Deciphering test colors. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Deciphering test colors.

So I just picked up an API GH and KH test kit. The instructions say for KH that the water in the tube should turn FROM blue TO yellow. It comes out of the bottle yellow....this doesn't seem right. I added 6 drops..nothing but yellow. Again, It came out of the bottle yellow. No hit of blue.

Alright, weird test. Not sure what the results were, but lets move on to the GH test. Instructions state that the water in the test tube should turn FROM orange TO green. Once again, straight from the bottle the drops are green. It doesn't have to touch the water in the test tube and I can tell it's green.

It's like something has contaminated my test before I ever got them am I right?? GH exp date: 03/2018, KH exp date 03/2020.

What am I missing?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 01:11 AM
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What type of water is being tested? tap? RO?
Do you have a TDS meter to have an idea what to expect?


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Water out of my aquarium. I use tap water with Prime for water changes.
I don't have a TDS meter yet. It is in my cart in amazon. Speaking of which, is there one more recommended then others??
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 02:37 AM
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Test drop colors our of the bottle look normal - they should change color in the water. Don't forget to cap the tube and shake it after each and every drop.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 02:51 AM
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re-read the directions, drop one drop.. put cap on and shake.. it comes out yellow but will turn blue the moment you shake it up..

you keep adding the yellow drops, one at a time.. and when you hit the point and shake the whole vial will change colors as you shake it.

if it goes instantly to the changed colors your at the bottom of the charts..

Mine come out of the bottle yellow/orange for kH and green for gH but turn color when mixed.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 02:55 AM
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The kH is probably from 0-1.
Test bottled water to be check. Bottled water will not likely be 0.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
Test drop colors our of the bottle look normal - they should change color in the water. Don't forget to cap the tube and shake it after each and every drop.
So out of the bottle, it's normal for them to drip yellow and then once they touch the water turn blue? I did cap it and shake it after each drop but it never turned the water blue, it stayed yellow which indicates that the test is complete.

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re-read the directions, drop one drop.. put cap on and shake.. it comes out yellow but will turn blue the moment you shake it up..

you keep adding the yellow drops, one at a time.. and when you hit the point and shake the whole vial will change colors as you shake it.

if it goes instantly to the changed colors your at the bottom of the charts..

Mine come out of the bottle yellow/orange for kH and green for gH but turn color when mixed.
It never turned blue, the reagent is yellow out of the bottle and keeps it's yellow color when mixed into the test tube. It doesn't make since, if the directions say that the test is complete when the water in the tube turns from blue to yellow. It never was/is blue at any point..

I'll run the tests again tonight and add a drop, cap it, shake it and add more until I get about 10-12 drops I guess. I'm almost positive I don't have hard water like that but I don't understand my results.

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Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
The kH is probably from 0-1.
Test bottled water to be check. Bottled water will not likely be 0.
Good idea, I'll give this a try too.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doughnut View Post
Water out of my aquarium. I use tap water with Prime for water changes.
I don't have a TDS meter yet. It is in my cart in amazon. Speaking of which, is there one more recommended then others??
I kind of figured it was from your aquarium.
Your source of water for your aquarium is where I was going.
Tests are behaving like R/O water.
Extremely soft tap water maybe? Does your tap have a water softener?
Any special filtration used?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by doughnut View Post
Water out of my aquarium. I use tap water with Prime for water changes.
I don't have a TDS meter yet. It is in my cart in amazon. Speaking of which, is there one more recommended then others??
I kind of figured it was from your aquarium.
Your source of water for your aquarium is where I was going.
Tests are behaving like R/O water.
Extremely soft tap water maybe? Does your tap have a water softener?
Any special filtration used?


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2015, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
The kH is probably from 0-1.
Test bottled water to be check. Bottled water will not likely be 0.
Nailed it! So I tested an unopened bottle of aquafina and found on the frist drop the water was just the slightest blue, shook the tube, added and second drop and it turned clear to yellow. That tells me my water is VERY soft and little disolved solids/minerals(tell that to my shower, freaking water deposits..).

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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
I kind of figured it was from your aquarium.
Your source of water for your aquarium is where I was going.
Tests are behaving like R/O water.
Extremely soft tap water maybe? Does your tap have a water softener?
Any special filtration used?
It's water straight from the tap. No RO/DI kit, no softener nothing special period.


