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Thread: Question regarding aquarium water chemistry

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Question regarding aquarium water chemistry

    Now that I understand my pool's chemistry, I want to apply the education I've gotten to my pond and aquarium.
    I raise African Cichlids. I'm confused about two terms used in aquarium chemistry General Hardness & Calcium Hardness.

    From an African Cichlid website:

    General Info On Water Hardness

    General Hardness
    Total, general or permanent hardness is represented by the letters gH. It is determined by the concentration of calcium and magnesium salts, i.e. the amount of calcium (Ca++) and magnesium (Mg++) ions, which are dissolved in the water. The amount of dissolved minerals is dependent upon the source of the water, and the type of treatment processes it has undergone. Total hardness or general hardness is sometimes referred to as total dissolved salts (TDS).

    Hard water (> 200 ppm) is high in calcium and magnesium, while soft water (50 to 100 ppm) is low in these minerals.

    Carbonate Hardness
    Carbonate, bicarbonate or temporary hardness is formed from the compounds of calcium and magnesium with carbonic acid, i.e. it is the measure of carbonate (CO3-) and bicarbonate (HCO3-) ion concentrations dissolved in the water. It is represented by the letters kH. Their concentration is dependent on the source of the water and the treatment processes it has undergone.

    Carbonate hardness helps stabilize the pH value and prevents dangerous drops in the pH value (acid drop or pH crash). It is sometimes referred to as alkalinity. An aquarium with a low kH level (50 ppm or less) will tend to be acidic. Aquariums with these parameters are subject to rapid shifts in pH, if not monitored carefully. Water with a high kH level (> 200 ppm) usually has a high pH. The biological breakdown processes in an aquarium, and the carbon dioxide consumption by plants, deplete the carbonate hardness in the water. Drastic changes in pH values can harm your fish.

    Is gH in the fish world the same as CH in the pool world?
    Is kH the same as TA?

    Could a Taylor K-2005 test kit be used to measure these levels?
    12,000 gallon, tile finish, in-ground pool with spill over spa.
    Pump - Sta-Rite 1.5 HP
    Filter - Hayward Star-Clear C-1200
    SWG - AutoPilot Soft Touch
    Pool Skim
    Zodiac MX8
    BBB since 11/2008
    South Florida

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Question regarding aquarium water chemistry

    General hardness is both calcium ANd magnesium hardness. Taylor does make a test for this but it is not included in their combination pool test kits like the K-2005 since total hardness is NOT an important test for swimming pools.
    Also, general hardness (or total hardness) is NOT the same as TDS since there are several things that can be dissolved in the water such as sodium, potassium, sulfates, chlorides etc. that do not contribute to water hardness bot do make up part of the TDS.

    Carbonate hardness (kH)is the same as TA. Your Taylor kit should measure that fine.

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