Not daft at all. Your best bet is to get an API Master Test Kit. It's cheaper to buy online either at an aquatics website such as on here or even on ebay.
For the water to be safe for the fish, the ammonia and nitrite levels BOTH need to be zero which is why the fishless cycle is so important for setting up the tank properly. The nitrate level isn't so important initially but, once the tank is cycled, it should be kept as low as possible.
No one falls in love by choice, it's by chance. No one stays in love by chance, it's by work and no one falls out of love by chance, it is by choice...