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Re: Test Kits

Mike Roberts inquired about various test kits:

I think you might be going overboard on the test kits, Mike.  The only
ones you really need are the Tetra KH and GH kit (both in one kit),
and the following LaMotte (or Hach) kits: Iron, Nitrate (low-level),
and pH.  The rest are optional.

I have a LaMotte CO2 kit but rarely use it because I can get the CO2
concentration by measuring the KH at water changes (it remains
fairly constant) and then measuring the pH whenever I feel it's
necessary and consulting the tables.  I don't even consult the tables
anymore and just try to maintain my aquarium within a range of pH
(about 6.7-7.2 depending on yeast viability).  Since I am using DIY
CO2 it is impossible for me to maintain a specific target pH and I will
drive myself nuts if I try.  My fish, including a clown loach, don't
appear to be stressed at all by this approach.  If you are planning to
use an electronic pH controller in your hi-tech set-up you _definitely_
won't need a CO2 kit.  I also think that you can dispense with the O2
kit.  I have the Tetra O2 kit, and, again, except for a spree of testing
at the beginning, haven't used it since.  I am confident that my
plants and box filter are providing plenty of oxygen.  Same goes for
the ammonia and phosphate kits. A heavily planted tank that has a
moderate fish load and is well maintained won't have any ammonia
in it, even at the beginning, and unless you have a known problem
with phosphate in your tap water there's little point in testing for
phosphate.  Speaking from experience, I have noticed small
amounts of red algae appearing on my driftwood before the
phosphate becomes measurable, even on my LaMotte kit. You are
better off investing the money in some PhosGuard to keep handy for
those festive periods of overfeeding :)

Jonathan in Maryland, where summer has arrived with a vengeance.
Energetics, Inc
7164 Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
(410) 290-0370

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