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Re: [APD] Question buffers


"General Hardness" is measuring your Calcium and Magnesium content, no 
matter what form they are found in, such as: carbonates, chlorides, 
phosphates, sulfates, nitrates. This is also called Total Hardness. It is 
expressed by many units: mg/l CaCO3, or grains per gallon, or dGH. Check 
your kit to see the units.

Carbonates all convert to bicarbonates at pH 8.3 to 8.4. Anything below that 
pH will be all bicarbonates. You need a special test kit which uses 
different color indicators to determine the true carbonate content and 
bicarbonate content. Hach makes one, it is called an Alkalinity test kit. 
Model # AL-AP MG/L. Catalog # 24443-01. If the carbonates are not Calcium or 
Magnesium, they will not show up in a "General Hardness" test kit, which 
measures the Ca and Mg. The carbonates will be measured when you check the 
"carbonate hardness", which is more properly called the Alkalinity.

Yes it is possible to have a high Total (General) Hardness and very low 
Alkalinity (Carbonate Hardness). In that case you need to add your baking 
soda-Sodium Bicarbonate, or Potassium Bicarbonate if you need the K, to 
raise the Alkalinity. Calcium bicarbonate will raise both Total Hardness and 
Alkalinity. Epsom salts MgSO4-7H20 will raise the general hardness only.

>Message: 6
>Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2007 20:40:15 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Holly Wagner <holly5dogs at yahoo_com>
>Subject: Re: [APD] Question buffers
>To: aquatic plants digest <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
>I want thank all of you who helped me today regarding buffers.  I had a big 
>DUH moment.  Of course it would add postassium to the tank and most likely 
>encourage algae.  I tested my hardness today and found something that one 
>list member described.  My carbonate hardness is near zero according to my 
>test kit and general hardness is 180, which is as high as my test goes.  Is 
>this possible?  Have I misinterpreted the test results, perhaps?  I tested 
>several times and came up with the same results in each test.
>   Holly, who needs an RO unit

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