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post #1 of 5 Old 09-09-2011, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
Question testing water

once a tank is established, is there any reason to test pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate regularly? or only when something is changed/seems to be wrong?
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-09-2011, 11:58 PM
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Once the tank has been establish testing the ammonia and nitrites on a regular basis are not as necessary unless there are issues going on in the tank. I myself would still test for ammonia and nitrites once a month just to make sure that everything is still good. PH and nitrates I would check probably more often especially PH in case anything is changed with your water supply you would be able to catch this quicker I would think. Would be interested in hearing what others do.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-10-2011, 02:57 AM
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Depending on your definition/time-frame of being established, I don't class a tank as being totally established until around the 3-6 mth mark, as just after it has cycled, that can be the time that things can still easily go wrong if we aren't careful, such as adding too many extra fish all at once or deciding to do a major clean just after it has cycled. Water parameters in smaller tanks can fluctuate fairly quickly, so it is advisable to always test them regularly for a while.

After mine were cycled, I still tested the water parameters with every water change (which I do weekly) for about a year, just to make sure, as I was still very new to the hobby. Second year...I only tested every month. 10 or so years on, I admit that I only test the water parameters when the seasons change (which is when water companies may add extra/change chemicals etc), I needed to use a medication for some reason, or I feel something is wrong. I don't add anything to the water apart from a declorinator, but if it is a tank in which the person uses additional additives/chemicals to adjust certain parameters, their tank maintenance schedule is infrequent or a tank is overstocked etc., then I would still test regularly and I advise any beginner to always test regularly.

A big part of this hobby also involves and relies upon "observation", getting to know your fish, their mannerisms & behaviour. After a while you can sense if something is wrong just by looking at how the fish are acting, but in my mind, that doesn't mean we should become totally lax and never test again after the tank is fully established, although I know of some experienced/long-term aquarists that only go by observation alone and never test unless they actually see a problem.

In short, once a tank is fully established, I think there are many factors that play a role in determining the frequency of testing.

LOL... Gee! I think I have woffled on a bit...sorry!
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-10-2011, 10:16 AM
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Agree with Beeaches
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-10-2011, 11:00 AM
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Basically agree with what has been said. Once a tank is truly established, nitrates should not fluctuate so I rarely if ever test those once I see a stable reading every test several weeks apart [and always do tests prior to a water change rather than after to better sample what is occurring]. The pH I test most, but even then it may be weeks after the last test before the next (unless the tank is new or has had a major re-do). As someone mentioned, experience plays a big part in this. And changes in tap water too, mine is very stable (for 10 years now) but if I expected changes for various reasons I would be more likely to test it for pH (and hardness if that might change, mine won't as all the reservoirs are soft water, but some areas have differing reservoir sources).

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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