My number of tanks seem to be increasing by the week:-D and doing my water testing is getting to be a chore. Does anyone here use electronic testing equipment to check PH? How about hardness? Is there any good devices to check for hardness that wont break the bank?
Any and all feedback will be well appreciated.
I don't test anything anymore. If you keep up a good water change schedule you should be fine. Check the nitrate every once in a while to verify your water change schedule is adequate to keep the nitrate under 20ppm.
I would not alter pH except in specific situations (such as trying to harden the water for hardwater fish when your tap is soft) so I would not worry about testing it, at least not on a regular basis.
You can buy a TDS meter on eBay for $10-15 shipped. TDS correlates well with water quality (goes up with time just like nitrate) so this is an instant and easy test. You may have to test nitrate for a while too until you get the hang of understanding what the TDS numbers mean. Be sure to test your tap too. And test before and after any time you have to add salt so you know how much that increases it on its own.
There is an article in the link in my signature on chemistry that explains what you really need to worry about and why.
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