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Re: Testing water in India and eslewhere

> Are there any ancient markers for example like tank smell, fish behaviour,
> etc. so as to ascertain high nitrate/ammonia levels?
> Dr Athale,
> Baroda, India.

Even if you have the test kits you may not get accurate results. You may
also become lazy and not keep up on testing.
An easy way around this is using water changes and chemistry to hit a target
range of levels.
Adding a 1.67 gram amount of KNO3 into 35 gallons of water will yield
6.37ppm or so of NO3. If your tap water has 1ppm or less simply assume it's
close to zero. By changing 50% of water weekly you'll hit close to this
amount(at least 50% of the water will be at 7.37ppm to 6.37ppm). You can re
set the tank and do larger or smaller waters depending on how close you want
to be but weekly changes at 50% will keep you very close to these ranges.
If you have fewer fish, CO2 good light, you'll need to add more KNO3
throughout the week. I add KNO3 3 x a week at 6-8ppm amounts each time.
Water utilities often need to test these parameters for health reasons.
We can take advantage of this as our base line and use molar weights of the
chemicals to approximate the concentrations in our tanks.

After awhile, you can get a feel for what the tank "eats" a week. Adjusting
a little each week will help you further optimize your results. It's not as
nice as a good quality test kit but it's much better than a bad test kit.
Take a little trail and error but does work well for those folks how cannot
test for whatever reason.
The weekly work on the tank alone will improve growth.
This is for a CO2 enriched tank. Non CO2 tanks should also be tested but do
not require very much if any. They also do not get that many water
changes(every 2-6months) so you cannot use the same approach.

Tom Barr