thanks to this forum my aquariums are a success!
just wanted to post this to you lot.
after a mini-cycle a couple of weeks ago I finally got round to buying an API test kit ( the liquid one that everyone advises)!
It arrived in the post this morning - i have just done my first tests!
My results were perfect (ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate between about 5-10).
thank goodness the mini-cycle seems to be over although i lost 4 harlequin rasboras and a couple of dwarf cories, although the other seemed to have pulled through. my school of harlequins is now 5, and can only find 3 dwarf cories... but hey, at least i didnt lose them all!
I put this success in keeping my water quality good even without a test kit down to you guys for all the advice you have given me!
so basically, thanks!