I did it!! Now, how often do I test?

321fishinfool

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Hello FL friends, first and foremost a big shout out to everyone on here for being so helpful and friendly! Especially mattgirl for explaining the whole cycling process in an easy and informative way, which helped me immensely (which is funny because I have read a lot about NOT doing water changes during the cycle). It took just over a month, but I have cycled my first tank! So thank you all for your help.

Now, how often do I test? I know there are several factors that influence how often a water change should be performed, but I guess I am just looking for a ballpark estimate as far as how often I should check the parameters. I have a 10 gallon with a couple of plants (2 java fern on driftwood, anubias nana petite on driftwood, moss ball, and Amazon sword), 7 zebra danios, and a HOB filter that I have added bio media to. Nitrates have not yet gone over 40 ppm which I have read is your indicator to do a water change.

I'm not trying to be lazy, but efficient. I understand I will learn how my tank operates through time, I just don't want to do water changes if I don't have to. Thank you in advance!
 

Splunji

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I test weekly. As to what you should use to test, I have a lot of tanks and using the Master kit takes too long, so I use test strips for all of them. They aren't as accurate, but they are close enough to know that my fish are safe. Congrats on the new tank!
 

Fisch

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Congratulations!!!!
As it all depends on so many factors, everyone has to find the way they are comfortable with. Being a newbie I tested more often than necessary to determine the trend in the tank. Now that I know the tank I test mostly Nitrates once a week. Even as my Nitrates are low, I do a 20% WC once a week. Pristine water goes a long way to prevent disease, it is not only the Nitrate that counts.
 

mattgirl

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Fantastic news. I love hearing success stories. :)

I am a firm believer in keeping the water as fresh and clean as we can. I change out 50% of the water in each of my tanks every week. If you commit to doing this there really isn't a need to keep testing. An occasional test should let you know all is well. Every once in a while I run the pH test on all my tanks. The only reason I keep an eye on that number is because of my very soft water. I run crushed coral in my tanks to keep the pH stable at 7.2 If I see it drop lower than 7.2 I add a bit more CC.

There is more to water changes than just keeping nitrates low. Fresh clean water replenishes necessary minerals and also removes the unused minerals most of us have in our tap water. By doing weekly water change we never have to worry about lack of or too much minerals.

I have to think the main reason I have never had to deal with any of the many diseases fish can get is because I keep their water fresh. You may want to continue running the tests for a few more weeks to make sure your tank is well established. By testing each week before your water change you will get a feel as to what is going on and catch a glitch should one happen.
 
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321fishinfool

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See what I mean? Y'all are the best! Thank you so much for the advice and the kind words:)
 

SanDiegoRedneck

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321fishinfool said:
See what I mean? Y'all are the best! Thank you so much for the advice and the kind words:)
Awesome I also love success stories. As mattgirl said over time you wilo test less or none. I only test my established tanks if I think there is a problem or I lost power for more than 30min.

In the beginning honestly I would test each day. Then every other day. Then weekly. Then none till you see issue
 

Basil

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Congrats!!
I’m another who does 50% water changes every week. It’s what I did back in the early eighties when I first had fish and before there were good test kits and before I even knew what the nitrogen cycle was!
When I got back into fish keeping a few years ago, it was a bit of a rough return. So I tested quite a bit. But now I mainly test ph in my tank and my source water. I use remineralized RO water and am paranoid that I’ve added the equilibrium and buffer incorrectly.
 

Fisch

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mattgirl said:
Never and I have been in this hobby for a very long time. The only downside to this is I am unable to help folks when illnesses happen since I've never had to deal with any of them.
Wow, that is impressive. Hope that I will be able to say that one day. After the first impatience issue I definitely learned my lesson. I live in Utah, so water is precious.
 

mattgirl

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Fisch said:
Wow, that is impressive. Hope that I will be able to say that one day. After the first impatience issue I definitely learned my lesson. I live in Utah, so water is precious.
I can see where big water changes would be difficult in this case. If I were unable to change out as much water as often as I do I would keep my stocking level as low as possible and over filter the tank as much as possible. Fewer fish mean less waste. In that case you could get by with smaller water changes. In my case none of the water I pull from my tanks goes to waste. I use it to water plants so it serves double duty.
 

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