Originally Posted by mindnova
Are test strips the best bet or sensors and probes?
If I was starting from scratch can you give me a list of what I need to buy for testing?
Where do you buy your test equipment and why?
Where do you buy your chemicals for adjusting the water.
As @hoppycalif stated many do not test water unless starting up a new tank and cycling.
Sensors, probes, and liquid/titration(API) style tests are better than strips.
I will not tell you what you need, but will share what I use.
API test kits for NH3, NO2, NO3, Ca, PO4, GH, and KH.
Vendor of your choosing look for best pricing.
A pH & TDS pen style tester, sold usually as a pair, Ebay & Amazon etc... $18ish.
TDS pen style testers last a long time just an occasional battery.
pH pen style testers might make 2 years before accuracy begins to diminish.
I do not adjust my water, I am lucky that tap water for me will work for plants and fishes.
Fertilizer/compounds are another story.
I use NilocG.com for fertilizers.
Only purchasing dry individual compounds and mix my own macro & micro bottles.
Unless I an cycling a new tank or notice a problem I am only testing PO4 maybe every two weeks.
This is only to ensure 1ppm of PO4 is always available to plants.
Low tech tanks get an every 10 day fert dosing, hi tech tanks get 4 doses a week.
Once a month I pick 1 tank and do the entire testing group.
Then record this in my journal, just to know how things really are.
Have captured a calcium deficiency 3 times in this manner.
Hope this helps in some way!
Any questions, please ask.