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Testing and What to Test

Lincs Planter

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Joined
13 Jun 2024
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44
Location
Tattershall
After ten years or so in reefkeeping I've made the move over to the green side. After testing for this that and the next thing I'm wondering what tests I should be doing and how often etc and what guideline parameters these should fall into. I've attached the latest water quality report for my area.

Thanks
David
 

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Hi,

Well most of use test nothing and accept the water we use esp if its Tap water. Planted tanks don't have protein skimmers so to keep the DOC (Dissolved Organic Compounds) low we advise regular WC (water changes).. The WC percentage varies if taking the low or High tech route.
Some use RO water and remineraliser it (just like in the marine side), that is the only sure way to know what you have got, these tanks are the most stable and also tend to get very good results in the right hands.

Zeus
 
Hi all,
After ten years or so in reefkeeping
One <"problem"> with freshwater is that you don't have a <"known datum value"> to aim for. Freshwater varies all the way from the <"Rio Negro"> to <"Lake Tanganyika">.
I've attached the latest water quality report for my area.
Your water company will have accurate results, from their lab. using <"appropriate analytical techniques">.

Your water is <"very similar to the tap water"> across <"a lot of the South and East of England">, hard (~16dGH), alkaline and with a fair amount of nitrate (NO3-). A difference is that you have more magnesium (Mg) than the vast majority of us would have.

You might run into iron (Fe) deficiency issues <"because of your hard water">. Have a look at <"FE EDDHA">
I'm wondering what tests I should be doing and how often etc
<"Personally"> I'd just <"test conductivity">, the meters are relatively cheap and they are accurate and conductivity is a linear scale. You can make up your own calibration standards and they don't need calibrating every time you use them.

The other "test kit" I use is plant growth <"Water Reports - Understanding what I get out of the tap">.
we advise regular WC (water changes).
That is a major difference between fresh and salt water aquariums, we have access to <"water change water">, and to <"vascular plants"> (angiosperms) that we can use as <"a nutrient "sponge"">.

cheers Darrel
 
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That is a major difference between fresh and salt water aquariums, we have access to <"water change water">, and to <"vascular plants"> (angiosperms) that we can use as <"a nutrient "sponge"">.

Well.. My son has a marine tank running without a protein skimmer or sump, 12 months old, its stable, he's using a Fluval FX6 all all the 'stuff' lights etc I had on my 'Olympus is calling', has purchased one small marine light and its quite stunning/impressive IMO. Awaiting some pics/vids and was going to post it at end of journal.
 
After ten years or so in reefkeeping I've made the move over to the green side. After testing for this that and the next thing I'm wondering what tests I should be doing and how often etc and what guideline parameters these should fall into. I've attached the latest water quality report for my area.

Thanks
David
I've given up testing. I use rain water and remineralise, so know what gH and Kh I have.
 
Hi all,
I've given up testing........
and I'm going to guess that most long term planted tank keepers have.

I just think the <"multifactorial nature"> of <"what makes a planted tank successful?"> means that most water testing doesn't really help sort out <"cause and effect">.

You might be able to use <"modelling, multivariate"> or <"metadata analysis"> (if you had enough studies), but you would still need to concentrate on the prime factors and be <"able to identify what those factors are">. As an example this approach has worked <"really well in identifying the microbial assemblage in aquarium filters">, but only once we had the <"gene sequences that code for ammonia oxidation">.

Both Duckweed and Estimative Indices <"were developed"> (independently) to minimise the need for water testing. This wasn't either of our original aims, it was just that both Tom Barr (@plantbrain) and I realised that most users weren't going to get <"accurate values"> for nitrate (NO3-) etc.

From an entirely personal viewpoint the thing that made the difference for me were:
It was only once I'd <"thought outside the box"> that things started <"falling into place">.
I like the "Duckweed Index" because you get a <"visual representation"> of what is happening (or has happened) and <"a picture"> really is <"worth a thousand words">.
I use rain water
I'm also a rainwater user, this is partially because historically I always was, <"partially due to environmental concerns"> and partially because the <"blank slate"> aspect of soft water makes life easier.
and remineralise
I've even gone to a <"visual index approach"> for that.

cheers Darrel
 
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Thanks all much appreciate the advice. Got a conductivity meter on the way and @dw1305 reading into the Fe side of things then keeping an eye on levels and the speed of take up seems like a logical step to start with and only use Purigen as required?
 
Hi all,
and only use Purigen as required?
It definitely looks like Seachem Purigen <"removes chelates from the tank water">. Personally I like some <"humic, fulvic or tannic substances"> in the water, (and I have a bit of an issue with <"Seachem's advertising">) so I'm not a Purigen (or activated charcoal) user.

screenshot_20190509-180818-png.124158

cheers Darrel
 
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I'm thinking of using a doser so that ferts can be dosed regularly each day rather than dumped en masse thinking of starting this from the start of the tank rather than a few weeks down the line so the plants have the best possible start with an increased CO2 level as there'll be no livestock for the first few weeks. Good idea or asking for trouble?
 
Understanding your starting water parameters e.g. with a water report is useful so you can get an idea of what you're dealing with. Following that, with a high-tech tank I think testing for CO2 is mandatory. You can use a drop checker or monitor pH or do both of those things. If CO2 is going wrong for any reason you want to find that out right away. For low-tech I don't test anything.
 
Hi all,
Understanding your starting water parameters e.g. with a water report is useful so you can get an idea of what you're dealing with.
I would always start there. Your water company has an analytical lab. and scientifically trained staff, who use the equipment (and industry standard methodology) everyday.
Following that, with a high-tech tank I think testing for CO2 is mandatory. You can use a drop checker or monitor pH or do both of those things. If CO2 is going wrong for any reason you want to find that out right away.
That is the truth, CO2 is <"much more of a risk to livestock health"> than anything else we do.
For low-tech I don't test anything.
For newer members of the forum, I should say that @Andy Pierce is a <"real scientist">.

cheers Darrel
 
At the moment I have a blank slate and feel that now is the time to decide on RO use etc. I think for the long-term stability and control of parameters RO is the way forward.

The system I'm going to be using will produce water at 0 TDS and be stored in the dark in a 150l potable water container what would be the most consistent way to remineralise this to be usable. Can this be remineralised before storage ie. inline or is there a better way forward?

Can I use a remineralisation cartridge on the output?
 
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