Gh Kh and drops v test strips

Carolann

So I have the gh kh test kit from API as well as API test strips.
Two questions:
1. I use spring water from the store. When I test straight from the gallon, GH is 4, kh is 2-3. Changed my substrate out, so basically starting from scratch on water parameters. Day after adding water(only additives Prime and fluval fertilizer) tank GH is 4, kh 3. A week later, tank is at gh 6 and kh 4. Why are the numbers rising without adding minerals?

2. So for my last gh kh test, test tubes show a gh 6 and kh 4, whereas test strips say gh 30 ppm and kh 40ppm. Why such a discrepancy between tests?
 

Fishbish1112

Hey Carolann. Fertilizers can raise hardness but only in small amounts so must be something else too.. what type of substrate?
I’ve read that liquids are more accurate than strips. Which sucks because strips are so easy to use.
 

MrMuggles

Why are the numbers rising without adding minerals?
If the test result is accurate it means Something else is leaching minerals into the water column. Substrate, decor, etc. it can only come from one of those
 

Carolann

Hey Carolann. Fertilizers can raise hardness but only in small amounts so must be something else too.. what type of substrate?
I’ve read that liquids are more accurate than strips. Which sucks because strips are so easy to use.
If the test result is accurate it means Something else is leaching minerals into the water column. Substrate, decor, etc. it can only come from one of those
There are to young java ferns and 2 young Anubis, a bacopa, a Betta log, and a bridge decor item from PetSmart. The substrate is black large grain sand marketed toward shrimp keepers. The bag said it was inert substrate. A few large black polished stones. HoB filter. Topfin heater. I use fluval gro, and prime.

It's hard to understand why the strips are still so heavily marketed if the two test types could have such different numbers! That seems so very problematic!
 

Marlene327

From experience, where my Gh would rise all the way to 20 while my tap water is 8, I learned it was the Wonder Shells I added for calcium. I'm now happily remaining Gh 8 and using crushed egg shells that do not raise it. If you aren't using those shells, I can't help you - it took me a long time to figure this out!
 

Revan

It's hard to understand why the strips are still so heavily marketed if the two test types could have such different numbers! That seems so very problematic!
Strips are usually more often used by people who need a convenient source of testing and don't need very accurate tests. For example, when cycling a tank, liquid tests are important in order to keep a good account of your cycling process. When a tank is established, strips would suffice, and if something looks off, liquid tests can be used to confirm.

Plus, a lot of people just don't know that test strips are less accurate and are appealed by their convenience.
 

Carolann

From experience, where my Gh would rise all the way to 20 while my tap water is 8, I learned it was the Wonder Shells I added for calcium. I'm now happily remaining Gh 8 and using crushed egg shells that do not raise it. If you aren't using those shells, I can't help you - it took me a long time to figure this out!
I currently am not purposely adding anything to alter parameters. So I'm not at all sure what to think either!
 

JustAFishServant

I currently am not purposely adding anything to alter parameters. So I'm not at all sure what to think either!
Hear me out, but maybe it's the sand. You said it was sold as shrimp substrate, correct? Maybe it has added minerals to help with shrimp molting.
 

Revan

Hear me out, but maybe it's the sand. You said it was sold as shrimp substrate, correct? Maybe it has added minerals to help with shrimp molting.
It's possible, although I'm not the best about water hardness. I've heard other stories about substrate leeching stuff into water though, so it could be the case.
 

Carolann

Hear me out, but maybe it's the sand. You said it was sold as shrimp substrate, correct? Maybe it has added minerals to help with shrimp molting.
It's possible, although I'm not the best about water hardness. I've heard other stories about substrate leeching stuff into water though, so it could be the case.
Ok, so going forward, how would I determine if it is the substrate?
Not that I have a problem with it, since I was already planning on adding minerals to raise the gh.
But if they advertise it as innert, and if it isn't, could the leaching be dangerous? Unless I meet only refers to bacterial activity?
 

MrMuggles

Ok, so going forward, how would I determine if it is the substrate?
Put a sample of the substrate in a bucket of your source water, let it sit a few days, measure water hardness before/after. Try to match the sand/water ratio in your tank. This is the only foolproof way.

the tendency to leech from substrate will be reduced if you add minerals to raise GH. It might still leech but you’ll be more in control of the balance of specific dissolved minerals.
could the leaching be dangerous
I would think they mean not dangerous when they say inert, but it’s all relative. Different fish require different parameters. Sand that raises KH or GH to extreme levels could be just fine for hearty fish but deadly to more sensitive species.
 

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