The differences between pH, kH, and gH
When it comes to your fish tank, there’s more to it than just feeding the fish and keeping a clean tank. Knowing the chemical aspects of your water, the acidity levels, etc., will help keep your fish healthy for a long time. Though it all sounds intimidating, understanding the differences between pH, kH, and gH are easy to understand.
Let’s start with pH since most people are familiar with that.
pH, or power of hydrogen, tells you how acidic or alkaline (basic) your water is. Different fish from different areas of the world require slightly different pH levels. Most are happy somewhere between a pH level of 6.6 and 8, which is fairly neutral. Those from South America tend to favor a little less acidity and African cichlids, etc., tend to prefer slightly higher.
There are plenty of kits available for measuring pH levels and we can help you find a great one if you stop by our store and ask.
KH (Carbon hardness) measures the amount of “stuff” like carbonates and bicarbonates in your aquarium’s water. When it comes to differences between pH, KH, and Gh, the KH helps us identify when our water is getting too basic, or neutral, too quickly. We like this page for a broader explanation of KH.
There are kits for measuring this as well and it should usually be between 4-8 dKH.
Finally, GH measures the General Hardness of your water and basically tells you how hard or soft your water is. You know about hard and soft water from your own showers, etc. This helps you determine if your tank has the right amount of salts and minerals for your fish to thrive. You want a GH level of between 4-8 dGH and you can often find this and KH measuring kits together. All fish need minerals and salts to survive, but livebearers and African Cichlids will require more than others.
For more advice and help with the differences between pH, KH, and GH, come by and see us at 2851 1/2 North Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado!