testing beyond the standard API kit... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Question testing beyond the standard API kit...

Is there a kit for testing things like water hardness, and levels like potassium, iron, etc? I just have the regular API kit for pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, and I wonder what else I should be checking? What are some of the other important things I should be testing for my fish & plant's well being?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 02:42 AM
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How are you dosing ferts, why do you think you need to test for iron, potassium? You can test for hardness if you think you need to, but here in st.louis we have pretty good water.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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I'm just wondering what other things people test for and why. Does water hardness effect fish or plants, for instance. I don't dose ferts at all, and I wonder if there is a way for me to find out if I need to, or do you just guess based on how the plants look? I see people giving stats on their tanks that go beyond the basics i can do with my API kit...

I should add I have all low light/low tech tanks, no added Co2.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:01 AM
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Is good to test for GH and keep it above 5.

In the beginning is good to test to learn and understand while the green thumb develops until you are able to tell by looking at the plants.

There is methods that overrule testing by resetting the water parameters to an optimal level like the "estimative index". Dosing extra nutrients and extra co2 to avoid plant deficiencies, and regular water changes to reset levels and avoid build up.

Are you just curious or planning something? What do you have?



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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Just curious at this point - I'd like to optimize my tanks as much as I can without adding Co2, so I am learning (finally! lol) about the balance between light and Co2, livestock levels and water parameters, etc.

Right now I have a 125g tank as well as a 40B and two 29s set up, and two 55s to follow (as well as the small QT tank), but I seriously need to add more plants. I've been very fortunate to connect with a couple of members here that have been super helpful and generous with the plants - now it's a balancing act to find plants that do well in my light/water conditions, as well as plants my fish won't eat. I have some plant chompin' fish! lol I'm keeping those fish in the 125, so I can experiment in the other tanks more. I'd like to have a more detailed understanding of what my water conditions are and what nutrient deficiencies look like, so I can start making intelligent decisions of adjustments needed when that time comes (rather than random-hope-for-the-best decisions).

Also, as I start restocking my tanks, I would like to group fish together by their pH needs and such, beyond just species compatibility. I was thinking fish had hardness preferences, but I may be wrong on that.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 03:47 AM
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Just find fish and plants for the right ph and like pejerrey said start testing gh and keep it above 5. I only test ph and try to keep plants and fish in my range but my tank is high tech and I dose EI. So my plants grow like wild fires.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 05:09 AM
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No co2, low light tank. I've never cleaned the glass! Lol... Ok maybe once.

I dose 1-2 drops of PPSpro daily but sometimes I forget for like a week or so. I change one or two gallons of water like every 4 months.

"inert" substrate akadama drl.

I tested for everything the first couple of months until I realized the tank metabolism. Then I have tested only when something seemed wrong or out of curiosity or I was bored.

One thing tho, I don't keep fish any more because they are too much mess. Only shrimp, they are constantly manicuring the plants and I have to feed them very little.

Filtration is a planted HOB and an eheim 2213 canister running a DIY UGF.

I hope this info is useful because I had a cramp on my thumb! Lol!

My point is, figuring how to have a tank running with the least input and maintenance is achieved by observing and measuring. Once you figure it out, then you can adjust to the minimum requirements.

Trying to force a tank to be low maintenance having a lot of feeding going on is kind of frustrating.

I would be measuring your weekly build up of no3 and po4 to know how much the plants eat vs how much the fish waste gives them. Then you can regulate your growth (to consume the waste) by adjusting co2 and light to keep a stable water quality and diminish the water changes thus diminishing the parameters swing.
Less fish, less light, less work.


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