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Re: Water Hardness Test
Mike Cordero writes:
> NOW TO BUSINESS ... HOW DO I MEASURE THE HARDNESS OF MY TANK WATER
> IS IT A HYDROMETER THAT I HAVE TO USE OR THERE IS A SPECIFIC KIT
> FOR THIS .. PLEASE SEND SOME INFO .. TIA
There are two types of hardness in your water, carbonate and non-carbonate.
Carbonate hardness is also called "buffering capacity" or"alkalinity". Some
people think of alkalinity as the opposite of acidity, but is more of a
resistance to becoming acid. This resistance is a result of buffering action
provided by the carbonate ions in the water. Test kits for this kind of
hardness are sold under all three names. It is measured in degrees indicated
by "kH" or in ppm. Tetra just stopped making their kit which is a one-
chemical, one-titrant kit. It was very easy to use. Wardley's makes one they
call an "Alkalinity" test kit, and there are also kits from RedSea and a
number of others.
Non-carbonate hardness is the measure of certain positive metallic ions, such
as calcium and magnesium, which have an ionic valence of +2. Wardley's kit
for this is labeled as simply hardness, and in the instructions calls non-
carbonate hardness "total hardness", which is kind of misleading. It is also
measured in ppm or degrees, as indicated by "dH" or "DH" these two scales
differ by a fraction of a part per million, but are nevertheless two different
scales as indicated by a lower case or upper case <D>. Wierd, huh?
I'm trying not to be too technical, but I was confused by all this for many
years, and thought I should clarify at least a little of it. Yes, you measure
it with kits. If your water is too soft for your fish, that's easy to fix.
If it's too hard, well, that's another matter altogether. But we'll leave
that for another day.