I understand that KH is desired to buffer swings of pH. I have none in my water. Thanks to the new test strips (200 for less than $17!), I feel like I can afford to test more often. And because it tests for chlorine, I like testing my tap water for it. I have only one small tank and so I keep enough water in gallon jugs hoping the chlorine will evaporate when it comes time for water changes. It usually does.
I tested one of the jugs just now, curious about chlorine. I thought to have my husband eyeball the test, because I struggle with the GH blue/purple colors. He confirmed what I thought it said.
Week old tap water:
Nitrate between 0-10 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
GH 25 ppm
KH 0 ppm
Chlorine 0 ppm
My tank sometimes registers even lower pH, 0 KH and super hard water, thanks to Wonder Shells and my shaky understanding of chemistry. (Attaching a photo of current water parameters, as read by ACO test strip.)
I have low pH loving fish, so it isn't terribly problematic … or is it? I didn't understand that the Wonder Shells was just a calcium raising product and was a bit gob-smacked by what it did to my GH and what it didn't do to my KH. I am a tad frustrated by the lack of an ingredient list on the package but also my lack of understanding.
The tank always tested high in nitrates when I was using the API tests—or rather, I always suspected it did as the degrees of orangeness was hard for me to read. Likewise, the API KH test kit always befuddled me, as I was never sure what the yellow was supposed to look like. My water would turn from a very pale blue to a very pale yellow in two to three drops. I don't own an API test for GH. I bought the KH test at the local big box. They didn't have a GH test and now I can't seem to find just the GH test. (My title didn't have room for itemizing the whine.)
I have added quite a few plants and my nitrates don't seem to test as high as they once did, so I am trying not to do as many water changes. But I sometimes see a fish flashing against the plants. Am I wrong to worry? Besides a slow creep downwards, I don't think my pH is drastically swinging.
I do have crushed coral, but I only just read that it takes more than I have been using. Why can't I just dose with a pinch of baking soda? I've looked at the akaline buffers out there. It sounds like it is essentially that, researched and measured and to be used as directed.
As for the photo, the colors look pretty true to what I am seeing in real life, except the nitrate is a tad blown out. I'd say it was between 25-50 ppm.
Thanks for any and all advice or assurances. 🙂