Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
I have very mixed feelings about the liquid test kits. When done right, they can be more accurate. But when not done wrong, they can be totally screwed up. When we are new to testing is when we are more likely to mess up the liquid tests. Just about a dozen ways that I can think of off the top? Age of the kit items, where they are stored, how we hold the bottle, how we shake the bottle? Too much to cover here!
My suggestion for thought is to try a simple test strip as a way to get in the ballpark. Then to really find out if you are able to see the colors correctly and to get an idea of what "right" will look like, you will need to do what is called "calibrate" the test kit. Really doesn't calibrate anything but lets you see what a known level should look like.
My personal feeling is that many of us will not do a good job of testing with liquids until we get more into it.
That leaves me feeling that a test with strips done correctly will get us a closer answer than a more accurate kit done wrong. Or not done at all because it is a PITA.