KH Level - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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KH Level

Hi everyone. I was looking at trying to figure out my KH. It is driving me nuts. I am a little color blind so the test I have is hard to determine. I did find this on a website for my area:

* What is the hardness of the water? And what about iron, fluoride, and chlorine?
There are 17 to 22 grains per gallon of water.

Iron levels discharged from the treatment plants are from 0.03 to 0.06 milligrams per liter or parts per million. Iron levels can be higher due to the iron pipes in the distribution system. On rare occasions, problems in the filtration process can cause higher levels of iron to be discharged from the treatment plants.

Fluoride is added to our water. The levels of fluoride are kept around 1.0 to 1.3 milligrams per liter or parts per million.

Chlorine is added to disinfect the water. Chlorine levels vary depending on the distribution system. The chlorine levels in the water discharged from the treatment plants ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 milligrams per liter or parts per million.
If this helps. It all looks greek to me. I was wondering if they have electronic KH meters similar to the TDS. I really want to be able to read my water qualities better. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance!!!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 11:08 PM
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Most likely the "17 to 22 grains per gallon of water" is referring to GH. Usually when water companies refer to hardness they really mean general hardness, which is what causes issues for people...

Based on those background numbers, you've got pretty hard water but it's not something uncommon for a lot of areas in the US. Iron is ok...bad on inverts but I have no idea where the threshold is for them...chlorine should be removed by a dechlor product (e.g. Prime, etc.).

KH is different though, that's the carbonate hardness (aka "buffering capacity"). Which test kit are you using?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 12:43 PM
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If you have a color perception problem, then testing could become a real challenge, but there is another way to measure KH if you have a conductivity tester which reads the water conductivity in S/cm.

Method:
1. Take a water sample and measure the conductivity (=C)
2. Boil a water sample for about 15 minutes, replace the evaporated water with RO water, then measure the conductivity (=Cb)

Note:
The bi-carbonates that constitute the KH are destroyed by the boiling, hence the difference between the two readings: C - Cb (times a conversion factor) represents the KH, because:
Total hardness (ie: GH) = Permanent hardness + Temporary hardness (ie: KH)

Regards
Cor

Last edited by Greystoke; 11-30-2013 at 12:44 PM. Reason: correction
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys. Thanks for replying. First off I am using a API test kit. I don't have a conductivity tester. I broke down and asked my wife to read the test. She really hates my hobby and sees it as a waste of funds. Anywho here are my water parameters right out the tap:

TDS-176
PH-7.2-7.4
KH-7
GH-9

Now with those numbers is there a way to soften the water some but not so drastically as to affect the other numbers? I really don't want to do the RO units if I don't have to. Any possible suggestions are much appreciated!! Thanks!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 01:40 AM
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The Effect of Peat Moss

Put some peat moss in a bucket of water.
Run a bubbler or small pump so the water is forced through the peat moss, and repeat the tests in about 24-48 hours.

Tap
pH 9.3
NH3 0
NO2 0
NO3 0
GH 14
KH 10
PO4 0

After Peat Moss
pH 5.2
NH3 0
NO2 0
NO3 0
GH 3
KH 1
PO4 0

Note how much the GH and KH have come down!

Regards
Cor
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2013, 02:17 AM
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Are you sure you will be better off with a lower KH? It is always the easiest if you just live with the water you have, and don't try to change it.

Hoppy
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 06:30 PM
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It might be that unless your LFS is a mom & pop and they keep Discus or other high level fish that require it, that your
LFS has the same water you do, depending on how far away you live from them. If that is true, the fish you get from there
are accustomed to your water already in which case what Hoppy said would likely apply.
Plants grow better in low Ph water and since I have ten G tanks it's easy to just add a measured amount of R/O water
which is $.88 per gallon from Walmart to my water to accomplish this. The tap is 7.8-8.2(I have no high end test kit
so I'm just guessing from the test results/w the low end kit) and is reduced to 6.4-6.6 by adding x amount of the R/O
each time I do a water change. But that's my point, I'm locked into that each week. No problem in a ten G(two of them)
but do you really need to change it ?

P.S. Actually I don't know what the TDS is supposed to be but the "other" things look fine. And a Kh lower than 3 CAN cause problems.

Last edited by Raymond S.; 12-03-2013 at 06:36 PM. Reason: P.S.
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