Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by LJC6780, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    So I just got my test kit in the mail. I got 4 on the GH and 5 on the KH but don't know what that means!

    Help! Lol

    This is the chart that was included in the instructions but I don't know how to interpret it.


    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  2. Dave125gFishlore LegendMember

    I have very hard water. My PH is usually around 8.2 . Most fish that we get at the pet store were born and bred in captivity and have adapted to hard water. Its not really anything to worry about.

  3. happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    So 4 drops and 5 drops for GH and kH respectively until they turned a different color? That should be fine, certainly not off-the-charts high.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  4. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    The GH might be a bit low though since you have livebearers. They need harder water.
  5. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    But what does it mean?! Someone please explain it broken down for me ... what is gh and kh and what do the numbers mean for each?

    I know when I've tested with a water strip it usually says hardness/softness is around 75 ... but I don't know how that compares to this test.
  6. Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Kh is your carbonate hardness, ie calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, etc....The white crusty stuff you find on your dishwasher, washing machine, shower head, etc. You need kh in your water to keep the ph stable. Less kh, the more likely your pH will fall to the point you loose your cycle. 5 kh is good, and your ph will remain stable until it's used up. Water changes prevent that from happening.

    Gh is your general hardness. Think of it was the multi vitamin of the aquarium. It's all the other minerals that is in your water. Some fish can not handle a lot of gh and will put them in osmotic shock, while others, like your mollies and swords like a lot of gh.

    Hope this explains it to you.
  7. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    Yes thank you very much! So if 5 kh is good, what is the range it should stay in?

    And is 4 gh good or bad? Range?
  8. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    Also, not sure if it matters, and I haven't tested both taps, but we have 2 sources of water. One for the house that runs through a POE water filter and one that runs our sprinkler system that is on a separate meter. Our filter uses a large hunk of metal to do something but I can't remember specifics and I'm not sure if it changes our hardness.

    I'll test both taps (this test was my 20 gal tank) and see if the results differ.
  9. Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    4dGH is really low for your mollies and swords. It needs to be 7 or more dGH for them. On the other hand, that's good for discus! lol

    For KH, 4dKH is the lowest you can go, but it can be used up with in a few days. 5dKH is the minimum we try to recommend because it can take a week to be used up. The higher the number the harder your water is and less it will move. Here is an example. Say your kh is 10dKH, and say your PH is like 9.2. if you tried to use something like pH down, it will keep going back up to the 9.2 until the kh lowers. The harder the water, the less it will change. Now take the other side (which is what my problem is). Say your kh is 2dKH and pH is 7.8. In my 29 gallon tank if I didn't use some kind of kh buffer, with in 48 hours I'll notice a pH drop, and with in a week my ph could be down to 6.4. in smaller tanks like 1 and 2 gallons it will happen really super fast. In one of my 1 gallons with a 2dKH and no buffer, the PH crashed below 6.0, I lost my cycle, and fish with in 12 hours.

    If you have 5dKH from your tap, your good, but I recommend to retest it seasonally to make sure it does not drop below 4 drops.

    To bring up your gh, you can add crushed coral to your tank, which will also act as a buffer in your kh. There is also a product by Seachem called Replenish which will add minerals back into your water for your mollies and swords. Replinish can be found in line and a lot of pet stores.

    Hope this helps.
  10. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    Yes that helps very much! Thank you for breaking it down for me like I'm a 1st grader! Lol the instructions were, let's say, lacking ... lol
  11. Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Lol was for me too. Took me what felt like forever to get it. There is a lot of articles here on FishLore and on the net that can go more in-depth if you want to go there. We also have the master water guru CindiL to bug about these issues....Who's brain I'm always picking too. Maybe she will find the time to chime in and give you more info on gh since my knowlage really lacks there.
  12. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I think it was already explained well!

    If you look at the chart, your Gh of 4 corresponds to 71.6ppm (similar to what you showed on the test strips).
    Your KH of 5 is 89.5ppm.

    Your livebearers need harder GH than you have. Ideally it would be above 8.

    I think the idea of using some crushed coral, or aragonite or limestone or sea shells etc in your tank will help with the minerals they need for proper osmotic functioning.

    I would definitely measure both taps and see if there is a difference.
  13. Dragones5150918Well Known MemberMember

    Wow! Didn't expect to see you comment so soon! lol (bows humbly to the might water guru)

    I've noticed one thing Cindi, with the aragonite sand in my tank, it is very extremely slow in raising gh. Is there a quicker method for people other then Replenish? Just thinking about the op needing to raise it, but not using Replenish because they can't find it locally. Not saying it's the OP's problem, just thinking for future reference.
  14. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Just happened to be on-line at the right time I guess :)

    I don't know, I think all the minerals raise it slowly because they have to dissolve. I always order mine through amazon. There might be other manufacturers of liquid calcium and magnesium salts that might say they're for cichlids. I think Aquaphobia might buy one....
  15. AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    I have ones made by Nutrafin. One is called KH Booster and the other is called African Cichlid Conditioner or possibly GH Booster. One of those last two is a newer label for the same product;)
  16. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    Ok here is the filtered tap. Even lower than the tank test earlier. image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  17. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    And here is the sprinkler, unfiltered tap ... image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  18. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    I have a 20 gal and a 38 gal

    4 Swordtails
    2 platys
    6 guppies (and fry soon)
    6 white skirt/glo tetras
    3 baby guppies

    What do you think is my best plan of action to remedy the water? I just received my jar of Seachem Safe and used it today.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  19. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I think because GH and KH are both too low for your fish, my first plan of action would be to buy crushed coral and put it in a media bag in your hob or you can mix it in with your substrate too. Mix in about 1/2 cup for the 20g and 3/4 to 1 cup for the 38g. I know Petsmart sells a TopFin brand but its a huge bag. You can also look in the betta section as they often sell jars of crushed shells which would do the same thing.

    After a week test again and lets see what it has done for your Gh and Kh before deciding if you need to do anything else.
  20. LJC6780Well Known MemberMember

    Thank you for the specific plan! I'll see what I can find tomorrow and get it added ASAP! Do I need to do a water change when I add it?

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