Originally Posted by sarahsarah
Hey everyone. So I just bought a water test kit for the first time today because my betta has a fungus and I wanted to see what was up with his water. I'm just a little confused about a couple of the results:
Alkalinity 180 ppm
Hardness 300 ppm
So I know what the pH, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are supposed to be but I can't seem to figure out what the proper parameters are for hardness or alkalinity. Does anyone know what is the ideal range for either or both of these parameters?? And what is even the difference between the alkalinity test and the pH test?
Is your tank fully cycled? Assuming that's the case your Nitrate levels should be reading anywhere between 5.0 -10ppm :)
Basically the alkalinity is the buffer for a tank, which keeps the pH stable as acids, etc are added to the water. Just imagine the buffer as a large sponge, as more acid is added the sponge absorbs the acid without changing the pH much. However, the sponge's ability is restricted so after the buffer capacity is used up, the pH changes more rapidly as acids are added. Without buffering your tank's pH would change over time which is a bad thing but the good news, with adequate buffering your pH will stay stable. However on the negative side, hard tap water often has a large buffering capacity so if the pH is too high for your fish the buffering will find it difficult to lower.
Now from my knowledge, the higher the KH the more resistant to pH swings your water will be but anything under 4.5 KH is too low and should be watched carefully. Partial water changes also help keep your pH from lowering
I'm not too sure on this one but from your readings, I think they are fine. IMO levels like that should never be messed with, as long as they stay stable and there are no drastic changes then fish will usually adapt to it :)
However, if I am wrong with anything I have said then i'm sure someone will correct me too help you :)