Testing: What does your test kit stash look like and how did our reef aquariums ever survive?

Do we test our water too much and for too many things nowadays?

  • Yes

    Votes: 161 31.4%
  • No

    Votes: 254 49.5%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 92 17.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 6 1.2%

  • Total voters
    513

revhtree

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Test Kits and testing devices! How did we ever reef without all the test kits and devices we have today? Let's talk about that and them today!

1. What does your test kit stash look like? List all your testing kits and devices.

2. How did our reef tanks ever survive without all the test kits and devices that we have today?



test too much.jpg
 

brmreefer

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I test weekly to keep a pulse on my system. This allows me to make subtle adjustments to maintain stability.

No3 - API
Salinity - Refractometer
Mg - Salifert
Alk - API
Ca - API...probably switching to Hanna later

Survivability was probably achieved by slow adjustments and/or luck ;)
 
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Miller535

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While there are a small few that test too often, I think most test too little.

I weekly test:
PO4-hanna ULR checker
ALK-hanna checker
NO3 Red sea
Calcium Salifert
Magnesium salifert
salinity refractometer

Nutrients and the big 3 should be checked at least weekly imo
 

andrewkw

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The only way you can test too much is if you are removing so much water your auto top off can't keep up and salinity drops. IE next to impossible. It's what you do with that test information. If I test my water yesterday and it tests at 7.5 dkh and I test today and it's 15 but there is no noticeable difference in my alkalinity solution I know the test is wrong either due to test kit failure or user error. Any test that is outside of the range of possibility should be retested before any attempt at changing the parameters is done.
 

NowGlazeIT

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D401CF14-1434-42B4-9ACC-F73647C3FEEC.jpeg

waiting for a Hannah nitrate to come to market over here.
I can’t imagine how old school reefers got by with no water changes or test kits. The best advice I can give a new reefer is, to invest in quality test kits and YouTube the proper way to use them.
 

andrewey

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I interpreted the question as "can too much information can be a bad thing"? In that case, then yes, testing too often can definitely be a bad thing. Testing is a tool, but put in the wrong hands, it can have disastrous consequences (e.g. people chasing pH and crashing their tank). If I'm being honest, I've probably killed more corals testing and subsequently chasing numbers compared to simply listening to the corals and accepting the needs of my reef were met, even if the numbers weren't picture perfect. Anyone could argue that the testing isn't at fault, it's my knee jerk reactions- that's absolutely true. However, I find I make less knee jerk reactors if I'm not constantly testing and fretting over the results. Therefore, I've cut down on many of the tests I run and spend more focused on the visual clues to the health of the reef. If I suspect an issue, that's when I will pull out my test kits to confirm.
 

Angelwolf21203

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I test twice a week, but I'm also trying to get things in better shape. My Nitrates are still pretty high. I think my next move will be a bottle of bacteria. Any suggestions on the best one? Or best value for the money?
Here's my kit stash:
API Reef Master Kit
API Ammonia
Hanna PO4 ULR Checker
Hanna dKH Checker
Hanna pHEP probe Checker (pH and temp)
 

Member No 1

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To many things? No, with ICP testing we can have a better understanding what's going on and are able to correct any issues before they get out of hand and cause harm.
To often? In the beginning, no, but once the tank is established and you have a good "feel" for it, and able to recognize trends, testing can be relaxed.
Chasing test results (numbers)? This, I think, this is the biggest problem, much more so than the precious two. People get hung up on getting the perfect number, try to compensate to much, and in the end, do more harm than the original issue would have caused.
 

ca1ore

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The problem, if there is a problem, is not in the testing; rather in how folks react or overreact to the results. I have long been firmly in the camp that says more data is better than less data. I suppose I could find some examples where this is not true (for example, diagnostic medical tests that make something into a problem that didn't have to be a problem) but I don't see reefing as one.
 

Peace River

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My initial reaction is that the problem is not in testing too often, although the data collection can be done incorrectly. Just like the data analysis, data presentation and resulting action related to the data can all be done incorrectly and can lead to less than positive outcomes.

I am curious though if anyone knows of any negative side effects caused by the act of testing (not including any resultant activities) either in manual or automated tests.
 

Member No 1

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My initial reaction is that the problem is not in testing too often, although the data collection can be done incorrectly. Just like the data analysis, data presentation and resulting action related to the data can all be done incorrectly and can lead to less than positive outcomes.

I am curious though if anyone knows of any negative side effects caused by the act of testing (not including any resultant activities) either in manual or automated tests.
Removing to much test water from multiple tests (smaller tanks more prone) and not adjusting accordingly would result in a salinity drop.
 
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klimfish

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Alk, Phosphorous, Salinity, Temp, pH - Hannah
Nitrate - NYOS
Calcium and Magnesium - AquaForest
Ammonia - Red Sea
Potassium - Salifert

I test more often for Alk and Phosphorous than anything else by far, almost daily. The others are maybe weekly. I dose BRS 2 part (soon switching to all for reef...if it ever comes back in stock).

I find it SO important to calibrate/reference check your testing equipment after the first use, after two weeks, and then monthly. AquaForest is great for this because they include a reference standard in their Calcium and Magnesium tests that has a known lab-tested amount of the element, which you can then use to compare your testing practices and consistency but also to know if any of your testing reagents are bad or contaminated.

Hannah also sells reference vials and calibrating solution (for salinity) for their kits which are super easy to use. I find salinity to be the most important to calibrate often, with the Hannah Salinity checker I calibrate every 3-4 weeks. Much better than my old refractometer where had to calibrate before every single reading!

Testing for Alk and Phos as often as I do does go through the reagents pretty quick but I don't mind as they are cheap and I stock up when I purchase them.
 

Zeedawg

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Weekly Testing:
  • Alk - Hanna
  • PO4 - Hanna
Bi-Weekly Testing:
  • Ca - Hanna
  • Mg - RedSea
 

McPuff

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I approve of many of your movie choices. :0)

As for testing, I definitely do not test too much... it's just right. Pretty much test ALK once per week. I may test CA about once a month or two. Mag gets tested about every few months. Honestly, keeping ALK consistent generally means the others are also consistent (thank you CA reactor!) so I don't worry much. I don't test nutrients at all, I just pay attention to the color of my corals and algae growth. It's really easy to get too complicated with reactors and equipment and practices so I'm just trying to keep it as simple as possible... which isn't easy with a reef.
 

Redland Reefer

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The following API kits: pH, Calcium, Phosphate, Alkalinity, Nitrate. I test those parameters once weekly but rarely have to make adjustments unless sometimes after a water change. Red Sea: Magnesium, test once or twice a month and have never had to adjust. Salinity I use a refractometer. As I have a 30 Gallon tank w/ 10 Gallon sump this is one that I have to adjust most often, but since incorporating an ATO with Kalkwasser my system has been much more stable. Once things seem dialed in a bit more and I'm not noticing any great shifts may reduce testing the main three bimonthly.
 

New&no clue

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I definitely think there are people who test way too much, me included, and chase magic numbers. I tested daily trying to get my tank to match some ideal standard I had. But I've learned it's better to keep it stable with where it is naturally. I also have added some canary corals to both my tanks that let me know when things are changing.

Tests
Calcium: Salifert
Magnesium: Salifert
Nitrates: Salifert
Alkalinity: Hanna
Phosphate ULR: Hanna
Salinity: Milwaukee
 

Do you use NON-AQUARIUM items on your aquarium?

  • Yes a lot

    Votes: 9 56.3%
  • Yes but very little

    Votes: 3 18.8%
  • No

    Votes: 4 25.0%

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