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KH & GH Readings from API test kit


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Hi ~

I decided to purchase the API GH & KH kit to ensure that my readings are accurate. I am a bit concerned by the following difference between this test kit and the Tetra Easy strips readings (which I struggle with sometimes)

KH (7 drops) = 7 degrees or 125.3 ppm

GH (12 drops) 12 degrees or 214.8 PPM (YIKES) *** Should I be worried about this? if so what do I do?

I have a wonder shell in the aquarium, should I remove it? 

My PH is between 7.3 -7.4 ppm

My Ammonia suddenly went up from yesterday to 0.25-0.30 ppm so I am going to do a water change to deal with that.

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I'm no expert, so others should weigh in, but when I kept tanks as a teenager I had KH and GH values between 9 and 12.  My fish seemed fine....my tap water was hard, so my aquarium water was as well. 

You can check your tap water (or whatever water source you use for water changes), but the wonder shell is likely what's raising the GH...why do you have it in there?  For snails and shrimp (I'm guessing)?  The high KH and GH are probably not harming anything if your fish look fine...I guess if it bothers you could just put half the wonder shell in at a time?  

RE: ammonia.  Test it again.  If the tubes are not squeaky clean, I get low, non-zero ammonia and nitrite readings.  I always rinse and re-test, and always get 0 the second time.  Other than that, look for perhaps a dead fishy somewhere?  But yeah, water changes rarely hurt...

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kh and gh ranges depend on fish, but it's also a montra that you'll come across that stable parameters are more important than absolute values (with exceptions like ammonia, stable 0 is universally best).

side note pH is unitless not ppm.

WRT the tetra strips, i think they're garbage for kh and gh.  at least in my hands.  the kh pad comes out dark in the middle and light on the edge for me.  how am i supposed to read that?  And the gh disagrees with the api titration (drop) test.

 

FWIW I'd trust a titration a lot more than a simple colormetric test.

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@Jess and @CT_ Thank you BOTH... I live in North Carolina..the water here is VERY hard. My fish seem to be doing just fine. Today was the first time using this kit and not the strips.. and was shocked!! But they seem okay

Oh I had a wonder shell in there.. should I put it back in? or not because my water is hard enough?

 

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31 minutes ago, Sandra the fish rookie said:

Oh I had a wonder shell in there.. should I put it back in? or not because my water is hard enough?

I think that's up to you.  my 2c is that unless you have a good reason to make your water harder or add the additional calcium or carbonate (many inverts like calcium but it doesn't take a TON to make most of them happy) then its just extra money and effort.

 

Me? I like fiddling and spend extra money and effort to harden up my really soft water to the minimum of the "internet range" for guppies and shrimp that I have.  I also like control so I add 1g/gallon of equilibrium instead of using something like wondershell.  Truthfully though both were raised in local water and don't actually need it.  It's more for me than them I bet.

Edited by CT_
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I agree RE: titration-based kits for GH and KH.  They're more accurate if you want that.  The Tetra strips have their place for me, though; they're so quick and I know where I expect all the colors to be.  The range is fine with me because I know if my KH reads roughly between yellow (0 ppm) and light green (40 ppm), the "real" value is probably around 2 dKH, 37 ppm, because every week that's what my reference test shows.  Same for all the Tetra strip tests...I use them as a rough guide, for peace of mind, because it's just so fast.  (Also, I hate those friggin' API tubes...I'm slowly switching all my test kits to Salifert for that reason.)

RE: the wonder shell, if your water is hard you probably don't need it.  But is there a reason you think you do need it?  General hardness comprises several different minerals; the most relevant to us I guess are potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg).  A hardness of 200 ppm doesn't tell you the relative amounts of K, Ca, and Mg.  So if that's important to you, you should look into it more (or ask more questions 😉).  For instance, it's important to me because I keep a lot of live plants...

Again, if everybody looks healthy, you're probably doing just fine!  And you probably don't need the wonder shell.

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