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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Testing

Well I know the normal test that every fish keeper should be doing....ph, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia but what are the others commonly practice with plants. I see that Rex and some others say testing Iron is a waste of money...why is this and is it? So is the only real additional test we should be doing is for phosphate? That and of course are carbon level with a drop checker. I know carbonate hardness is tested by some but once you know what its like in your area you should not need to test as often right? Thanks everyone for looking and possibly posting what they test for.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 10:32 PM
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I test for the basic stuff(ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate). I dont test for anything else unless there is an absolute need(plant die off, fish die off, invert die off).


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 11:53 PM
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Here is a recent thread about the iron tests which may answer your question.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/wa...rops-work.html
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 12:22 AM
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gH and kH are often useful tests to have as many substrates can affect these parameters, plus some fish and plants do better in higher vs lower hardness. Also, a certain degree of hardness is needed to buffer against pH swings when dosing CO2.





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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 01:45 AM
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Honestly, I don't test for anything but nitrates. In an established tank, you'll never see ammonia or nitrites again and pH and kH you only need to test for if you start to inject co2. When the tank is first set up, it is probably a good idea to test pH, kH, gH and nitrates, but ammonia and nitrite tests are a waste of money. Once your tank cycles, you'll never use those two again unless you set up another tank completely. Plus, if your tank is heavily planted, the plants should suck up any nitrogen before it becomes a problem.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 09:42 PM
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"Never" is a tricky word.

Though it's true that ammonia and nitrItes shouldn't be an issue in an established tank, many things can happen to affect the nitrogen cycle in a tank.

Many things can happen just to throw off the bioload, for example; fish/snail reproducation, fish growth, adding new fish, overfeeding, buildup of decomposing matter in the tank (dead fish or buildup in a filter than needs cleaning...)

IMO it's good to have these tests on hand to help diagnose or even prevent all kinds of problems.





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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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The normal stuff is not really in question here for me as my house is full of fish tanks and most full to the brim with healthy fish, most producing fry as breeding is my foremost love in fish.

I was more concerned and asking about what kinds of tests people are doing that are trying to get the optimal growth out of there plants. I am new to keeping plants but not at all new to keeping fish. I see some people posting all these different stats on what the levels are in there water as in regards to nutrients and was just wondering what was most tested for there.

As far as carbonate hardness, I have a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter that I use for my discus water, this works as well as the test kits right? I have not used a test kit for this so I am unsure how it reads out but with TDS meter my tap water here comes out about 120ppm which I mix with 0-2 ppm RO water to make a mix about 30-40ppm which my discus love. So far my first planted tank has been up for a month and the TDS has only dropped about 20ppm as I am not mixing RO into the planted tank. That seemed like a good level for it, should I be mixing RO water in to make it lower or just let it slowly mature as is? The subsrate was Fluorite.

Anyways any tests that you guys commonly do to make sure your plants are growing optimally?

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Oh and thanks Captain for that link to the iron testing question. Hearing it from Tom makes it rock solid baby.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 10:17 PM
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In general, you want some hardness in your water to 1) provide some trace minerals for the plants and 2) to keep the pH from bottoming out when dosing CO2. The recommended degree of hardness is more important for the fish than the plants, however, and a properly calibrated meter is an excellent tool.

Beyond the basics that it seems you already either possess or understand in regards to fish keeping, you'll just need to understand the different fertilization options/philosophies in regards to the macro and micro nutrient needs of plants.

Different people are going to need different levels of ferts etc in their plants depending on the level of lighting and CO2 that is being pumped in; it's a ratio balancing act.





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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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So lots of trial and error as far getting your nutrients in balance. Tweak it and try again. Thank Lauraleellbp.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 08:43 PM
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I used to test nitrates and phosphates a lot. Just to see how my water was, how things developed when not dosing and overdosing. Then over time I tested less, and now those kits are just collecting dust.

I think it is good to test in the beginning to get a better grasp on things, like how fast nitrates and phosphates are consumed, how water changes or heavy pruning affect nutrient levels, etc. After a while you get a pretty good handle on things and testing isn't necessary. I can see my plants react when for ex Nitrates run out, my Wisteria turns from green to yellow, etc.

If you follow EI you don't have to test at all, but I like to keep nutrients on lower levels, and it is important not to let these things bottom out for too long.


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