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Old 11-03-2004, 02:54 PM   #1
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Which Tests/Test Kits/Frequency?

Could you tell me what brand/type of kit you use?
(I have a Fastest kit with Ammo, Nitrite, NitrAte and PH)

What tests you do?

How often you do the tests? Do you have daily v. weekly v. monthly tests that you do?

Are the testing frequencies different during cycling as opposed to running? (I'm early in the cycling stage)

My LFS said that it didn't matter if I used Tap or their water, the end result would be the same, it was just a matter of convenience. From what I'm reading there's more to it than that. How much trouble am I in for with a tank started with Tap? Is there something that I should be testing for that I may have introduced with the Tap water?


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Old 11-03-2004, 03:20 PM   #2
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I started my tank with tap water, and quickly started doing water changes with R/O. If you have naturally soft tap water which is free of nitrates and phosphates, it could be used in a salt tank.

However if you have plans to go with corals, then you'll wanna stick with R/O water. This way, your salt mix and any alk/Calcium supps are making your water chemistry. Weird calcium, alk or magnesium levels in your tap water can cause chemistry problems down the road.

As for test kits: I recommend SeaChem or Salifert brand kits...they are the most accurate you can get without forking over serious cash for Hach or LaMotte brands.
During cycling, your only really concerned with ammo and nitrite...and after the nitrIte spike...you can watch nitrates occasionally. You'll end up doing ammo/nitrite tests daily for a couple weeks.

After cycling, that's when you need to start making sure pH is good and steady. You'll also need an alkalinity test kit (carbonate hardness). If you want to keep corals, you'll need a calcium test kit as well. calcium and alkalinity have a somewhat complex relationship (this thread may help you understand it: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=35749 )...and with stony corals you need proper calcium and alkalinity levels to keep them healthy and growing.
Currently, because I am correcting low calcium levels, I have to test Alk and Ca every day. Eventually, I should only have to test a couple times a week, prior to dosing alk/ca supplements.

Also after cycling, you can cut back to weekly ammo/nitrite/nitrate tests. You'll wanna test phosphates too, because strong lighting and a tiny amount of phosphates will give you cyanobacteria (red slime algae).

Ok, now that I've thoroughly scared you with test kits
You only need to worry about an alkalinity kit and a phosphate kit right now...and even then you don't have to have them until the tank is cycled and you prepare to add fish.

Former advisor and planted tank geek...life's moved on though.
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Old 11-03-2004, 03:31 PM   #3
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Ironically enough I've been watching that thread for the last couple of days, trying to soak it all in (before I know enough to make sense of it all... boy is that tough)!! Our goal is to go with corals when we're good and ready for them so hopefully I'll learn a lot from all of the wisdom imparted on you in that thread.

As for the strong lighting and phosphates... I better get testing. I think I light up my neighbor's front lawn (across the street, lol) if my white lights are on after dark! Hopefully I don't have phosphates to speak of.

The Fastest kits are a real PIA (though easy to read) but I want to know who named them. They're the most difficult and lengthy test kits I've ever used and I've tested ponds, pools and now my aquarium. I figure during cycling I don't need dead-on accuracy as much as I need a general idea of the spikes happening, which I presume I'd see even with a basic test kit.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Phyl is offline   Reply With Quote

ich, test, test kits

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