Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I have an issue with my tendentious where shaking the nitrate bottle just isn't feasible for me, I will suffer all week with pain in my arm now from it.  I actually went to test strips for a long time, now I'm finally out and down just to my master test kit, which I really want to use, but I can't seem to get myself to as it is self-inflicted pain.

I'm really looking for suggestions here.  I'm watching my nitrates a lot as I have a lot of newly established tanks, and I need to keep an eye on it to make sure I get the right water change schedule and volume going right.  Any suggestions?  Should I just give up and deal with test strips (I know they aren't as accurate, but I just don't know what else to do - and tbh, I've not noticed that much of a difference in them when I compare the liquid kit).

Edited by aquachris
Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I've been keeping fish for a long time, recently the obsession has become extreme... but I have used test strips quite a bit in the past.  I know a lot of people do the whole "test strips aren't accurate" stuff... but I've really never had issues with this.  In fact I recently watched:

Just really, how accurate do we really need to be?  I mean sure, if you have super sensitive fish to a specific thing, I could see maybe going for exactly that in a liquid kit - but if not... 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not noticed a large difference in using strips vs the liquid kit. I am of the mind set that as long as you are getting consistent results that’s good enough for me. I don’t stress over a point here or there. Now if I am getting different results with two identical strips on the same water sample then that may be a issue.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a spotty track record as a fishkeeper and I am lazy. Usually I just want know the trends on water parameters and the strips work just fine for that.

Most of the time I don't know and don't care what my water parameters are. It would probably freak me out if it I did and I might go dumping a bunch of chemicals in my aquarium sparking a vicious downward spiral of chemical chaos.

The main test is are my fish happy. Do they eat? Do they breed? That's my primary yardstick.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Daniel said:

I have a spotty track record as a fishkeeper and I am lazy. Usually I just want know the trends on water parameters and the strips work just fine for that.

Most of the time I don't know and don't care what my water parameters are. It would probably freak me out if it I did and I might go dumping a bunch of chemicals in my aquarium sparking a vicious downward spiral of chemical chaos.

The main test is are my fish happy. Do they eat? Do they breed? That's my primary yardstick.

I usually only have the close eye while setting up and cycling to watch and make sure we dont get crashes/etc for a few months.  Once they are going, I admit, I get bad, even with strips.  But I pay a lot of attention to my fish, and I can tell when they get stressed, and that is how I tend to react.  Same thing is true of water changes.. as time goes, I let it extend out.  I observe the fish, and use that as my guide to get my schedule.

Right now since I've started a new re-obsession, I have tons of new tanks, and different things going on.  I feel better testing and verifying - especially in some of my tanks that might have more sensitive creatures (like my dwarf puffers/otto tank and my neo shrimp tank).  I've never watched GH/KH much until the shrimp tank, and that's mostly just to make sure it doesn't "swing" fast.  I figure I must be doing something right with my shrimp, I had 4 berried girls, one just had her eggs hatch (I mean like maybe yesterday/last night - and I'm finding little baby specs!) and soon the other girls will be hatching their eggs.  What I do find especially with the guppies, the more I obsess and try to keep "parameters" right (IE: Nitrates) and do water changes, the less babies I get... Not saying I let them go crazy, but it does seem to be a relationship in my fishkeeping career.

I shouldn't let the pressure get to me, but I hear so many people on forums and facebook always going on and on about saying strips are garbage.  And I probably wouldn't mind the liquid tests if it wasn't so painful.  I need to realize that if it works for me, maybe I need to just keep doing what works and stop worrying about others opinions!  This is one thing I've really noticed in the hobby, people have varied opinions, and what works for one, might be different than what works for someone else.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

15 hours ago, aquachris said:

  I need to realize that if it works for me, maybe I need to just keep doing what works and stop worrying about others opinions!

 @Cory says this time and time again. What works for him may not work for us. But in his experience that is what works for him and shares it with us hoping to help us with being successful so we enjoy the hobby. 

This sentence hits the nail on the head. If it's working for you, then it's working for you whether it works for me or not. The main thing to remember is we want our fish to be happy. Happy fish usually don't get sick often. Unhappy fish typically will not spawn/breed. If your fish are healthy and breeding, they are happy. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/26/2020 at 8:10 AM, aquachris said:

Just the way the opinions are out there, I feel like I'm a terrible fishkeeper if I don't use the liquid.

