no fish tank, what water tests do I need - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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no fish tank, what water tests do I need

Hi guys,

I'm wondering what "water chemistry levels" do I need?

something like, oh you need a ph level between 25 and 30, a Nitrate level of 2600 to 2800, and a phosphate level between 0.7 and 1.2

now obviously I just made those up, but the reality is I have NO idea of what I should or should not be testing for.

can somebody clue me in on what an aquatic tank with no fish should be tested for and what are the acceptable levels?

Thanks!

Todd
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 01:42 AM
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0ppm ammonia and nitrite (or the tank is not finished cycling)

Nitrate ranges anywhere from 0-40 ppm on average for planted tanks, depending on tank setup and if you're dosing ferts or not. I try and maintain my nitrates under 10ppm for my low tech setups.

pH on average 6.8-7.2, depending on whether or not CO2 is being injected into the tank (CO2 will "artifically" lower pH readings) Livestock are more affected by pH, gH, and kH than most plants. pH and kH readings can be helpful in determining CO2 levels in CO2 injected tanks.

I personally use this kit: http://www.bigalspets.com/freshwater...-test-kit.html You can invest in more accurate (and expensive) electronic kits, but drop kits are usually sufficient for most hobbyist purposes.





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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks LauraLee,

My local shop only had the API Saltwater Master Kit. As far as I can tell they are the same thing except the Freshwater version has a water GH test. Is that an important test?

Thanks again,

Todd
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 03:02 AM
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Are you doing a fishless cycle? Todd is right. The initial spike in levels is normal when cycling. So, be ready for that and algae. The API liquid test is what I use so it should be fine. Just test your tap water as well to see how it affects water changes.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 03:08 AM
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I'm not a chemist, but I don't think the saltwater and freshwater kits are interchangable?

I usually get mine from Big Als: http://www.bigalspets.com/freshwater...-test-kit.html





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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 03:02 PM
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Are you planning on putting fish into this in the future? Based on the original question I am tempted to say you aren't?

I know the API kits have different color charts for saltwater ph as opposed to freshwater ph. Based on that I assume they are different tests altogether and are not interchangeable. And my API freshwater master kit did not come with the GH test; had to buy that separately!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Hi lksdrinker,

no fish will be in the tank, so I don't think I will ever need to do "cycling"

oh, and I did get a hold of the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I plan to do this this weekend....
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 01:57 PM
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If you dont plan on having any livestock in there then no you wont have to cycle the tank and I'm not sure what you might want to test for or why.

What exactly are you trying to set up?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Hi lksdrinkeer,

I'm setting up a tank just to grow aquatic plants. Once the plants get big enough to "harvest" then I will trim off a leaf or stock or whatever and feed it to my turtle. The turtle lives in a different tank.

so essentially I am learning to be an aquatic plant farmer for a turtle.

my concern with the water's chemistry is that the plants have "good growing" conditions. Just like a farmer growing tomatos (or whatever) I can add various "good" chemicals like Flourish, or add-in some more Flora Max substrate, tap-water conditioner, ph, etc. etc. etc.

so I'd like to learn what water chemistry would be optimal for aquatic plant growing conditions....

thanks so much for your help (and all the help from the others on this thread)

Todd
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 05:11 PM
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Oh- I'd totally misread your thread title! I thought you were asking what kits you need to do a fishless cycle once you get your first tank!

The question you're *really* asking (now that I understand it lol) is going to be determined by what fertilization philosophy/strategy you choose. There are probably more philosophies and strategies related to how to grow healthy aquatic plants and avoid algae than anyone could even count LOL

One of the strategies that is really popular on this forum because it allows for very rapid and lush plant growth while just about eliminating the need for constant testing and monitoring of fert levels is EI (Estimative Index) developed by Tom Barr (aka plantbrain). Another really popular strategy is PPS Pro. I'd encourage you to spend some time in the Fertilizers and Water Parameters forum here to start reading up (check out the stickies).





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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjurhs View Post
Hi lksdrinkeer,

I'm setting up a tank just to grow aquatic plants. Once the plants get big enough to "harvest" then I will trim off a leaf or stock or whatever and feed it to my turtle. The turtle lives in a different tank.

so essentially I am learning to be an aquatic plant farmer for a turtle.

my concern with the water's chemistry is that the plants have "good growing" conditions. Just like a farmer growing tomatos (or whatever) I can add various "good" chemicals like Flourish, or add-in some more Flora Max substrate, tap-water conditioner, ph, etc. etc. etc.

so I'd like to learn what water chemistry would be optimal for aquatic plant growing conditions....

thanks so much for your help (and all the help from the others on this thread)

Todd
The clarification really helps! But unfortunately I know squat about fertilizers and cant offer any advice in that regard. Looks like others have the info you need though! I'd be interested to see how this turns out and good luck.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2014, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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off to read about EI....
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