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Hardness Testing

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Offline Puffin

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Hardness testing
« on: December 20, 2016, 01:31:46 PM »
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I've run out of the test strips I got when I bought my tank (and quickly changed to API master kit) because I used them to test KH and GH. In the shop today I found GH test kit, but no KH kit. I remember one is more useful to know than the other... I got the GH one, is it the right one? Do I need both anyway?
We've moved house so I don't know the hardness of the local water anymore.
Thanks.

Offline Sue

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Re: Hardness testing
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 01:39:53 PM »
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GH is the more important. KH is a measure of how easy the pH can change, so useful but not as important as KH.

Hardness - GH - affects fish more than pH so it is good to know your tap water's GH.


Have you used the tester yet? The hardness testers tend to cause confusion because you don't add x drops and compare the colour to a chart. You add drops until the liquid changes colour. And with soft water, the colour will never be bright because you reach the colour change after only a few drops. It is easier to see the colour change if after adding each drop and mixing it in, you take the lid off the tube, put it on something white and look down into the tube. That way you are looking through a couple of inches of water not half an inch and the colour appears more intense.




Edit to add - in your other post you mention living in the north west. I know that south Lancashire (OK, Merseyside  >:( ) gets its water from United Utilities so I just typed in the postcode of my parents' old house to see if they give the KH on-line. They don't. Not many water companies do nowadays, unfortunately. And where they do, they call it alkalinity not KH. If you are with a different company, yours might possibly, just possibly, give it.

Offline Puffin

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Re: Hardness testing
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 02:04:10 PM »
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Oh good, so I got the right one!
Not used it yet, will do so now, thanks for the tips.
My water company is also United utilities so I'll look that up, thanks.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Hardness testing
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 07:16:25 PM »
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Have you used the tester yet? The hardness testers tend to cause confusion because you don't add x drops and compare the colour to a chart. You add drops until the liquid changes colour. And with soft water, the colour will never be bright because you reach the colour change after only a few drops. It is easier to see the colour change if after adding each drop and mixing it in, you take the lid off the tube, put it on something white and look down into the tube. That way you are looking through a couple of inches of water not half an inch and the colour appears more intense
Actually, another tip which I picked up from Sue and which has been invaluable to me is, when measuring GH or KH, to put 10ml (rather than 5ml, if that's the suggested amount) in the tube, then count the number of drips until the colour change, and divide by 2. This makes it much easier to work out, especially since it seems my levels are always midway between two points. [For example, in 10ml, it may take me 3 drips for KH to change, so I know it's actually 1.5; it may take me 7 drips for GH to change, so I know it's actually 3.5.]

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