API GH & KH test - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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API GH & KH test

I got the test completed but the instructions are poor I don't understand them.

I tested my KH (had to add 5 drops to 5ml of tank water to turn yellow)
I tested my GH (had to add 9 drops to 5ml of tank water to turn light green)

What do these numbers mean. There's a chart wight the instructions but it's extremely confusing. The only reason I wanted to check the water is because I'm switching to ro di water tomorrow and don't want my discus to die because of huge changes in water parameters.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 07:12 AM
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water hardness

To my understanding

1 Drop is 1dH One German degree hardness. So in your case it 5dH & 9dH resp.
In the U.S., hardness is usually measured in ppm
A German dH is 17.8 ppm.

0 - 4 dH, 0 - 70 ppm : very soft
4 - 8 dH, 70 - 140 ppm : soft
8 - 12 dH, 140 - 210 ppm : medium hard
12 - 18 dH, 210 - 320 ppm : fairly hard
18 - 30 dH, 320 - 530 ppm : hard

I have discus and my KH and GH is 7dH & 16dH resp. I use tap water. No RO water. Discus are doing great past 5 months.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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My tap water is 5kh and 13gh and discus are doing great for the past 11 months. But my problem is extremely high levels of silicates and phosphates mixed in to the municipal water. Results of this is diatoms. I've lost a lot of plants for this nasty algae. I lost 75% of my ludwigia repens today. Diatoms just cling on and killed the stems and leaves.

Anyways thanks for clarifying this KH and GH numbers for me. I'm so ready to stop using nasty smelly city water.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
I got the test completed but the instructions are poor I don't understand them.

I tested my KH (had to add 5 drops to 5ml of tank water to turn yellow)
I tested my GH (had to add 9 drops to 5ml of tank water to turn light green)

What do these numbers mean. There's a chart wight the instructions but it's extremely confusing. The only reason I wanted to check the water is because I'm switching to ro di water tomorrow and don't want my discus to die because of huge changes in water parameters.
You have a KH of 5 and a GH of 9. KH is your PH buffer the higher the KH the more resist your PH will be to change. The GH has to do with the amount of minerals dissolved in your water. You have medium hard water. My suggest to you if your fish are doing well, is to match those two parameters the best you can. RO/DI systems will strip your water, it takes some practice to match current water parameters, start slow. RO/DI water helps a lot with algae issues but its not the sole solution, lighting and CO2 play a huge role in the formation of algae. You'll likely still have silicates and phosphate just at lower levels.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 03:29 PM
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Agreed, it is substantially more important to focus on light/co2 balance than nutrient content of water. These really are the "big knobs" in algae control for planted tanks.

As for the phosphate and silicates, what kind of levels are we talking about here?

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'm talking about a level that I clean everything out and do a 50% water change and next morning brown cob webs everywhere. It's just out of control. I've never even seen diatoms from this rapidly even in a saltwater tank.
Everybody talks about lighting and co2 balance but how am I suppose to find the balance? Starting today I will temper orally stop using my t5ho light and just let the led fixture be the only source of light.
When it comes to co2 old folks say run it 24/7 and some others say only run it daytime. I'm just so confused. I'm gonna start running about 1bbs 24/7 and see how that works. Hopefully I won't gas my fish because when I'm at work I have no way to control my tanks. I guess I have to play around with the setting till I find the sweet spot.
I wish so bad if I can have a algae free tank for life. I'm just so tired of scrubbing algae and pulling off BBA from plant leaves.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
I'm talking about a level that I clean everything out and do a 50% water change and next morning brown cob webs everywhere. It's just out of control. I've never even seen diatoms from this rapidly even in a saltwater tank.
By level I meant how many ppm's of phosphate and silicate... I know your level of algae... You seem to know your water supply has a lot of them, so what levels are we talking about?


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Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
Everybody talks about lighting and co2 balance but how am I suppose to find the balance? Starting today I will temper orally stop using my t5ho light and just let the led fixture be the only source of light.
Experimentation is the general way to get there. Tweak a few knobs until you get the algae under control, then turn them up until it comes back.

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Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
When it comes to co2 old folks say run it 24/7 and some others say only run it daytime. I'm just so confused.
You can run it 24/7 if your dosage rate is low enough to avoid gassing the fish overnight... That said, the plants will only consume CO2 when the lights are on. Injecting CO2 in the middle of the night is somewhat of a waste, as it isn't doing anything for the plants and most of it will off-gas before the lights come on.

A lot of folks like to bring the CO2 on about 1 hour before the lights, this lets the CO2 levels ramp up before the lights come on, rather than trying to play catch-up all day.

Similarly a lot of folks like to turn them off 1 hour before lights out, and let the plants bring the level back down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
I'm gonna start running about 1bbs 24/7 and see how that works.
Be aware that 1bps doesn't really mean anything to anyone but you... How much CO2 is in one bubble varies depending on the bubble counter, the amount of back-pressure from your diffuser, etc.. Also, the off-gas rate in your tank may be higher or lower than someone else.. Thus your 1bps may result in the same dissolved CO2 concentration as someone else's 10bps, or vice versa......

