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Old 09-22-2018, 09:33 AM   #1
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Test kits for water nutrients

I'm trying to get my tank back right after letting it sit for months relatively unmaintained (so to speak, but not completely). While I still have many of my plants and fish still going with few ill effects from my neglect, I do need to test my water and see what I need to make it exactly what I need. ...so my greatest question will be what test kits do I need to test for my nutrients, so I can manage the ecosystem in this box correctly for the plants vs just dosing stuff? ...or more specifically, what do I need to test for?


Currently, using those Tetra 5 in 1 test strips:

Nitrates: OMG! (as in "are you sure this test patch is supposed to be this color?)

KH: 150
Alkalinity: 80-120 range
PH: 8.4+


Obviously, I'm going to be changing some water for awhile. I just need to know how to test for the parameters I will be trying to hit. I will be trying to grow some water wisteria, scarlet temple, crypts, and a variety of other plants in a community tank once I get the water straightened out. Haven't had much luck keeping the red plants red, though I have a 175 metal halide over a 30 gal. tank (24 inches above bottom, somewhere about).
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:17 PM   #2
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Update: my test strips are shot, so I'll have to get some new ones. ...though another thing I found of them says my nitrates are fairly low (maybe 10PPM)
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:41 PM   #3
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I'd personally recommend getting a liquid test kit. The API Master Kit is affordable for what you get. You can do hundreds of tests with it. The paper strips are notoriously inaccurate. Beyond that, I don't have any advice on targeting testing. Hopefully someone else can chime in.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:47 PM   #4
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When I was running my high tech tank, during the cycling process I would monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Later i would only measure nitrate and phosphate occasionally to see if any adjustments were needed to the fertilizer routine. I also monitored the pH when making adjustments to the CO2 tank.
In my cases I would keep the nitrate between 10-20 and phosphate between 5-10 (yes, pretty high).
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:01 PM   #5
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pH - Nutrient availability and CO2 concentrations
kH - Carbonate hardness and CO2 concentrations
gH - General hardness -- Ca and Mg (plant secondary nutrients)
TDS - Good reference for dissolved solids (fertilizers)
NO3 - For N - Plant macro nutrient - I shoot for 20-40ppm
PO4 - For P - Plant macro nutrient - I shoot for 8:1 NO3:PO4


All liquid (pH pen and TDS pen from amazon)

rotalabutterfly.com for simple maths and calculations.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:49 PM   #6
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I test nitrates and phosphate mainly. Potassium kits were expensive, I should see if others out there now.

Ph I do get from the ph probe but itís CO2 injected anyways.

Fe and Cu I donít find useful. Ammonia worth testing after adding say substrate tabs as a check.
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