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Water parameter troubles


Locust_7
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Someone please help lol. I have the api master test kit and a gh and kh test. All liquid solutions. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with my well water. Currently, out of the faucet my tests show ph- around 9, when I test gh, I put 2 drops in and it immediately goes green. Never shows orange. And for kh it only shows blue. I can put 30 drops in and it never changes to yellow. All the bottles say they still have 4 years before they expire. I don’t understand my results or if api is just junk? 

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Well if the test never changes color, and you add drops and drops, doesn't that indicate the level is higher than the test can measure? I suspect your snails and shrimp are having trouble because the pH is flat-out corrosive. Seawater is typically 8.5...when pH is high or low it increases the ionic reactivity of other materials--which leads to degradation. Probably test the test, then use distilled water to gradually adjust your tank.

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Ph and hardness are not mutually exclusive.  It's possible to have high ph and low hardness.

Having low hardness means low buffering capacity and your ph can crash. Hence the issues with Snail shells and shrimp molts. 

I'd recommend figuring out exactly what your water parameters are. In the meantime a wonder shell, crushed coral or I've heard certain calcium antacid tablets, wouldn't do any harm.

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39 minutes ago, Wingman12r said:

Ph and hardness are not mutually exclusive.  It's possible to have high ph and low hardness.

Having low hardness means low buffering capacity and your ph can crash. Hence the issues with Snail shells and shrimp molts. 

I'd recommend figuring out exactly what your water parameters are. In the meantime a wonder shell, crushed coral or I've heard certain calcium antacid tablets, wouldn't do any harm.

I agree with this, except that it sounds like the OP doesn't have a read on the GH and KH. So far it sounds like the test just reads off the chart? Maybe the test is not working at all, or maybe it is, and the GH/KH are exceptionally high? Without more information I wouldn't add anything to the tank.

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Make sure you're in excellent lighting. White background is really important. Check the lot number on your API bottle -- look for some printing on the bottle near the label somewhere. I think that last four digits are the month and year it was bottled. If it's more than 2 years old, it may be no longer a valid test.

You might consider bottling up your tap water, and taking it down to your LFS and ask them to do the test for you. But before that, just out of curiosity, try allowing tap water to "rest" in an open jar for 48 hours before testing. I'm curious to learn if the pH fluctuates at all as it ages. 

Are you testing cold water? Or hot water? If hot / warm, how long have you had your water heater going? New heaters have no chemical buildup. But old water heaters can really collect minerals. 

Look at all of your faucets carefully. How much buildup is there? Is there evidence of hard water scale buildup on your dishes, pipes, etc? 

Edited by Fish Folk
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On 12/24/2020 at 10:11 AM, Locust_7 said:

 I don’t understand my results or if api is just junk? 

I had wondered the exact same thing because in the past I got some odd test results and I never really trusted the test kits. I had always wondered exactly how accurate the test kits were. So what I did was paid $225 to water quality lab, who sends you vials to fill up with your tap water, then they test it for 4 pages worth of minerals, elements and pollutants in a laboratory. Once I got the test results I did all the tests I could with my test kits and compared. The KH and GH were surprisingly very accurate, however the PH test kit, which I have always had issues with, wasn't as accurate. My tap water PH tested at 7.93 at the laboratory. When I test with my test kit I got test results anywhere from 6.8 to 8.4, which is why I didn't have a lot of confidence. I finally gave up on the liquid tests and bought a PH meter.

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49 minutes ago, Wes L. said:

I had wondered the exact same thing because in the past I got some odd test results and I never really trusted the test kits. I had always wondered exactly how accurate the test kits were. So what I did was paid $225 to water quality lab, who sends you vials to fill up with your tap water, then they test it for 4 pages worth of minerals, elements and pollutants in a laboratory. Once I got the test results I did all the tests I could with my test kits and compared. The KH and GH were surprisingly very accurate, however the PH test kit, which I have always had issues with, wasn't as accurate. My tap water PH tested at 7.93 at the laboratory. When I test with my test kit I got test results anywhere from 6.8 to 8.4, which is why I didn't have a lot of confidence. I finally gave up on the liquid tests and bought a PH meter.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had issues with API's pH test kit. I've gotten readings from 7.0 to 8.2 from the same water. It doesn't help that the color scale is incredibly difficult to read. I struggle to differentiate 20ppm from 40ppm NO3 just about every time I measure. I found a lab done photo of each concentration, but it's still an incredibly minor variance.

Like you, I got tired of guessing at my pH and bought an electronic meter. So much faster and more accurate. I wish there were relatively cheap ways to electronically measure other water parameters.

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I haven't had any issue with API's liquid pH test. It's given me consistent readings - as checked compared to 2 other kits (both strips - neither API). I'd love to get a meter, though, since it would be easier and mean no having to differentiate colors. Can anyone recommend a good meter?

It's the nitrate test that drives me up a wall. Seeing the color differences in that test is crazy! Does there happen to be a reliable meter for that?

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