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Hey guys I am getting ready to put in an order and decided to get some test kits for my planted tank. I have been using the jungle labs quick dip strips but want to get a little more precise. Can someone tell me what I should be testing? Does anyone know of a good master test kit? The master test kits seem to only test ph amonia nitrites and nitrates. My tank is 125g fairly well planted and has been up for over a year so I am not really worried about amonia or nitrites. I add seachem iron, phosphorus, potassium, flourish, excel and equillibrium to my ro water. I add according to the directions on the labels but I am thinking I should be testing my levels and adding accordingly.
 

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You will want to test for nitrates, phosphates, PH & KH in the beginning. Once you have been doing planted tanks for a while you are more likely not even going to need test kits, unless something goes wrong.
 

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I have read that over time, as the carbonate ions are used up, the buffering capacity will drop and larger pH changes will be noted. Also have been told that the plants will give symptoms that there is something wrong. In my research on plants I have found that the most important elements needed are Co2, nitrates, and potassium. Thus I think test for ph, Co2, and nitrates are useful. Potassium deficiencies can be seen on the plants. Have read that equilibrium can cause excess of potassium, thus perhaps potassium test useful.

When your ferts run out you could save money by buying dry ferts.
Can be bought at http://www.aquariumfertilizers.com/Store.php

Many experienced aquariumest, as Hoppycalif, don't test unless something is going wrong.
 

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I currently use Sera Aqua-Test Kit which tests the following: PH, Water Hardness, Carbonate Levels, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate, Iron and Copper levels.
 

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I asked my friendly aquarium manager/friend at Petsmart what type of test kit to measure all the various elements, esp. ammonia. He recommended the A.P.I. Freshwater Test Kit ($30). It is very accurate and it is current inventory at (I would expect) all Petsmarts. They are very "corporate" oriented so I imagine they all have the same stuff. HTH.
 

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I found the A.P.I. Master test kit to be much better than the test strips. Takes awhile to test everything, but is a bit more accurate. The little Seachem monitors you put in your tank are fair and easy to use. They only measure ph and amonia, but good for every day use if something goes really bad quick.
 

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I started with the API test kits but like trenac said I have basically settled on just checking Nitrate and phosphate once in a while. The Red Sea phosphate kit is an order of magnitude more precise (I didn't say accurate:D) than the API kit and I would recommend it instead of the API phosphate kit if you want more precision in your phosphate reading. I recently thought I would just buy the Red Sea phosphate and nitrate kits and be done but I noticed the Red Sea nitrate kit doesn't have very good reviews.

If you want to spend some bucks there are others like Lamotte that many folks swear by.
 

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Hey guys I am getting ready to put in an order and decided to get some test kits for my planted tank. I have been using the jungle labs quick dip strips but want to get a little more precise. Can someone tell me what I should be testing? Does anyone know of a good master test kit? The master test kits seem to only test ph amonia nitrites and nitrates. My tank is 125g fairly well planted and has been up for over a year so I am not really worried about amonia or nitrites. I add seachem iron, phosphorus, potassium, flourish, excel and equillibrium to my ro water. I add according to the directions on the labels but I am thinking I should be testing my levels and adding accordingly.
You don't mention that you are adding nitrates, I don't know how much light you have but most likely you should be adding nitrates.
 
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