Test kit needed for planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Test kit needed for planted tank?

I have the usual API kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and PH. Should I also be testing other water parameters for my tank? If so, which kit should I get?

I have a low tech 30 gallon dosing ThriveC and Excel.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-14-2019, 11:57 PM
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Other parameters that you could monitor include: kH, gH, phosphate, iron, though the last 2 might not be absolutely required.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:44 PM
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I agree with @Darkblade48 - I'd definitely recommend testing GH and KH. Those two provide much needed info in determining what action is needed in order to have thriving plants. GH will tell how much of the combination of Ca and Mg is present (plants need some of each in order to thrive); and KH will tell the carbonate hardness, which will determine how much buffering capacity the water has to prevent PH swings. Ideally for plants, dGH should be around 3-6, and dKH can be anywhere between 1 and 10. Just keep in mind that the higher the KH, the less of an effect the Excel will have.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks this is great information!

So if my levels are not within range how are adjustments made? Would this be my nutrient/fertilizer dosing?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by aquaticaddict View Post
Thanks this is great information!

So if my levels are not within range how are adjustments made? Would this be my nutrient/fertilizer dosing?
It really depends on what parameters need adjusting, and which way (more/less) they need to be adjusted.


Adding more of something is always easy; trying to remove it from your water usually involves more expensive methods (such as using reverse osmosis water, etc)


In general, it's less troublesome (and cheaper), to just livestock that will work with your water parameters, unless you want to go out of your way to accommodate particularly demanding livestock
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by aquaticaddict View Post
Thanks this is great information!

So if my levels are not within range how are adjustments made? Would this be my nutrient/fertilizer dosing?

You're welcome



Test and let us know what the results are. We can guide you from there...
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome thanks!

I just ordered the API GH & KH test kit.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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So I finally did my water tests...

KH = 6 drops or 107.4 ppm
GH = 8 drops or 143.2 ppm

It looks like my GH may be a little high. How does this affect plant health?

These were taken about 6 days from my last water change. I'll test again this weekend after my water change and see if anything improves.

Thanks!

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 04:57 AM
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If you are using high light and co2 then you'll absolutely need the following:

Co2 checker
Ph
Gh
Kh
Nitrate
Phosphate
Calcium (api test works even though it says salt water)
Iron (I suggest the Hanna test kit as the api ones don't seem to work)


My gh and kh are around 8-13 on most days depending on when I changed my water. The important part is not that they are that high, but that they are in the correct proportion of calcium and magnesium for the gh: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...g-calcium.html

If you look at the dosing threads for high tech plants in this same sub forum, you will see that people are aiming for 20ppm of nitrate and 5ppm of phosphate with 30ppm of co2 with high light (60+ par at tank floor). People usually don't test for it, but you'll need around 15-20ppm of potassium too. However, that already comes form potassium nitrate (for 20ppm of nitrate) and mono potassium phosphate (for 5ppm phosphate). However, you'll need to dose potassium sulfate if you skimp on either of those, say if your tank already prodcues enough nitrates from fish waste alone.

If all of this is over your head and you are running a low light, non co2 tank, then I'd still recommend everything above because at some point you are going to have issues and will need to test everything to see where you ppm's stand. Tanks don't live forever without human intervention, but low light tanks can go a very long time without major issues besides diatoms here and there.

Finally, use this site to figure out how much to dose to hit X ppm: https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php. Just be aware that this site will think you need to reach say, 5ppm of nitrate instead of 20ppm, so you need to multiply accordingly. Low light? The targets at this site are fine then.
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