Water testing - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-03-2018, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Water testing

Hi!

I'm new to acquariums and have heard that you need to test the water. What do you need to test for? Is it just pH and the nitrogen cycle?



The liquid test kits I've looked at seem expensive compared to the strips, but everyone seems to recommend them. How much does it usually end up costing per year to test your water?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-03-2018, 09:48 PM
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Hi Jenny

Water testing is important, for sure. During the cycling process you should be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Nitrate doesn’t need to be tested for until you see nitrites. The test results will tell you how much water you need to change in order to keep the fish alive, assuming you’re doing a fish in cycle. Fishless doesn’t require water changes. In a fishless you are testing to maintain ammonia concentrations.

It’s good to know your pH but you don’t have to test for it every day.

Liquid is the way to go for sure. You probably won’t use all of a test kit in a year. After the initial cycling process, the need to test diminishes. Instead of every day you can test every week. Many people stop testing altogether after their tanks (and themselves) are established.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-04-2018, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Jenny38 View Post
Hi!

I'm new to acquariums and have heard that you need to test the water. What do you need to test for? Is it just pH and the nitrogen cycle?



The liquid test kits I've looked at seem expensive compared to the strips, but everyone seems to recommend them. How much does it usually end up costing per year to test your water?

Thanks in advance!
Hi jenny38, first of all, I recommend you cycle your tank without fish if you haven't gotten them yet. A cost per year is hard to determine because various test kits will be able to test fot a various amount of times. I use the liquid kits for my tank water, but the strips can be accurate too. Look at how many tests each kit can perform when comparing costs. Water perameters need to be tested often. You definately need to test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH. I also recommend tests that check for water hardness too. If you get water from a water company and not your own well, checking for heavy metals is not that important, as most Chlorine and Chloramine removing products say on the label that they also detoxify them. Go with what you can afford. Just make sure you can check ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH. You can go on Google and type in "Freshwater Aquarium test kits" to find a variety of kits and prices. If you get them online, you can sometimes save money, but you have to add a company's shipping & handling charges to make sure. I don't recommend joining any memberships online. A lot of times they say you can save money this way, but they autoship you more products at certain time intervals and automatically charge your credit card when you least expect it.

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post #4 of 10 Old 04-04-2018, 10:31 AM
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Actually once the tank has ran and is successful for a few months, the need for testing greatly decreases. Perhaps only needing to test KH.


I would recommend ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, pH, Kh, and GH.


IMHO the importance is in this order highest to lowest: ammonia, kH, gh, Nitrite, nitrate, PH.
If you are using hardy fish like plattys or guppies the kH and gh are important. Those are more important for "soft water" fish such as and the like.
A also believe that if you follow the methods in the link in my signature (https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/) no testing is necessary for a thriving aquarium.


but that's just me and my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-20-2018, 08:01 AM
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Actually once the tank has ran and is successful for a few months, the need for testing greatly decreases. Perhaps only needing to test KH.


I would recommend ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, pH, Kh, and GH.


IMHO the importance is in this order highest to lowest: ammonia, kH, gh, Nitrite, nitrate, PH.
If you are using hardy fish like plattys or guppies the kH and gh are important. Those are more important for "soft water" fish such as and the like.
A also believe that if you follow the methods in the link in my signature (https://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/) no testing is necessary for a thriving aquarium.


but that's just me and my .02
I do enough water changes that I don't do a lot of water testing in my well established tank much anymore. I add chlorine and chloramine remover when I do water changes. One test that I keep a watch on is pH. Ph in a tank should not roller coaster in a tank. If it begins to to move more than .2 up or down, then the other test kits come out because something is wrong. Water companies change their buffering systems and chlorine addition at certain times of the year when their source water changes such as long heavy rain periods or in late fall when rotting leaves and other debris begins to saturated their source water.

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post #6 of 10 Old 04-20-2018, 11:31 AM
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I'm just as confused

I have just joined this forum. I have a Juwel Trigon 190 fully stocked with plants, 2 airstones, Marimo moss balls and i use Aqua Pure balls once a week. My ph is 6.5, temp is 28C, water hardness is around 30mg/l, carbonate hardness around 20mg/l, nitrites are 0-0.5mg/l and nitrates are around 30mg/l. The problem i have is that i have disappearing fish! I have lost 3 guppies and 2 platties over the last month, no where to be seen. There are 4 german rams, 4 mountain minnows, 5 cardinals, 5 glowlight tetras, 2 white platties, 1 mickey mouse plattie, 2 dwarf gourami, 4 bosemani, 3 guppies, 2 rabbit snails, 3 wood shrimp, 1 red lizard whiptail catfish and an assassin snail to keep the population of ramshorns/rabbits under control. i change 30% water every week with out fail and mix their diet adding garlic essence to some foods to boost disease resistance. the water seems fine as the rams are constantly spawning which I'm told is hard to get right conditions. any ideas where they keep going?

p.s i use the 6 in 1 water testing strips for the moment, but some pet stores will test your water for you

Last edited by Maffoo1978; 04-20-2018 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Wanted to add something
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-20-2018, 11:45 AM
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All the fish and snails in your tank eat meat, so a small fish like a guppy or platy could be picked clean without you knowing, especially if the fish got wedged somewhere in the tank out of sight. Considering the stock and the size of the tank, such a fish’s remains could decompose in the tank without registering much in terms of test results.


Don’t get zucked! Stand up to censorship! Someone else’s voice silenced today, yours tomorrow.....

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-20-2018, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Maffoo1978 View Post
I have just joined this forum. I have a Juwel Trigon 190 fully stocked with plants, 2 airstones, Marimo moss balls and i use Aqua Pure balls once a week. My ph is 6.5, temp is 28C, water hardness is around 30mg/l, carbonate hardness around 20mg/l, nitrites are 0-0.5mg/l and nitrates are around 30mg/l. The problem i have is that i have disappearing fish! I have lost 3 guppies and 2 platties over the last month, no where to be seen. There are 4 german rams, 4 mountain minnows, 5 cardinals, 5 glowlight tetras, 2 white platties, 1 mickey mouse plattie, 2 dwarf gourami, 4 bosemani, 3 guppies, 2 rabbit snails, 3 wood shrimp, 1 red lizard whiptail catfish and an assassin snail to keep the population of ramshorns/rabbits under control. i change 30% water every week with out fail and mix their diet adding garlic essence to some foods to boost disease resistance. the water seems fine as the rams are constantly spawning which I'm told is hard to get right conditions. any ideas where they keep going?

p.s i use the 6 in 1 water testing strips for the moment, but some pet stores will test your water for you
My 1st question in th matter is how complete does your tank lid cover, but assuming that it's complete, some of the species in your tank will scavenge dead fish, especially before the begin to decay enough to float. Many types of fish will take advantage of a dead carcass as well as the shrimp and snails. Almost all tetras are meat eaters. Tetras will take advantage of dead fish...pirhannas are a speices of tetras. So my guess is that the dead fish are simply being eaten. Most of the live bearers like guppies have short life spans and may be dying of natural causes and simply being eaten.

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post #9 of 10 Old 04-20-2018, 12:25 PM
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Thanks.

The tank is fully enclosed. I'm trying to upload a photo of it. I also have a small fry tank in the top corner with 6 guppy fry
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-20-2018, 12:34 PM
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Thanks.

The tank is fully enclosed. I'm trying to upload a photo of it. I also have a small fry tank in the top corner with 6 guppy fry
It's a beautiful tank. I'll just stan by what I otherwise thought which is that the fish died and were eaten by the other fish.

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