Is it possible to test for macro/micro nutrients in your water? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Post Is it possible to test for macro/micro nutrients in your water?

Hi, I'm new to high tech tanks and am still getting a grip on the bombardment of information right now and want to know if there is a test kit out there that will test for the macros/micros that I will throw in my tank in the future. (potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, etc.)

I know of test kits that will test for KH, GH, nitrate, ammonia, etc. but I think that knowing what the nutrient levels are in my tank would be extremely useful.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 06:10 AM
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Knowing specific levels isn't that beneficial as you can often detect deficiencies through studying plant growth. Most people that run high tech setups look for EI dosing to insure that everything is kept at proper levels. Google search that and read up all you can on that. It has produced great results for me as well as numerous others.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 06:13 AM
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Soil Test Kits

You can try Soil testing kits in the Garden section at Homedepot, Lowes, etc.

Soil test kit includes pH, Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus.

For iron there's a water test kit, but don't know if it's sensitive.

Calcium and magnesium are determined with GdH, but I think API might have a calcium specific kit for saltwater reef setup, same goes for other nutrients.

I would research the range specifics for your plant/fish requirements as you don't necessarily want to be stressed in being strict about maintaining specific (probably unrealistic) values in your tank.

I would definitely invest in a pwrhead and maintain weekly water changes to maintain circulation/dilution of nutrients.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Well I have a 60g aquarium and was going to use EI for ferts, but I looked on the EI charts and it said a schedule for 40-60g and one for 60-80g. Do I have to find the average between those two. Also, I tested different dosing measurements on the fert calculator but the results of estimated ferts were drastically different from the charts (I would have to dose calcium and magnesium plus extra micros on top of plantex). Does this have to do with tap water, or are the charts wrong?

I'm wondering if I need the test kits to help tweak this.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 03:58 PM
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Because it's just "estimation"

And I believe they're all above plant limitation level.
The difference you see are just the rounding out to fit
the coarse teaspoon unit.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 04:11 PM
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Magnesium test kits aren't sensitive enough for the recommended range for planted tanks. Calcium tests are. There is no hobbyist potassium kits that I know of. The iron kits are not that accurate as stated and the rest of the micros are like potassium kits.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
but I looked on the EI charts and it said a schedule for 40-60g and one for 60-80g. Do I have to find the average between those two
Use either one, split the difference, it probably won't matter either way.

As long as you do weekly WC of 50% or more you should be ok.
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