Interpreting test kit results kH/gH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Interpreting test kit results kH/gH

Okay so I picked up a kh/gh test kit. The nutrafin one since my LFS was out of the API version.

So I tested my 40 gallon tank and my tap water (pre softener tap-we have one sink i use for water changes that is before the softener system).

My 40 gallon:
2.2kH
16 gH (WTH O.o)
pH of this tank, with API test kit, is 6.8

My tap water:
3.4kH
8.9gH
pH of the tap: 7.6-7.8 (hard to differentiate these colors for me)

So my question is what on earth is with the variants in these two numbers?

I know that part of the gH is from evaporation, but top offs are done with distilled water, and I do 50% water changes, sometimes up to 75%, per week. How on earth are they different by that much? It took a whopping 15 drops for my gH on my FW tank. Yet the kH is lower? I actually did the gH test twice because I was so shocked.

Is there anyway for me to avoid my gH rising that much? That is incredibly high to me.

Just to add to this, is my Gh being so high related to this?

Last edited by Little Soprano; 04-11-2015 at 03:10 PM. Reason: add
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 04:48 PM
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When I see rocks with lots of holes in them I always wonder if the rock is leaching minerals into the water. Many times that is why there are holes in the rocks. But, those look more like volcanic rocks which don't normally leach much.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
When I see rocks with lots of holes in them I always wonder if the rock is leaching minerals into the water. Many times that is why there are holes in the rocks. But, those look more like volcanic rocks which don't normally leach much.
Yeah they are all red lava rocks. Been in the tank for a long time. TBH aside from test strips this is the first time I've actually tested my kH and gH. I do large enough water changes that I wouldn't think it would be rising. Only change as of the last few months, was from gravel to eco complete. Everything else was just put back where it was. I mostly wanted to know kH for CO2 levels, but figured I might as well check gH. And holy cow. I knew our water was relatively hard out of the tap, but the tank? Insane.

Silly question: for some reason my tank has decided it wants nothing to do with any of my pond snails anymore, and I'm finding empty shells everywhere. They aren't by chance causing the gH to rise are they?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 05:23 PM
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I was having trouble/w RCS a while back. I THOUGHT the TDS were lower than exceptable. My tap is about 100-110 tds. After adding 3/32 tsp of MGSO4 and
3/4 tsp of CaSO4 plus my regular dosing of Micro/Macro ferts it goes up to
185 tds and a GH of 9/10. The color changes at 9 but barely and gets solid after the 10th drop. It's 145-148 tds before the DIY GH booster which lacks any "K".
To what extent is your best guess, but it seems part of this issue as you do dose ferts
and as such, add to the GH making it higher than the tap.
As I was going for tds and not GH, I don't have test results for GH where I mentioned tds and not GH in the above account of my exp/w my using the GH booster to raise the tds. But at least I hope this will add to what you already know on this issue.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
I was having trouble/w RCS a while back. I THOUGHT the TDS were lower than exceptable. My tap is about 100-110 tds. After adding 3/32 tsp of MGSO4 and
3/4 tsp of CaSO4 plus my regular dosing of Micro/Macro ferts it goes up to
185 tds and a GH of 9/10. The color changes at 9 but barely and gets solid after the 10th drop. It's 145-148 tds before the DIY GH booster which lacks any "K".
To what extent is your best guess, but it seems part of this issue as you do dose ferts
and as such, add to the GH making it higher than the tap.
As I was going for tds and not GH, I don't have test results for GH where I mentioned tds and not GH in the above account of my exp/w my using the GH booster to raise the tds. But at least I hope this will add to what you already know on this issue.
My biggest problem right now is why my plants have decided they aren't going to do anything-stunted big time. After reading one thread of overdoing iron, I've halted my ferts this week, and have been testing to see what they are using and they aren't. I just honestly didn't know if maybe gH has something to do with my plants having issues lately. The ludwigia repens in particular, which always grew wonderfully for me. Troubleshooting at this point. But having GH at 16, well that is a new one LOL.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 06:20 PM
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GH is a measure of calcium and magnesium.
Try to see where it is entering the tank.
Fertilizers? Do you use any root tabs? List ALL ferts.
List everything else you add to the tank.
I am especially looking for things like GH booster, Equilibrium, RO Right, Epsom Salt or anything else that has either Ca or Mg. Even some trace or micro ferts have either or both.
I also use that sort of red (or sort of brown) lava in tanks. I have a chunk that has moved from tank to tank for a LOT of years, and I have never seen it alter the water parameters. Of course this does not mean your stone is neutral. You might take out a small chunk (if you have a small one!) and test it separately in a jar or bucket of distilled water. The rock does not have to be covered in water- a large rock in a 5 gallon bucket with just a quart or so of DI would give you valid results.
Similarly, test everything else in the tank- a handful or two of substrate, any different rocks besides the lava rock, filter media... each in its separate jar with some DI to most easily show any change. Rinse off the material with DI to remove any tank water.

I am glad you have tested a couple of times, and have several types of water to test.
Pre-softener
Post-softener
Tank
Distilled
These should give you a range of results so you know the kit is working, and you are interpreting the results correctly.

