What Test Kit Do You Use? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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What Test Kit Do You Use?

hi guys ..
what test kit(s) do you use?
i would like to buy a kit that is testing for more of whats specific to planted tanks if possible but dont have a clue.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 03:41 AM
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API master kit, I also have their GH/KH test kit.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 03:52 AM
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+1^
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 04:57 AM
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+1, API Master Test Kit + GH, KH

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 05:31 AM
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If you are doing planted tanks then you need GH,KH,Phosphate, Nitrate and PH test kits.

Ammonia and nitrite is probably needed at the beginning when you are cycling the tank but the other kits are needed when you are dialing in your ferts.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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thank you for the feedback guys ...
i actually own own the api master test kit mentioned BUT i guess what i need to know is what are the GH, KH, Phosphate kits you use? what test kits are available for us to monitor / control the water chemistry where the focus is on the elements that are important to a PLANTED tank.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 02:27 PM
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Those are all you need for a PLANTED TANK!!!

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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the GH, KH, Phosphate kits you mean?

if so - okay - which ones?? where do i buy? is there a brand thats trusted over another? can i buy it a a pharmacy? online? 99 cent sore? petco? petsmart?
c'mon guys a little help here ...
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luky View Post
the GH, KH, Phosphate kits you mean?

if so - okay - which ones?? where do i buy? is there a brand thats trusted over another? can i buy it a a pharmacy? online? 99 cent sore? petco? petsmart?
c'mon guys a little help here ...
API, API, & API...

Local fish store, or on line.\\Avoid the test strips.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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thank you for the help so far guys ...
so from what im seeing - theres three separate kits ...
1 - the one that i already have : the api master freshwater test kit
2 - the api gh / kh test kit
3 - the api phosphate test kit

i believe that covers everything right there correct?
also - i was thinking that there was a kit that covered them all as opposed to three separate kits, hence all the confusion on my part.
thanks again all.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-19-2014, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luky View Post
thank you for the help so far guys ...
so from what im seeing - theres three separate kits ...
1 - the one that i already have : the api master freshwater test kit
2 - the api gh / kh test kit
3 - the api phosphate test kit

i believe that covers everything right there correct?
also - i was thinking that there was a kit that covered them all as opposed to three separate kits, hence all the confusion on my part.
thanks again all.
Yes that's the break down, though it is possible to buy the individual tests in the master kit as well.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-19-2014, 03:40 AM
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I use the API freshwater master kit, API KH/GK and phosphate added on, as most above have said.

I also use a Salifert nitrate test, as the API nitrate test gives me absurdly high numbers for my tap water (which is a major metro municipal supply), while the Salifert has believable results. Someday soon when I have the time I'm going to make a calibration solution set and get to the bottom of it.

Salifert is technically a reef-tank oriented brand, but this test does not seem to be affected by the absence or presence of salt. (I ran a pair of tests on samples of the same water, but one sample was saturated with kosher salt and decanted prior to testing. Both got the same result.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 02:32 PM
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Nobody uses the Seachem iron test kit?
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 03:31 PM
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Personally, I don't see much point in that test.

I don't even use the phosphate test all that much, but it can be helpful as there are non-fertilizer sources of phosphate that can be quite significant, and plant uptake is somewhat substantial. In particular fish food/waste, and phosphate buffers (if used by your water supply) can add phosphate to your tank.

There's only a very tiny amount of iron in fish food, so most of the iron in your tank is going to be from fertilizers. Thus, you should be able to predict water concentrations fairly easily using the petalphile calculators.

The only thing the iron test would help you with is quantifying plant uptake. However, iron is a micronutrient, so it is used by plants in comparatively small quantities compared to N,P,K, and even S, Mg and Ca. It may be the most used micronutrient, but it is still a micronutrient.

This analysis is for farm crops, but the charts should give you a general feel for plant nutrient use, based on what they end up containing in their leaves...
http://www.extension.umn.edu/agricul...-FS-3176-1.pdf

Note that 100ppm is 0.01%, so you can use that when comparing the numbers in the micronutrients vs macros and secondaries.

edit:
Perhaps if you are running a specialized tank where iron levels are critical and demand is high, this might be worthwhile. However, for a common run-of-the-mill tank this is probably getting a bit more detailed than you need to.

Last edited by mattinmd; 10-20-2014 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Added note on possible uses.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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hi mattinmd!! thank you for your las post here. i totally overlooked it and never saw the notification in my inbox. i really do appreciate the feedback!

hey guys, so my test kits came in. im ready to perform my first test of the gh / kh and phosphate tests.
is there a guideline to follow on what / where certain levels should be? should i just post results here and leave open for interpretation / feedback?

***ALSO im due a for a big water change today. should i perform the tests before or after the water change?

thanks again all!
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