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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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How does this work?

Hi all,

I just got a KH/GH Test Kit from API, and been following the instructions, one drop at a time...

So after 12 drops, my GH did not change from Orange to Green, which is the maximum limit of the kit. It stayed Orange the whole time, never to Green.

My KH however, right on mark the first time, it changed from Blue to Yellow almost immediately, which means...

GH: >12
KH: 1

I tested my pH this morning too, and it's around 6.4 pH.

How does this work? I thought GH / KH are somewhat related? If it helps anyone, I put in some food the night before which had calcium in it. Help?

Edit - I keep RCS and snails in this tank.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 05:54 PM
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Same here, I could never get the GH test to work. You could try putting it on a white background to better pick up the color change, if there is one. Check your reagents to make sure you didn't get sold an expired batch too.

Otherwise, if measuring GH is critical for your tank, you may want to buy a different brand...
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 06:10 PM
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how often do you do water changes? Maybe your bacteria is using all the carbon faster than you can replace it?

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Onyx165 View Post
Same here, I could never get the GH test to work. You could try putting it on a white background to better pick up the color change, if there is one. Check your reagents to make sure you didn't get sold an expired batch too.

Otherwise, if measuring GH is critical for your tank, you may want to buy a different brand...
I was shaking it really well after each drop, nothing. It's not expired, I have placed it over a white background too, just an Orange hue.

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Originally Posted by AHGoodwin View Post
how often do you do water changes? Maybe your bacteria is using all the carbon faster than you can replace it?
Weekly WC, last WC was on Sunday. It's a planted tank if that helps?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 06:25 PM
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Some GH test kits, API test kits, for example, are very subject to just what you experienced when the kit is not a new one. "New" means just recently manufactured. You can tell how long the kit has been on the shelf because the manufacturing date is stamped on each box. I once had two '"new" API GH test kits fail to work, and had to buy another manufacturer's kit before I could get a GH reading.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Some GH test kits, API test kits, for example, are very subject to just what you experienced when the kit is not a new one. "New" means just recently manufactured. You can tell how long the kit has been on the shelf because the manufacturing date is stamped on each box. I once had two '"new" API GH test kits fail to work, and had to buy another manufacturer's kit before I could get a GH reading.
I assume I would need a "new" one? :/ I just bought this, too. This applies to all kits, then, I'm afraid? I never experienced this before either, so thanks for that.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 07:27 PM
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GH is a test of calcium and magnesium.

KH is a test of carbonates and bicarbonates.

These materials can exist separately and at different levels in the water.

Usually, in nature, they are at least somewhat related for this reason: A lot of the earth comes from limestone and related materials (calcite, dolomite...) which are calcium carbonates and magnesium carbonates.
When rain water (especially rain with a little CO2 dissolved in it) runs over these materials they dissolve, and the calcium, magnesium and carbonates are added to the water. Usually in more or less equal amounts.

Biological processes can remove these minerals from the water. Fish and plants extract the calcium and magnesium from the water. Certain plants (about half the plants we use in the aquarium) can utilize the carbonates as a source of carbon. Nitrifying bacteria get their carbon from carbonates.

Ultimately the water that has picked up these minerals ends up in a lake (such as the rift lakes of Africa) and the water evaporates, leaving the minerals behind. These lakes are very high in these minerals, and we call this hard water. In aquarium terms we joke about 'liquid rock'.
This water can end up in the ocean, too. This is the source of many of the minerals in the sea water. Fresh water with low levels of minerals and salts flows into the ocean, and the water evaporates, leaving the minerals and salts in the water.

When people use the fresh water with minerals for household use the minerals can come out of the water, and cause white, crusty build up on the plumbing fixtures, and it is hard to work up a good lather in hard water. So municipal water companies often remove a certain amount of the minerals. In the home people can use a water softener to remove the calcium and magnesium. Usually this process (home water softener) adds sodium to the water.

Now, back to tests:
Check the date on your tests, 'new' is not when you bought it, but when it was manufactured. If it sits in a warehouse, or on a store shelf, it is aging.
GH is the shortest lived test. Most of them are good for 3-5 years, some may last longer. GH really does give up at about 3 years. The way it quits is to stop changing color, just as you are seeing.

Test this by...
using another test method (such as strips)
take a sample to a local store
read the water report from your water company.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
GH is a test of calcium and magnesium.

KH is a test of carbonates and bicarbonates.

These materials can exist separately and at different levels in the water.

Usually, in nature, they are at least somewhat related for this reason: A lot of the earth comes from limestone and related materials (calcite, dolomite...) which are calcium carbonates and magnesium carbonates.
When rain water (especially rain with a little CO2 dissolved in it) runs over these materials they dissolve, and the calcium, magnesium and carbonates are added to the water. Usually in more or less equal amounts.

Biological processes can remove these minerals from the water. Fish and plants extract the calcium and magnesium from the water. Certain plants (about half the plants we use in the aquarium) can utilize the carbonates as a source of carbon. Nitrifying bacteria get their carbon from carbonates.

Ultimately the water that has picked up these minerals ends up in a lake (such as the rift lakes of Africa) and the water evaporates, leaving the minerals behind. These lakes are very high in these minerals, and we call this hard water. In aquarium terms we joke about 'liquid rock'.
This water can end up in the ocean, too. This is the source of many of the minerals in the sea water. Fresh water with low levels of minerals and salts flows into the ocean, and the water evaporates, leaving the minerals and salts in the water.

