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Old 08-22-2011, 04:13 AM   #1 
HatsuneMiku's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: ♥ so kali ♥
how often do you test your water?

those test kits can get very expensive .. so how often are you suppose to test your water?

i don't have a test kit .. but every time i got to petsmart/petco (which is like once a week) .. i bring them some water (and i rotate which tank i take it from since i have 4) since they test for free .. and i'm going there anyway ..

also, has anyone used something like this instead of using the test kits?
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:09 AM   #2 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southeast La
I use API master test kit. You should use it every water change.

I have used the ammonia one that you linked to, and it always matched up with the test kit. BUT I wouldn't feel safe relying on the alert thing alone, I'd like to have the test kit as backup.

Don't buy those test strips, I've read they are not accurate - though honestly they have always been right for me when comparing to the test kit.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:08 PM   #3 
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I agree with cajunamy. In my experience, those meter things did not work at all for me.

I test my betta tanks 3x a week and an additional test after a water change. For the cost you pay for the master kit, I think you can use it for up to 8 months if you use it EVERYDAY. I did a vague calculation somewhere on another thread.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:57 PM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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For me personally....I test the water.....maybe monthly with the liquid reagent API brand and with the strips if something looks amiss in one of my tanks for a quick look and if anything is off....I do further testing with the API liquid reagent master kit and may even do a KH/GH...depending on whats an varies for me....
If I am changing the pH, KH/GH to spawn a soft water species like the Neon tetras-I may test 2-3 times a day-before-during-after spawning and through egg hatch/growth/development....

Personally, I think the test strips are fine to use for quick looks, but not something I would want to use or count on if I was cycling a tank....I really don't think they are all that inaccurate as it is posted on a lot of forums...but in the long run a master test kit is really cheaper....

I highly recommend a master test kit and to learn how to properly use them and more important what the numbers mean in relation to the aquarium an interaction with the point in testing the water if you don't know what the numbers mean....or what to do with the results.....

Sometimes water test can confuse a new hobbyist more than they help.... when they don't understand what the results mean or how other things can skew results- from either user error, additives in the tank, items in the tank, pH, KH/GH, water temp, oxygen levels, CO2, live plants...etc.......

It doesn't end with test need to understand what they mean and what can change/skew results too.....

If you are going to be in the hobby long really should get a test kit and learn the chemistry....its fun, interesting and you can impress your friends and family with your

With that said.....I also don't think you have to have a test kit or test the water to be a successful fish keeper....this is just my opinion......and I really hate seeing new or experienced hobbyist for that matter..... being-shunned, belittled and told they can't or shouldn't keep fish based on not having a test kit....
Although a test kit will take some of the guess work out of have pet shop that can test your water for free and with nearly every test result-you are going to do the same thing to correct it 9 out of 10 times.....water change........
Some will argue that test results will tell you how much or when to change the water...this is true...but-by making a standard 50% usually will fix most problems on a tank that has been properly cared for in the first place......neglected tanks are a different story...and a person that neglects their tank probably wouldn't be testing the water anyway or know much or they wouldn't be neglecting the tank in the first

Once you gain experience in the hobby and understand/recognize sign/symptoms related to water quality issues and what to do about may find that you don't need to test that often-unless you want to and nothing wrong with testing the water frequently either IMO....

I don't want to sound like I am discouraging anyone from buying a test kit or testing the water on a regular basis..... I do recommend water testing....... but at the same my personal opinion- you don't have to test to be a good/successful fish keeper....just make regular water changes.......even with fish-in cycling- you can successfully establish a nitrogen cycle without will have to guess when it is established......water testing will take some of the guess work out of it...but not all......

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 08-22-2011 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:58 PM   #5 
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I don't test my water on a regular basis. I'll do it if anything dies to rule out parameter issues, or if I'm trying to cycle a tank. I use the API Master Kit as well.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #6 
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thank you everyone for sharing your experiences with me ^_^ .. i'm still very new to the idea of testing ..

also do the test kit's ever expire and become less effective in reading?
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:10 AM   #7 
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Wow, thank you for sharing your information with us.

I've only just started out and thought it was a silly nut for not getting a testing kit with my first tank and bits and pieces.

Was beginning to panic about my cycle yesterday, but after reading what a cycle is, and what you have said I feel much more comfortable to combat the dreaded cycle - perhaps without a kit - but as you have said, I think I will enjoy learning how to use it.

In the end, the testing kit skillset I may learn would lead me towards expanding the skillset towards another aquarium with coral and other fishes etc.

Who knows! For now though, I learn the basics with Victor and my current tank.

Thankfully my chosen Aquarium offered to test a sample of my water after week 1, I may purchase a kit at that time and learn how to use it :)
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:12 AM   #8 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Considering how goshawful expensive the API Master Test Kit is, I would never shun any fishkeeper for not having a kit and testing all the time. Even the 5 in 1 strips aren't cheap. The only test kit I think every fishkeeper should have is ammonia.

And I've never understood why people say the test strips aren't as accurate. They seem to be pretty accurate to me. No one's been able to explain why to me on other forums, maybe someone here has an idea?

All that said, I test for ammonia every day for a few weeks when I've just added new fish in or if the tank is not cycled. I test the other parameters like GH/KH and pH maybe once every few months or if a fish is acting strange. This helps me rule out crazy water as a cause.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:09 AM   #9 
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@_@ so i took my water to get tested at the store .. and the lady said that my water was too hard and that i should take out a gallon of my water and add a gallon of distilled water to soften it up .. so before i take any advice from a store employee (we all know how mis-informed some can be) .. any thoughts about doing this ? .. or will my bettas be ok with hard water? or how am i suppose to fix that?
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:17 AM   #10 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
How hard is too hard? And there are different kinds of hardness, too. On the Jungle Labs 5 in 1 strips, my water came up as super soft for hardness but my API tests for general hardness and carbonate hardness came up really hard, like 6ppm. GH/KH is also how you judge acidity/alkalinity. Gugh, it gets so confusing. Let's try this: if your bettas are all acting okay and their fins aren't curling or doing anything weird, just leave it as it is. They've obviously adjusted to the water parameters. If they're acting strange or their fins are doing weird curling things, then talk to OFL and see what she suggests.

I hope I helped but I have a feeling I may have just confused you even more, lol. Sorry.
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