Bad test or REALLY high GH? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Bad test or REALLY high GH?

Alrighty, I've been lurking for some time now, and finally feel the need to post.

I managed to get my hands on on an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals GH and KH test kit. My suspicion is that my city has soft water that they up the pH on (high sevens to low eights on my pH tests).

The KH test seemed to go okay. After four drops the water color changed from blue to yellow indicating approximately 71.6 ppm KH (right?).

The GH did not go as well. The instructions that I have say that after the first drop the water should turn orange. Mine turned yellow. The color endpoint is supposed to be green. After *50* drops the water in the test tube was only more yellow. No hint of green existed. Since I doubt that my water hardness is 900 ppm GH , I am thinking that my test is old.

Consensus?

If it matters or you are curious my tank is 10 gallons, topsoil/fine gravel substrate, 3 watts/gallon at 6500k compact flourescent (too high?), 1-amazon sword, 1-red rubin sword, 1-bunch anacharis, several dozen hitchhiking snails. No fishies yet as I am only 20 days into a fishless cycle.

It has been a while (15+ years) since I've had a tropical aquarium and doing all this water testing is quite new to me.

Thanks in advance,
Red River
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 01:32 AM
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I think it is likely you have a GH of <1. I have the same problem with the API test, it's basically impossible to read in soft water. The Hagen Nutrafin GH test is much better in that regard, it goes from pink to blue.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 01:32 AM
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Throw the API GH test kit away and keep the KH kit.

I can't tell where the color changes.

Hagen GH and KH test kit is decent, but it measures in ppm and not degrees like the API kits do. LaMotte's test kits are better.

This map may help you:


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 03:54 AM
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I had the same problem. My GH is so close to 1 that I never saw a color change... what you might be able to do is take twice (or even 4 times) the amount of sample, start dripping, when the color changes you just divide the number of drops by 2 (or 4). with a bigger water sample it might be harder to tell the color to begin with, but set the glas (I use a shot glas for this, since I get tired of the cap-on-cap-off-dance) on a white piece of paper and look straight down. The gH from the tap in my town is around 1.25 (5 drops in 20ml sample).
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-23-2009, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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I'll have to try out a different brand of test.

I tried the bigger water sample (40ml) and the yellow showed with the second drop. That is really really soft water, and I don't think it is quite that soft.

The test is probably old/bad. For some reason the nearest LFS (an hour drive away, unless you count Wallyworld) doesn't seem to regularly carry gH and kH tests, and had to dig around in their storeroom to find one. I'm probably just lucky the the kH test wasn't bad, too.

The kH map was spot on for my area. Makes me feel better about that test, at least.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 05:37 AM
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I don't have an issue with my API GH kit, I have a GH of about 5, though. I found I have to stare down into the tube to see the color, also if it's close to nil you'll get your situation. A few times I got an expired kit and the same thing happened, you can confirm it with a known source that has substantial GH. Check the code date on the bottle, the last few digits are month and year of production, I can't remember exactly but if it's older than 2yrs, it may be bad.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 04:55 PM
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I had to give up on API's GH test kits. The first one I used gave me good readings, but after a year it quit working. So, I bought another one, and it didn't work at all. I tried two more brands before I settled on the one I occasionally use now. It seems to be hard to measure GH, apparently because the indicator dyes aren't stable enough - just a guess.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 06:19 PM
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One problem is, nobody ever buys them so they sit in the store for years, same with a lot of the reagents at the LFS. I always open the package to look for the date, and I never buy an API test that's boxed in the old package design. I guess the alternative is buying a different brand, but I've always despised the Hagen tests (although their GH is probably the least of my worries), and I personally won't spend high dollars on a better kit just for GH. Helps to use RO and GH booster, then all you need is a measuring spoon to keep stability.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidexl View Post
One problem is, nobody ever buys them so they sit in the store for years, same with a lot of the reagents at the LFS. I always open the package to look for the date, and I never buy an API test that's boxed in the old package design. I guess the alternative is buying a different brand, but I've always despised the Hagen tests (although their GH is probably the least of my worries), and I personally won't spend high dollars on a better kit just for GH. Helps to use RO and GH booster, then all you need is a measuring spoon to keep stability.
I've decided that my water may be soft, but the test is for sure bad. I added a ton of Epsom Salt to some warm water and then tested it. It did the same thing that it did to me without adding the Epsom Salt. I decided to do that after pricing out the LaMotte gH test... ouch! I'm too cheap for that one, even if it does work better.

My next step is to try other LFS that may have a higher turnover of their testing products.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 11:49 AM
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Hagen's GH/KH test kits are fine. Their other test kits like Nitrate, Phosphate, etc. are really bad.

I've checked Hagen's KH test kit's accuracy using a Lamotte Alkalinity test kit. It was very close.

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