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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2015, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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water chemistry

So my planted tank has been up since early October. I dose GLA EI (1/3 dose 3x a week) and excel daily.

Every time I test no matter, when i always seem to get

Ammonia = .25
nitrate = 0
nitrite= 0
ph=7.8

also my hardness was
GH= 1
KH =15
which seems weird.

any suggestions or thoughts as to why? test kits are api


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2015, 04:30 AM
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You test your tap? They similar? Are they expired test reagents? My gh was hard to read and I found it expired. The new reagents give a different result.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2015, 04:43 AM
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What is the GH of your tap water? Your GH should be higher from the ferts dosing I think

Your tank is still not yet cycled after two months, that is odd, do you have fish or add ammonia to cycle?

KH high is normal if you inject CO2 in alkaline water
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2015, 05:11 AM
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Do you have a ton of plant mass?

What's your lighting?
Not injecting co2 I am guess, just excel (glute, carbon)?

Test your tap water.

Hmm, I've never asked, but does Excel/Glute show up as KH on tests?

May be possible the KH/GH solution were stored improperly (frozen, high heat)?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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just tested my tap, the color of the ammonia test is the same. So either im color blind and cant tell the difference between 0 and .25ppm or my tap has .25ppm of ammonia.

For plants, id say I'm not heavily planted but not light either, prob 20-30 individual plant groupings. Val, anubias, sword, watersprite, micro sword, and a couple different crypts.

GH/KH shows exactly the same when out of tap. I'm wondering if my plant mass can actually uptake all the nirate/nitrites?

There is very little fish biomass as he doesnt eat everyday and i clean up after he eats.

Lights are Finnex Planted + 24/7, i run it on 24/7 mode and have it mechanically dimmed with screen mesh.

No pressurized c02, just excel.

Filters are 2 cascade 1000's (run at about half speed) filled with filterfloss, seachem matrix, and one of them has a little bit of carbon in it.

I bought my test kit from amazon, not sure how they stored it.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 07:49 PM
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API GH test kits have a very limited shelf life, and when they get too old get their final color with one drop of reagent - there is no change from one color to another. So, it is almost certain that your GH test kit is bad. As I recall Tetra GH test kits are much better.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 08:37 PM
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Small fish load and small feedings do suggest the plants are removing all the nutrients from the fish food as well as all the nitrogen (and probably most of everything else) from the fertilizer. You might increase the fertilizer a bit until you start to see some NO3.

If the GH and KH in the tank match the tap water, then I would think that you are not adding any calcium or magnesium in any form (GH booster, Epsom salt, other) or any form of carbonates (sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate) or have any form of limestone or related rock in the tank. Excel will not affect the KH test.

I have seen a trace of ammonia in tests when I am testing tap or tank water treated with Prime. I have no idea why it shows up.

You can also look up a water quality report from your water company (unless you are on a private well). This would confirm if the GH and KH are what your tests show. They might report the KH as alkalinity. If the tests are accurate, then I think the GH is too low. Plants use calcium and magnesium in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca: 1 part Mg. Only fish from the very softest of water can get the calcium they need out of really soft water.

What I would do:
Plants and fish need the minerals that we test as GH. I would add a GH booster that has calcium and magnesium to bring up the GH to 3 degrees or a bit higher for most soft water fish, or quite a bit higher for hard water fish. (research your fish for the optimum value). I would do this when you do a water change so there is not major swing in parameters when you add new water to the tank. Then monitor it through the week, make sure it is staying stable. If the plants are removing enough Ca and Mg that your test shows it dropping, then add a little more with either the macros or micros (does not matter which).
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Small fish load and small feedings do suggest the plants are removing all the nutrients from the fish food as well as all the nitrogen (and probably most of everything else) from the fertilizer. You might increase the fertilizer a bit until you start to see some NO3.

If the GH and KH in the tank match the tap water, then I would think that you are not adding any calcium or magnesium in any form (GH booster, Epsom salt, other) or any form of carbonates (sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate) or have any form of limestone or related rock in the tank. Excel will not affect the KH test.

I have seen a trace of ammonia in tests when I am testing tap or tank water treated with Prime. I have no idea why it shows up.

You can also look up a water quality report from your water company (unless you are on a private well). This would confirm if the GH and KH are what your tests show. They might report the KH as alkalinity. If the tests are accurate, then I think the GH is too low. Plants use calcium and magnesium in a ratio of about 4 parts Ca: 1 part Mg. Only fish from the very softest of water can get the calcium they need out of really soft water.

What I would do:
Plants and fish need the minerals that we test as GH. I would add a GH booster that has calcium and magnesium to bring up the GH to 3 degrees or a bit higher for most soft water fish, or quite a bit higher for hard water fish. (research your fish for the optimum value). I would do this when you do a water change so there is not major swing in parameters when you add new water to the tank. Then monitor it through the week, make sure it is staying stable. If the plants are removing enough Ca and Mg that your test shows it dropping, then add a little more with either the macros or micros (does not matter which).
This is more what i was looking for, thanks for your response.

We do have a water softener in the house so i wonder if its actually making it 1gh. Is my gh being 1 that bad? I'd hate to mess with parameters to stress him out. Plants seem to be doing ok, unless you think its a major difference that i need to do then I'll definitely look into it.

I also do use Prime, so maybe thats what im seeing on my ammonia test.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 10:17 PM
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A sodium exchange water softener is bad.
Get a sample of water that has not passed through the softener, probably from an outside hose bib. Post GH and KH for this.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
A sodium exchange water softener is bad.
Get a sample of water that has not passed through the softener, probably from an outside hose bib. Post GH and KH for this.
thats exactly what i have, ill try and get one tomorrow


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-23-2015, 04:28 AM
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I recently found out that if you use any seachem product like Prime.... API test kits for ammonia jack up the PH in the test sample which causes the prime to release the Ammonia in the test sample, thus giving a false negative with the sample.
I had this problem for the longest time, API Ammonia test reading .25 After switching to the Seachem Ammonia test My readings are now 0

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