How Often should I test my water(s)

  1. NEboy Initiate Member

    Hello everyone! Thanks Mike for welcoming me this morning. I have a few questions which have been bugging me. My tank (20 gal) has been set up now for approximately 6 weeks and I've since learned that the tap water here is very, very hard; so, with each water change (began last week), I'm using RO water. I did a fishes cycle before adding my first fish and currently I have 4 fish in the tank. My question is: Is it necessary to test the water BEFORE AND AFTER a partial water change? Testing the water before doesn't seam to make sense to me as the water chemistry will change with the water change anyway, so to me that is a waste of testing solutions. I'll be doing my next weekly water change this coming Monday (6-13), so some feedback before then is much appreciated!

    Also, is it still necessary (with RO water), to add, say, PRIME or STABILITY, for example, with each change (I know I don't have to worry about the chlorine. Finally, I'm having to re-establish my 'hospital/ quarantine tank' - tear it down and start over with RO water. Is it necessary to add good bacteria starter to that as well? ThankX!

    That should be 'fishless cycle'. This auto correct gets me some times!
     
  2. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to Fishlore :)

    Do you know the KH and GH of your tap water? Most fish can adapt to hard water and depending on the type of fish you have (like livebearers), some prefer it.

    It's a good practice to test your water before a scheduled water change to determine how much water to change out. You want to keep your nitrates under 40ppm, ideally under 20ppm. So, let's say your nitrates before a water change rise to 40ppm that week. You want to change out at least 50% to get it down to 20ppm. You can test it afterwards to see what your nitrates are but testing it before is definitely more important than testing it afterwards.

    I don't know about having to add Prime to RO water but adding Stability shouldn't be necessary if you're cycled.

    If you have extra seeded filter media in your main tank, you can move a piece of it over to your QT for an instant cycle without having to cycle it from the beginning.
     

  3. NEboy Initiate Member

    Not sure what my KH/GH tap water levels are; all I know is after the first month of fishless cycling, they were still pretty high (12+). They are close range now on the 20g. I've usually change-out 10-15% of the water weekly without testing first, so I guess I need to start that, moving forward. I 'did' have a sponge filter in the hospital tank, but that got contaminated with Methylene Blue (had to treat one fish to no avail - he died over night - first death to my family), so I'm back to square one on that. Thank You for the info.
     
  4. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    I'd test it again to see where they are but if that's 12 dGH, I would just use tap water for your water changes. If you use RO water, you'll have to add back minerals into the tank that your fish need for osmoregulation.