Super-Accurate Water Testing Methods - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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I've used Aquarium Pharmaceuticals liquid reagent test kits exclusively since I've been in the hobby and although they're probably better than a lot of the other kits available, I'm not all that happy with them for several reasons.

1) The test tube caps don't seal well and you wind up losing a lot of liquid when doing tests that require you to remove and replace the cap during the test (such as with the KH test).

2) The fill line painted onto the test tubes is very thick and makes it unclear as to exactly how much water you should put in the test tubes.

3) Color matching is often very less than exact and I have trouble knowing what color my water has tested to when comparing it to the chart.

These are the main reasons (mostly having to do with test tube issues) and while I'm doing some looking into scientific lab supply companies to see if I can get a better test tube situation going (possibly using pipettes to measure out the 5 mL of water and using better capped test tubes to do the mixing), I'm wondering if perhaps there are some higher-end test kit solutions available. Maybe a titration-type test kit or someone who knows what chemical reagents I could buy on their own from a chemical supply house.

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 02:01 PM
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So do you prefer anal compulsive or obsessive compulsive? When I do kH testing I don't cap the tube. I just swirl it around and then add the next drop.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 11:56 PM
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Personally, I vote for anal compulsive myself. I don't even bother to test my water. I have the test kits, brand new... Don't think I've even used half of them. Don't need to. I can tell when somethings out of whack in my tanks.. On the topic tho, I've heard good things about fasTesT testing kits.. never used them myself, but hear there one of the best!
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 12:27 AM
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The tests that we run are just to get us into the "where are we" stage and like many I havent used a test kit in any tanks after they have been established unless something is not right...
I use my plants and fish as test kits..... very little goes wrong in a "well maintained" , established aquarium.

Its like a car... if its running good, why bother putting an ear to the hood? :lol:
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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I see... Sorry for the stupid question...I guess... :?

Sincerely,
STAT 007
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STAT 007
I see... Sorry for the stupid question...I guess... :?
Nah, it's not stupid. I fully understand wanting to be acurate. But at the same time you can drive yourself crazy trying to get your water chemistry just so. As long as your fish and plants are healthy and your in the ballpark with your test results then everything is cool

Eheimpimp#137
90 gallon tank with water and some fish. Plants died and tank overrun with algae. Lights nearly burst into flames last weekend. Needs lots of help
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 02:37 PM
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What is obsessive compulsive to the average mind is everyday life for the mind of an engineer. We feel the need to overanalyze everything that is not completely optimized. If the process by which water parameters were being tested had deficiences, it is our innate nature (nay, our duty as engineers!) to investigate every possible avenue to remedy the situation.
Or screw it up even worse in the process, haha.

Bottom line, I've asked those very three questions many, many times. And the answer I've found, time after time, is this: Deal with it, or buy a LaMotte kit. They're expensive as hell, yep. But they're the benchmark. Other test kits I've used have been much cheaper and good enough to get my by most of the time, but if you want data you can trust, you'll have to spring for LaMotte.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Rickster and GCA. My scientific mind was starting to feel like I was doing something wrong by desiring a method of accurate quantitative analysis. <sigh>

I saw the LaMotte test kits on the Drs. Foster & Smith website and they look interesting. However, there aren't many details and the picture just shows a bunch of crap, so I'm wondering if you could tell me what they're like.

Sincerely,
STAT 007
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 12:51 AM
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What is a LaMotte Kit and are they available in the UK ?

I use the Tetra Test for the PH and I really like the Test Tube. It is square Plastic with a nice little "foot", so it stands by itself, the 5ml mark is very easy to se and read and the lid closes really well. Colours are easy to identify as well.

Hagen Test Kits have round tubes (so you need a stand or hold them) and the lid is awful, I end up getting chemicals on my hands all the time, but the 5ml mark is good to read again.

Most of the tests are easy-ish to read, apart from the Nitrate (which is the one I am most interested in ). Those different shades of Barbie-Pink have me stumped....

KH and GH of Hagen are fine.

I don't tend to want to know "exactly" how much stuff is in there. Roughly does the trick for me and just a general weekly check, if it is going up or down.

On the German Board I have read, that people are raving about the JBL tests. Anyone tried them here yet ?

Greetings
Sabine
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 12:25 PM
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Go here
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...=6&pCatId=4386

Eheimpimp#137
90 gallon tank with water and some fish. Plants died and tank overrun with algae. Lights nearly burst into flames last weekend. Needs lots of help
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 02:43 PM
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They cost how much ??????

I think I stick with Tetra and Hagen Kits for now....


Thanks anyway
Sabine
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 03:28 PM
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They are supposed to be the most accurate. But ouch

Eheimpimp#137
90 gallon tank with water and some fish. Plants died and tank overrun with algae. Lights nearly burst into flames last weekend. Needs lots of help
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 07:00 PM
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Not a dumb question at all, Stat! This hobby definitely goes by degrees. Think how we look to someone who keeps one goldfish in an Eclipse3 or even a bowl. There are people who call me an aquarium fanatic right to my face.

Serious aquaria is very much a geeky hobby, just make a visit to an Aquarium Society meeting, then picture the attendees back in high school-- ROTFL!

So if you want to totally geek out on this stuff--test kits, scientific names, equipment, degrees of compatibility, and the ever-present "What happens if I use THIS substrate?", I say GO FOR IT! and MORE POWER TO YA!



Stacey
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 07:01 PM
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Oh and Okay! there are some former jocks and cheerleaders in the hobby, but THEY are in OUR world now! Bwuahahaha!

Stacey
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysmom
Not a dumb question at all, Stat! This hobby definitely goes by degrees. Think how we look to someone who keeps one goldfish in an Eclipse3 or even a bowl. There are people who call me an aquarium fanatic right to my face.

Serious aquaria is very much a geeky hobby, just make a visit to an Aquarium Society meeting, then picture the attendees back in high school-- ROTFL!

So if you want to totally geek out on this stuff--test kits, scientific names, equipment, degrees of compatibility, and the ever-present "What happens if I use THIS substrate?", I say GO FOR IT! and MORE POWER TO YA!



Stacey
So is that an Echinodoris Parviflora or paniculata M'hey

Eheimpimp#137
90 gallon tank with water and some fish. Plants died and tank overrun with algae. Lights nearly burst into flames last weekend. Needs lots of help
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