gh/kh confusion

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by baggy007, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. baggy007

    baggy007Well Known MemberMember

    hi guys

    went to the lfs today to get some supplies and got myself a gh/kh test kit

    i know i needed 1 as im rubbish with plants and needed to know what my reading where and to go from there

    my swords are really bad, nearly all brown but ive had no root tabs for a month but they were going brown before i ran out, root tabs are the only feed i put in for the plants

    so i tested the water out my tap and its GH 34 KH 18 PH 7.3

    my aquarium water has exactly the same readings, i tested the water after the lights (twin t5ho 54w daylight) had been on for 12hrs

    i have read articles on GH/KH and tried to understand it but its really confusing

    can anyone give me a laymans explanation to what my readings show about my water and what i need to do to fix it, could it be why my plants are not doing well and all my mts have dissapeared

    thanks in advance
  2. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Well, in layman's terms you have liquid rock for water!

    GH measures calcium and magnesium levels. And KH, also referred to an Alkalinity, measures carbonate. Each drop equates to 17.9 PPM. Your test results indicate you have 34 dGH (degrees of GH) or 608.6 PPM; 18 dKH or 322.2 PPM. With these hardness levels I would expect your pH to be around 8.0, if not higher. Are you sure your test kit is still valid?

    Water is considered soft when GH is less than 100 PPM and considered hard when GH is over 200 PPM.

    Personally, if your inhabitants are healthy, I would not attempt to make any adjustments to your water. But, if you decide to make adjustments you will need to look into use an RO/DI system or purchasing distilled water, when will be expensive over time. Further, once you decide to make these adjustments, go very slowly. Adjustments made too quickly or not in a manner that allows the tank to remain stable will be much harder on everyone.

    Can you post pictures of your plants? It sounds like there is a deficiency going on.

    Hope that helps.
  3. OP

    baggy007Well Known MemberMember

    thanks catsma

    checked both kits and still in date

    i dont plan and try altering my water as my fish seem fine but i bought the test kit as i thought i needed it for my plants and it would cost a pretty penny to use co2 or ro water with it being a big tank

    here are my swords i think they may be beyond saving, i only use root tabs once a month

    Attached Files:

  4. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Are you using API tabs or a different brand? How close do you place them? Being the only fert source they must be well balanced, aka contain both macros and micros.

    With sand it is very important that the crown is exposed. They look to be buried too deeply. I recommend raising them.

    Trim off all the thinning, browning leaves. That is what happens when they die back. Not sure what caused it, but you don't want the plants to waste their energy trying to repair them.

    Finally, your plants took like they are crowded. But, it could just be the angle of the photos. Swords need lots of light and can die back if shaded too much.

    Good luck!
  5. OP

    baggy007Well Known MemberMember

    i use api tabs and i got some yesterday, i place 1 underneath each plant

    i will pull them up a bit when i get rid of all the brown leaves

    thank you again:)