Unless you are playing chemist doing this and that to the tank, I don't think you would need to test the pH more than once a week or 2 weeks. I'm not big on testing though (quite and understatement) so best wait for someone who is to give you better advice.
I would test your ph a few times within a month (preferably at the same time everyday, ph fluxes) just to make sure you're getting a good average read. You should also test your tap water (although I think you need to leave the water sit out overnight before testing, someone correct me if I'm wrong.)
That's probably being over-cautious, but once you know your ph, you should be good to go in regards to stocking. You may want to check it periodically (change of seasons, adding driftwood/leaves) but by no means does it need to be a weekly occurrence.
Yea I hardly check mine and I probably wouldn't unless there is a problem. If you are keeping up with regular water changes, I don't think your tap water will vary much, and nothing in your tank should alter it so it should stay constant.
Exactly. These are what change and spike during the cycle. PH sometimes comes in the kit but is a constant pretty much.
I DO NOT test for PH other than when I first got the kit, just to know what kind of water I have in my city. Then any time I bring home fish from the local fish store, LFS, I acclimate them by adding a little TANK water to the bag every 5 minutes to equalize the PH's as well as the temperatures. (over 45-60 min)
Make sure you have a thermometer too and De-chlorinator.
If you're the curious type, eager to understand what is happening in the tank as it cycles, you will want to monitor pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
For example, if you are doing a fishless cycle, you will want to know whether the good bacteria are removing the ammonia you add to the tank. On the other hand, if you are doing a fish-in cycle, you would be wise to keep track of the conditions to which the fish are exposed (in case symptoms of stress emerge).
I found the API Master Test Kit to be worthy investment and an indispensable tool for first-time cycling a tank. It includes all the supplies you need for these tests, except a device for extracting water from the tank. For that, I just use a clean bulb-style medicine dropper (i.e. one that has NEVER been used to administer medicine). The 5ml size is probably available at your local pharmacy. And 5ml is the ideal size since each of the API tests requires a 5ml sample.
For me, knowing the conditions provides peace-of-mind.
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