Use your bubble counter as a relative measurement that you can use to compare day-to-day in your own tank, but don't use it as an absolute measure you can compare to others.

pH measurement and/or drop checkers are really your best way to dial in CO2 levels, then make a note of what bps gets you there and use it.


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Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
Hopefully I won't gas my fish because when I'm at work I have no way to control my tanks. I guess I have to play around with the setting till I find the sweet spot.
I wish so bad if I can have a algae free tank for life. I'm just so tired of scrubbing algae and pulling off BBA from plant leaves.
Agreed, algae sucks.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the detailed info Mattinmd. I don't have a way to test exactly how much silicates and phosphates coming out of my tap. I don't own a test kit for that. (I'm saving up for a api freshwater master kit).
I think I'm gonna turn it off like you said an hour before lights go out and hour before I turn them back on. So far I've been running 1 small bbps and my co2 drop checker is green. I already removed my t5ho light and will be slowly dialing back my led lights time too.
Thanks for all the helpful hints. I'm sure with time I'll find my tanks balance. It's just heartbreaking to see algae after all my hard work.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by larusaquarium View Post
Thanks for the detailed info Mattinmd. I don't have a way to test exactly how much silicates and phosphates coming out of my tap. I don't own a test kit for that. (I'm saving up for a api freshwater master kit).
Ok, so why do you think you have high phosphate and silicate levels?

The presence of algae does not conclusively indicate either. Phosphate generally doesn't cause algae issues in planted tanks at all for that matter.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2015, 10:32 PM
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I'm talking about a level that I clean everything out and do a 50% water change and next morning brown cob webs everywhere. It's just out of control. I've never even seen diatoms from this rapidly even in a saltwater tank.
Everybody talks about lighting and co2 balance but how am I suppose to find the balance? Starting today I will temper orally stop using my t5ho light and just let the led fixture be the only source of light.
When it comes to co2 old folks say run it 24/7 and some others say only run it daytime. I'm just so confused. I'm gonna start running about 1bbs 24/7 and see how that works. Hopefully I won't gas my fish because when I'm at work I have no way to control my tanks. I guess I have to play around with the setting till I find the sweet spot.
I wish so bad if I can have a algae free tank for life. I'm just so tired of scrubbing algae and pulling off BBA from plant leaves.
More and more I'm thinking you have a light and CO2 problem, not an excess nutrient problem. Once you give your plants the right amount of light and co2 and everything thing is stable, excess nutrients becomes irrelevant. What's your set up? You said you have T5HO and led's? Sounds like a bright tank with not enough CO2. Give us as much info as you can on your tank, your equipment your parameter's, photo period, dosing ect and we'll pin the problem down and work on a solution.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2015, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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These are my specs and equipment
Tank size: 55 gal
Lighting: current usa sattelite led+ 48" and 36" dual t5ho (2x6700k)
Co2: aquatek 20oz paintball setup
Substrate: eco complete (80lbs)
Circulation: 530 gph sunsun pump
Filtration: Hydor professional 350
Fluval drop checker
Heater: 300w eheim jager
Heavily planted
5 discus, some cardinals and otos

@mattinmd I know there's high silicates because I got my tap water tested at my LFS (not petco or crappy petsmart) and the owner said it's very common to have high silicates and phosphates in our city(south Houston) water. I forgot the exact parameters he gave me. I showed him pictures of my tank and he said in his 28 years of fish keeping he never seen so much diatoms in a freshwater tank. He also said super old apartment I live in might have bad copper pipes that can also result in high tds. Anyways I'm getting ready to unbox my RO buddie and color changing DI resin cartridge. Hopefully after today I will have no more new diatoms.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2015, 10:57 PM
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It is a very good idea to start by getting a light intensity that is appropriate for the amount of CO2 you are willing to use, keeping in mind that using a high CO2 concentration can harm the fish. A standard 55 gallon tank can have plenty of light with just one T5HO bulb, in a good reflector, sitting on top of the tank. Two bulbs, with good reflectors, usually means a high enough light intensity that you have to use a high CO2 concentration too. Add a LED light to that, and you can be sure you will have high light.

One bubble per second is not going to be nearly enough for anything but low light. Typically people use enough bubbles per second that it is hard to count them when they have that big a tank.

If your light sits right on top of the tank, you can try raising it 6 inches or more above the top of the tank. That may be enough to lower the intensity so you won't need a high CO2 concentration.

Algae problems almost all start with having more light than you are dosing nutrients and CO2 to match. They almost never start with having too much of anything dissolved in the water, whether from the tap water or from dosing.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2015, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hoppy! I already removed my t5 light temperoraly until I get my balance figured out. I'm dialing the co2 up slightly everyday and have extended the period it's on. I also started turning on the co2 hour before I let the lights come on and turn it off hour before I turn the lights off at night.
Also started dosing flourish excel (double dose every day) and BBA has already changed color from black to red. I'm also manually removing BBA with help of a tweezer.
Got my ro di unit today and made my first batch of clean ro di water.
Thanks for suggesting to raise my light. I will be using some left over wood strips (planning to bundle them and stack them up) I have from a prior project to add some distance between the tank and the light.
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