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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I have noticed when folks ask about certain testing for ferts i.e. magnesium, potassium etc., I see the same answers....no need.
I have asked about testing potassium and got the same answer...no need.
I am a beginner and I would like to know why most people don't test for important ferts?
I know that Potassium is very important, so why should we not test for it?
Why is it not a good thing to know what our test results would be?
We test our water for what is important for our fish, why not for our plants?
I really don't know what the build up of the ferts are in my tank, (I do 50% WC a week because it is recommended for EI). So, would it not make sense to test and make dosing much easier and take out some of the guess work?
I am a beginner at best and I have been watching my plants. I do not know what looks like a deficiency from[censored] toxicity in my plants. I just know that[censored] sometimes "something" is not quite right.[censored]
While I know that all tanks are different and dosing is hit and miss getting it right, I feel like if I were to test the important parameters I could be little more accurate with my dosing and plant watching. Also, I[censored] would feel[censored] more comfortable about the overall health of my tank and what my plants need at the time, instead of throwing ferts in the tank and hope I am correct in what I dose.
I have read and read, but it is still mostly a mystery to me, but I am trying to learn.
My guess is that some people are more comfortable at guessing or formulating what is needed for their dosing, but I am a beginner that likes to know for sure or close to sure. Maybe it's the noob in me....lol
Also, would I not learn better using tests and having the results to compare to how my plants are growing?
If it is the cost of test kits that people don't test? If it is reasonable, I would not mind.
Is it because it is time consuming? I have alot of it...I am handicapped and my tank is my pass time.
So, with all of this said: (sorry for the long post)...
What do you test in your planted tank?
If you test, what brand and type of testing kits do you use?
My curious mind would like to know :)
Thank you
 

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I am a firm believer in water testing. However, there are no viable test kits available for all water parameters unless you have access to a chemistry lab. In the case of potassium, I do not know any worthwhile test kits. My kit only goes up to about 2 ppm, but at that level I develop small pinholes (classic potassium deficiency) in some of my plants. I now have optimized my potassium levels with no plants showing any deficiency.

I did have an unintended consequence when dosing more potassium. I rotated daily between potassium salts of phosphate, nitrate and sulfate. I eventually developed a phosphate level over 10 ppm. I eliminated the potassium phosphate supplement and now my phosphate levels are about 5 ppm.

I just ordered an iron test kit...my next project.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the reply mredman.
I have the salifert calcium test, salifert silicate and seachem iron. Plus all the other important ones from api freshwater master kit). Plus a TDS meter.
I believe I will purchase the salifert magnesium.
I am looking for Salifert to come back to the US with the potassium kit soon. When it does I am going to purchase this too.
I will feel more comfortable with all the "major" bases covered.
When I become better at "seeing" and "tweeking" doses for good plant health, then I can hopefully not test as much :)
 

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There's a couple sound reasons why people suggest not testing. For one, test kits are highly unreliable, especially potassium. Second, the community has had such success with the EI method that it makes testing irrelevant. EI dosing is done to eliminate any possibility of deficiency, and, since there's no credible evidence of overdosing hazards, there's little need to tweak the full EI dose. I applaud your desire to learn more and understand dosing, but without lab quality test kits, it's a shot in the dark.

Also, 50% of the population (males) is distinctly disadvantaged when it comes to reading colorimeter tests, since our color discrimination is pretty poor


