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Old 09-06-2010, 07:56 AM   #1
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How do you use a test kit? Are they like pH strips used in chemistry lab?

Looking at a lot of these threads, I have no knowledge about test kits.

1. How do you determine water parameters with a test kit? Comparing them to a graph, or seeing how many grain particles left in a small measuring cup?

2. Do we need to buy a lot of these test kits? Where is a video that teaches how to use them? Google isn't helping. Our local aquarium store is filled with Chinese aquarium test kits, and I don't know how to read them, so I didn't buy any.

3. Expiration Date. Expiring Test Kits. Are they still correct, even after expiring? Are they "not" suppose to expire, like the pH strips in chemistry labs? Or I'm mistaking something I didn't know along the way?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:30 AM   #2
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1. it depends on the test kit. usually it's a measured powder or liquid added to aquarium water and either held against a color chart, or counting drops until a color change happens.

2. if you want to keep your tank healthy and it be the best environment possible for the life that you are keeping, you need to buy a hand full of kits.
there are companies like "aquarium pharmaceuticals inc (API), that sell complete kits for salt and fresh water i believe, but in my opinion and experience, they aren't the most accurate kits on the market.
they will give you an idea though, for a relatively affordable price.

for your fresh tanks, i think all you would need is ammonia, nitrite and ph.

i don't know of any videos that teach you to use them, but the instructions that come with the kits are pretty easy to understand.

3. yes, i'm told expired kits are to be thrown away.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:58 AM   #3
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API master kit sells at wal-mart for 17.99 anywhere else is $30 plus. there pretty accurate i use them and a handfull of people on this site uses them too
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
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I asked my local aquarium clerk, and he said that I don't have to rely on test kits a lot.

Most of the time, he recommends, I should either change the water, or add anti-chlorine/general tonic into the aquarium tank, and that will be it. The clerk also mentioned that he has done all of these things without using a test kit of any sort for some years and nothing wrong went by.

The clerk adds that, since the test kits here are expensive, they are mostly in purities (like how they would have it in laboratories). And it's not worth the money to obtain one.

Should I rely on information that's halfway across the Earth, or local information? What he said are mostly true, as the kits here either cost 800 NTD to 900 NTD (Compared to 50 NTD for 1 lunch meal.)
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:10 PM   #5
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Should I rely on information that's halfway across the Earth, or local information?
thats a easy one.... what do we have to gain from lying to you vs what do they gain from lying to you?

if we lie doesnt effect us in any way just one less person in the hobby since most people just get frustrated and quit. most of us are here to expand the hobby so not sure why we would try to get people to fail so they quit.....

if they lie to you well..... your fish might die.... you might come in more often to replace the fish spending more money in the shop or sell you a fix it all product again making money.....

while its true once a tank is up and stable and you continue to maintain it you dont need to test that often. when you just setting up is a must though. i would check online to find a test kit you can get shipped to you.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:38 AM   #6
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Hm...not enough money. I will see what I can get from both sources (local aquarium store and other places around the world). If I had more problems, I'll try asking for advice.

Resources here are different than those out there, and it's difficult to compare which is better. If this is put into consideration, are local sources better than the advices given out there?
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:26 AM   #7
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It really doesn't matter where the advice is coming from. It matters if the advice is right or wrong. The LFS here will tell you almost anything to get you to leave with a new tank, equipment, all types of chemical additives, and fish. I'm sure the same is true over there, they are in it for the money.

Forum members on here, like myself, have nothing to gain from telling you one thing or another. We all just want to help spread our knowledge and personal experiences with other like minded people.

When I started my first tank years ago I ended up buying over $100 worth of stuff that I didn't even need. I didn't find that out until I found this wonderful site! After taking the advice from the members here I now have two thriving planted tanks.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:32 AM   #8
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I sure do know what everything here says are true. Anyway, thanks for these advices here in this thread. It makes a good combination.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:56 AM   #9
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How to use a test kit.
YouTube - How to Test Your Aquarium Water | FosterAndSmithAquatics.com
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by meegosh View Post
It really doesn't matter where the advice is coming from. It matters if the advice is right or wrong. ...
Yeah, but...

You have to take in to consideration the economic factors. Like Temp said, resources are different, standards of living are different, etc. Don't forget... we're talking about a different country here. What is "inexpensive" to us - solely because we've been blessed with "disposable" income - can be a very expensive thing for others. Much of our advice is based on opinions, which is always right for our circumstance, but might not be right for others. (Yeah... there are basic right/wrong things out there, like "don't keep corals in 60 degree water"... but you know what I mean!)

Guess my point is that while I don't think there's much argument here about paying for test kits so that you don't end up losing the money you've invested in your tank, if you don't have the money - you don't have the money. In that situation, the best advice might be to roll the dice and hope for the best, and use the money elsewhere. Along that line, if money is that tight, maybe a fish tank isn't even a good use of that money. I know if things got tight in my house, even though I love my tank, it would be one of the first places that would feel the big budget cut!
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