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understanding test strips readings


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Started my 37 gals around July 8, planted 1 Dwarf Sagittaria, 1 water sprite, 1 baby tears and 1 red melon sword. I cycled my water for about 3 weeks using prime, stability, Fluval hang back filter with sponge, carbon and bio wheels. last week I added an established filter sponge from local fish store along with 6 male guppies. I'm hoping to add more community fishes each week.  Now can someone help me understand my water reading, I'm using aquarium co-op test strips. What ranges do i want to be in for community tank along with future shrimps. 

Nitrate --- 10-25

Nitrite --- 0

Hardness --- Hard --- 150

Buffer KHPPM --- 0

PH --- Low --- 6.4

Ammonia PPM --- 0

is my water ok or should I be in full on panic?

any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you 

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Your pH might be a bit low but this shouldn't be too big of an issue if it says stable. If you want to raise it up a bit, use crushed coral in your substrate to do it. This should be a good way to raise it and not have to worry about it too much after the fact. Research online or in the forum here about it though. I've never had to do this so I'm not too learned on the subject since my tap water is higher around that 7.8 mark and I only have to mix RO water with my tap water to fix it.


The only other thing I question is your hardness. Usually your if your pH is low, your hardness is softer and vice versa. I'm not sure if 150 ppm is common for a mid 6 range pH or if there is some inconsistency in the test strips (please don't kill me for saying this @Cory)

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If you are using the aquarium coop test strips, make sure that you are waiting the full 60 seconds to color compare. If you look to early, it will appear that the pH is on the low end. I have 7.5 pH (per API water test kit), but kept thinking I had lower from the AC test strips. Turns out I just wasn't waiting long enough to color compare. Regardless, I agree with Rory that it should be a huge issue as long as you acclimate your livestock slowly and don't allow for any rapid parameter changes.

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You will need kH to help buffer your pH. Your pH may raise because of the increased kH. Since you have a high gH, coral will not dissolve as readily as in a tank with no kH or gH. This is because coral is calcium carbonate and the calcium part is measured by gH (in part). 


I would recommend carbonate salts to remediate your low kH. 

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