! Haven't seen you around in a while.
Currently, all of my love for this hobby is being poured onto this tank. Riven Impact and Source are still near and dear to my heart, but it's this tank that's The One, in capital letters.
I don't test my water. Once every other month or so, I'll check pH, but that's about it.
This should not be interpreted as me not caring about water parameters, however. I care a great deal. What I don't care for is testing
Matching colors and reading numbers bore me.
Besides, what's important to me is what those colors and numbers represent and what those colors and numbers represent can be learned without a single test kit.
In Quasi-Wabi, the main things I look for are algae, pearling, and shrimp behavior.
Algae tells me if there are too many nutrients and/or too little CO2.
Pearling tells me if my DIY CO2 is being produced in sufficient quantity and that it's being absorbed into the water column.
The shrimp let me know if everything is in balance. If things are spot on, they will not freak when I put my hand in the tank to trim or clean. If things are really
spot on, they climb on my hand, chopstick, glass scraper, et cetera as a way to say, "Right on, bro. Thanks for this cool place to live. Very comfy, I must say."
There are dozens of other little things I look for, but most of them sit on the subconscious level.
I learned all this because, I believe, I cut my teeth in this hobby in nanos. The major drawback to a nano turns out to be it's single greatest blessing.
The razor-thin causality inherent in a smaller tank allows a person to see quite quickly exactly what causes what. While this can come to bite a person in the proverbial butt in the case of, say, an ammonia spike, it also allows a person to see, for example, that positioning the outflow in a certain way, increases CO2 absorption; visible vis-à-vis pearling thirty minutes sooner than with the previous outflow positioning.
What's my point?
I don't have one. I just felt like saying all that.
Pressed to give a point, I'd say:
You don't need test kits. Just a love of the game.