There are some calculators out there that can help you figure out what the concentration of something will be when you are doing 50% water changes (or any other value).
http://calc.petalphile.com/

Your tank is acting like it is getting 12 teaspoons (= 4 tablespoons) of Seachem Equilibrium added on top of the tap water 9 degrees.
That is a lot of change!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
GH is a measure of calcium and magnesium.
Try to see where it is entering the tank.
Fertilizers? Do you use any root tabs? List ALL ferts.
List everything else you add to the tank.
I am especially looking for things like GH booster, Equilibrium, RO Right, Epsom Salt or anything else that has either Ca or Mg. Even some trace or micro ferts have either or both.
I also use that sort of red (or sort of brown) lava in tanks. I have a chunk that has moved from tank to tank for a LOT of years, and I have never seen it alter the water parameters. Of course this does not mean your stone is neutral. You might take out a small chunk (if you have a small one!) and test it separately in a jar or bucket of distilled water. The rock does not have to be covered in water- a large rock in a 5 gallon bucket with just a quart or so of DI would give you valid results.
Similarly, test everything else in the tank- a handful or two of substrate, any different rocks besides the lava rock, filter media... each in its separate jar with some DI to most easily show any change. Rinse off the material with DI to remove any tank water.

I am glad you have tested a couple of times, and have several types of water to test.
Pre-softener
Post-softener
Tank
Distilled
These should give you a range of results so you know the kit is working, and you are interpreting the results correctly.

There are some calculators out there that can help you figure out what the concentration of something will be when you are doing 50% water changes (or any other value).
http://calc.petalphile.com/

Your tank is acting like it is getting 12 teaspoons (= 4 tablespoons) of Seachem Equilibrium added on top of the tap water 9 degrees.
That is a lot of change!
The only chemicals/ferts that go in this tank:
Seachem's Aquavitro Activate (P), Propel (Iron),Synthesis (N), and Envy (micros). And then Prime.

I do use root tabs-seachem's sparingly. Tank has a UGV so I have to be careful with those.

The tank is 100% tap water otherwise. I use RODI water for top offs. In my filter, there's only marineland filter pads (the blue bonded ones).

Otherwise everything tests fairly normally too:
Ammonia: .25ppm (usually is, can guess its the prime)
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm
Phosphate: .25 (normally at 2, but stopped dosing ferts briefly to try and let my system clear out)

I'm just utterly dumbfounded. I will test the eco complete, and the rocks that are in there, along with the little teapot. Hopefully I can find an answer.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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So I'm ordering my dry ferts from GLA today. I notice in the EI vs the PPS Pro package, there's magnesium sulfate included. With my GH being so high (going off tap water parameters), should I order magnesium sulfate in addition to the regular EI stuff or is it not needed? I want to think that the black veins on my plants are from magnesium deficiency, but I'm doubting it with my gH. Plus I know from a calcium test, and being our water basically comes from a limestone basin, I'm good on that.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 02:41 PM
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Root tablets contain Ca and Mg.
Given the water circulation through the UGF this is where a small amount of these might be coming from. Nowhere near enough to solve this puzzle, though.

Plants need phosphorus. Try to keep the phosphorus in a ratio of about 1 part P: 10 parts NO3.

Do not order more magnesium, with the GH out of the tap that high it is very unlikely that your tank is deficient in either Ca or Mg. Besides, if you needed Epsom salt, the dollar tree sorts of stores are much cheaper.

Check pricing with www.Nilocg.com
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Root tablets contain Ca and Mg.
Given the water circulation through the UGF this is where a small amount of these might be coming from. Nowhere near enough to solve this puzzle, though.

Plants need phosphorus. Try to keep the phosphorus in a ratio of about 1 part P: 10 parts NO3.

Do not order more magnesium, with the GH out of the tap that high it is very unlikely that your tank is deficient in either Ca or Mg. Besides, if you needed Epsom salt, the dollar tree sorts of stores are much cheaper.

Check pricing with www.Nilocg.com
See someone had mentioned my UGF could be the source of the algae issues I've been having since I use root tabs, but glad to know it isn't. I usually dose 10ml of activate (seachem liquid phosphate fert, has potassium too) 3x a week According to the fert calculator gives me approx. 1.3 ppm phosphate per dose, normally my tank reads around 2ppm, as we have a small amount in our tap. My nitrate test kit, well, its going to be calibrated today because it makes no sense once so ever. And I shook that 2nd bottle like crazy, banging it on the table and all. And I got wacky readings from it. I think I'm sitting at 40ppm, but will see the true result today.

According to the bottles I have of the Aquavitro series Nitrogen and Phosphate fertilizers, if you dose their recommendations, you should get a ratio of 5:1 N:P

The concentration of Aquavitro Synthesis: 32,000 mg/L N
The concentration of Aquavitro Activate: 6,000 mg/L P (also has potassium at 8,800 mg/L)

Now honestly I have no idea what those numbers truely mean. I just tweaked how much I added until certain things started to react how I wanted them too. I've only really worked on phosphates thus far. 9-10ml is when my GSA starts to go away. I only stopped dosing phosphates on monday to see if my plants were suffering from too much fertilizers. Posted pics a while back and never got a response, so been doing trial and error. But I'm giving in and doing EI for simplicity's sake.

I'm going to be testing this white rock I have on the right side of the tank today. I think it might be my culprit.
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