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water evaluation and test kits


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For many years I have always used test strips.  I know they are not as accurate as a test kit, however they have been accurate enough to give me a baseline for my fish tank.  Now that I have shrimp, I want to make sure I am providing for them the best that I can, which means the best water I can give them for their species requirements.

 

I thought my parameters were going to be fine for my blue velvets and tangerine tigers, however, the more I have been reading, the more I think my water is too hard.

 

I am still using the test strips (they are almost gone and I will be investing in a test kit here shortly as well as a pH meter)  This is what I come up with:

Temp  74.5

pH @ 7-7.2

GH  150-300

KH  @180

nitrate 20-40

TDS 276

 

My water temp was closer to 78 when I received the shrimp last week.  The heater is old and won't seem to heat under 78 degrees, even when I turn it all the way down.  I have since unplugged the heater.  I replaced it with a new cobalt 50 watt that I may have to use once I move the tank to the living room as it is much cooler out there.

 

My tap water is:

pH  7.8 (my guess is this is actually higher)

GH  150-300

KH  @180

TDS 196

 

From what I read last night is I should do a w/c when my TDS starts to get too high and my nitrates go up?

I'm also thinking my GH/KH are too high and my shrimp will have trouble molting?

 

I don't have a problem buying some RO water and remineralizing it, but I can't do it right away or my banker will shoot me for spending more money on shrimp supplies right now.

 

Do you think I could buy some RO (I can buy that at the grocery store?) and use that for doing water changes until I can get some salty shrimp or something?

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I have a TDS pen, my reading is in the original post :)

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I forgot to add my questions about a test kit. I already have a tds pen and plan on getting a pH stick. Would itake more sense to buy my liquid test kits seperately? Ammonia, nitrate, kh/gh, or just buy a master test kit and add to it?

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