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Thread: Water Tests

  1. #1
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    Water Tests

    Hi All,

    Just wondering what water tests everyone performs on their tanks. Currently I have been testing Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia and PH since my tank is only a few months old and I am wondering what other test kits would you consider absolutely mandatory and what test kits are less important. (Now I know they are probably all important but if you could only perform 3-4 tests what would they be ?)

  2. #2
    rj
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    Just my opinion here....but unless you see problems with your tank...test kits are a waste of money....having said that I'll quantify...I have mainly sofites in my tank...cal and alk arent really a concern to me staying real high....I use B-Ionic to maintain the levels...when I see a problem I'll try to deduce the problem...and if need be use test kits...

    Haven't had to in over 3 years....

    Your tank will speak to you!


    RJ

  3. #3
    ijo
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    I agree... people seem to test a lot in the begining but soon realize the results don't really change much. I don't test for anything but calcium at this time and only test for ammonia and nitrates if I notice something wrong with the corals.

    I'm not saying don't buy test kits... Its always good to have test kits handy for when you need them. There will be problems in your setup at some time in its life and test kits will help you pinpoint the problem(s).

    IJO

  4. #4
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    I agree with IJO, you should have some test kits handy just in case you see something looking weird in your tank. If nothing else it will calm your first reactions of doing something drastic and really messing your ecosystem up.
    You will get to know your tank inhabitants quite well and when things don't look up to par you can do a test or too.
    Also depending on what type of corals you wish to keep will depict in some way what type of test you will have and consiquently what types of additives you need.
    I would say for starters:
    ALK or PH
    Calcium
    Nitrate

    If your system has cycled fully which I imagine it has you will not need to test for Nitrite, and if you are not having an algae problem Phosphate will probably be pointless as well.

    I only test ALK and Calcium now once a month with the reactor. And Nitrate if things look a little off for more than a few days.
    Best advice I was ever told is nothing good ever happens fast in this hobby. So if you do see something off don't try and do a quick fix or you will set the whole system off balance. Unless of course your animals are in danger.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  5. #5
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    What about water changes ? I've only done about 2 since my tank has been setup... of course all I have for livestock are snails and a a few hermit crabs.

  6. #6
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    I used to do them every 6 weeks, 6 gals on a system with 85gal of water.
    Now I do them every 3-4 months. Only because everything tests zero all the time and when I do a water change some of my brightly colored sps fad for a week or so.
    I figure why stress them out more than needed.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  7. #7
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    I'm also going to echo the above comments. Once the tank is up and running, after say six months, you only really need to test if something looks wrong (don't worry, the corals will let you know). I don't own any test kits, and the few times I've needed something tested, I got our local LFS to do the tests for me.

    As for water changes, I like to do about 10% every month, and at the same time, run carbon for a few days. However, since I've been fighting a fairly bad hair algae outbreak most of the summer, I've upped the water changes to three or four a month to help get it under control. In truth though, the outbreak was probably due to my own laziness for letting the cleanup crew get too depleted.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    well my tank is up and running since may so i guess i am pretty much in the same step as you are now. when our tank is still young, it probably pays to do occasional tests just to see where things are. no doubt after a couple of years you will know your tank so well that you wont need to test. but until you get the right dosages decided and have everything balanced, testing is a good idea. (dont worry, you wont over test because your own laziness will lead you to only test things you feel you must). Personally i have TONS of green hair algae growing on all my live rock (any ideas who would be best to eat it all up?) so i do test for phosphates often to make sure i have it under control. On occasion i test my calcium to make sure it is in the right dosage and i test my iodine also on occassion till i can seem to get it to stay there. if i am bored any my wife is not home i may just do a bunch of other tests here and there just to know that things are right. i happen to be a perfectionist so i like to have everything perfect. As far as wasting your money, well everything here is expensive, and if you have a reef tank then by definition you are looking for a place to burn money, so the test kits can just be anothing thing to buy. I dont do water changes either because i keep my water chemistry balanced with additives and media, so everything is fine. i may do a 5 gal change every once in a while just so i can say i did one (and because i originally filled my tank with tap water the first time - now of course i use RO/DI). I have done maybe 4 water changes since i set the tank up. Best of luck!
    btw, Salifert makes the best test kits in case you were looking to get some.

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