test kits? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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test kits?

Are there any good test kits for planted tanks or just best to buy separate tests? And what are some good ones to buy? I haven't bought test kits in many years and back when I was doing saltwater tanks Salifert was what I used. Don't know if they are still a good choice or better options out there.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 11:27 PM
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Api freshwater master

Last edited by sohankpatel; 09-08-2015 at 12:52 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 11:38 PM
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Most people here seem to use the API fresh water Master Test Kit. There are some known problems, for example, with the NO3 test. Calibrate it, and it is accurate once you figure out how to read it.
Add the Hardness (GH and KH) tests.
Once you get into fertilizers people use various iron and phosphate tests.

I also use the 5-way or 6-way test strips. There are some questions about their accuracy.

Here is how I am using the tests:
Write down the results each time you test. Compare newer results with past results. Is there a change? Is there a trend going on?

I also have a Hanna TDS meter (I bought it on line for about $25 including shipping). This is very useful.

Another way to find out more about your tap water is to look up water quality reports from your water company, if you are on a municipal system.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-07-2015, 11:59 PM
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I use, and have for years used, the API Freshwater Master kit. You can get it on Amazon relatively cheap. It's reasonably accurate.

pH pens are also getting cheap, and if you're testing ph frequently, is a bit more accurate than trying to compare color charts.

ANY time you compare color charts, there's a degree of inaccuracy. How much accuracy is needed depends upon what you're testing! For example, when testing an aquarium during the cycling process (when dosing ammonia), 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite are what you're shooting for. In an unplanted tank Nitrates will be through the roof, but you'll simply change the water before stocking. 0 is 0, and is fairly clear on the tests.

When testing nitrates to determine dosing amounts, there's a degree of inaccuracy looking at the colors, and, as mentioned; they need to be calibrated.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 12:27 AM
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testing an aquarium during the cycling process (when dosing ammonia), 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite are what you're shooting for
Actually, during the fishless cycle, while you are adding ammonia, your goal is to keep ammonia and nitrite under 5 ppm. Dose the ammonia to 3ppm once a day. The ultimate goal is a bacteria population that can indeed remove all ammonia and nitrite within 24 hours, so the zero end of the tests is important, but this is the end. You need to test in between levels to know you are dosing the right level of ammonia, and not allowing the nitrite to build too high.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Actually, during the fishless cycle, while you are adding ammonia, your goal is to keep ammonia and nitrite under 5 ppm. Dose the ammonia to 3ppm once a day. The ultimate goal is a bacteria population that can indeed remove all ammonia and nitrite within 24 hours, so the zero end of the tests is important, but this is the end. You need to test in between levels to know you are dosing the right level of ammonia, and not allowing the nitrite to build too high.
You're right! I didn't word that well. I should've said that the end goal is 0ppm after 24 hours. When I do my test 24 hours after dosing ammonia, I don't really need accuracy or care too much about the numbers; per se. I'm looking for zero. Zero is very clear on the tests and when I get zero on both, after 24 hours, consistently for a few days; I'm ready for fish.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 01:39 AM
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As mentioned, the API test kits are quite commonly used and for their price range, their accuracy is reasonable.

If price is no matter, go for LaMotte test kits.

Anthony


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