Whats the prefered test kit/s? For parameters. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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Whats the prefered test kit/s? For parameters.

I'm asking because I don't know which are best overall tests. Ammonia, ph etc.

I have plants, guppies, and various shrimp. And I had some Amanos molt while a few died. All that died were huge though.
Thank you
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 06:18 AM
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On other forums, the API freshwater master test kit is highly recommended. Personally, I use the sera aqua-test box (Cl) which has more test available specially if you are keeping shrimps & plants.

API freshwater master test kit:
pH
High Range pH
Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate

sera aqua-test box (Cu or Cl):
pH value
total hardness
carbonate hardness
ammonium/ammonia
nitrite
nitrate
phosphate
iron and
copper or chlorine
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Ok thank you. How much does the sera aqua cost?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 07:51 AM
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The Cu version is $83.10 in amazon. I'd prefer the Cu version than the Cl version which costs $87.95 since you will never actually use the Cl test if you're using anti-chlorine.

Costwise, it is still cheaper if you will buy the API freshwater master test kit plus the other test kits separately which will total around $63.31.

API Pros:
cheaper
widely popular
readily available

API cons:
Nitrate test sometimes does not work and you have to shake the bottle vigorously.
GH test expires quickly (same with sera).
not a complete set

Sera test box pros:
An almost complete neat set
No problem with nitrate test
I find it easier to perform and interpret test results

Cons:
Expensive
GH test expires quickly (same with API).
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Wow thats more than I was expecting.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 12:54 PM
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I would just go with the API kit , then purchase a phosphate and KH/GH kit seperately. Most of the tests in these kits are only useful for cycling but they are needed... at first. I never check nitrites nor ammonia once tank is matured. The pH is better measured with a pen, so I don't use this one either. Others find the pH test satisfactory for them. The only one I check frequently out of the master kit is nitrates. I also keep an eye on phosphates, so I consider this test kit important for my high tech tank. For shrimp keeping it's essential to know your KH and GH, so that kit is important. Iron I don't test for. It's hard to get an accurate reading on it, no matter what kit you use. Iron is consumed so quickly when using the right chelate for your pH. (EDTA vs. DTPA) Chlorine is needed by plants in vary minute amounts, but I don't test for it. Calcium is another I don't test for but leave it to my GH booster to supply ample amounts.

I would invest in a tds pen if you are serious about shrimp keeping. I use this to determine when I need to do a water change on my shrimp tanks. On my high tech tank, I use nitrate levels to determine my water changes.

So you have the master API kit for like $20, then add about $10 each for phosphate and the KH/GH kit which brings you to a total of just over $40 with taxes/shipping.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you that is a lot more manageable.

To be honest I know it's bad but growing up we never changed water, that was with just guppies and over filtered

Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-04-2018 at 04:01 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 11:11 PM
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Yeah, I know what you mean. I kept a 20 gallon tall for many years with just a pH kit. I think I may have changed the water twice a year, I just topped off as needed. I used to rinse filter media under tap water every now and then too. Oh no! I never lost a fish to water parameters either... just to my silver tipped shark. lol
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 11:30 PM
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I never buy the master kit as it has things that I don't use and misses some that I DO want. Look at local or shipped combo prices for your area as it varies?
Keep in mind that the kits do age out pretty quickly and there are some which have very little value, like testing for chlorine. Once you know not to use water with chlorine, there is no need for testing the dechlor products are totally reliable--- much more than testing for chlorine so don't bother.
I know what you mean about not testing but I have to believe the guppies were tougher then. We just simply took the tank down and scrubbed it all with good hot water every week without even considering good bacteria!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 12:00 AM
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The pH pen is a great blessing compared to viewing the colors from API kits.

Nitrate API test is fine as long as the directions that know one reads are followed from day one.
Bottle #2 must be "Shaken not stirred" and quite well.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Actually got a lot from that old bloodline. Its just amanos are dying but I don't think it's parameters but I don't know.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 01:01 AM
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Amanos are a hardy shrimp, present lot is 4 years old and almost 2" length.
No death just lots of molting.

Beware they are advantageous feeders.
Eat 80% of Platy fry and tag team for snail removal.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Mine were about 2 inch think they were just old only 2 out of 12 I lost. No ghost shrimp or any other death. Would adding floating plants help save guppy fry?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 02:59 AM
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As Maryland Guppy said a PH pen is great. I was always at the top of the low PH test and the bottom of the high PH test making both of those pretty much worthless. I've used the Sievert nitrate test, it was ok. I never got comfortable with the nitrate until I calibrated the API kit. Now I actually have faith in what I'm reading.
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