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Hi all,
I have noticed when folks ask about certain testing for ferts i.e. magnesium, potassium etc., I see the same answers....no need.
I have asked about testing potassium and got the same answer...no need.
I am a beginner and I would like to know why most people don't test for important ferts?
I know that Potassium is very important, so why should we not test for it?
Why is it not a good thing to know what our test results would be?
We test our water for what is important for our fish, why not for our plants?
I really don't know what the build up of the ferts are in my tank, (I do 50% WC a week because it is recommended for EI). So, would it not make sense to test and make dosing much easier and take out some of the guess work?
I am a beginner at best and I have been watching my plants. I do not know what looks like a deficiency from[censored] toxicity in my plants. I just know that[censored] sometimes "something" is not quite right.[censored]
While I know that all tanks are different and dosing is hit and miss getting it right, I feel like if I were to test the important parameters I could be little more accurate with my dosing and plant watching. Also, I[censored] would feel[censored] more comfortable about the overall health of my tank and what my plants need at the time, instead of throwing ferts in the tank and hope I am correct in what I dose.
I have read and read, but it is still mostly a mystery to me, but I am trying to learn.
My guess is that some people are more comfortable at guessing or formulating what is needed for their dosing, but I am a beginner that likes to know for sure or close to sure. Maybe it's the noob in me....lol
Also, would I not learn better using tests and having the results to compare to how my plants are growing?
If it is the cost of test kits that people don't test? If it is reasonable, I would not mind.
Is it because it is time consuming? I have alot of it...I am handicapped and my tank is my pass time.
So, with all of this said: (sorry for the long post)...
What do you test in your planted tank?
If you test, what brand and type of testing kits do you use?
My curious mind would like to know :)
Thank you

With a lot of these things there just is no simple way to test for the average hobbyist. Not even sure where to find a potassium test, etc.

But I think you're confusing some ideas. The whole idea of EI dosing (estimative index) is that your estimating what the tank needs and providing an over abundance of those nutrients/ferts/etc. Then once a week you do a 50% water change to ensure you dont "over dose". This whole idea was created so you wouldn't have to test the water. Why bother testing if you're always providing more than whats needed and then "resetting" your levels every week with a water change? You can adjust the EI dosing by "testing" in that you add a little less of X for a few weeks and monitor your plants. If nothing bad happens you can keep dosing at that lower level. If you see something is not doing well you add a little more of X and watch for a few weeks to see if that helps.

There is another method to dosing ferts. I always thought it was supposed to involve testing and then dosing to match your results; but it seems more often than not everyone just follows some formula and basically do the same that those doing EI do in that they monitor the tank and adjust accordingly. Thats the PPS (perpetual preservation system)method which is sort of the opposite of the EI method. Instead of providing too much in the way of ferts and nutrients and then doing the big water change, you provide very little and dont do as many water changes.

Both have worked successfully for many people. The key is to stick to a routine and allow time for change to happen.
 

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There are a lot of different opinions on this. I think different things work better for different people. I have a 125 gal tank. I can test for PH, KH, GH, phosphate, and nitrates in about 10 minutes. As stated there is really no practical test for a hobbyist for potassium. There is not much of a toxicity danger to fish or plants with potassium so the general consensus is that it's not that important to test for it anyway. It takes me a couple of hours to do a 50% water change on this tank minimum. I use RO water for changes so I have to store an ample supply ahead of any water change. That takes time and a bit of effort to accumulate the amount needed.

By testing I can adjust dosing and water change schedule based on the test results. I spend a lot less on ferts than if I were doing EI and a lot less time doing water changes and making and storing RO water. Yes, tests can be inaccurate but by observing plants you can spot problems and adjust. Most tests will get you in the ballpark.

This is what seems to work best for me. Like I said other things work better for others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi all,
Thank you for your replies. Very informative and great discussion!
In EI, which was what I was doing, seemed to cause me some algae problems. I backed off dosing quite a bit and did not change my Kessil lighting, so things got better with time.
Now, I am just wanting to know a bit more of what is in my tank.
I like EI, it is so simple, but the over abundance was what I think was causing my troubles (at least in my 29 gallon).
Maybe one day there will be good tests that I/we could use to take away some of the guess work.
I enjoy testing my tank, it makes me feel good to know that I am doing good for my critters and plants :)
 

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Hi all,
Thank you for your replies. Very informative and great discussion!
In EI, which was what I was doing, seemed to cause me some algae problems. I backed off dosing quite a bit and did not change my Kessil lighting, so things got better with time.
Now, I am just wanting to know a bit more of what is in my tank.
I like EI, it is so simple, but the over abundance was what I think was causing my troubles (at least in my 29 gallon).
Maybe one day there will be good tests that I/we could use to take away some of the guess work.
I enjoy testing my tank, it makes me feel good to know that I am doing good for my critters and plants :)
Hobbies are meant to be enjoyed. Do the things that make you happy!
 
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