Test Kit and Dechlor Recommendations? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Question Test Kit and Dechlor Recommendations?

I have been out of the hobby for several years and am just starting back up with two 40 gallon breeders.


Initially, I will have plant-only setups while I try my hand at pressurized CO2.


Is there a recommendation of a freshwater test kit? I used to use the API Master Kit and the API GH/KH tests.


I found my local water supply uses chloramine year-round, so cannot age water like I did when tap water contained only chlorine. So was thinking of Seachem's Prime.


Are my tentative choices ok, or should I look for something else?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 02:11 AM
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Welcome back to the hobby.

Im not the greatest on recommendations for what you are asking, but, know who is- Ill tag them:

@Deanna

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Welcome back to the hobby.

Im not the greatest on recommendations for what you are asking, but, know who is- Ill tag them:

@Deanna

Thanks Discusluv!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2019, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantsOrFish View Post
I have been out of the hobby for several years and am just starting back up with two 40 gallon breeders.


Initially, I will have plant-only setups while I try my hand at pressurized CO2.


Is there a recommendation of a freshwater test kit? I used to use the API Master Kit and the API GH/KH tests.


I found my local water supply uses chloramine year-round, so cannot age water like I did when tap water contained only chlorine. So was thinking of Seachem's Prime.


Are my tentative choices ok, or should I look for something else?
Seachem's Prime is a good choice. I use Seachem Safe - it is basically the powder form of Prime. One bottle will last a very long time.

API test kit is ok, though I think the Salifert tests are considered to be more accurate from what I've gathered. I actually just received a set of them yesterday.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 12:31 AM
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API is fine for the basic stuff, usually. At least in our hobby. But for gH & kH, I typically prefer Sera because they're easier to read. Most any brand other than API will be better when it comes to hardness.

If you've got the cash to spend, buy a better kit entirely. But if not, API works well.

Prime is good stuff. But like @jcoulter, I prefer Safe because it's so much cheaper overall. I've been using the same 250g container since 2012 and still have half of it.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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Is Safe easy to dose accurately for maintenance on a 40 gallon tank? With substrate taking up some volume, doing a 25% water change would only be 8 or 9 gallons.

I've used it for ponds, but at 1200 gallons for a single water change, its easier to calculate.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
API is fine for the basic stuff, usually. At least in our hobby. But for gH & kH, I typically prefer Sera because they're easier to read. Most any brand other than API will be better when it comes to hardness.

If you've got the cash to spend, buy a better kit entirely.
Is Sera the 'better kit' then, in your opinion? Or another brand entirely.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Welcome back to the hobby.

Im not the greatest on recommendations for what you are asking, but, know who is- Ill tag them:

@Deanna
The test kits that I prefer are:

NO3: Salifert (good precision in the 5-20 ppm range and easy to use)
PO4 (<=3 ppm): Salifert
PO4 (>3 ppm) : API
K: Easy-Life Potassium (good precision in the 5-15 ppm range)
GH/KH: API (for levels <2 dGH /KH, use 5x the water, then divide results by 5)
Mg: JBL Freshwater Mg
Ca: Elos Aqua (use 5x the water and reagent #1, then divide results by 5)
PH: use a pen such as Apera
Iron: Nutrafin
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Welcome back to the hobby. <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>

Im not the greatest on recommendations for what you are asking, but, know who is- Ill tag them:

@Deanna
The test kits that I prefer are:

NO3: Salifert (good precision in the 5-20 ppm range and easy to use)
PO4 (<=3 ppm): Salifert
PO4 (>3 ppm) : API
K: Easy-Life Potassium (good precision in the 5-15 ppm range)
GH/KH: API (for levels <2 dGH /KH, use 5x the water, then divide results by 5)
Mg: JBL Freshwater Mg
Ca: Elos Aqua (use 5x the water and reagent #1, then divide results by 5)
PH: use a pen such as Apera
Iron: Nutrafin
Hi @Deanna &#x1f642;

I've been curious as to a list like this for awhile now, so thank you!

Can I ask where you purchase most of these? I've checked Amazon for a few, but no luck. I'm particularly interested in the potassium and iron tests.

Would be curious as to the prices of buying each individually vs. sticking with one or two brands like api and salifert.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 12:21 PM
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Don't have a preference for an overall kit. I've used Sera (the large/complete version) kits off and on through the years and I like them a lot. I've got an API Master kit right now and it's fine for me. I primarily keep sensitive shrimp species and oddball fish that generally need specific parameters. Not sure I'd spend the money on Sera's master kit or anything else unless I can get a good deal. Some of them are $100+... that I could be spending on Multiple Tank Syndrome.

I buy Sera's Nitrate only kit when it's on sale because I like its level of accuracy - it's four parts and one of them is a powder. Super-reliable.

But for gH & kH? Sera all the way. No wasting reagent, no squinting and guessing. It just works and the colors make sense. GH reagent goes bad within a year or so (sometimes faster) regardless of the brand you buy. So you'll be able to try a few different brands before the rest of your kit kicks the bucket.

One thing I've noticed this week about Sera's kH kit: Decided to try a bottle of it that I've had for 8-9 years and it works as well as the bottle I got this week. Not sure what's up with the API version but it, after 8-9 years, didn't work. (Had these old bottles in storage and had forgotten about them.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantsOrFish View Post
Is Sera the 'better kit' then, in your opinion? Or another brand entirely.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Hi @Deanna &#x1f642;

I've been curious as to a list like this for awhile now, so thank you!

Can I ask where you purchase most of these? I've checked Amazon for a few, but no luck. I'm particularly interested in the potassium and iron tests.

Would be curious as to the prices of buying each individually vs. sticking with one or two brands like api and salifert.
They are all available on Amazon except the Mg and K kits, which I get from Pro-Shrimp. They are in the UK. It takes a couple weeks to arrive. Keep in mind that, if you have either the Ca or Mg value, you can calculate the other from your GH reading.

As @somewhatshocked mentioned, some of these kits (e.g.; the API GH/KH) do have expiration dates that are printed on the box they come in. I've never tried the Sera kits, so I can't comment on them.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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For those that use Seachem's Safe, is it difficult to dose properly for say 9 or 10 gallon water change on a 40 gallon aquarium?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 02:32 AM
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For those that use Seachem's Safe, is it difficult to dose properly for say 9 or 10 gallon water change on a 40 gallon aquarium?
I honestly don't pay much attention to dosing too much. 1/4 tsp treats 75 gallons... I have a 1/8tsp spoon. I just dump that in, even in my 20g where I only change like 8g of water.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PlantsOrFish View Post
Is Safe easy to dose accurately for maintenance on a 40 gallon tank? With substrate taking up some volume, doing a 25% water change would only be 8 or 9 gallons.

I've used it for ponds, but at 1200 gallons for a single water change, its easier to calculate.
Yes, Safe is very easy to dose safely for a 40 breeder if you buy the tiny measuring spoons. When I am filling my tank back up with tap, I use a Smidgen or 1/32 of a teaspoon, and it works well for me. If you are treating water separately before adding to the tank, a Drop or 1/64 of a teaspoon in a 5 gallon bucket or if you can do 10 gallons at once is good. I love Prime, but Safe is so economical. I do still have a bottle of Prime for even tinier doses.
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