Need help understanding my test results - The Planted Tank Forum
Old 04-09-2006, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Fairfield, CA
Posts: 38
Need help understanding my test results

Hey everyone. I just received my test kit Hagen Master Test Kit. I would like to share my test results with everyone since I am new to test.

It seems my water hardness is off the chart. However, I do have tetras (some establish and some new) that are doing fine. I was thinking about incorporating some peat into my aquarium.

I would greatly appreciate any advice or comments whether on the peat or my test results.

NO2 – 0.1 mg/L NO2

pH (6.0-7.6) – 7.0

pH (7.4-8.6) – 7.6

Fe – 0 mg/L

GH – 30.2 - 33.5
I was confused with this test. Instructions said to add 1 drop of GH Reagent until the color changed from pink to blue. The first test I had to add 27 drops, the second test I added 30 drops. Then multiply the total number of drops by 20 to determine the General Hardness. The first test would be 27x20 = 540. The second test would be 30x30 = 600. What I found out by reading other threads is that you are suppose to divide by 17.9, which the instructions did not state (thank God for this site). That brings the GH to 30.2 - 33.5, could my water be that hard?

KH – 30 mg/L
I added 3 drops of KH. I then multiplied the drops by 10 to determine the Carbonate Hardness. 3x10 = 30

PO4 – 5.0 mg/L

NO3 – 110 mg/L

NH3/NH4 - .1 mg/L?
Another confusing test. After performing the test, I compared the result with the color chart, which read 0.1. Then it states for ammonia as nitrogen (NH3-N) divide result by 1.22, which is .08. There was a number chart that the y-axis (left side) is for pH, and the x-axis (bottom) is for NH3.

Ca – ?
This was another test that confused me. It states multiply the number of drops of reagent used by 20 to determine the Calcium concentration. My calculation was 10 drops x 20 = 200 mg/L. At this point, I got confused figuring Calcium Hardness mg/L (CaCO3), Magnesium Hardness (CaCO3), and Magnesium mg/L.
Calcium Hardness mg/L =
500 mg/L = 200 Ca x 2.5
Magnesium Hardness (CaCO3) = General Hardness mg.L (CaCO3) – Calcium Hardness mg/L (CaCO3)
100 mg/L = 600 mg/L (remember my numbers were off) – 500 mg/L
Magnesium mg/L = Magnesium Hardness (CaCO3) / 4.1
24.39 mg/L = 100mg/L / 4.1

Aquarium Profile
Tank size:
10 gallons

Lighting:
Indirect sunlight

Equipment:
Tetratec PF150 with internal heater

Substrate:
100% Flourite (2-inches)

Parameters:
Temp 72-74F

Plants:
Nanas (Anubias barteri)
Java Ferns (Microsorum pteropus)

Inhabitants: (some are MIAs)
(1) Blue Tetra
(2) Silvertip Tetra
(1) Head and Tail Light Tetra
(1) Black Neon Tetra
(1) Neon Jumbo Tetra
(2) African Dwarf Frogs

Last edited by jynxx25; 04-09-2006 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Found some answers through reseaching the forum
jynxx25 is offline

Old 04-09-2006, 08:10 PM
Planted Tank Guru

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
PH is probably about 7.0. The high range PH kit will not measure that low. The nitrite (NO2) measures too high, but the kit isn't really very accurate, so it may also be zero, where it should be. The phosphate (PO4) and nitrate (NO3) test results are not likely to be correct.
With the light you have, unless the tank is outdoors in bright indirect sunlight, the only plants that will grow well are those you have plus very few others. I suggest that you forget the test results for now, and as long as the fish and plants are doing ok, the water is ok. By the way, a group of 5 or more of one type of fish looks a lot better and the fish are a lot happier than a group of one each of several types.
If you do decide to keep using the test kit, I suggest you calibrate each test by making a solution of purified water from the grocery store and a known ppm of one of the fertilizer components for each test.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline
Old 04-10-2006, 02:59 AM
Planted Member

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Richmond, TX
Posts: 275
I have never been happy with any of the reagent pH kits. I have 3...high pH, deluxe pH, and a pond pH kit. After I pulled all my hair out, I purchased a Hanna hand-held ph probe. Much easier to read digital than several screwy shades of blue and orange.

