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cnmarland 08-03-2009 12:16 PM

Water Chemistry Tests
My education on the aquarium hobby is improving thanks to the input on this forum. I would now like to add to it by understanding what all you experts test for outside of normal testing. I'll give an overview and start from there.

By normal in my reef tank I test for Amm, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, Temp, Salinity, Phosphate and Calcium. My 55gal is relatively new (2 months), has about 100lb live rock and a 5-6" LS bed. Thanks to Pasfur my old canister filter is no more and is just additional volume and circulation. I have 2 Oscellaris Clowns that have been in 1 week, 2 cleaner shrimp and about 6-8 hermit crabs. I don't have any coral yet as both time and money dictates my additions.

I perform weekly tests for all the above, 10% water change every week. I only use API test kits and have found them very reliable. I add Kent Marine Purple Up twice per week and have noticed that my corraline algae (Green & Purple) have really increased and improved. I bought this on recommendation to keep calcium and trace elements up.

What other weekly / monthly / regular tests would you recommend be made? There are a lot out there and they can be pricey so I was really looking for guide on a kind of priority level for testing.

Also, based on the extensive expereince what brands and types of supplements do you use for your reef tanks? I've seen the occasional reference on the tank of the month but would like a broader reference.

Pasfur 08-04-2009 05:44 PM

The only tests I am concerned with on a weekly basis are alkalinity and calcium. I test Nitrate monthly, just to confirm a zero reading, as well as pH.

Alkalinity is required if you want to correctly understand your calcium readings. Visa versa as well. One test without the other tells you nothing about the correct action to take. This is why many buffers today are sold as a 2 part additive, one buffer and one bottle of Calcium Chloride.

foodgodess 09-27-2009 07:56 PM

Hey Pasfur, I'm soo new at this and have been educating myself. I find I've been answering a large portion of my questions by just looking under all your posts. My question was alkalinity test is the only one I don't really see, unless :) the carbonate hardness (KH) the same? Maybe some dumb Canadian thing? Should I keep looking?

Pasfur 09-27-2009 08:08 PM

First things first. Read this: Chemistry and the Aquarium

After reading this, your head is probably spinning in circles. Randy Holmes Farley has a way of making that happen. Look, i'm no chemist. Heck, I hate chemistry so much that I substituted a 400 level Physics course for a 101 Chem Lab when I was in college.

That being said, the basic answer to your question, for the purpose of marine aquarium care, is YES. We are really only concerned with carbonate and bicarbonate buffers, as they relate to calcium. Therefore, a Carbonate Hardness test kit should, in theory, give you what you need.

However, if you really want to be on board with what most of us here are doing, order an alkalinity test kit online. You can find it here:
Alkalinity Pro Test Lab | Alkalinity Test Kits & Refills | Test Kits & Refills | Aquarium -

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