10-09-2011, 07:08 PM
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First on the pH, why would you want to raise it? Betta are soft water fish and will love slightly acidic soft water. Sounds like your tap water is ideal. Most aquarium plants occur in soft slightly acidic water too, so no problems there. Water Sprite is an ideal floating plant for Betta, and does very well in such water.
API make reliable test kits, the liquid test (not strips). Chlorine is a test I never bother with, as I know it is in my tap water and using a good tap water conditioner will handle it. The API Master Combo kit has pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate; these are all you need for a new aquarium. Unless you intend to adjust your water hardness, I would not waste money for a hardness test kit. You can find out the hardness of your tap water from the water supply people. Unless you do something to alter it, it will not change from what comes out of the tap.