Test Kits

HawkeyeDJ
Member
I'm in the process of cycling my new 24 gallon nano cube. I intend to start with FOWLR and eventually try my luck first time with corals. My LFS steered me away from buying a master test kit because they will test my water for me through the cycle and then I will only need to test for nitrates, hardness, calcium, etc.

What are your thoughts? What kits do you use on a frequent basis and why?
 
AquaPhilNJ
Member
I feel like Red Sea is the leader, I use it for Nitrate.

Calcium, Magnesium I use Nyos. I think Nyos might be slightly better on all fronts less popular, but slightly more expensive per test. At same time test kits expire so Nyos worked for me as Red Sea double price double the tests; I only use Red Sea for nitrate b\c i started with it and i buy refill kit.

Phosphate almost all test kits fall short IMO, except Hanna, maybe b\c my goal is on the lower end 0.05 or less. I think the community agrees Hanna is best phosphate tester. ALK I own both Hanna and Red Sea, but I prefer Hanna. Hanna so expensive haven't tried many of them, plus sometimes is more time consuming to perform those tests.

With corals I test ALK every other day, more coral more fluctuation. Cal, Mag test once a month. Phosphate once a month sometimes twice. Nitrate once a month, but have little need to ever test i'm running no water change tank, bio-pellets eat all the nitrate away slowly sometimes too slowly if I feed too much. With FOWLR you shouldn't be testing calcium; I think for you nitrate only is enough, and maybe phosphate if algae starts getting out of control. I expect your doing water changes that will have all the calcium you need plus nothing should be using the calcium or anything up fish only contribute to the nitrogen cycle.
 
AggressiveAquatics
Member
I only use API master test kits
 
Frank the Fish guy
Member
Oxygen test has become my most important test since I have well water that is low in oxygen and I have to aerate it or else fish die. The oxygen test I use is this: Amazon.com : Sera Oxygen-Test (O2) 15 ml, 0.5 fl.oz. Aquarium Test Kits : Aquarium Supplies : Pet Supplies

Ammonia and Nitrite are important if you suspect a tank problem and cycle crash. If suddenly fish die it is good to check for these.

Nitrate is good to gauge how fast your water builds up so you can plan water changes.

pH is essential to interpret ammonia and nitrite since their toxicity is a function of pH.

So basically everything in the master kit. The problem with the master kit is that you will never use it all before it goes bad, so they are right that it is a waste of money if you can 'borrow' someone else's conveniently. Once your tank settle and you know how to keep things in balance the tests are not needed. But still nice to check.

KH and GH are good to know for your water source. But this are usually stable. Sometimes change abruptly though. So I keep those tests too for my water source.

Then I check for copper because I have copper pipes and I treat my water to make sure none is leaching. This is for my water source. Copper tests are also good to have if you use copper based medicines to get the does right.

I use phosphate test too, but my phosphates are always low, so I stopped doing it but occasionally check.

If you like to keep a log book and do the chemistry, get the tests. It's fun and you will learn a lot. But you can do everything you need using the store tests too and then get to know them and build a relationship with them. That's good too!
 
PNWAquatics
Member
I use Red Sea for Alkalinity/Calcium/Magnesium, Hanna for phosphate, and salifert for nitrate. Interestingly, I asked my dad to test my alkalinity with his hanna checker and it was a full point different. We're still not sure which one is accurate and both test kits are either new or using new reagent.
 
Arvil
Member
I use the API master test kit plus the API phosphate test. Since I have a pool and use TFTestKits Total Alkalinity (measures the same parameter as GH) and Calcium Hardness test (measures the same parameter as KH). I also measure pH and total dissolved solids with a Hanna electronic meter I have.
 
Jesterrace
Member
HawkeyeDJ said:
I'm in the process of cycling my new 24 gallon nano cube. I intend to start with FOWLR and eventually try my luck first time with corals. My LFS steered me away from buying a master test kit because they will test my water for me through the cycle and then I will only need to test for nitrates, hardness, calcium, etc.

What are your thoughts? What kits do you use on a frequent basis and why?
I dislike API with a passion due to it being prone to false positives for ammonia and a color test chart for nitrates that is a pain to read. Salifert, Red Sea, NYOS, ELOS, Hannah are all great choices. Red Sea is my choice since it does have Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH and Alk all in one kit.
 
Dechi
Member
I use my API freshwater kit. The liquid is the same as in freshwater, only the color card is different. You can find it online.
 

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