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Hello all,

I have quite a bit of questions if anyone has the time about testing water in a freshwater aquarium. I just got the API master test kit that test the following:

pH
Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate

I'm wondering what else I should I be testing for. I have a 10G tank that is planted and a 55G tank that I am planning on planting (I have organic potting soil in it already though).

I read that I should be testing for kH and gH as well. Is this true?


Should I be testing for chlorine?

Also, in my 10G I would like to have a way to test for co2 levels. I'm running a DIY system right now, Just got it set up, but I guess I should know the levels so that I don't suffacate any fish when I put them in there.

How can I test for co2?

I'm only running Leaf Zone for fertilizers, but I'm looking into E.I. Should I be testing for fertilizers?


When testing for ammonia or nitrite or nitrate is says to wait for 5 minutes. If I wait longer than that is it bad or should I be comparing right at 5 minutes?

Last question: When it comes to cleaning the test tubes, how should I go about doing this?

I just want to say thanks in advance for anyone who can take the time to help me out a bit. I appreciate the help a lot! I have quite a bit of questions (I guess I'm needy lol). Anyways thanks again and I look forward to when I can help others by answering question!
 

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I read that I should be testing for kH and gH as well. Is this true?
It's not critical but they are quite cheap so I would. A rough estimation of CO2 can be calculated if you know the KH and PH as well. However, I wouldn't rely on this method for CO2 levels. This is dependant on carbonates being the only buffer and this is not true 99.9% of the time. It's better to use this to track stability of CO2 levels. Testing KH for drop checkers can be done as well (see below).

Should I be testing for chlorine?
No. Dechlorinate your water if it's chlorinated. Simple as that.

How can I test for co2?
A drop checker gives a close approximation to CO2 levels. If you obtain one make sure you use water that is 4dKH otherwise it won't be accurate. There are many that say to use tank water. This is NOT true!

Should I be testing for fertilizers?
Only Nitrates and phosphates are cheaply done. That's all I have ever used. Once you become accustom to planted tanks testing water will be rarely done in an established tank.

When testing for ammonia or nitrite or nitrate is says to wait for 5 minutes. If I wait longer than that is it bad or should I be comparing right at 5 minutes?
Read the chart at 5 minutes. It does change.

Last question: When it comes to cleaning the test tubes, how should I go about doing this?
I've always rinsed them in hot water after each test. Others use small bottle brushes.
 
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