So I watched a youtube video of someone testing GH and KH in their water. I clearly saw the KH reagent come out orange but turns blue when mixed with the water, eventually clear and the finally yellow. Seeing how their water reacted (again) tells me my water is VERY soft and little disolved solids/minerals right? Being in a planted tank forum, assume I have plants. I recently started dosing dry ferts though at lower levels because I'm not injecting CO2. Should I add more GH booster? Am I correct in saying that because my GH tests low that calcium or magnesium may not be in enough supply?

KH.. I haven't really noticed a difference in my PH(KH effects how/when PH can "swing", right?) It's fairly stable at about 6.6 maybe 6.4. I don't need to really change anything to bring the KH up do I?
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2015, 01:24 AM
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You got some soft municipal water! this is good because it'll be easy to achieve whatever parameters you want without a big hassle or money.

yeah use gH booster and Baking Soda to SLOWLY set the kH/gH to your desired parameters.. dont worry about pH it will be okay with the kH and gH set properly.. it probably swings pH levels alot right now with so little buffering ability but your not noticing without constant monitoring.

What kind of creatures are in your tank? I'd bring it up by a point or two every other day until your at your ideal parameters to keep it easy on them.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2015, 01:30 AM
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Ironically, I brought home a sample of R/O water this evening.
Sole purpose was to test and post results.
I will still post results when tested, glad you found a resolution.

Set a GH & KH goal and keep it there.
I have read that others use Calcium Carbonate to adjust.
I would aim for 4-6 for GH to maintain stable alkalinity.


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 05:39 AM
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Oddly I think I am over thinking the instructions. The water is blue for the first drop or two then it turns yellow at either 3 or 4. The instructions say to stop when the water turns from blue to yellow. Then the instructions go on to say, "The KH value is determined by the number of drops needed to turn the water in the test tube BRIGHT yellow." So at 3 the water is pale yellow. At 4 it is pretty bright. At 5 it is really bright. So which is it? Why can't they just give us a color chart like they do for everything else! UGH
At least they didn't do that in the test for GH. The water turns green. But then I start to think do they mean pale green or bright green>>>> No wonder I don't sleep!!
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Soxfandowd View Post
Oddly I think I am over thinking the instructions. The water is blue for the first drop or two then it turns yellow at either 3 or 4. The instructions say to stop when the water turns from blue to yellow. Then the instructions go on to say, "The KH value is determined by the number of drops needed to turn the water in the test tube BRIGHT yellow." So at 3 the water is pale yellow. At 4 it is pretty bright. At 5 it is really bright. So which is it? Why can't they just give us a color chart like they do for everything else! UGH
At least they didn't do that in the test for GH. The water turns green. But then I start to think do they mean pale green or bright green>>>> No wonder I don't sleep!!
Are you testing just so you know what your water tests at or are you wanting to keep something that requires specific values? If your testing it for testing's sake, well it doesn't need to be exact does it?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 10:09 PM
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I'm having the same issue i add like 25 drops to get it to change if the water was hard the gbr would be dead i don't no what its telling me
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soxfandowd View Post
Oddly I think I am over thinking the instructions. The water is blue for the first drop or two then it turns yellow at either 3 or 4. The instructions say to stop when the water turns from blue to yellow. Then the instructions go on to say, "The KH value is determined by the number of drops needed to turn the water in the test tube BRIGHT yellow." So at 3 the water is pale yellow. At 4 it is pretty bright. At 5 it is really bright. So which is it? Why can't they just give us a color chart like they do for everything else! UGH
At least they didn't do that in the test for GH. The water turns green. But then I start to think do they mean pale green or bright green>>>> No wonder I don't sleep!!
Once its yellow its done. Your carbonate hardness is 3-4. The more solution you add the brighter it will get. Once its yellow all the way through the test is over.

OP: Sounds like you have really soft water. If you want to make sure the test will actually turn blue, mix some baking soda and water in a cup and test, it will turn a dark blue.

I see a lot of perfect parameter chasing from some new folks (and old folks), instead of chasing a ghost look for consistency instead. Consistency leads to stability. If the fish are happy and the plants are growing look to keep that going don't change the parameters to what you want to see.


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Last edited by greaser84; 05-19-2015 at 11:00 PM. Reason: ...
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