Testing strips arent reliable. They are ok, i use them occasionally as a quick dip and check when i cant be bothered getting the liquid test kit out. An issue with 5 in 1 strips is they dont test for ammonia which is the first parameter to be off. If you want a recommendation on a test kit, then get the API FW
master test kit. It covers what you need (pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate), is accurate enough for what you are using it for, and as you get 100s of tests from the kit is more cost effective long run than strips. At the very least you need something that measures pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Onto your parameters. 100 to 200 nitrate is high. This is a sign you are either overstocked or arent doing enough water changes. Or possibly you are starting with high nitrate from your tap water. Can you confirm how many fish you have, of what species and in how big a tank? What is your normal water change schedule? How much? How often? Will also be useful to know your tap water nitrate too.
Im going to presume you arent having an issue with ammonia or nitrite because you are seeing high nitrate. The nitrate would indicate you are cycled and the ammonia and nitrite are being cycled out. But in due course i would get this confirmed through testing.
Your water hardness. Hardness has 2 units of measurement. Degrees of hardness (°GH
) and ppm
. You havent specified which your test kit measures in. If its degrees then you have very hard water, if its ppm
then its very soft water. Given your pH i would infer its degrees and you have hard water. Water hardness isnt really something you should worry about unless your fishes health are noticably being effected by it.
pH. Again this isnt something you really need to be worried by unless you are seeing health issues which can be put down to pH. Most of the commonly kept fish are adaptable to a wide range of pH and its more important that you maintain a steady pH rather than what you perceive as being ideal. If you get your fish locally then they will likely have been born and raised in similar water to what is coming out of your tap. Fill a jug with water, leave it over night, test for pH, see how it compares with what's in your tank.
Chlorine. If you are using a water conditioner when you add water to your tank you will have no need to test for it.
If you changed your filter you will likely have crashed your cycle, but your nitrate is high which suggests you havent. You cant test for ammonia and nitrite so its difficult to know for sure.
For now i would like to see what further information you can provide based on above post. Change 25% of the water, and then change another 25% a few hours later if possible. And change 25% every day until you can test for ammonia and nitrite to ensure these levels dont elevate without you knowing.