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George on the soap box again

Hi George, welcome back. Your erudite contributions have been greatly
missed. ;-)

I don't think that acting as a technical advisor for AGA or for the
people on the Internet who write to me has much bearing on a discussion
of the usefulness of hardness test kits George. I thought I was pretty
clear that I was talking about my personal opinions. I will repeat an
oft repeated statement: "I do not speak for AGA". The views I spout
(unless stated otherwise) are my own. 

I know that saying that hardness test kits are nearly useless is
something akin to heresy to some. But now and then a little heresy is
profitable especially if it joggles some snoozing minds.

Clarify for me if you will, how to determine the calcium concentration
from a GH measurement, please George? Could you also explain how to get
the magnesium concentration?? Also would you explain why we don't need
to be concerned about the concentration of potassium? You've requested
me to explain why test kits do NOT measure certain values; should I also
explain why thermometers are not useful for measuring alkalinity?

I suppose if you start with water without minerals and add calcium
carbonate until your GH test kit reads 2-4 units (whatever those are)
then you can be reasonably sure to have enough calcium. You're already
most of the way there if you're guessing that you need to add a couple
of teaspoons of calcium carbonate with each water change. 

If you then add Dupla chemicals at prescribed dosages (sprinkling
liberally with shredded dollar bills to provide "richness" ;-) then you
could reasonably be sure to have enough magnesium and potassium.

Or you could just measure the chemicals according to instructions and
dose at water changes and not be obsessive about test kits. That's
effectively what you're doing when you follow the Dupla method anyhow.
You're just buying expensive chemicals and using the test kits a little
more. I have no idea how the _test_ _kit_ could distinguish between a
shortage of calcium or a shortage of magnesium. I've never read anywhere
how such a thing is done and thus having no idea how it is done, I have
no idea how to prove that it is not done. This I leave as an exercise
for the (now) befuddled reader. :-)

Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!