No testing, just water changes, manual dosing, and watching colors?

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Hyjnks

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what's the community thoughts? If you do weekly smaller water changes, clean the filters/equipment, clean the skimmer, ensure all parts are working as is, and watch the fish and corals....and dose if necessary based on colors/overall sight check of corals...do you think you need to test if you're not overstocked with anything? Curious on the opinions of the community...

Reason I ask, I've had a tank going for 2 months, about 7 fish, 3 coral frags, bunch of live rock, and been consistently changing the water....and I've brought to water to my LFS and been watching temp and salinity and my parameters have been "perfect" every time....I'm feeling like I shouldn't be so worried about testing....I have a waterbox 100.3 for reference.

Or is it just a matter of when the tank starts really filling up with corals / getting stocked i need to pay much more attention to the details...
 

Spare time

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It is impossible to know dosing numbers without testing. However, a tank that has frequent water changes, light amount of coral, and is in that sweet spot where water changes don't bottom out waste, are not extremely cost inneficient, and replace elements without swinging them dramatically, can work.
 

Tired

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There's also something to be said for corals as testing. If corals have good colors and growth, that's a pretty good indicator that your parameters are good.

The downside of not testing is that it can take corals awhile to respond to something. So if you never test, and your corals slowly start to look unhappy, it's hard to figure out what the problem is. Since the problem might have started a couple weeks ago, not today.

You should get your own test kit, though. Don't rely on the LFS. Particularly if they're just saying "good" and not telling you actual numbers. Testing is important for when there clearly is a problem going on.
 

Spare time

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There's also something to be said for corals as testing. If corals have good colors and growth, that's a pretty good indicator that your parameters are good.

The downside of not testing is that it can take corals awhile to respond to something. So if you never test, and your corals slowly start to look unhappy, it's hard to figure out what the problem is. Since the problem might have started a couple weeks ago, not today.

You should get your own test kit, though. Don't rely on the LFS. Particularly if they're just saying "good" and not telling you actual numbers. Testing is important for when there clearly is a problem going on.


Plus LFS usually use the cheapest kits possible for free tests
 
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Hyjnks

Hyjnks

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There's also something to be said for corals as testing. If corals have good colors and growth, that's a pretty good indicator that your parameters are good.

The downside of not testing is that it can take corals awhile to respond to something. So if you never test, and your corals slowly start to look unhappy, it's hard to figure out what the problem is. Since the problem might have started a couple weeks ago, not today.

You should get your own test kit, though. Don't rely on the LFS. Particularly if they're just saying "good" and not telling you actual numbers. Testing is important for when there clearly is a problem going on.
Makes sense. How often do you test? Every week? every day? every 2 weeks? I do spend a lot of time on the tank now because it's new and fun and love watching it. I feel like I like spending time feeding, watching, doing water changes, feeding corals, etc, etc, ...but don't want to go through the 5 step process to test for 1 thing...then the other, then the other :)....
 

Tired

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"About seven" would mean you aren't sure of the number.

That's a pretty heavily stocked tank for 2 months, and you're likely headed for trouble with that purple tang. That's a big, active fish that needs a massive tank.

I'm gonna be honest: I misplaced my test kit somewhere in the middle of rearranging my storage, and I haven't found it yet. I'm doing the "well, everything is happy, it's probably fine" approach. My tank is reasonably mature, and I don't have a lot of stony corals sucking up all the calcium, so I'm not likely to have anything swinging out of balance. I should probably still be testing, though.

Not testing is not the best approach. The best approach is probably to test the water every week or so. Two weeks should be fine in a stable tank. You should also test any time anything looks annoyed.
 
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Hyjnks

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"About seven" would mean you aren't sure of the number.

That's a pretty heavily stocked tank for 2 months, and you're likely headed for trouble with that purple tang. That's a big, active fish that needs a massive tank.

I'm gonna be honest: I misplaced my test kit somewhere in the middle of rearranging my storage, and I haven't found it yet. I'm doing the "well, everything is happy, it's probably fine" approach. My tank is reasonably mature, and I don't have a lot of stony corals sucking up all the calcium, so I'm not likely to have anything swinging out of balance. I should probably still be testing, though.

Not testing is not the best approach. The best approach is probably to test the water every week or so. Two weeks should be fine in a stable tank. You should also test any time anything looks annoyed.
I thought purples can live in 70-100 gallon? Also, I guess I can't use the word about because so far 3 posts have dug into that....I said about because I have 8, but going to be 7 once I remove one...sheesh haha - amazing.

