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Hello all. I don't know if I am over anylizing my water but I am in the middle of a fishless cycle (about 1 week into it) and my plants are yellowing pretty fast. I have tests for Ph, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Total Chlorine, and have a DO (Disolved oxygen) test, and salinity test.

Right now these are my levels:

PH - 7.4
Ammonia - 3-4 (due to adding it to start the cycling process
Nitrates - 0
Nitrites - 0
Chlorine - 0 ( Thanks to TClynx's advice on sodium thiosulfate! :) )

These are the tests kits I have so far

Ph, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite

http://www.amazon.com/API-FRESHWATER-MASTER-TEST-KIT/dp/B000255NCI

These two are being delivered right now so I dont have measurements

Dissolved Oxygen

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007IR4EYQ/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00

Salinity (not sure if this is the right type of test for AP water)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DO35EU/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

What are all of the things I should be testing for in my AP system to ensure I have the optimal conditions for fish and plant health/growth. Have I gone over board? If someone with some experience could lend me some advice I would really appreciate it!

I have a 1200 gallon system that is two 275 gallon fish tank IBC's and 5 100 gallon GB's (holds around 50 gallons each) and 4 connected bottom halves of IBC's that total a total volume of around 500 gallons give or take a few.

Here are the things I think I should be testing for from my research I have done so far and please by all means, Correct me if I am wrong. Also if someone could give the the correct level's of ppm for each for optimal fish growth, plant growth and overall health for the system. That would be AWESOME!

1. PH (I'm pretty sure this one is supposed to be between 6.7 and 7.4 Correct me if I'm wrong)

2. Ammonia (I know that this is supposed to be at zero once cycled)

3 Nitrates

4. Nitrites

5. Salinity

6. Iron (During cycling to ensure optimal plant health and growth)

7. Calcuim (During cycling to ensure optimal plant health and growth)

8. Magnesium (During cycling to ensure optimal plant health and growth)

9. Hardness? (not sure what this is but I have seen alot of people talking about it on the forums)

10. DO (Dissolved Oxygen for fish and plant health/growth)

Also if any of these are over or under what treatments, soulutions or additives do you reccomend on using. Currently I have used about a shot glass full of maxi crop in all 5 GB's and treated the chloramines with Sodium Thiosulfate.

Like I said if anyone could help me save some money by not wasting it on something I dont need that would be awesome.

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i only measure temp, ph, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates..the salinty test is nice if you're treating sick fish or setting up a "hospital tank"

a do meter would be nice but not necessary if you follow basic stocking guidelines and provide supplemental aeration (other than your water pump).. but measureing the others (calcium, magnesium, hardness and iron) isn't going to help a whole lot..

early on in the cycling process you're plants won't be as productive as when your system matures and the nutrients build up in your gb's.. any nutrients that are lacking from either the system being new, or high ph lockout can be alleviated with an occasional dose of maxicrop with iron

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