at 03:31 PM. Reason: more info
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 03:44 PM
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Something hinted at but not always talked is the light we use for testing. If we want consistent results, we need to use the same light. Have you ever looked at paint in the store lighting and then brought it home to find it looks totally different?
Same applies to the test colors. Since I can't always depend on natural light, I read under the same tank light so that it will be the same each time.
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