It's my opinion that the degree of resolution is only as important to the extent that it can identify changes over time. You should not fear being 'under accurate' unless you begin to omit data that would help you make a decision or observation. It doesn't matter to me whether I know my PH is 7.5 of 7.53351.  It only matters that I can tell if significant change has occurred since the last test or established 'normal' for my setup. The extra numbers are just wasted in that case because PH can be accurately monitored in 0.5 increments and still reveal significant data about water quality/changes.

Such a 'low' resolution of accuracy would not be the case for something like ammonia where even a little bit can cause a big change for the water and animals.

Generally though, I see test strips as an ideal solution to examining water quality. I don't need to count the grains of sand by the ocean to know I am at the beach. There are good arguments against the reliability of test strips, but none that overcome the effort/cost of other setups for me because I can always dip a second strip if I suspect wrong results.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

@aquachris, The Tetra test strips will definitely get you there in being very close.  I like the API liquid tests a bit more, but that's just me.

Folks that have a lot of aquariums, generally use the strips, while average fish-keepers like myself, have the time for the liquid tests.  

 I was just testing all my aquariums today and I really shake the nitrate bottle a lot.  Feels like my hand is still in the other room, lol.  

Seen a video on the internet awhile back where they put the test bottles into a fully padded 'rock tumbler'.  Not sure that would work, be too rough, make the bottles leak, etc, but wanted to mention that technique, for what it's worth.  

Anyway,  I also use Seachem Nitrite/Nitrate tests & they don't require any shaking, just some stirring.

BTW, you are not a "terrible fish-keeper" as you stated, for not using the liquid tests.  There are many ways of testing for the same result.

 All the best.......

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of a sidetrack here: I think this topic is very relevant- making the hobby accessible for people who aren't able to do certain things the way an average person does. I'm an EMT so I work a lot with the disabled and elderly, and I remember this one patient who was the victim of severe burns which had disabled him for life. He had a small plant next to his bed that he was so, so proud of. For him, it was a way to take control of his environment when so much of his independence had been taken from him. (And I'll tell you, the plant looked REALLY good.) I think it would be great for expanding this hobby if we put forth some thought towards the challenges some people face. For example, I expect that water changes would be very difficult for some people, but a heavily planted tank with the correct stocking could at least minimize that need. An auto feeder could help people who have issues opening screw-top containers (again, not eliminating the problem, but minimizing it.) I'd be interested to hear any adjustments people have made in order to make the hobby easier for them. (Although it is none of business if you dont want to share. 🙂) I think it is a very interesting topic, although it is a very case-by-case basis.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Kat_RigelThis would be an excellent topic of its own. Please post it.

Enabling yourself - Adaptivity - is so vital. I have physical issues and its an absolute necessity for me to make adaptations in order to continue this addiction - I mean hobby. Yeah hobby. It's a hobby until they create a 12 step program for it right?

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/28/2020 at 10:30 AM, Kat_Rigel said:

 I'd be interested to hear any adjustments people have made in order to make the hobby easier for them. (Although it is none of business if you dont want to share. 🙂) I think it is a very interesting topic, although it is a very case-by-case basis.

Personally, I have some extreme executive dysfunction issues and other health problems on top of a packed schedule. Last time I kept a bigger tank (29g) I definitely stopped testing water due to all the steps involved in the liquid test kit, and the fish suffered as a result.

So this time, I'm going to use test strips, and that stick-on ammonia alert that's supposed to be pretty accurate for swings. I'm also adding plants to the HOBs in an effort to reduce nitrates and reduce the need for water changes. Speaking of water changes, a 50ft Python would really help with water changes not killing my back/knees for a few hours/days. Probably gonna buy it when I get my next paycheck. When I have the budget, I'm also gonna splurge for a mini fridge to store premade Repashy (thus cutting out the extra steps of going to the kitchen, getting the food, feeding, then going back to the kitchen to put the Repashy away) and vegetables for the fish. Finally, I'll be getting one of those lights that has a remote controller, which means the lights will be on a more consistent schedule and the tank won't fall victim to my absentmindedness. All that is more expensive than is probably typical (on top of an already expensive hobby), but I'm hoping these accommodations will streamline my fishkeeping process and keep me from getting frustrated and giving up when health/life takes an inevitable downturn.

