How often do you test your water? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 12:01 AM Thread Starter
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How often do you test your water?

I have the API test kit, and three cycled tanks. None has shown any ammonia or Nitrites for months. The nitrates are always 20 or below. How often should I be testing the water at this point? Once a month, and more often for nitrates only?

10 gallon- 8 Harlequin Rasboras, 1 female betta.

20 gallonH - 1 Peacock Gudgeon, 2 Skunk Cories, 1 Sparkling Gourami. , one male betta, 2 nerite snails.

55 gallon - 3 Turquoise Rainbows, 1 Boesemani Rainbow, 2 Australian Rainbow, 4 Gold Dust mollies, 1 L. Dorsigera, 2 White Cloud Mountain Minnows, 1 Honey Gourami, 3 Cherry barb, 1 Koi Angelfish, 4 female betta.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 12:32 AM
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I don't ever test them I do my regular maintenance and that's that.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 09:04 AM
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I don't have a set testing schedule and go months without testing. I may test when I observe or anticipate a change in my water chemistry. I change between 150% and 200% of my tanks water out per month so my water chemistry stays close to my water source which has been constant for 5+ years. Plus, I am keeping fish with wide water chemistry requirements so I am not to worried. I would test more frequently or on a schedule if I had fish with narrow requirements.

I would suggest that people new to the hobby test monthly plus testing with an observed/ anticipated change.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 09:16 AM
+1 As Jaysee suggests, once your tanks are established and you're doing good routine maintenance, it's rarely necessary to test unless you have a problem or mess up in some way and cause a new cycle or mini cycle.

I have a special problem with very high nitrates in my source well water (60-80ppm) so I filter it to remove nitrates and routinely test the results to know when the media is exhausted. Also, because of the cost and effort of this filtering, Although I do weekly water changes and feel they're very important, I've reduced the volume of same and for this reason I take extra measures to lower and monitor tank generated nitrates. So there can be special cases, but these are likely somewhat rare.

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post #5 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 11:25 AM
Useful information, i am new to this and i have been testing weekly prior to water change, so i should now move this to monthly then.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Oxon Fish View Post
Useful information, i am new to this and i have been testing weekly prior to water change, so i should now move this to monthly then.
You should do whatever you are comfortable doing. You'll settle into your own routine in time, and that routine may change in more time.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
You should do whatever you are comfortable doing. You'll settle into your own routine in time, and that routine may change in more time.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well, that is a big relief For the longest time, even after cycling, I'd be testing Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates at least weekly or twice weekly. Nice to know I can do it less often. Those test kits are expensive, but boy were they of value when cycling, and they do last a LONG time! Thank you, all!

10 gallon- 8 Harlequin Rasboras, 1 female betta.

20 gallonH - 1 Peacock Gudgeon, 2 Skunk Cories, 1 Sparkling Gourami. , one male betta, 2 nerite snails.

55 gallon - 3 Turquoise Rainbows, 1 Boesemani Rainbow, 2 Australian Rainbow, 4 Gold Dust mollies, 1 L. Dorsigera, 2 White Cloud Mountain Minnows, 1 Honey Gourami, 3 Cherry barb, 1 Koi Angelfish, 4 female betta.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 03:46 PM
I havent been testing for along time on my two I did a few weeks ago on my 120 gallon because I felt bad but theres no problem and the tank was perfect if you are not adding fish and doing the same maintenance it should stay the same
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-16-2013, 07:43 PM
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This is not really an easy question to answer. As you will note with those who have responded, most of us have a fair number of years experience. And it is true that we can probably look at the fish in the aquarium and within seconds know if something is wrong. That ability in my view eliminates the need for tests, generally speaking.

The tank volume, fish stocking, live plants, and regular water changes also factor in to this. With live plants, not overstocking, not overfeeding, and performing weekly partial water changes of 1/3 to 1/2 the tank you should never run into issues with ammonia, nitrite or nitrates [assuming these are not present in the source water].

In a balanced aquarium, the water parameters (GH, KH and pH) should remain stable. The GH and KH will be close to the tap water. The pH may lower naturally, depending upon the biological system and the KH of the soource water. Testing this weekly just prior to the water change for a few weeks is a good idea until you see it is stable.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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