Understanding KH & GH ranges - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-26-2008, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Understanding KH & GH ranges

Today I picked up my first KH & GH test kit. It's an API liquid test kit. I'm not sure I'm performing the test correctly.

For KH it says to put a drop at a time until the water changes to bright yellow. It took my tank water 4 drops so according to the way I'm reading the chart it puts the water at 71.6 ppm which translates to 5 degrees?

For GH it says a drop at a time unril water changes from orange to green. It took 15 drops to go from orange to green and the chart only goes up to 12 drops. Does this mean +400 ppm which translates to 22 degrees plus?

Am I doing this all wrong or do I need to get an easier to understand test kit? Yikes...does mean I'm going to have to go to R/O water?

Thanks for any & all help....kym
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-26-2008, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention that my Ph is 7.8. All other parameters (amm, trites & trates) are perfect...
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-26-2008, 11:25 PM
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Sorry to say that I can't offer much help. I've never tested any of my water for KH, and I have two bottles of GH tester but I never actually use it. I used it once when I moved my tanks to the new place to make sure the water here wasn't at one of the extremes, but I haven't touched it since. I know, I know, I'm a terrible fishkeeper, but as I don't have any sort of fish that really require the extremes of soft or hard water, I haven't bothered with it. My water is soft enough that my ram and other softwater fish seem to be thriving, but my very quickly growing mystery snail juveniles have no signs of pitting and have some very smooth, colorful shells so I guess I'm in the zone.

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post #4 of 7 Old 08-26-2008, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered with the test...ignorance is bliss!
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-27-2008, 07:13 AM
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I have a similar test kit for both KH and GH. It sounds like you performed it right. We must both have very extreme water conditions! My water is relatively soft (GH = 4 dgh) but my KH is through the roof. I think it took 20+ drops! In your case, your water seems to be extremely hard. Whether or not you need to factor this in when considering fish really depends on the fish and where they're coming from.
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-27-2008, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, it's all rather confusing to me. My tank has been established for months, all inhabitants are doing very well. I only planted the tank 15 days ago but so far the plants are doing well. I'm not sure if I need to do anything to rectify the hardness issue.

This morning I went around testing all the water sources I had besides the tank water: my tap water, bottled spring water, the DI water....none of the results made any sense to me.

Hopefully someone will be able to enlighten me??? Hope so.....
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-27-2008, 01:45 PM
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Your best bet is to google it and read all the technical data about it. Took me a few times and a few questions to get it all down.

Basically, the main point of carbonate hardness, KH, is to keep the PH from making wild swings. The higher the KH, the less chance your PH will swing. In your case, your KH is fairly low. This doesn't mean your PH will change for no reason, however if the right factors are in place your PH is liable to shift which IS extremely harmful to fish. However, if your KH is too high (like mine) your PH is extremely difficult to alter.

GH, or general hardness, is what determines the softness or hardness of your water. Most species of tank raised fish are fine with soft or hard water as long as they are acclimated properly. However, certain wild caught species can be extremely sensitive to water that is significantly different than their natural environment.
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