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Old 08-08-2012, 03:20 AM   #1
tylergvolk
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Test Kits Question


Whats a good test kit to buy & where can I get it?

I'm looking for bang for the buck here, but I want something that will give me numerical readout on everything I need to know for a planted tank.

Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:48 AM   #2
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Are you talking about digital meters like this?

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/fish-s...?count=29&s=ts
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:48 AM   #3
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I considered digital, but decided against it: You're looking at $100-500 per analyzer + calibration solutions + replacement probes occasionally + an expected service life of 5-10 years (??). You get what you pay for and if you go with the cheap-o meter, it may say everything is fine when you actually have major problems. . .

For a fraction of the price you can get wet chemistry test kits. A little more of a hassle, but very reliable and plenty accurate.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:04 AM   #4
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There are a lot of different things that can be tested in an aquarium. There is no single piece of equipment that tests "everything you need to know for a planted tank." The best test kit to start with is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit which can be found cheapest on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/API-FRESHWATER...4405669&sr=1-1. As the name implies, this is the master test kit that it needed when starting any kind of freshwater aquarium, including a planted tank.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:15 PM   #5
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I think I will go with the API Freshwater Master Kit. Thanks for the referral Complexity! Those digital meter are just to costly for me. I think I can afford to spare 20$
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:57 PM   #6
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API isn't hard to use anyways, I would say the most difficult part is rinsing out the test tubes and letting them dry...
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #7
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I like the sera kits
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:17 PM   #8
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The API master kit is great but after the cycle completes on a new tank I never (or rarely) use 1/2 of it. GH, KH, Phosphate, Nitrate and TDS checked with an electronic pen do most of it for me on running systems. Calcium checks are done but rarely and only because I use 100% RO and build back due to well issues.

(The "master kit" doesn't include GH, KH or Phosphate)
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
GH, KH, Phosphate, Nitrate and TDS checked with an electronic pen
What device are you using to measure nitrate? I hate the API nitrate test with a passion.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:50 PM   #10
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Why do you hate the nitrate test? It's a simple test.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoTacoCombo View Post
What device are you using to measure nitrate? I hate the API nitrate test with a passion.
2 things about the API nitrate test. First, you have to shake the heck out of the number 2 bottle for 1 minute. Second, if you got one of those crappy color coded cards like the one on the left, Call API and ask them if they can send you one like the one on the right.




API customer service :

http://www.apifishcare.com/contactus/contact.aspx
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Why do you hate the nitrate test? It's a simple test.
I'm not the original person who said they dislike it but for me it is the difficulty in distinguishing between 40, 80 and the next highest color. The colors are too similar for me to accurately distinguish.


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Old 08-10-2012, 07:14 PM   #13
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Thanks for the tip livingworld26. I think I am going to get one of these kits and find out for myself. After all, it's only $20.

You would think there is a reasonably priced kit out there that will check for everything but I guess not...
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:54 PM   #14
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I just purchased the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Thanks for suggesting it Complexity.

I wonder if I am going to need to test for other items as my tank matures? I will be dosing with a line of SeaChem Flourish Products to supple my HC with nutrients.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylergvolk View Post
Thanks for the tip livingworld26. I think I am going to get one of these kits and find out for myself. After all, it's only $20.

You would think there is a reasonably priced kit out there that will check for everything but I guess not...
API GH/KH (one kit) & Phosphate added to the master kit order and you have all the basics.
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