new to testing water parameters... help needed

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by fishanatic, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    hi everyone.

    so i am quite ashamed to say this but i have never tested my water. i am not new to fish keeping either.
    i am currently running 3 tanks. a 1 foot; 1.5 foot and a 2 foot.

    while everything might seem fine i am quite aware that my tanks are probably overstocked or that there may be other issues as well.

    i have made the decision that i want to start doing things the right way. this may lead to getting bigger tanks or maybe even re-homing some of my fish.

    i feel that the first step towards doing anything would be to purchase a test kit.

    with regards to test kits... do you only get the ones that have strips? i have seen the lady at my local fish store using a device which she just holds in the water and it then generates readings...

    i would like for everyone to give me their input. i am looking for something which will give me the most value for my money as well as accurate results
     
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  3. Fishlips

    Fishlips

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    I dont test my water either.
    Doesnt bother me or my fish.

    But i do big water changes weekly and observe my fish behaviours.



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  4. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @Fishlips i guess i feel the same way. but i recently started losing fish in my 2 foot tank and i guess that made me feel as though i do need one now.

    another reason is that my platies have been giving birth a lot. you know how live bearers can be. so my tanks are filling up fast. i would like the test kits so that i know exactly when it would be time to upgrade. that and i would also like to started experimenting with real plants?
     
  5. Fishlips

    Fishlips

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    I say get api

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  6. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @Fishlips API seems to be the winner from all the research I've done.

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  7. Fishlips

    Fishlips

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    Its more expensive but i think its most acurate.
    Will have to invest in one once my fishroom is done

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  8. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @Fishlips have you called it quits with the tubs outside? Did the storm not affect your fish room at all?

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  9. Fishlips

    Fishlips

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    Did setup a guppy tub again on a different spot.

    Fishroom is still standing, but my tiles got ruined, pulled them out, decided that im sticking to raw cement floors instead.

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  10. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @Fishlips Nice. I'm actually breeding blue Mickey mouse platies at the moment.

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  11. Fishlips

    Fishlips

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    Saved 2 platties from outside, they are in my 5 ft with guppies now, so sooner or later i will have platties in that tank too

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  12. BoelderBeestie

    BoelderBeestie

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    @fishanatic Testing is the way to go. Just don't fiddle with the ph with chemicals, the fish handle stable ph better than ph swings, I leave it alone. If it does start to go low you can add a buffer like coral chips in the filter and do a WC. It will make the ph drop slower and stabilize. Also remember that with soft water the ph test strips are useless.

    It will say its 3 or 4 even after a WC with soft water but that's impossible. So if you get a crazy reading and your water is very soft don't worry about it, it's not your true ph. You need a digital probe to measure in soft water.

    I only test for nitrates now as all my tanks are well cycled, when it reaches 20ppm mark its WC time. This gives you a good indication of how frequent your WC's will be and to what you want to drop it too.

    On my RCS planted nano I try and keep it between 15-20ppm with small changes where on my fish only tanks as low as possible with bigger changes.
     
  13. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @BoelderBeestie thank you so much for your response. what brand of test kit do you use? i have started looking around and have not yet got prices on the API kit. i found the tetra 6 in 1 which i feel is rather pricey and then the sera 5 in 1 which seems reasonable

    in your opinion would you say it is better to get the all in 1 or rather just separate kits for each element? keeping in mind of course that i am new to all of this.

    what is your view on using the chemicals for nitrates and nitrites? obviously nothing would be as good as a water change but are they any good?

    also would i be able to use these readings as an indication as to whether my filter is enough for my tank of if i would need something with more media for bacteria?

    thanks again
     
  14. BoelderBeestie

    BoelderBeestie

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    I use the sera all in one as it shows nitrate and nitrite which were what I needed to check when setting up my tanks. It also shows you the hardness of the water. So if its on the soft side you know your ph reading won't be correct. They are not 100% accurate but close enough to see whats going on.

    If you get a nitrite readings and your tank has been running for more than a month or so then your filter need more biomedia or is just to small and underpowered to do the job.

    a Waterchange and adding prime will help to get everthing down a notch. I add seachem stability if I get nitrite readings while cycling a tank and also when I see nitrite again before the tank settles down and livestock has been added.

    Don't screw around with ph altering chemicals you will just deplete your water's bufferig capability and crash the tank.

    In the end all you want to see is a nitrate buildup and do waterchanges when it reaches 20ppm.

    Test your tap warer too. You want to know if its hard or soft. It should come out at around 7-8ph.
    Let is sit for 24hours and test again. If it went down just add a small amount of coral chips to the tank or filter. This gives you a buffer to keep the tank ph from dropping to much. Each tank is defferent when buffering so you will have to experiment. Doing it like this is safe as changes are slow not instant and it gives you a reason to play with your test kit haha.
     
  15. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @BoelderBeestie thank you so much. looks as though i will be heading the sera route.

    will try to purchase it as soon as i can and start with the tests then see where it goes
     
  16. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    What does the water smell like?

    If fishy, then it is time for a WC. if like green grass and planted you are all good.

    Well that is how I work ;-)

    Later Ferdie
     
  17. BoelderBeestie

    BoelderBeestie

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    @f-fish. For me too haha. Was fun to see it with a kit though. Love that earthy smell.
     
  18. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @f-fish @BoelderBeestie lol and here I was thinking it was just a joke

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  19. Lanner

    Lanner

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    I invested in a Sera master test kit after I ran into problems the test Strips couldn't detect,like ammonia and heavy metals since then haven't lost a fish in any of my 30 + tanks It's expensive but worth every penny

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  20. OP
    fishanatic

    fishanatic Tales of the sword

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    @Lanner I didn't know sera made a master kit. Only knew about the 5 in 1 test.

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  21. BoelderBeestie

    BoelderBeestie

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    They are expensive. Over a K. @fishanatic you will learn what all the different phases of a cycle smell like and with the kit you can see whats causing what smell. I can smell trouble a mile away so to speak hahaha.
     

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