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LyzzaRyzz 07-03-2012 04:14 PM

API KH/GH test help?
So, I got the API KH/GH test today, and I may be having some issues..what color is the liquid in the bottle? My GH test is green to start, and my KH is orange in the bottle. The GH will turn orange when finished, and the KH turns yellow. Though, shouldn't it be blue? Mine doesn't even start out drop and it's yellowish. Is this normal?

The readings I got were:
GH: 71.6, four drops
KH: 17.9, one drop

What does this even mean? Low numbers vs high numbers? Which is hard? Which is soft?

I'd really appreciate some help!
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Tazman 07-03-2012 04:37 PM

KH is how stable the pH will be..lower the number the more acidic the water will tend to be, this can cause problems with pH shifts rapidly occurring.

GH basically means your water is soft.

The color of the GH test should go from Orange to Green. The KH from Blue to Yellow.

It is possible with the water being so soft that it does turn instantly. Do you have a water conditioner at all in your house?

LyzzaRyzz 07-03-2012 04:47 PM

I have the liquid water conditioner...
Do you mean a filter that goes on the faucet?

How do I help the KH/ph remain stable?

I will be testing the aged water I have, to see if it tests the same.
Is it uncommon for a towns water to change from hard to soft?

LyzzaRyzz 07-03-2012 04:50 PM

At does this mean for my fish? I have guppies and plecos. This means mollies won't thrive, correct?

Geomancer 07-03-2012 05:07 PM

The number of drops with these tests is equal to degrees. So your 4 drops is 4 dGH, which if you convert it is the ppm number you listed.

0-8 dGH is I believe what's considered soft water.

Livebearers will not survive well in soft water, so that includes mollies and platties.

If you want hard water for livebearers you can use argonite or dolomite sand, they'll raise everything (GH, KH, and pH).

Geomancer 07-03-2012 05:16 PM


Originally Posted by LyzzaRyzz (Post 1139956)
I have the liquid water conditioner...
Do you mean a filter that goes on the faucet?

How do I help the KH/ph remain stable?

I will be testing the aged water I have, to see if it tests the same.
Is it uncommon for a towns water to change from hard to soft?

He means a water softener system. Some people in areas with hard water will have a whole house water softener that uses salts. The problem with these and fish is the water still has a lot of dissolved solids in it (the salts).

Those Pur or Britta water filters that go on faucets or in the pitchers are just activated carbon filters for the most part.

The water hardness will not really change, what you get out of the tap is what it will be (assuming you do weekly water changes like you should). It will vary some out of the tap, but not much usually. Maybe a degree throughout the year. Unless they change their process, which can happen without warning, but I that wouldn't be a common occurrence.

LyzzaRyzz 07-03-2012 05:43 PM

Im so glad i got the test! Ive been stocking for hard water.
So that means no mollies, platies, swordtails, or endlers.
But what about my guppies? Arent they adaptable?
I would hate to have to give them up..Im so attached to them...
I havent seen any signs of distress, like i did with the mollies..i thought it was tank size, but not with the soft water, i probably just didnt have the minerals they needed. What about molly fry who have grown up in the soft water? I have one...

Byron 07-03-2012 06:10 PM

I found the API GH/KH test tricky at first, I just couldn't see the colour changes as they were with the first drop. My tap water is near-zero GH and KH, the actual number from the water board is around 8 or 9 ppm, which is about half of one degree. But since i have been increasing the GH via Equilibrium, up to around 5 or 6 dGH, the colour changes with the test are very obvious; it suddenly goes from orange to green with the 5th or 6th drop. Which brings me to your water supply people; I would check their numbers for GH and KH just to confirm the test. This will give you confidence that it is accurate.

I don't bother at all with KH, leaving it at zero because of my fish, but that is a lengthy explanation that I won't get into unless we need to later.

The livebearers must have the "hard minerals" which are calcium and magnesium, or they will not be at their best. Molly are especially prone to health problems in soft or acidic water: fungus, skin lesions, internal organ failures, and always premature death. Aside from fungus patches, shimmying is another possible external sign of water problems. Other livebearers seem somewhat less sensitive, but soft water still impacts their physiology and they will have a shorter lifespan due to stress and the internal problems. Much the same happens only in reverse if soft water fish are maintained in hard water.

Fortunately it is easier to harden soft water than the reverse, and the safest way is with dolomite or aragonite as someone mentioned previously. This will add the mineral and raise the pH. If you want livebearers, this must be done. Many years ago with my soft water I had a tank of molly that were very healthy, and even rift lake cichlids (very hard water fish), and back then I had a dolomite substrate. We can discuss this more if you want.


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