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Newbie question on testing supplies.


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What do I need to test for?


I have a 29 gallon Biocube that will have live rock, corals that will live under stock lighting (non-HQI model) and a few fish. Oh and a fuge with chaetomorpha.


I'm looking at this API Kit. And this fracometer. Any thing else I need?

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Test kit is good.

Test for ammonia, nitrite & nitrate. You should first seem ammonia, then nitrite (what ammonia gets converted to) then nitrate (what nitrite is converted to). Once you have readings of 0 for ammonia and nitrite, and your nitrates are "low" (<10 IMO) your cycle is complete and you're to rock


Save yourself a few bucks on the refractometer though.



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Don't bother buying a hydrometer. I don't know why that guy would recommend a hydrometer. They're notoriously inaccurate and need to be replaced every 3 months or so. Hydrometers are terrible. They will sometimes read a normal reading but if you check it with a refractometer it can be off by as much as two hundreths. Not worth a penny. Stick with your first thought of the refractometer. It's much more accurate. Just make sure you get some calibration fluid with it so you can check it.


Also, to clear up what he confusingly said, your cycle will not reduce nitrates, it should raise them. When the cycle is complete your nitrates will not likely be around 10ppm. The goal is to bring them down to <5ppm through water changes (but only after the cycle has completed). Your cycle will begin with a spike in ammonia. You can encouarge this by throwing in a piece of raw table shrimp and letting it begin to break down. Remove it when it begins to decay. This will be followed by a spike in nitrites. When both those numbers return to 0 your cycle is complete. You can do a 50% water change and add your first livestock. Doing water changes during your cycle will only prolong the time it takes for thsi natural process to take place.


API is what most people start out with. They are average kits.


Salifert makes the best liquid regent test kits, there's good things to be said about Red Sea as well.


You should be testing for:








This is to start off.


After some time you will likely need to test for:




If you think you need a phosphate test get the cheapest you can find. None are accurate and, at best, will give you a positive/negative result....which is all you need to correct a phosphate problem regardless. Unless you're practicing unsafe reefkeeping habits, though, you shouldn't have any phosphate in your tank.

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