Aquatic Plant Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,966 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am a strong believer in newcomers using certain test kits to understand their aquariums. Once the tank's parameters stabilize and the aquatic gardener gains sufficient experience to learn to read the plants, he or she can lay off the testing and go with the flow.

What are your thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,710 Posts
I am new to the hobby and havent used any test kits yet, but I sure wish I had some! I lost some fish during the cycle that probably could have been prevented. Luckily I met someone to help me out with fertilizer doses and other questions so I am able to get by without them. The main problem I have been having is trying to determine which test kits are best for my $$ (which i dont have much of!) I know the LaMotte kits are the best, but they are pricey, so I was thinking of getting Tetras kits in PH, Nitrite/Nitrate, KH, GH, and maybe Iron and Phosphate. Will those be okay?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,966 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Kevin,

I would invest in a pH, NO3, PO4 and Fe test kits. I used the Hagen ones in the past that weren't too pricy but did a fair job. If possible, spring for a KH/GH kit.

If the above is not possible, call your local water company and get a detail of the elements in the water. Then, add to your tap what is missing to get to the above referenced numbers. Using a little math and chemistry together with weekly water changes can avoid the need for the test kits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
426 Posts
Art_Giacosa said:
I am a strong believer in newcomers using certain test kits to understand their aquariums.
I am a strong believer in the opposite. ::puts on boxing gloves:: :D Aside from the KH and pH test kits, the rest are very unnecessary.

What newbies need is a lesson in plant nutrition and how it relates to the water chemistry of the planted tank. Test kits do not teach them this. All it does is promote a dependence on numbers that often make no sense to them. Furthermore, good test kits are expensive and the color charts are enough to drive one bonkers. The money is better spent on other equipments such as light and CO2 system which many of them usually neglect until they have exhausted all other options. <-- biggest newbie mistake IMO.

Even if they have taken care of lighting and CO2, test kits still aren't necessary. A free comprehensive water report from the local water plant is more important than those expensive test kits. Coupled with Chuck's calculator, they can dose NPK/GH/micros into the recommended ranges and get excellent plant growth.

IMHO, test kits first become important when the tank experiences problems that have been determined not to be caused by light and/or CO2. The succession goes: Light --> CO2 --> N --> GH --> K --> micronutrients --> P.

---

Keeping ratios of 10:1:10 constantly is extremely impractical IMO. The monetary costs and extra work involved in maintaining such a ratio have not been justified. As long as adequate nutrients are available, does it matter what ratios they are in at any given moment, given the wide range of tolerable concentrations?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,710 Posts
What if the water company doesnt give a *good* water report. Its pretty vague with a range of values listed. I think the test kits will help me learn more about whats going on in the aquarium. I am sure its possible to do it without them (i dont have any now) but I think it would help me become a better aquarist if I had a few at least. Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
426 Posts
Generally, there are two reports prepared by your local water plant annually: one that is sent to the consumers and one that is available only through special requests. The former, which is available on the EPA website and your local water plant's website, is often lacking in many information that we hobbyists require. It is a condensed version of the comprehensive report. I think Kevin may have gotten the condensed version. Kevin, when you call the company, be sure to specifically request a "comprehensive water report of ALL the parameters that they test for". Otherwise, they'll send you a condensed version or refer you to their website for it. This service is free AFAIK. Contact information is available on the EPA website Jay referenced and on your monthly utility bill.

As far as test kits are concerned, the KH and pH test kits are absolutely essential. They'll enable you to determine the tank's CO2 content. Aside from these two test kits, the others are not necessary; but if they make you more comfortable, then by all means, use them. :wink: I simply assign purchasing priority to other more important products.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,710 Posts
Ah I am enlightened! I will call and get the comprehensive report ASAP. The report on the website is not very good at all. Thanks for the info :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top