water testing - help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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water testing - help

I have been using simpl 6 in 1 strips to test my water. What is the most economical, and accurate testing kit to buy? I'm 20 H w/ 2wpg, no CO2 and 55 same deal. These are my first 2 planted tanks. I've had fish previously for many years but didn't do much in the way of maintenance. Of course I wasn't able to keep fish alive for very long. Longest was 3 yrs.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 05:17 PM
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This one should get you started:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...54&pcatid=4454

Otherwise, you can purchase any other ones you think would be necessary (e.g. GH, KH, PO4). HTH
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isu712 View Post
This one should get you started:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...54&pcatid=4454

Otherwise, you can purchase any other ones you think would be necessary (e.g. GH, KH, PO4). HTH
Thanks, that is one I was looking at. I'm too new to know what other things I should be looking at. And if I test it will I know what to do about the test results?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 05:36 PM
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Without CO2, you won't need to measure kH (it is used with pH to determine CO2 levels).

With already established tanks, you shouldn't need to measure ammonia or nitrite.

Without CO2, and with regular water changes, you really won't need to measure the pH.

So, I'd suggest only nitrate and phosphate. With these two you can check on how fast your plants are using them up and figure out when you might need to add a little of each as fertilizer.

Kevin

72g bowfront planted, CO2, 4x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, 2 angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, betta, albino bristlenose pleco, albino cories. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias, java moss and fern, anubias

2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not doing CO2 so maybe I'll just do as you suggested and order the nitrates and phoshpates tests. With an established test, how often should I change my filters? I have a biowheel 400 and an AC 300 on the 55g. I'm also running 2 airstones because I like bubbles. Will weekly water changes be enough? Both tanks are newly planted but the filters for both have been running for a couple of months now.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 07:12 PM
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Sorry KevinC, but I'm going to disagree with you on not needing the ammonia and nitrite test kits. I would go ahead and get them because you will DEFIITELY want them when you experience mysterious deaths or other problems (lets face it, it happens to the best of us). Also, when you change out filter media you need to keep an eye on your ammonia and nitrites to make sure that you didn't get rid too much of the N-cycle bacteria.

My recommendation is the kit linked to earlier and phosphate. If you want to keep shrimp, crayfish or snails then get the GH and KH kits as well, because this stuff is important to make sure that they can form their shells properly. It may seem like a lot right now, but trust me, you will want them soon enough and you'll find your self making several trips to the LFS to round up everything. Plus, they're cheaper online and this way you'll only have to pay for shipping once.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doxikota View Post
I'm not doing CO2 so maybe I'll just do as you suggested and order the nitrates and phoshpates tests. With an established test, how often should I change my filters? I have a biowheel 400 and an AC 300 on the 55g. I'm also running 2 airstones because I like bubbles. Will weekly water changes be enough? Both tanks are newly planted but the filters for both have been running for a couple of months now.
PB
Don't "change" your filters. Just rinse the pad in a bucket of tank water when you do water changes.

Plants offer a number of advantages to a tank. They are great at removing any ammonia and nitrite from the water column if the N-cycle bacteria don't get it first. In fact, with enough stem plants in there you might see your nitrate level go to zero.

Water changes help keep everything in check - keep your fish stocking reasonable and put in lots of plants and you will be fine.

The comment about kH and gH for snails reminded me that I had lots of snails in a tank with 2 dkH and 2.5 dGH (that's soft, poorly-buffered water) with CO2 injection. The pH was usually around 6! The shells were a little eroded at the ends, but the snails had no problem reproducing!

You can probably check your local water company report for the tap water levels (gH, kH) and baseline nitrate levels. If you have mysterious fish deaths, take some water to the LFS for testing - might cost a couple of bucks, but better than buying a bunch of test kits which end up expiring on a shelf under your tank.

Kevin

Kevin

72g bowfront planted, CO2, 4x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, 2 angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, betta, albino bristlenose pleco, albino cories. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias, java moss and fern, anubias

2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 04:26 AM
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IMO a good set of test kits is indispensable- ESPECIALLY when setting up a tank, for all the reasons that Isu712 listed. The water sitting at the treatment plant may be significantly different than the water coming out of the tap for a huge variety of reasons (contamination, water softeners, etc...)

I replace my filter pads every 2 months or so. Mainly b/c there's carbon in there, plus they get dirty enough that just rinsing them in water doesn't de-clog them. I make sure to never change out too much filter media at once, however, as this could trigger a mini-cycle. I never change both filter pads at the same time- I stagger them.

IMO Seachem and API make the best test kits. Stips are useless- drops more reliable (though never 100%) as long as they aren't expired.





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