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Questions On Water Chemistry


eather.hey

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Hi. I bought these "test strips" that test everything at once...ph, nitrates, nitrites, alkalinity and water hardness. I know about the first 3 things (ph, nitrates, nitrites) and I know where those levels should be. But what is alkalinity? On the test strips my alkalinty is "moderate." Also should my tank water be hard or soft or somewhere in between? My tap water tests "very hard."

Also, does anyone else use the test strips? Are they as acurate as other testing measurements? They sure were expensive, but I figured they tested everything at once, so it might be the way to go.

Thanks in advance!

You guys rock ;)

Heather

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I generally prefer the liquid tests over the strips, but I do know people who use the strips and are satisfied with them.

Alkalinity is the measure of KH, or carbonate hardness. This is the stuff that keeps your pH constant. It's not terribly important as long as your pH is always the same. If your pH starts changing, you would probably want to know your KH/alkalinity. Does it just give you these ranges, no numbers?

Hardness matters for some fish and plants, but not really for goldfish or for any plants hardy enough to live with goldfish and not be eaten. ;) Many people say that goldfish prefer harder water, so you should be fine.

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May, thanks, you've been a huge help! I figured as long as my ph was good and the nitrates and nitrites were 0 I'm safe.

You have to compare the strips to a color chart that's on the bottle. The colors do have #'s on them too now that I'm looking. Everything is right on so I'm all good.

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KH is *incredibly* important - even more so than pH. Your pH can seem stable and be just on the verge of crashing, so make sure your KH is sufficient. If it is "moderate", it probably is alright. What KH level does the test kit label "moderate"?

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