API or Nutrafin GH/KH test kit?? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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API or Nutrafin GH/KH test kit??

Hi all,

I'd like to get a reliable GH/KH test kit, I was looking at the Nutrafin or API (both at LFS). The API had good & bad reviews, the Nutrafin I couldn't really find any reviews on.

Some people say the API is fine, others complain about the testing method (there is no color chart, water goes off scale, etc.). I have the API master kit and love it, but not sure about the GH/KH after reading some reviews.

Anyone have experience with either kit?

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post #2 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 08:58 AM
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I've only read up on it too.

From what I gather, the API kit is a titration style, you add drops until there is a color change and the number of drops corresponds to a ppm value. The problem people have with it is they don't know how much of a color change they are looking for. The instructions will say "turns green" but what shade of green? I haven't used it so I wouldn't be able to say...

As for going off the scale, that isn't an issue as the scale is linear. One drop = 1 degree of hardness. So if it takes 20 drops, that means you have 20 dGH or dKH. You can convert that to ppm by multiplying the number of degrees by 17.9. So 1 dGH = 17.9 ppm GH.
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 09:20 AM
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Have used API tests for both gH and kH and both give accurate readings.

I have a friend who is a chemist and tested the water for me, results matched perfect. He used a more advanced test than what is available to most.

There is a conversion chart included on the instruction sheets.

"The instructions will say "turns green" but what shade of green?" - it does not matter really, once you notice a green color after adding the drops, then it will give you a general idea as to your result.

As Geomancer stated, 1 drop is 17.9ppm GH,

Have a look here for a good explanation on the methods of testing and what they mean.

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post #4 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. I think after what you said I will go with the API kit after all. I've been thinking of adding peat to soften my water a bit, but I wanted to be sure I had a reliable hardness tester to track my changes.

I 'm seeing that peat is more an art than a science so I want to keep a tight watch on all the water params until I get it dialed in. While I don't think my tap water is very hard (don't get much calcium buildup on any plumbing fixtures) my pH is 7.4. I've got Angels, Blue Rams and Tetras so I'd like to get that down to 6.8-7.0.
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