Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Basic Water Test Kits
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Basic Water Test Kits

for the week of 9/22/99

Testing for the amount of certain chemicals in an aquarium can reveal a lot of useful information, and can forewarn the aquarist of trouble areas. Though there are many additional test kits available, these are some that every hobbyist should consider:

For new tanks - Ammonia and Nitrite testing can tell how far along the tank is in its break-in cycle, and whether or not it's ready for additional fish.

For older tanks - Nitrate testing reveals whether or not waste removal (by filtration and water changes) is keeping up with the waste input (fish waste, decaying plants, excess food).

For source water pH and Hardness testing can indicate if your tap water is suitable for the species you wish to keep. Chlorine testing will show whether or not a dechlorinator is needed.

Choosing a Test Kit Test kits can vary dramatically in accuracy, shelf life and ease of use. Perhaps the best way to choose is to ask what your local fish store uses for its tests. Otherwise, look first at cost per test by dividing the price by the number of tests included. Then check out how easy or difficult it is for you to see color differences in the kits comparison chart. Finally, look to see if the reagents have an expiration date, and decide if you will likely use them up before that time.


"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

Copyright © 1999 Aquatics Unlimited
All rights reserved.

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