Test Strips... what is your choice???

Magnum Man

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Jun 21, 2023
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Southern MN
so I have a liquid test kit ( API Master, I think ) but as I had to add an RO water filter, because of extremely hard & alkaline water... I'm still testing every 5 gallons of water change, until I get everything balanced right for each aquarium... I like having a test strip for quick testing, & if I get something that doesn't look right or an unexpected result, I use the liquid test kit to verify my results...

not knowing, I went out & bought the "101" test, test strips... but they are more expensive, have redundant tests ( like both carbonite hardness & alkalinity )..., they also test for chlorine, which is always zero, as we have private well water...

right now I'm looking at a "5" test, test strip, as it seems more relevant
( it would be nice if it tested ammonia as well ) these strips are also API brand... which I think is a good brand... they may or may not be as good for verifying being the same brand as my liquid test kit???

anyway, curious what test strips ( if you use ) that you guys use to test your water as often as you feel it needs???
I use the API tests only. I find I don't test for Ammonia or Nitrite or Nitrate anymore, typically only test for those on a new tank or if the inhabitants don't seem to be behaving normally.

I am mixing water now for one tank on that one I am targeting 160 to 180 ppm of general hardness. For that tank I use a liquid test, API as well, but at the same time I take a TDS using a cheap TDS monitor. I then determine the ratio of the TDS measurement to the measured general hardness and use that value to pull the GH from a TDS measurements in the future. The ratio is only good for the one aquarium because I also use a liquid fertilizer in that tank and it affects the TDS reading. My water comes from the tap at near RO levels of GH and KH. This is a tank I test frequently but made it easier by the use of the TDS sensor.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that I find I don't measure the parameters in the tank often. I just do the same thing each week and with the consistency the fish seem to do well, and I find the constant testing is not necessary.
I had to round a basket up by £5 to get free delivery which would have been £20 so I got some JBL Strip tests and compared to the API liquid tests they are not accurate especially for nitrate but they do show something and so convenient compared to the liquid tests so if I want to know if somethings going on I use the strip and if that shows something I'm not expecting I get the liquid kits out.

They are not the be all and end all of test kits but I think they do have a place :)

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