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Old 09-15-2006, 08:22 PM   #1
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Testing Water Questions.....

Hey all,


I have a 55g tank that is now almost a year established, with LR and LS, as well as a Sump with Bio Balls, and a Canister filter.


Now that I know the system is established, is there a need to constantly test for Ammonia and Nitrite?

I test for Nitrate once a week, But since Nitrate is the final result of Ammonia, With the system established, I should never have any detectable ammonia, or nitrite right? If my nitrate is 20ppm or less My Ammonia and Nitrite should be well under controll right?

I am just hopeing to illiminate some testing, as all the testing and water changes are very time consuming.

Also I have a digital PH meter, and It says my PH is 8.20, but when i test with the Liquid Test Kit, it *looks* like its about 7.8, I don't want to overdose on the PH buffer if my PH is 8.2.

How do I know which to trust? The Liquid test is really hard to read because the color are soo close together, and are never the exact color, which is why I bought the Digital meter.

Thanks,

-TheChad
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:43 PM   #2
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Re: Testing Water Questions.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChad
I test for Nitrate once a week, But since Nitrate is the final result of Ammonia, With the system established, I should never have any detectable ammonia, or nitrite right? If my nitrate is 20ppm or less My Ammonia and Nitrite should be well under controll right?
Assuming your biological filtration is keeping up with your ammonia load, that seems correct. BUT... if something goes whacko with your biological filtration, and it can't keep up with your ammonia load, you will get an ever increasing ammonia level with a minimal increase in nitrates (right away) since the conversion process isn't balanced. You could get a huge ammonia spike, and not realize it until your biological cycle rebalanced itself and burped out a bunch of nitrates.

I'm new at this myself, but it sure seems like testing for all three insures your cycle isn't broken. If you didn't test and you had something haywire with the nitrogen cycle, dead/sick fish is going to be your only indication.

Those little dip strips seem ideal for this type of testing. I've used some already, and while not that easy to interpret, they will tell you immediately if your levels are near zero - which you want for both ammonia and nitrites. If the strip shows any colors indicating non-zero levels, then you can further test with your favorite test kit.

But then again, I'm new at this so let's see what the gurus chime in with...

Regarding your PH meter... did you calibrate it properly? Seems like many of those require a two-point calibration with standardized PH media. Seems like a big difference between tests.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:29 PM   #3
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It didn't come with any calibration solution, So I ordered some PH 7.0 Calibration Solution, and calibrated with that solution..

-TheChad
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90 Gallon Drilled Glass Tank w/ Corner Overflow: 492w (2x 150w 14,000K MH, 2x 96w Actinic CF) Coralife Aqualight Pro | Custom 34x15x15 Sump/Refugium | SWC Skimmer | Coralife Turbo-Twist 6x UV Sterilizer | Maxi-Jet Power Head w/Sure Flow Upgrade Kit | 120lbs of Live Rock | 100lbs of Live Sand
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Old 09-16-2006, 01:17 AM   #4
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Those little dip strips seem ideal for this type of testing
I disagree. They are actually proven innacurate and I have tested this myself. A liquid test kit is much more reliable.

You may not need to test every week. I guess it depends on your bioload. It is not a bad idea to check every now and then. Better than a dead fish alerting you to a problem.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mike469
I disagree. They are actually proven innacurate and I have tested this myself. A liquid test kit is much more reliable.
I agree that a liquid test kit is more reliable. What I was trying to say in my previous post was that the dip strips seem reliable at detecting "zero" levels of stuff. I've used both strips and liquid to verify, and so far I've never had "zero" levels on a strip turn out to NOT be zero using the liquid test. HOWEVER, if the dip strip says anything other than zero, I go to the liquid test - and trust the liquid test result.
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Old 09-17-2006, 06:39 PM   #6
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How accurate are those constant monitor testers? I believe Seacem makes some, as well as another company... I think they are either 1 or 3 month, and they stay in the tank and are suppose to consistantly monitor the level of what ever it is for (Nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, PH).

Thanks,

-TheChad
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