Got the GH/KH test kit - yeah
Well I hope the "yeah" is in order. :-)
I tested our tap water after letting it run a few minutes.
GH = 24
KH = 13
PH = 7.4 (according to water dept.)
So folks, I know that the 24 is hard water and we need to select fish accordingly, but what does the KH tell me about the fish I can safely keep?
With peat moss in the substrate my kh is 4 and gh 9 for years. Without the peat moss kh rose to over 20 and gh to over 35. All in degrees german hardness.
What is important is what the tank itself is doing not necessairly what the values of the input water is. That is unless you are doing massive daily water changes in which case the input water is the most important thing. But if you doing say 10% weekly water changes the input water is secondary to what the tank itself is doing.
The GH is the important one as that gives a good idea of how hard the water is overall. The KH has to do with the buffering capability of the water with regards to pH stability... I won't get all chemical here.
I had a 23 dGH and a 24dKH (or so) and I had to be very selective with fish choices assuming that the water was going to stay that way or I was willing to modify my water a lot. I did cut it with reverse osmosis water once (5 gallons of the 37 total) and it did bring the H's down but I also planted lots of live plants and I found that those brought it down even more. I am now in the mid teens. You've got the same problem as I even though your KH is almost half mine. so I would suggest trying plants and see what they do for you then go with small water changes, add some RO if you find it necessary.
Choosing harder water fish would be prudent, but perhaps not necessary if you are willing to play with plants and wait it out for the water to stabilize.
That is really good to know. I had no clue that plants could actually help with hardness. I am hoping to able to keep some Vals in with african cichlids and maybe a few other plants. So we will get the thing set up and planted and then retest to see where we are then.
I didn't either, (I might have sort of guessed that they would) I was surprised by the results.... particularly the speed of the results. This is something like day 13 on the tank over all and I did a 75% water change less than a week ago, added 12 1" fish on Friday and tested yesterday.
There is a 19% drop in KH and a 13% drop in GH over what I could attribute to the RO water change (13.5%) that must be the plants. At some point they should reach some equilibrium and I am curious where that is going to be.
I might think that it can depend upon what is making the water hard as to how much the plants will affect it. If it is something that the plants cannot absorb or use then perhaps they won't affect it as much as I see now.
The main thing that makes the water hard here in Indiana is Limestone. Our water comes from one of 2 well fields that contain limestone bedrock. So do plants like limestone water?
Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3, limestone is the culprit for certain) is the primary KH factor. The GH is this plus everything else. So you've got 232ppm KH and 197ppm other crap.
Mine was close in that I had 375ppm KH and 35ppm other crap so the major component of our hardness was the CaCO3... or similar.
I don't know if they like it, but most plants are fairly tolerant to hard water. You might find that the "other crap" the plants like more than the KH components.
This from a recent post of Byron's
"Swords are heavy feeders, and calcium is an essential macro-nutrient for cell development."
Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...#ixzz2HV3cjeNt
I think that the cell development is for all plants, not just swords, so they should get along fine with your limestone water and it's high Ca levels.
Just guessing here but plants need some level of micronutrients. Like iron for instance.
My guess would be that plants will actually do better with tap water and with limestone water then with water that contains absolutely nothing (like RO/di (reverse osmosis deinonzed water).
But then I really can't say because I have always used untreated tap water and just top off evaporative losses.
I apologize for not being more specific, the tap water itself is attained from one of 2 well fields by the water department, treated then sent down the pipe to us. I did not mean that we are on a well and can see how you might have thought that from the poor way I worded my comment. Sorry about that.
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