Test Kit Questions...thanks! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Plant Heads!

Ok here is my question for you all.....

I currently test my tanks for Nitrate and Phosphate about 2 times a week, not that I have to but I like doing it....the ex chemistry major/real bio major in me...LOL. I get pretty anal about it and get frustrated with the way the kits run and how the results are read...so here goes....

I run Aquarium Pharmaceuticals tests for 90% of my tests. OK on filling the test tube up...what do you fill to ....the top of the line, the bottom, make sure the bottom of the bubble is at the bottom of the line? See what I am getting at?

Next question....

When reading the colors for pH and Nitrite/nitrate.....how do you do it? Do you hold the tube off of the card and read? Do you lay the tube on the card and read? You will get two different results if you do it either way. That was the most frustrating part.

For those of you that DO NOT use these tests...what ones do you use?

Thanks alot!

Your geeking out test buddy,

Mike

Mike
100 Gal Planted, two Filstar XP3, Milwaukee SMS 122 pH controller, Milwaukee reg/bubble, compressed CO2, reactor 1000, 7 WCMM, 12 Ottos, 14 neons, 1 SAE, 3 German blue rams, 2 Florida Flag Fish

10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 03:37 PM
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I use the AP tests for pH, GH/KH and NO3.

The easiest way for me is to hold the vial up to the light with the white card behind the vial and the scale to the left of the vial. In this way, you are looking directly through the tube. from the side (as if the vial was standing up).

The trick with all of these tests is to try to modify the results slowly and run a number of tests (scientifically). If you can see certain changes, it can help to give you a relative basis for ranges from 5ppm-20ppm and 6.0-7.5pH

I use salifert for the PO4 Test (Have a little trouble with reading that, but it is relatively accurate).

Thanks,
Steve
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Steve,

Do you rest the vial on the card or keep it in front about a cm or so?

Mike

Mike
100 Gal Planted, two Filstar XP3, Milwaukee SMS 122 pH controller, Milwaukee reg/bubble, compressed CO2, reactor 1000, 7 WCMM, 12 Ottos, 14 neons, 1 SAE, 3 German blue rams, 2 Florida Flag Fish

10 Gallon...20 Endler's live bearers planted, peat/kitty litter/sand substrate

15 Gallon...Just Schultz Aquatic Plant soil
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 04:50 PM
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I rest it against the card...this way, the light going through is adapted to the glossy white of the card.

A well lit room is always helpful...

Thanks,
Steve
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 05:24 PM
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Mike, as much as I like AP stuff, I suggest throwing out the NO3 kit and using the Red Sea kit instead. Unless you need to distinguish between 10, 40 and 160 ppm... the Red Sea kit has nice and easy to read color changes for 0, 2.5, 5, 7.5 ppm etc, much more exact. Maybe I am color blind, but the colors with the AP looked all the same yellow-orangy p*ss to me :roll: I was never able to see any changes. Thanks to MOMO for suggesting the Red Sea kit.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 05:53 PM
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I've used both the Red Sea and the AP kit for NO3 and they're both equally a pain to read for me. I'm using the Red Sea now and I can easily distinguish between 5 and 10ppm so that's where I try and keep my levels. I tested them yesterday and they were quite yellow - 0ppm. 1tsp of KNO3 later, everything was pearling nicely.

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 06:00 PM
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My Red Sea kit shows green = 0, blue = 2.5, light purple = 5 etc. No problems reading it, and no comparison to the different yellows and oranges in the other kit. I am having a similar problem with AP's pH kit, the 7.2 and 7.6 colors are hard to distinguish (for me). One day I will plunk down the dough for a pH tester...
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 06:47 PM
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I use the AP tests and I find that when there is doubt about a reading, I have to try to see past the intensity of color, and try to see the mixtures of blue in the yellow, or yellow in the brown or red.

And I have to be at a sunny window, the different types fo lights in the house Reveal, regular incandescent, flourescent) reallly make for different readings.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 06:54 PM
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I like the red sea kit.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-13-2003, 07:14 PM
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I use AP for pH and Ammonia. Haven't used the ammonia card in ages, but I use the pH regularly.

Usually I'll go over to the sliding glass door and hold it right up against the card and sometimes roll the vial over the colors to see if that helps. Then I call one of my kids over and get a second opinion.

On a slightly similar topic though ... I just ordered some Hagen test kits for iron, phosphate and nitrate. I really like how their GH/KH kit works where you count drops and watch for the color change to determine what your levels are. Are all of their test kits based on the same concept? There is no guessing in colors as it's very obvious. A little more tedious than say AP's kits because you have to put in a drop, then put the top on, then shake and look but no guessing.

--- Dave ---
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-14-2003, 05:24 PM
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That type of test where you add drops untill it changes color is called a titration. I don't know of any Nitrate kit like that, but that's the usuall way that GH & KH are measured.
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