03-02-2010, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Near San Francisco
| | Re: Need new Test Kit any ideas?
Cheapest are the 5- or 6- way test strips, I have found them at on line stores in bottles of 100 at the best price. They do not test for ammonia. (Separate strips for ammonia are available) There is some question about the reliability of the results. Careful timing and a good light (stand by a bright window) will help. Keep records so you know if the overall trend for each test is changing or holding steady.
More relaiable test kit is the API Master test kit, and also buy a separate box with GH and KH tests.
Cheapest of all, learn to read your plants. Get a good test kit, but do not use it very often. Just often enough that you know nothing is getting out of hand.
If your tank is cycling then you will need NH3/NH4, NO2 and NO3. After the nitrifying bacteria are established you might use the NO3 once in a while, but the NH3/NH4 and NO2 only if something goes wrong.
If you are having other issues, such as changing mineral levels in the water from the water company then pH, GH and KH will be helpful for simple water chemistry problems, and very helpful when you introduce new fish.