Weird Water Readings... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2006, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Weird Water Readings...

Ok, I'm still new to the whole planted aquarium thing, but this has me a bit concerned.

I went out today and picked up an American Pharmecuticals GH/KH test kit. I've suspected for awhile that Dallas water tends towards the hard side, but I wanted to double check.

Anyway, here are the readings I got:

KH = 4 = 71.6ppm

GH = 16 (!!!!) = 286.4 ppm

That's off the AP chart!

So I tested my tap water. It came out to:

GH = 9 = 161.1ppm

I double checked my tank water and got the 16 rating again.

So anyone want to hazard a guess as to what's causing this HUGE spike in my GH? There are only 2 things I can think of. Early on (as in 2-3 years ago), I used to dose with aquarium salt. But I certainly haven't added any of that for at least a year and a half (though I did bring about 1/2 of the original tank water with me when I moved last year). I also used to have silk plants in the tank with metal wires in the stems. These eventually began to rust. They're all gone now as of Monday (when the real plants went in).

I can't imagine this GH level can be good for anyone (though the fish seem to be doing just fine -- the most recent additions were from almost a month ago). Still, I'm seriously considering getting a few gallons of R/O water and doing a water change (Though at this rate, it would seem I'd have to replace almost half the tank water to bring the levels down to "normal"!).

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-05-2006, 10:44 PM
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What type of gravel do you have?

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2006, 12:29 AM
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Do you "top off" the tank with tap water?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2006, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Type of gravel? Standard aquarium stock. Had it for years (about 3.5 and counting). Of course, I've never tested it before. Kid in a candy store syndrome. Couldn't resist.

I did add a few rocks when I planted the tank. They were sold as river rocks from the same LFS, but its possible one (or more) of them could have been responsible for leeching.

And yes, I top off with tap water. I've tested it too. The KH is considerably harder, but the GH is much lower (9 as opposed to 16). At this rate, I'm tempted to start mixing it in with R/O water. Could that be what's making the difference?

Since my Nitrates were getting low (from 20 to 5 in a week), I did a bit of a water change tonight. I figured that would pump up the nutrients to some degree until I can get some ferts (everyone is out of them locally, so off to Dr Fosters I go).

I did a 1/3 water change when I added the plants, and close to a 1/3 tonight.

I should note that after the water change tonight, the GH of my tank dropped from 16 degrees to 13. And there had been minimal evaporation in the meantime.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-06-2006, 12:55 PM
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Topping off the tank with hard tap water will cause a increase in the hardness of the tank. Water evaporates and leaves the hardness behind. So if your tap water is hard you are much better off to top off the tank with RO water.

Or move to an area where the water is very soft.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 05:07 AM
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How frequently and what volume are your water changes?

Sergio C.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys!

Thanks for all your help. You've put my mind at ease for the time being.

Rex: That makes sense. Next time I do a water change (I expect to do another one here in a few days when I start adding ferts) I'll use R/O water and see what happens.

SuRje1976: Well, prior to this, about 25% every 2-3 weeks. However, since I'm going the non-CO2 route, I expect to be making them much less frequently (maybe once a month as I'll be dosing with excel).

Tom
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