New To Plants


Junior Poster
Jun 10, 2007
Here is a little info on my tank. It is a 55 gal, with 4 15 watt compact florescent 5500K. The lights are on for 10 hrs a day. I have 50 lbs of 3M Quartz sand for substrate. There is also 130 pounds for lace rock in the tank. My filtration on this tank is 2 of the XP2's.

In the tank are the following fish.

5 Electric Yellow
4 Red Zebra
14 Zebra Danio

My water is testing the following.

PH 8.2
Ammonia 0
NitRATE 40

Testing water from the tap.

PH 8.2
Ammonia 0

Plants in tank are.

15 Java Fern
4 Anubias nana
5 Misc Swords (feeding them with root tabs)

I am also dosing with with all the Flouish line, following the suggested dosing guide. I keep reading about how to test for Iron, KH. My question is where do you find these kits? I have looked at Petsmart, Petco, and here in the fourms. Sorry if I sound dumb, maybe I'm just not seeing them. any help would be great.

Thanks Mike


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Mar 21, 2005
Hi Mike,
Check out these two sticky posts if you haven't already done so:

You'll see that you can replace your existing commercial fertilizers with basic compounds that can be found in supermarkets and hardware stores for a fraction of the cost.

You didn't say on what continent you live but test kits can be found at on-line retailers if you google for them. I just entered "kH test kit" in google and I got 1,650,000 hits. Here was the first on the list: Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Liquid Test Kits - Fresh and Salt Water

That's in North America but I'm sure you could find the same in whatever location you are in. If online shopping is not an option then you might try a local high street pet shop or check yellow pages (if there is such a thing where you live) for "Aquatic Supply" or something similar. In any case, if you study the posts above and if you dose using the EI method as described in the posts referenced, you'll find that you won't really need many of the test kits that are generally advocated. Further investigation will reveal that test kits are notoriously inaccurate, inconsistent and some are absurdly expensive.



Junior Poster
Jun 10, 2007
Thanks for the links. I'm in southern California. I think I need to upgrade my current lighting. I was looking at the Ah kits for the 55 watts. My question is do I need 2 of the 1 x 55 watt Bright Kit™ or 1 of the 2 x 55 watt Bright Kit™? The reason I ask is my tank has 2 hoods, on for each side.

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Hi, SCAPE is the local plant club down there, you can save a lot of $$ by getting involved. Plenty of well experienced plant folks in that club.

I think with 120lbs of lace rock and the fish you have, there's not much room nor % of plant biomass in the tank. you'll want to either cover the Rock or switch some out etc.

I'd suggest 2x 54 w T5 lights.
This will do better for you than the PC lights.
Cost a bit more though.

Most on line places will sell KH or carbonate hardness test kits.
Petco etc ought to sell that and GH test kit.
Do not worry about Fe/iron test kits.
There are issues with those we do not need to discuss here, but just do not worry about them yet(if ever).

Tom Barr