For the hagen gh/kh kits, multiplying by 20 and 10 respectively gives you mg/L...which is ppm. I often test twice and look for the range. It is very important to hold the bottles of reagent vertical to ensure the each drop is the same size.

As mentioned, all of the fish you are keeping are shoaling fish. A shoal is nicer to watch and the fish will feel more protected/safe when they are in a group of the same species.

Take it slow.
Bombay is offline

Old 04-10-2006, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Fairfield, CA
Posts: 38
After seeing Hoppy’s response and doing some research in the forum, I did a 40% water change around 5p today using Crystal Geyser water. I retested 4 hours later. The results are:
pH (6.0-7.5): 7.2
pH (7.4-8.6): 7.6
GH: 19.0 ppm
KH: 20 ppm

Clearly, this is an improvement. I am going to do another 30-40% water change and retest. I guess I was not doing water changes frequently enough. I just ordered some peat pellets that I am going to use in lieu of carbon in one of my cartridges in the TetraTec.

For the schooling tetras, I did follow Hoppy’s advice from an earlier thread of mine. I purchased more Blue, Silvertip, Head and Tail Light, Black Neon, and got into some Neon Jumbo Tetras. However, because of the hardness of my water the majority did not survive too well. After getting the water parameters in check (hopefully by the end of the week), I definitely will get more fish.

Thanks guys!
jynxx25 is offline
Old 04-10-2006, 06:01 PM
Planted Tank Guru

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
I don't think the hardness of the water is what bothered your fish. More likely would be chloramine in the water at water changes if you didn't use something like Seachem's Prime, or nitrites or ammonia in the water. It takes a few weeks for a new tank to get stable, do it's nitrogen cycle (unless you have lots of plants), and get over the initial minor algae issues. Adding lots of fish is usually better done later and only a few at a time. Even then, tetras tend to have a fairly high mortality rate at first - my experience.

Hoppy
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:59 PM
Algae Grower

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 110
I don't think you first test was right if the water change took you from 540 ppm GH to 19ppm. If you put 5 gallons of 0 ppm GH water into 5 gallons of 540 ppm GH, your resulting GH should be 270 ppm, and you only did 4 gallons into 6 gallons which <too lazy to do complicated math>.
Ransom is offline
Old 04-10-2006, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Fairfield, CA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ransom
I don't think you first test was right if the water change took you from 540 ppm GH to 19ppm.
Actuallu my first GH ppm were 30.2 - 33.5 and the second test is 19ppm. The 540 is the number from the number of drops (which was 27) x 20 = 540, then divide by 17.9 to get the ppm of 30.2.
jynxx25 is offline
Old 04-10-2006, 09:18 PM
Planted Member

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Richmond, TX
Posts: 275
I'm pretty sure that is not correct. 27 x 20 = 540 mg/l or ppm according to the hagen test documentation.
Bombay is offline
Old 04-11-2006, 03:48 PM
Algae Grower

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by jynxx25
Actuallu my first GH ppm were 30.2 - 33.5 and the second test is 19ppm. The 540 is the number from the number of drops (which was 27) x 20 = 540, then divide by 17.9 to get the ppm of 30.2.
If you told the story correctly you're still messing up combining drops, degrees, and ppm. The 17.9 is the conversion factor between degrees and ppm. Your first test told you 540 ppm and 30.2 degrees.

If you are being consistent, I'm guessing your second test was 17 drops giving you 340 ppm or 19 degrees. That makes sense with the amount of your water change.
Ransom is offline

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