Water Test Kits
I have an old Master Freshwater test kit. It measures Nitrites, Low and High Range Ph, Ammonia, General Hardness, and Carbonate Hardness. I got this test kit with my 55 gallon tank from my uncle some 4-5 years ago. I don't see any expiration date on the bottles of solution, but the box is dated from 2000. My question is do test kits go bad over time? Will it become inaccurate because of its age? I'm wondering because I'm going to the LFS tonight and want to know if I should buy a new kit.
I took some tests last night, and the results are a bit disappointing. For Ph it shows 7.6 , Ammonia shows .5-1.0, Nitrites show 0 ppm, and GH shows 200-400 ppm. The readings are from my new 10g planted tank thats been running for a week. The plants seem to be doing great. I wanted to add a group of smaller tetras, but with these water readings for PH and GH, it looks like thats not gonna happen.
On a side note I have a 55g setup thats been running for almost 3 years with two green severum and a pleco. The severums are thriving and show great colors and seem healthy as can be.
Will south american fish adapt to my hardness and ph over time?
I would not add fish to the tank if ammonia is present . I WOULD borrow some filter media, and perhaps a cup full of gravel from the 55 gal you mention and stufff the borrowed filter material, or as much as I could,in the filter compartment of the ten gal. I would place the borrowed cup of gravel from 55 gal in toe section of ladies nylon ,and place this somewhere in the ten gal and leave it for a week or two.
This will help establish a bacterial colony a bit quicker than otherwise.
This,,along with plant's, might let you place a few (3or 4) ,SMALL fish in the ten gal and so long as they aren't overfed,and you monitor the water for any ammonia increase,,the tank could mature without placing the fish in harms way.In a week or ten day's,you could add another three or four small fish and so on.
If there are no fish in the ten gal, or ammonia in tapwater,I would be suspect of ammonia reading's from old test kit.
I didn't see this previously, but to answer your question on test kits expiring, yes, they will. Having said that, I have had pH kits that were still very accurate after 12 years (I compared the test results with a new kit, it was identical). Depending upon manufacturers, there may be an expiry date or a lot number, and the reputable manufacturers (like API) can always tell you if you email them.
I wouldn't buy a hardness kit unless you intend adjusting the hardness in the aquarium. The tap water will remain whatever it is unless something targets it (calcareous rock or substrate will raise hardness, etc), and you can ascertain the hardness and pH of your tap water from the water supply people.
I only use a pH kit at all regularly, and not so regular at that; and even less regularly, nitrate. Once a tank is established, these two tests are all you should need and they should remain constant unless something occurs biologically.
As for SA fish adapting to harder water, some will and some will not. This is mentioned in our fish profiles for each species; profiles are under the second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the page.
Thank you for all the info Byron. You've been a great help. The tank has been up and running for a few weeks now. I'm going to consider it densely planted for a ten gallon. Four crypts, one anubias, one sword, three bacopas, and five clumps of dwarf hairgrass. The plants seem to be doing great. The crypts and sword are showing quite a bit of growth. Anyway, Byron, do you have any suggestions for stocking this tank. Any fish come to mind that will do well in the water parameters I listed above?
Celestial Pearl Danio
Emerald Dwarf Rasbora
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