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Interpreting Test Results


Jennifer V
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Happy Sunday! 

I just got an API gh/kh test kit and really have no idea how to interpret the results. I know this question was probably posed a million times before, but I can't find what I need. I don't have any idea what my gh/kh results mean and how to improve the condition of my tank. Right now, I just have cherry shrimp, a Nerite snail and bladder snails in my planted 10g. But I would like to add pea puffers and move the others to another tank. I do small routine water changes to keep the nitrates around 20. Tank is two months old. 

Here are my levels:

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrates ~20

Ph 7.4 

Now for what I don't understand:

Kh 4 drops or 71.6 (I think that means 3-6 °)

Gh 12 drops or 214.8 (I think that means above 11°) 

From what I gather, I need to lower the gh but I don't want to throw off the whole tank. The ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and pH have been so stable for weeks. 

What do you think and what should I do? 

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If your tank is doing well right now just keep it stable, and don't try to get to a certain number. According to Aquarium Coop's article on it here on gh (or general hardness) is how much calcium and magnesium are in the water, although it is possible to have all calcium but no magnesium, so it's not a definitive statement on exactly how much of each you have. More of just a ballpark. 

Gh can be measured in both ppm and dGH, to convert from gh ppm to dGH you just have to divide the ppm by 17.9 to get the dGH and vice versa with multiplying. 

 

Edited by FlyingFishKeeper
Edit One: Grammar | Edit Two: Making the post more useful
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@FlyingFishKeeper I've read all the articles I could find about this part of water chemistry, but I was still confused because it seems like my kh is fine but I was worried about the gh so thank you for answering my question. So gh is something you should just try to keep stable at long as the tank and its inhabitants seem fine? What if the gh continues to rise? What's the best way to lower it? More frequent water changes? 

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Are you using crushed corral, wonder shell, etc since unless your tap water is changing I can't really think of why it would keep rising? Although someone with more experience than me might know something I don't. Gh is kind of like pH as I understand it, as long as you aren't doing something like putting a soft water fish into water with a gh of 80 dGH it should be fine, trying to get something specific will just stress the fish out. Plants can take up some of them, some distilled or reverse osmosis water with nothing in it should dilute the minerals. 

Edited by FlyingFishKeeper
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To add a little, it seems like most fish are okay with whatever gh they grew up on and so if they're happy now it's best not to change because you'll have to keep that change consistent through water changes. 

I've only heard of a few common fish that really care for hard or soft water and some of those I think are just because they are wild caught an that was their birth conditions.

Keeping tap water conditions will also help with keeping locally bread/adapted fish.

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1 hour ago, FlyingFishKeeper said:

Are you using crushed corral, wonder shell, etc since unless your tap water is changing I can't really think of why it would keep rising? 

I'm not adding anything to the water but the gh did go up in the 10 days since I first tested it, although that might be user error. 

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I'm not an expert in this, but if your on a well could it be that it came into contact with some sort of hardening mineral? Apart from that I'm not really sure what else could cause it apart from your city changing something related to their water?

Edited by FlyingFishKeeper
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5 hours ago, FlyingFishKeeper said:

I'm not an expert in this, but if your on a well could it be that it came into contact with some sort of hardening mineral? Apart from that I'm not really sure what else could cause it apart from your city changing something related to their water?

Oh my gosh! The city just did a system flush. I don't really know what that means. Do you think that's it? 

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It could be, I can't really find anything specifically about tap water. Although it might be just getting rid of anything in the system that hasn't been used, or maybe getting rid of any debris or sediment? All of this is just speculation so by no means take this as a fact, I just use the water lol. If you email the city they would probably know though. 

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