When people use the fresh water with minerals for household use the minerals can come out of the water, and cause white, crusty build up on the plumbing fixtures, and it is hard to work up a good lather in hard water. So municipal water companies often remove a certain amount of the minerals. In the home people can use a water softener to remove the calcium and magnesium. Usually this process (home water softener) adds sodium to the water.

Now, back to tests:
Check the date on your tests, 'new' is not when you bought it, but when it was manufactured. If it sits in a warehouse, or on a store shelf, it is aging.
GH is the shortest lived test. Most of them are good for 3-5 years, some may last longer. GH really does give up at about 3 years. The way it quits is to stop changing color, just as you are seeing.

Test this by...
using another test method (such as strips)
take a sample to a local store
read the water report from your water company.
Very informative post, thank you, Diana. I have checked the manufactured date, the LOT lists 0314 which is the Month and Year, so it was manufactured today. As such, I am going to assume my GH is just high and the test is true, whereas my KH is low.

I'll try going out tomorrow or something and get another test kit just to be sure, if my GH is too hard then it may be related to my RCS dying, which I believe they're unable to molt properly.

Thank you all for the information.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raith View Post
So after 12 drops, my GH did not change from Orange to Green, which is the maximum limit of the kit.
I've been out of the hobby for about 5 yrs. I, too, discovered recently that GH test kits definitely expire, so I just received a "new" API GH/KH kit yesterday. The dates on mine are on the bottles themselves. The GH is 3/2017 and the KH is 4/2019, purchased off of fleababy.

However, I don't understand this part:

"So after 12 drops, my GH did not change from Orange to Green, which is the maximum limit of the kit."

There is no 12 drops limit. Even in the instructions it lists 11-22. I used my old GH kit successfully for GH 18 many times in the past and even higher when I tinkered with stuff.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
I've been out of the hobby for about 5 yrs. I, too, discovered recently that GH test kits definitely expire, so I just received a "new" API GH/KH kit yesterday. The dates on mine are on the bottles themselves. The GH is 3/2017 and the KH is 4/2019, purchased off of fleababy.

However, I don't understand this part:

"So after 12 drops, my GH did not change from Orange to Green, which is the maximum limit of the kit."

There is no 12 drops limit. Even in the instructions it lists 11-22. I used my old GH kit successfully for GH 18 many times in the past and even higher when I tinkered with stuff.
Silly me, I'll try that, thanks. I started Googling everywhere and people have said high GH doesn't affect RCS but I cannot be definite on it, I really don't know what to do.

pH should be in relation with GH... yet they are polar opposites, I couldn't find any information on other people that have low pH and high GH. I have found this chart, which is helpful but doesn't explain my tank at all:



I want to boost my pH, so at the moment I'm thinking of cuttlebone or crushed coral.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 02:31 AM
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No, pH and GH have no link.

KH is carbonates which act as a buffer for the pH.
If the KH is high the pH tends to be high, and stubborn about changing.
If the KH is low the pH may be controlled by something else in the tank, for example driftwood, peat moss, or CO2 can lower the pH, sodium hydroxide or ammonia can raise the pH.

Limstone, dolomite or coral sand or oyster shell grit can raise GH, KH and pH. Some materials have a greater effect than others because some dissolve more easily.
A chunk of rock does not have much surface area.
A chunk of rock with lots of holes (Texas Holey Rock) has more surface area.
Sand or grit has a LOT more surface area.
The more surface area the stronger and faster the response.

--------------------------------------

When you are considering doing this, remember that you will have to prepare new water outside the tank for water changes. Make the new water to the parameters you want before you add it to the tank.
Adding 'wrong parameter' water to the tank (in this case too soft water) will not be good for the livestock. Sure the rock or sand will add the minerals, but this takes time, and the livestock will have been exposed to the too-soft water for several days. Don't put them through this.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
No, pH and GH have no link.

KH is carbonates which act as a buffer for the pH.
If the KH is high the pH tends to be high, and stubborn about changing.
If the KH is low the pH may be controlled by something else in the tank, for example driftwood, peat moss, or CO2 can lower the pH, sodium hydroxide or ammonia can raise the pH.

Limstone, dolomite or coral sand or oyster shell grit can raise GH, KH and pH. Some materials have a greater effect than others because some dissolve more easily.
A chunk of rock does not have much surface area.
A chunk of rock with lots of holes (Texas Holey Rock) has more surface area.
Sand or grit has a LOT more surface area.
The more surface area the stronger and faster the response.

--------------------------------------

When you are considering doing this, remember that you will have to prepare new water outside the tank for water changes. Make the new water to the parameters you want before you add it to the tank.
Adding 'wrong parameter' water to the tank (in this case too soft water) will not be good for the livestock. Sure the rock or sand will add the minerals, but this takes time, and the livestock will have been exposed to the too-soft water for several days. Don't put them through this.
Right, that's the thing though, my pH has been uniquely low as opposed to my high GH, I'll know for sure tomorrow though...
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 04:42 AM
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Keep adding drops it takes 19 drops for my KH and 22 for GH.

Quote:
Right, that's the thing though, my pH has been uniquely low as opposed to my high GH, I'll know for sure tomorrow though...
Do you mean KH? PH and KH would be correlated.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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Keep adding drops it takes 19 drops for my KH and 22 for GH.



Do you mean KH? PH and KH would be correlated.
Nope, I checked today and my pH is 6.4 while my GH exceeded 12, I am going to do more drops tomorrow and see if it ever changes. I think the most I did was 18 and it was still orange, not changing to green at all.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Good morning everyone, so I kept trying on my GH kit and got the result which is 13.
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