Water Parameters for Morons - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Water Parameters for Morons

I am confused. I finally purchased the API KH/GH test kit and checked my aquarium water tonight. I got results of 2-3 dKH (2-3 drops) and 71.6 ppm GH (4 drops). After using this website (http://aqadvisor.com) the goal dH of 11-15 is what I need for the aquarium stock I have. The other sources I found for my fish needs are rated in KH and range from 2-25 KH for the various fish.

I don't know how to decipher this madness. How does dH transfer to dKH or ppm GH or just KH? If my fish thrive in water that has 11-15 dH am I meeting that requirement?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 12:50 AM
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Fish are very adaptable it's very rare to keep Wild fish where water has to be pretty much exact most fish we keep nowadays have been captive breed for years they have no clue what wild water is so don't get all caught up with trying to keep perfect species water in my opinion it's not worth it the fish don't behave any different nor do they show better color or breed better
And That's my opinion and I am sticking to it : )
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I did some more internet digging and found that dH, dKH, and dGH are essentially the same measurement. If this is true then the AquaAdvisor recommendation of 11-15 dH seems really high and in fact is off the scales of what the API test kit records values for. Is this possible?

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 01:20 AM
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First thing to realize is those two test though in the same box don't go together. Look at each test separately, don't try and match them or think one leans on the other. KH or Carbonate Hardness -is the measure of bicarbonate and carbonate ions that act as buffers in your water to prevent PH from dropping or changing too fast. If you have a really high KH your going to have a high PH and its going to be more resistant to changes. General hardness is the overall concentration of calcium, magnesium and a few other ions in your water. You have soft water. My tap water is also soft. http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/General_Hardness
Fish above all want stability, if they are happy, healthy, have nice color then leave everything the way it is. One thing you'll learn is don't fight the water it ALWAYS wins. When you see a range of 2-25KH its saying they can live anywhere from 2-25KH. Aquaadvisor seems rather excessive. What kind of fish do you have?


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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I have a Molly, 10x White Cloud Minnows, 5x Sterbai Corydoras and 2x Otocinlcus in a 29 gallon tank. I have been doing my water changes of about ten gallons every week (or whenever the Nitrates are testing high, whichever is first) using 8 gal RO and 2 gal tap with a water conditioner. This is probably why my aquarium water is looking to be soft. I started using RO when I learned that my tap water had high Nitrates but maybe I need to change the ratio that I am adding to my tank at these water changes.

If it sounds like I don't know what I'm doing it's because I don't. I setup my first aquarium two months ago and launched into the planted tank head first. I'm learning here and those Chemistry courses I took were a long time ago.

Thanks for you help greaser.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 01:41 AM
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Hey we all started somewhere and there's slot of good people on here to help you along and point you in the right direction just need to ask questions and y'all get answers any way welcome to the wonderful world of fish keeping be warned one tank is never enough it's addictive : )
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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So if I am understanding this right than dKH, KH and dH are all the same measurement for carbonate hardness. This is basically what keeps the PH stabilized by acting as a buffer by way of alkalinity. What would cause the PH to change rapidly anyway?

Another question: If GH is the measurement of Magnesium and Calcium than I imagine that the addition of a product like Seachem Flourish would raise GH because it has both Calcium and Magnesium in the solution. This raises my question, what good is GH and why should I care what the measurement is?

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 11-19-2014 at 07:02 AM. Reason: Back to back posts
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 02:05 AM
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Gh is measurement of minerals in your water that keep your Ph more stable , there are alot of things that can cause a ph swing probably to many to list here's the bottom line the less you mess with trying to fool around changing your water the better off you are as long as you can keep a stable ph your fish will be fine but they don't handle big ph swings well what ph are you aiming for? And what is the ph of the water you are using to try to get it there?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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I totally agree with you about trying to fight water, it doesn't seem to work very well from everything I have read so far. This is the first time I have tested my water for KH or GH so I'm just trying to get a grasp on what my readings mean and if I am meeting the needs of the fish I have. So far everything in my tank has been living (aside from 3 or 4 dead ottos) so I think the water parameters are just fine. The PH remains constant at about 7.4-7.6, it's hard to tell from the API color charts.

I think by doing one less gallon of RO and one additional gallon of tap at water changes might increase the KH and GH and be better though. Thanks for the input midgnighttide

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 02:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greaser84 View Post
First thing to realize is those two test though in the same box don't go together. Look at each test separately, don't try and match them or think one leans on the other. KH or Carbonate Hardness -is the measure of bicarbonate and carbonate ions that act as buffers in your water to prevent PH from dropping or changing too fast. If you have a really high KH your going to have a high PH and its going to be more resistant to changes. General hardness is the overall concentration of calcium, magnesium and a few other ions in your water. You have soft water. My tap water is also soft. http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/General_Hardness
Fish above all want stability, if they are happy, healthy, have nice color then leave everything the way it is. One thing you'll learn is don't fight the water it ALWAYS wins. When you see a range of 2-25KH its saying they can live anywhere from 2-25KH. Aquaadvisor seems rather excessive. What kind of fish do you have?
Some of the best "fish" related Advice I've seen on here yet
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 02:42 AM
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Your welcome and yes less R/O water will bring your gh up a bit cause R/O water has no minerals in it I know people who have keep and breed fish for over 40 years and never once used a GH/ DH test , good luck on your venture into the wonderful world of aquariums it's such a great hobby
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 02:10 AM
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Quote:
Gh is measurement of minerals in your water that keep your Ph more stable
No. GH has nothing to do with pH.

It is the important measurement for fish, though.
Sites that say fish want a certain carbonate hardness (KH) are wrong.
Fish want certain levels of calcium and magnesium. GH.

Usually in nature the two (GH and KH) are similar, because they come from limestone or similar rock which supplies various amounts of calcium carbonates and magnesium carbonates. Not all waters are like this, but enough are that it is a reasonable way to set up an aquarium

You can do some research about the water hardness preferences and optimum temperature range for your fish.
www.fishbase.org
and
www.planetcatfish.com
are two good places to research fish.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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So I tested my tap water today and found that it has a PH of 8.4-8.8, dKH of 3, and dH of 9. I knew the tap water PH was high from earlier tests so I have been doing water changes at a ratio of 5:1 RO to tap water to dilute the PH. Now that I have tested for KH and GH I am concerned that the KH is too low to stabilize my PH long term especially when I dilute the tap water with RO water. My main concern is the Strebai Cory that I have because I think they are the best thing in the tank and they need a PH of 7.5 at the high end.

I have done an online search and it seems that a method to raise KH and lower PH does not exist and that I cannot raise KH without affecting PH. Is a KH value of 2 in my tank going to be stable enough?

I am starting to wish I never bought the GH/KH test kit.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 02:39 AM
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Your honestly going to drive yourself nuts playing with the water the fish are fine as long as you keep a stable ph and doing water changes weekly you can keep it in check with your adding r/o to your tap as long as you make the same mix each time throw that DH/kh test in a draw and forget about it These are not wild fish were dealing with they wouldn't know ideal true water conditions of were they were from if you brought them there yourself : )

Bump: Theres other stuff you can also do to lower your ph like adding driftwood or adding peatmoss to your filter media , almond leafs , oak leafs, you def have options to help you keep it lower and more stable in between water changes
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2014, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Your honestly going to drive yourself nuts playing with the water
I agree, I probably am putting too much thought into this. If the fish aren't floating yet then what's the problem, right?

High PH tap with low KH got me thinking that I could have a future problem if not handled correctly. I must be doing okay with the RO mix I got going though so I'm going to keep doing it.

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