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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can my my kh be high as in 214ppm and my gh be low? Or is my testing kit bad? I ask this because when I tested my tap water, my kh took 12 drops to change color and my gh had the green color on the first drop. I thought I read that this isn't possible. I am on well water south of Washington dc in southern Maryland. My tap ph is 7.4 but the tank water is 8. Thanks
 

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Kh referees to how much decomposing plant material is in the water, and gh referees to how much minerals ared in your water, im pretty sure that can happen with tap water, so uru test kitdrive might not be bad, not 100% on that tho. I do see that in my planted tanks my kh is a few degrees higher than than my gh, only because i put a water softner in my filter unit cause i house greman blue and blovian ram and i need to bring my general hardness down so they can thrive
 

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Kh referees to how much decomposing plant material is in the water,
Ouch! KH is carbonate hardness (pH effecting buffers) and also termed 'alkalinity'.
It has nothing to do with decomposing plant materials or dissolved organics.
Rather than my layman's explanation better, more accurate information is a google search away. as this can be as simple or as detailed (chewy) as you choose to read.

pH readings are largely dependent on the KH value of your water.

Many have wide differences in what comes from the tap.
Sounds like you'll need general hardness minerals and will be gaining some knowledge in water chemistry along the way. I did :smile: switching to RO use.

GH needs to be a minimum of 3-5dGH for most plants (I think).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lol. Thanks wkndracer. I guess I need a ro/di system and google how I can raise my gh. Thanks to the others that posted too.
 

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It sounds like you could have a water softener? An I could be wrong, but I think 12KH is the high end of the workable side.

Also, if your not keeping high end shrimp or a reef tank DI isn't necessary. My water is 18kh 1000+ tds and Just RO (no DI) brings it down to 60TDS an 0KH.
 

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Lol. Thanks wkndracer. I guess I need a ro/di system and google how I can raise my gh. Thanks to the others that posted too.
The easiest most cost effective way to to adjust GH is bagged booster. You can 'roll your own' and there are threads on how and lists of what you can use but that's more to read.

I've tried several GH mixes and GLA sells Ultimate GH Booster which is more or slightly less exactly what 'name brand' offerings contain. The grind on the powder is very fine, it mixes well and is sold by a supporting vendor who is wonderful to deal with. (all just my opinion) 16 grams mixed with 20g of water is 3dGH.
http://greenleafaquariums.com/

As already posted DI final stage isn't needed for our purposes I don't think and don't use DI on my filter.

Testing the tests helps also. (here's where all the little yada yada starts.)
Get a gallon of distilled water from the grocery store or wherever you like probably be $1 or less. Zero test all your test kits before trusting any results at a minimum.

Hoppy put together a pretty easy to follow way to make reference solutions should you choose to verify beyond verified zero.
included in the sticky link at the top of this section.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184531
 

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Water in the ground has been in contact with the rocks and soil. Whatever minerals are in the ground may get dissolved in the water. Some minerals dissolve easier than others.

KH is a test for carbonates. This is a buffer when it it in the water, and tends to make the pH stable. High KH is often linked to high pH. Low KH allows the pH to do whatever the other minerals or acids in the water make it do.

GH is a test for calcium and magnesium. These are needed for plants and fish, but the optimum level varies. Fish from hard water (Rift Lake Cichlids, many live bearers, many Rainbow fish) thrive in hard water with GH over about 9 German degrees of hardness or about 160 ppm. Soft water fish prefer a GH under about 5 German degrees of hardness, or about 100 ppm. (Numbers are rounded. 1 German degree of hardness = 17.9 ppm).

Almost all the plants we keep are quite adaptable to a wide range of conditions.

I would get the GH right for the fish, make the KH about the same (plus or minus a degree or two) and then see if the pH is anywhere near right. If you are keeping fish from a blackwater habitat (many fresh water rivers in rainforests are like this) then I would filter the water through some peat moss before adding it to the tank.

With really weird tap water I think I would start with RO water, add just enough tap water so nothing is too high , then add minerals to raise the other parameters to what you want.

If the KH is over 200 ppm, and I wanted to keep soft water fish I would try a mix of 25% tap water + 75% Reverse Osmosis, then test the GH.
Add enough GH booster to bring it to about 50-80 ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
in most cases kh is low and gh is higher, are you sure you are testing right???
That's what I thought I read also. But I followed the directions step by step. I will do it again in the morning when I get off my shift just to make sure. I will aslso test the tank water for Gh/kh since I haven't done that yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Diana. I don't have the typical fauna that most people have here. I have two rope fish, two Balas, one red tail, 5 tiger barbs, one pleco, and two botia kubotai. I like those fish which is why I chose them. They all seem to thrive in the water I have for them now. I only have two plants in the tank for now in sand only. I am upgrading my tank soon to a 120-150g. I really would like a medium planted tank with real decor (driftwood and stones). Just trying to figure out what parameters I need for both flora and fauna to be happy in. The new tank will be high tech. I am low tech for the moment. RO is definitely my first start to lower the Kh. If the test is correct then I have very soft water with high Kh and my tap water is ph of 7.4 right out of the well. I did not test it after sitting out for 24hrs.
 

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my gosh! 7.2-7.4pH is what I get testing 'low tech' tanks with 2dKH. (API brand kits)
guess it's time to question the test being valid.
 

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just a quick info

last time when i was testing for GH and KH it gave me wrong readings, maybe i did not shake the bottle enough. it gave me correct reading afterward and i tested it 3 times just to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I retested. I shook the bottles of solution first and got a Kh reading of 12 like before. Depending on the shade of green you are looking for in the Gh test it is anywhere between 2-5. 1 drop gave it a greenish orange color and 2 gave it a lime green color. It doesn't say which shade you are supposed to look for but obviously as I add more drops the darker green it gets. Very confused about the Gh test. Any ideas?
 

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You can verify zero but thinking that's valid by what you described.
The color change is faint or pale and a bit odd to read on low values.
I test under good lighting and put white paper under the sample. I still end up pulling the cap and looking down through it at times.

1 drop gave it a greenish orange color and 2 gave it a lime green color
1.5dGH (imo) more or less.
Orange/yellow it needs another drop and not showing any chemical reaction. Changing tone from orange to green it's just over the value but not another full point or degree. To be more accurate is just splitting hairs.

Directions say each drop in 5ml of water = 17.9ppm or 1dGH so if you tested 10ml that would correct it down to 8.95ppm or 0.5dGH (no need for our purposes)

12dKH just seems like a lot of buffer for that low a pH reading.
Left on the counter overnight in an open container is it still testing 7.4pH?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I don't know about the left on a counter for overnight yet. I work 24 hour shifts and worked yesterday (got off this morning) So I can set some out today and test it in the morning tomorrow.
 

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I don't know about the left on a counter for overnight yet. I work 24 hour shifts and worked yesterday (got off this morning) So I can set some out today and test it in the morning tomorrow.
Trying to maybe help with the results you have looking for an answer.
I do know that right out of the ground or out of the tap CO2 levels can be elevated and O2 can be low. This effects pH lowering test results.
 
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