API GH/KH Test Kit Help

trash.binh91

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Ok, so I received the API test kit for hardness, and I'm trying the KH right now. So, when adding the drops one by one and inverting in between each drop, the water turns a more dark blue. I think I'm at 13 drops with no change! My GH was at 5 and it seems fine to me, but I don't know if this is an issue or not. Our water is soft water, and I'm making sure my water isn't too soft for my molly which has been showing signs of shimmy for some time now :(, but the KH makes it look like the water is actually hard?! Could this be because I have sand substrate and it is doing something and adding minerals to the water?
 

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Yes quite possibly many calcium rich sands, rocks ect which people add into their tanks, will begin to dissolve into the water.
 

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On the GH/KH test kit...you count the drops until the water in the tube first changes to the colour. Sometimes this is not much of a change, but that is the point it changes. Holding the tube uncapped vertically over a sheet of white paper can make the colour easier to see than holding it sideways.

Second point, on the sand...only if the sand is calcareous will it affect parameters. Sand such as crushed coral and/or aragonite or rift lake cichlid sand is calcareous and it will raise the GH and pH and KH. But ordinary sand such as most non-calcareous aquarium sands, play sands, etc, are inert. The buildup of organics in the sand over time may have the opposite effect of lowering pH, but that is another matter.

Third, your molly will not last long in this water if the GH is only 5 dGH. Mollies must have moderately hard or harder water with a GH above 10 dGH, and must have a basic pH (meaning, above 7.0 and it doesn't matter how high above that). Shimmying is usually a sign of lack of minerals in the water, and the fish cannot compensate so it weakens and dies.

Fourth issue, the water softener. This is likely more trouble for fish, as some of these (if not most) remove calcium and magnesium salts by adding sodium chloride (common or sea salt). This is not good for any freshwater fish, though having said that, mollies would tolerate this better, but the water is still too soft so that is the real issue for mollies and similar harder-water species (all livebearers for example). Test the GH, KH and pH of your water before it goes through the softener if you can; it might be better to use that source water.
 
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trash.binh91

trash.binh91

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On the GH/KH test kit...you count the drops until the water in the tube first changes to the colour. Sometimes this is not much of a change, but that is the point it changes. Holding the tube uncapped vertically over a sheet of white paper can make the colour easier to see than holding it sideways.
You see, it turns blue when I add the first drop for the KH, but I keep adding the drops and it becomes a darker blue, though, if it turns yellow at first contact, does that count?
Second point, on the sand...only if the sand is calcareous will it affect parameters. Sand such as crushed coral and/or aragonite or rift lake cichlid sand is calcareous and it will raise the GH and pH and KH. But ordinary sand such as most non-calcareous aquarium sands, play sands, etc, are inert. The buildup of organics in the sand over time may have the opposite effect of lowering pH, but that is another matter.
Ok, so that is not a worry.
Third, your molly will not last long in this water if the GH is only 5 dGH. Mollies must have moderately hard or harder water with a GH above 10 dGH, and must have a basic pH (meaning, above 7.0 and it doesn't matter how high above that). Shimmying is usually a sign of lack of minerals in the water, and the fish cannot compensate so it weakens and dies.
Yes, I ordered this test kit to really make sure if the water wasn't up to the standards of hard water. I am trying to find a source of harder water, though I may have to use things to raise the water hardness.
Fourth issue, the water softener. This is likely more trouble for fish, as some of these (if not most) remove calcium and magnesium salts by adding sodium chloride (common or sea salt). This is not good for any freshwater fish, though having said that, mollies would tolerate this better, but the water is still too soft so that is the real issue for mollies and similar harder-water species (all livebearers for example). Test the GH, KH and pH of your water before it goes through the softener if you can; it might be better to use that source water.
Ok, thank you! I think that there is some water in my kitchen that has not gone through the softener, which I may use.

EDIT: So the water in my kitchen is definitely harder, though I'll still bring it in to my LFS because I'm not sure I'm doing it right. I also just received my API Master Freshwater Test Kit, so, phew!
 
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trash.binh91

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A question here....so, the GH of the water in my aquarium is 3 dGH!! I need to change that, though the dKH is a whopping 13! Any ideas why the GH would be so low and the KH a lot higher? Also, how would I raise the GH? Any ways without having to worry too much about the PH?
 

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A question here....so, the GH of the water in my aquarium is 3 dGH!! I need to change that, though the dKH is a whopping 13! Any ideas why the GH would be so low and the KH a lot higher? Also, how would I raise the GH? Any ways without having to worry too much about the PH?