I will be sure to be 99.9% specific moving forward :)

But yea, I hear you - I gotta test.. def invested in the longevity and health of my pets so will do.
 

Miami Reef

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dose if necessary based on colors/overall sight check of corals...do you think you need to test if you're not overstocked with anything? Curious on the opinions of the community...
You said you only have 3 frags. Water changes will take care of all elements for you.

The only 3 things you should watch for (dosing wise) are Alkalinity, Calcium, and magnesium. Things becomes more important with the more bigger bioload of stony corals grow.

Seeing a coral losing color is not accurate in telling anything except that the coral is unhappy. Besides for needing elements, corals can also look bad if lighting, flow, and temperature are not what that coral needs. Even a fish can is sitting on the coral can make it retract.

Testing is one tool reefers use to troubleshoot and prevent elements that aren’t in line. Having a stable chemistry crosses one of the many things that can kill corals off the list.
 

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Haha, that was the funniest thing I've read on this site.

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NowGlazeIT

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Depends on your routine. If you got a good balance of nutrients going in and out and evaporation is being replaced, also elements like magnesium(which sometimes run on the low side of some reef salts, then the test kits will read the same results. If something goes wrong and a water change isn’t enough to correct the problem like a spike in nitrates or drop in phosphates, then the test kits will show you what you need to do. Example, high phosphates requires Gfo or Lanthanum chloride as a correcting tool.
I ran a bio cube tank for a couple years with only testing salinity and doing weekly water changes. It grew softies and some euphyllia well, anemones were splitting every month but grew large very fast. Things like gonipora and montipora never grew and would slowly die.
Now I buy the hanna test kits and rarely do water changes.
I miss the small bio cube growth rates but the fish are what I love to look at now.
 

Timfish

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Definitely test. There's a lot going on in reef systems and things are constantly changing. Also, coral coloration cannot be used as an indicator of health. Researchers studying coral microbiomes have shown a "healthy" looking coral can have a microbiome typical of a diseased coral, not a healthy one.
 
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Lancelogan1217

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Just my two cents on whats worked for me. I tested calc, alk, mag, no3, and po4 weekly for 8 months in my lps tank. I did 10 percent water changes every week, and it kept all my numbers in optimal range. From my understanding lps don't use as much calcium carbonate as sps. I don't dose or check my levels anymore and everything is growing and looking amazing. At some point with new additions and larger colony sizes I might run tests for a few more months to see if I'm still maintaining.
 
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Doctorgori

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skip Alkalinity test at your own peril. I wouldn't go less than twice a week and won't argue with daily for those so inclined.
I'd test phosphates at least weekly, especially if the glass algae changes colors or speeds up. I test 2x/week
Calcium; 2x month,
Magnesium: same
Nitrate. New status quo has us checking this more often. anyway this one depends on a number of variables (like a fast growing fuge, et). Off the cuff I've gone form 1 yearly to weekly!
....wont argue more frequency for any of the above.
 

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I personally test alk multiple times a day with trident (and testing an Alkatronic also at the same time right now) I test all parameters every Saturday and a triton test goes out 6 times a year, now that things have been testing consistently I will probably reduce it to 4 times a year.

I travel and am away from the tank about 3 weeks a month and rely heavily on tank automation and dosing. I’m of the camp get in the habit of testing now and writing down the results, take note of when things look great and at what parameters. That information is invaluable when trouble shooting an issue.
 

Gtinnel

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I realize OP said he was going to test, but it seems foolish to me that your plan was to only make changes to the tank when corals are showing signs of stress. As much as we spend on our tanks and corals I will take any reasonable precaution to avoid stressing a coral.
BTW I use a Trident to test alk/cal/mag. Then I will manually test them and phosphate once a week. I test nitrate 2 or 3 times a week, but that's because my system runs low so I periodically manually dose. Once I get an actual dose dialed in to where I can use a pump I will probably switch to once a week for it also.
 

Lancelogan1217

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I personally test alk multiple times a day with trident (and testing an Alkatronic also at the same time right now) I test all parameters every Saturday and a triton test goes out 6 times a year, now that things have been testing consistently I will probably reduce it to 4 times a year.

I travel and am away from the tank about 3 weeks a month and rely heavily on tank automation and dosing. I’m of the camp get in the habit of testing now and writing down the results, take note of when things look great and at what parameters. That information is invaluable when trouble shooting an issue.
This poor guys going to think he needs to check alk 3 times a day for 3 frags. Automation is nice for tenuis, and sps, goniopora, and when dealing with a large mature reef, But if he's got a duncan, a mushroom, and acan I don't see the point in wasting the money.
 
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