How to make your test kits go further... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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How to make your test kits go further...

If you want to save $$$ on the test kits...instead of adding the called for amount of the math(ratios). I use only 1 drop of test solution to appropriate amount of drops of tank water and re-etched the vials.(there are approximately 20 drops in a ml)

I still have my mom's old PH test kit vials from the late 70' is tiny and you would fill it up 3/4 of the way--eyeballing it and add 1 drop of solution. Using a syringe that is approximately 33 drops to 1 drop solution....todays PH test kit = 5ml water (99drops) to 3 drops.

I'm sure API worked it's 5 ml test tubes solutions around the Nitrate test kit that would be used most after a tank is cycled....

I have better things to spend my $$ on & enjoy saving where I can. I have 3 tanks and right now just trying to keep an eye on nitrates. I have full fish loads and using EI dosing without adjusting adds too much over a weeks time. I'd be burning thru the nitrate solution and now I don't have to worry about it. Lot more tests using the 1 drop instead of 10!

My son, when he has time, is going to post this info up on youtube.

Last edited by Elyssa; 05-02-2013 at 12:47 PM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 01:25 PM
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How often were u testing?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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My kids and I are still trying to figure out KNO3 dosing on my (2) 55 gallon tanks. Right now we are testing daily to figure out the different levels of uptake depending on the growth/plant mass of each tank.

The whole analytical/testing notion is more of a science/biology, experiment/lesson for my kids. Originally had bought the master test kit when we were fish-less cycling the tanks to monitor the progress.

So, totally understand with EI dosing it is not necessary to test...

This winter plan on doing some hydroponic veggie gardening with an extra light I have, so from here to there, this seems a good lesson to teach them a bit about nutrients. Good intro.

Last edited by Elyssa; 05-02-2013 at 03:05 PM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 03:39 PM
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How to make your test kits go further...

Hello El...

Good idea. I've found it necessary to omit the water testing step for my planted tank. If I change out half the water in the tank every week, the water chemistry is always stable, so I don't have to test. Come to think of it, if I changed the tank water even more often, I wouldn't need any mechanical filtration, interesting. Another savings, but a bit more work.

I have to get out the equipment to change the water anyway, so it's pretty easy to remove a little more water. The fish seem to appreciate it and the aquatic plants are growing faster in the pure water conditions.

Water is very cheap, the testing kits typically aren't.

Just an old tank keeper's opinion, though.


"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Hi BBradbury,
Water testing isn't necessary, I do the w/c's as well every week to reset. Getting the kids involved and the whole science notion is a win/win. Their interest is more in-depth then just sitting back and watching the tank. I wouldn't even bother with the testing, if I was the one doing all the maintenance/dosing.

By the time they run out of the nitrate test kit, I'm sure they will have it 100% figured out. Originally sprung for the master test kit while we were doing the fish-less cycle to watch the nitrogen cycle. So, when they are out, I won't be running out and purchasing more.

They got it down to 10 drops of tank water to 1 drop of NO3 solution. So, they can test to their hearts content.

Old tank keeper's opinion, I was raised with tanks...and like I said, I found an old PH test kit when my mom gave me a bunch of equipment. I laughed my butt off when we received the new master test kit and they were calling for 8 drops for testing ammonia and 10 drops for nitrate...yeah right 90 tests of nitrate....well we can do much better than that with a bit of
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-02-2013, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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I also have books from the 60's where they say the best water is from lakes/rivers and use only tap water as a last resort...

I love those old simple....
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