Taking the numbers on their own, there is nothing wrong with a GH of 3; mine is zero. All soft water fish occur in such very soft water in these ranges.

The KH confuses me, and I am wondering if the test was not accurate. Though it is possible to have variance, but I am not a chemist to explain this. I would however confirm that number...is there any way you can track this data dopwn from your water authority? Check their website, or call them.

The pH we can leave until the GH/KH is confirmed as the pH is closely related and factors like calcareous rock and organics influence pH.
 
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trash.binh91

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Taking the numbers on their own, there is nothing wrong with a GH of 3; mine is zero. All soft water fish occur in such very soft water in these ranges.

The KH confuses me, and I am wondering if the test was not accurate. Though it is possible to have variance, but I am not a chemist to explain this. I would however confirm that number...is there any way you can track this data dopwn from your water authority? Check their website, or call them.

The pH we can leave until the GH/KH is confirmed as the pH is closely related and factors like calcareous rock and organics influence pH.
Ok, so my dad contacted our water softener people this morning, and they told us that the water softener adds limestone and sodium carbonate materials to the water, which I don't understand (not a big chemistry person), and doing some quick research carbonate compounds and limestone raise the KH of the water, so this could be the reason. Ok, about the soft water and the molly, should I be adding calcium and magnesium supplements to raise the GH?
 

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Ok, so my dad contacted our water softener people this morning, and they told us that the water softener adds limestone and sodium carbonate materials to the water, which I don't understand (not a big chemistry person), and doing some quick research carbonate compounds and limestone raise the KH of the water, so this could be the reason. Ok, about the soft water and the molly, should I be adding calcium and magnesium supplements to raise the GH?

Softening water that is hard would require removing, not adding, calcium (limestone is calcareous) but let's not get into all that. I already said water running through a water softener is not good for fish, so if you can avoid this, much better. If the water initially is hard, it will be good for the mollies.
 
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trash.binh91

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I already said water running through a water softener is not good for fish, so if you can avoid this, much better. If the water initially is hard, it will be good for the mollies.
Yes, I will avoid the water I've been using, I was just was wondering how the GH could be so low but the KH so high, but, I figured that out.
 
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Raising the GH. The other water source that I will now source from is dGH 22 and dKH17. That's obviously a lot higher, and I have some questions on how to raise the GH. Would doing a 100% water change into new water be too much? Or would doing 20% each day suffice until getting to a preferred level?
 

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That GH is high, but OK for mollies. No other fish species have been mentioned, so I trust there are none except mollies, correct?

If yes, it will be easier to change but I would do it with two or three water changes (of 40%) a couple days apart. I'll be honest in saying that the mollies already shimmying may not recover as the internal damage is irreversible, but we can hope.
 
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trash.binh91

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That GH is high, but OK for mollies. No other fish species have been mentioned, so I trust there are none except mollies, correct?

If yes, it will be easier to change but I would do it with two or three water changes (of 40%) a couple days apart. I'll be honest in saying that the mollies already shimmying may not recover as the internal damage is irreversible, but we can hope.
Ok. This is where I have to get real. So. Its a 10g. I know, I know, that's a bit small for a silver molly (its a regular silver short-finned molly), but I didn't know I was gonna receive it. It was free, I took it home from school because another student couldn't take care of it after an aquaponics project in class. There are 5 WCMM and 2 Peacock Gudgeon. I want to move the gudgeons out into an empty 5gal that I can do another tank with maybe a betta in there (maybe not, but I'd do a blackwater tank). So still go with 40%? My molly is my main focus right now...and I really hope it should be reversible..? It's only been a week and a half since I've seen it.
 

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Ok. This is where I have to get real. So. Its a 10g. I know, I know, that's a bit small for a silver molly (its a regular silver short-finned molly), but I didn't know I was gonna receive it. It was free, I took it home from school because another student couldn't take care of it after an aquaponics project in class. There are 5 WCMM and 2 Peacock Gudgeon. I want to move the gudgeons out into an empty 5gal that I can do another tank with maybe a betta in there (maybe not, but I'd do a blackwater tank). So still go with 40%? My molly is my main focus right now...and I really hope it should be reversible..? It's only been a week and a half since I've seen it.

This presents some issues. The Peacock Gudgeon (Peacock Goby) prefers softer water. The WCM Minnows should manage though it is high for them (GH at 20 dGH).

I honestly do not have much hope for the molly. I'm sorry, but it is just that the fish needs minerals from the water in order to function and once symptoms appear I've no idea if the fish can remedy itself.
 

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