Anyway. I hope this didn't derail the post, and I hope that helped. Like you, I'm curious to see what others are doing!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, wendypizza said:

Personally, I have some extreme executive dysfunction issues and other health problems on top of a packed schedule. Last time I kept a bigger tank (29g) I definitely stopped testing water due to all the steps involved in the liquid test kit, and the fish suffered as a result.

So this time, I'm going to use test strips, and that stick-on ammonia alert that's supposed to be pretty accurate for swings. I'm also adding plants to the HOBs in an effort to reduce nitrates and reduce the need for water changes. Speaking of water changes, a 50ft Python would really help with water changes not killing my back/knees for a few hours/days. Probably gonna buy it when I get my next paycheck. When I have the budget, I'm also gonna splurge for a mini fridge to store premade Repashy (thus cutting out the extra steps of going to the kitchen, getting the food, feeding, then going back to the kitchen to put the Repashy away) and vegetables for the fish. Finally, I'll be getting one of those lights that has a remote controller, which means the lights will be on a more consistent schedule and the tank won't fall victim to my absentmindedness. All that is more expensive than is probably typical (on top of an already expensive hobby), but I'm hoping these accommodations will streamline my fishkeeping process and keep me from getting frustrated and giving up when health/life takes an inevitable downturn.

Anyway. I hope this didn't derail the post, and I hope that helped. Like you, I'm curious to see what others are doing!

The Python water changer is life changing! I highly recommend it. My only complaint is that it does waste quite a bit of water. 

I'm glad you are able to make the hobby work for you! It is frustrating that it is more expensive for you than other hobbyists, but I was very interested to hear your experience (not derailing at all!)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/1/2020 at 11:10 AM, Kat_Rigel said:

The Python water changer is life changing! I highly recommend it. My only complaint is that it does waste quite a bit of water. 

I actually take my python outside for the "draining" - this works for most of my tanks.  For my tanks that are towards the ground, I have to use the regular method with the sink for syphon or I hook up a pump and drain outside.  This way, I'm not wasting the extra water to syphon it out.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/28/2020 at 12:34 PM, DaveSamsell said:

@aquachris, The Tetra test strips will definitely get you there in being very close.  I like the API liquid tests a bit more, but that's just me.

Folks that have a lot of aquariums, generally use the strips, while average fish-keepers like myself, have the time for the liquid tests.  

 I was just testing all my aquariums today and I really shake the nitrate bottle a lot.  Feels like my hand is still in the other room, lol.  

Seen a video on the internet awhile back where they put the test bottles into a fully padded 'rock tumbler'.  Not sure that would work, be too rough, make the bottles leak, etc, but wanted to mention that technique, for what it's worth.  

Anyway,  I also use Seachem Nitrite/Nitrate tests & they don't require any shaking, just some stirring.

BTW, you are not a "terrible fish-keeper" as you stated, for not using the liquid tests.  There are many ways of testing for the same result.

 All the best.......

 

I use the API.  The pro is API TESTING IS DO MUCH cheaper than test strips if you are testing multiple tanks weekly. The con is they take more time.  I do have them in my fish kit tho and have seen a difference in nitrate levels with strips vs api.  Do the test chemicals in API go bad faster than the other tests?  My kit has abt a year before it is set to expire.  by the way I’m careful to shake bottle two 30 secs and the mix 60 secs. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Low flow filtration said:

I use the API.  The pro is API TESTING IS DO MUCH cheaper than test strips if you are testing multiple tanks weekly. The con is they take more time.  I do have them in my fish kit tho and have seen a difference in nitrate levels with strips vs api.  Do the test chemicals in API go bad faster than the other tests?  My kit has abt a year before it is set to expire.  by the way I’m careful to shake bottle two 30 secs and the mix 60 secs. 

I actually just ran into the same issue recently. My API kit gives me WAY different nitrate values than the tetra strips. API says zero ppm, but the Tetra strips say 80ppm! Common wisdom says the API kit is more accurate, but I don't know that anyone has ever tested that theory. I might make this a new post.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...