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I'm getting back into the hobby after a lot of years, and am wondering what the best stuff is for testing these days.

I know I'm going to want to test for specific stuff.
  • nitrate
  • phosphate
  • calcium
  • alkalinity

I have a pH meter and a refractometer already. I'm thinking I'm not gonna bother with ammonia or nitrite if I don't have to. I understand the nitrogen cycle and am okay with taking a month to cycle, unless there have been some "oooh cool instacycle actually works now" developments.

I'm starting with a planted tank first, but will probably get brackish and reef tanks started possibly late this year.

Would appreciate y'all's thoughts: What's my best option here?

I'm seeing these Hanna eggs for a few things. Are they really as great as people make them sound?

Phosphate, in particular, is a question. The last place I lived in, we had phosphates in the tap water. I have no idea if that's true in this house. Do I start with a test kit? Go straight to an egg? Low? Ultra-Low?
 

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I have a Hanna low range phosphate checker (what you call a egg) and the alkalinity meter. I highly recommend both. Easy to use without color charts or guess work. For salt water they also have a calcium checker. I don't know if the calcium checker will work with fresh water.
 
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