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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m in the final stages of planning for a 110 gallon planted community tank. I want it to be ‘low tech’ Walstad style, but I’m a data nut and I also want to monitor some key levels. I’m definitely looking at temp and PH. I was also thinking about ORP, TDS and maybe ammonia/nitrate etc. Any suggestions for parameters to measure? And recommended devices to do the measurement? Thinking the ApexEL to make it easy and cloud connected, although a micro pc/raspberry pi- based could work too. Thoughts? Am I mostly crazy or just a little crazy for wanting to monitor that much while keeping it low tech/low maintenance?
 

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This sounds interesting. I was thinking about this too and I have a low tech, low maintenance tank. But I waa wondering how I can monitor the temperature, ph, tds, etc., constantly so that I can just look at an app or something without going to the tank. It might be a lot of work at first, if there's no app out there, but it'll be so nice just to look at your phone or get notified if something is off.

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From the standpoint of economics, most of your testing is going to be with hobby-grade reagent-type kits. you don't need to worry about ORP for planted tanks, but TDS is useful, particularly when acclimating new fish.

My preferences:

NO3: Salifert (saltwater (Profi) version - good precision in the 5-20 ppm range and easy to use) and Sera (good for clear separation between 10 and 25 ppm)
PO4: Hanna low-range colorimeter (highest precision) or Salifert. Note: for both, above 3ppm, dilute 5:1 with RO or distilled water, then multiply result by 5. API kit is good above 3ppm
K: Salifert (good precision up to, at least, 50ppm), JBL is acceptable
GH/KH: Salifert (modified: use 5x the water, then divide results by 5) - API and Sera unreliable QC experiences
KH: Hanna colorimeter (used mainly at very low KH levels, such as <1 dKH and where higher precision for CO2 determination is desired) or Sera and API (modified: use 5x the water, then divide results by 5)
Ca: API (modified: 50 ml sample water, add 20 drops of reagent #1, each drop of reagent #2 = 2ppm)
Mg: easily derived from the formula: (GH ppm – 2.5 x Ca ppm) / 4.1
Iron: Nutrafin (may be labeled under the Fluval name)
Total ammonia: Salifert
pH: use a pen, such as; Apera PH20 or Hanna
Never use test strips.

This is a compendium of what the most testing that that might be done, you will have to decide how much you want to do but, if you say you are a "data nut", you probably won't be happy unless you can, at least, do all of these tests and, gradually, you will find which ones will be more or less useful to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
but it'll be so nice just to look at your phone or get notified if something is off.
Exactly! Remote/ongoing monitoring. Then when something doesn't look right (sick plant/fish) I have a log and can see if anything was off. Also the monitoring of equipment performance (really power loads) in the Apex is nice too.

you don't need to worry about ORP for planted tanks, but TDS is useful, particularly when acclimating new fish
That confirms what I had suspected from other readings, thanks. I was thinking ORP mostly because the Apex has a probe for that and it's a proxy for the number of dissolved solids (likely metals/ions etc) that would increase ORP. I know that ORP is more important for marine/saltwater, but still something that in theory could be looked at.

Thank you for that exhaustive list!
 
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