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Old 04-03-2018, 03:08 AM   #1
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Water testing

Hi all!

I'm new to acquariums and confused about testing! I've read a lot about it and keep seeing different things about whether to use test strips or liquid. My question is what is the difference between the two and should I use one over the other?

Also how long are you supposed to go between testing? Can I get by without testing, or by getting some automatic testing unit?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:59 AM   #2
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Strips are known to be unreliable .
Liquid is worth the cost. Just order the API master kit online and it is reasonable.
As for automatic test Hanna makes great test for particular parameters. Mostly reefers use the hanna stuff but a freshy could use some of them.
If your tank is not cycled I think you basically need a test kit.
If your tank is cycled and well established you may get by fine without ,but if your fish are trying to tell you something and you don't get it you will wish you had a kit IMO.
The kit is handy to establish a 'baseline' of your water parameters and find out how it changes after you add it to your system.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:14 AM   #3
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Bandit pretty much got it all. +1

Do you NEED a test kit? no... but, you are new to aquarium so the best best is to grab a liquid one such as the API master kit, maybe look into a pH pen, TDS meter and a kH + gH test kit. But generally the API master will do the job for simple tanks.

Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate
pH

These are the biggest parameters you'll want to know/will be asked for if there is an issue.
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:15 PM   #4
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Hello Jack...

Once the tank is established (cycled) and has been running for several months and you've been removing and replacing most of the tank water weekly, no exceptions, you can stop testing. By setting up and following an aggressive water change routine, the water chemistry is always constant. There will be no trace of ammonia or nitrite in the water and the nitrates level is low and steady. Maintain some floating or house plants to keep the nitrogen out of the water between water changes and you're good to go. There's no reason to spend money on testing equipment. Testing strips are good in the mean time as long as they're not expired.

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