09-10-2011, 03:57 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!