Testing pH less than 6 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Testing pH less than 6

I have licorice gourami which like a pH from 3-6. All test kits eem to only go down to 6, how can I test pH less than 6?

-DAN


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 08:06 PM
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You should buy a cheap pH pen. Only way I know of.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 08:43 PM
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Agree with madcrafted, also be sure to grab some calibration solution.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 01:23 PM
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Ph pens tend to be wildly inaccurate. I use an American Marine pinpoint ph meter, it will cost but is worth every penny. My meter is on year 8 without a single issue.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 01:52 PM
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Ph pens tend to be wildly inaccurate. I use an American Marine pinpoint ph meter, it will cost but is worth every penny. My meter is on year 8 without a single issue.
Part of the reason is people don't regularly clean and calibrate them. Not to mention storing them dry for long periods of time. I have one of those cheapo yellow pens that cost a whopping $15 that is typically within .05 accuracy on both 4 and 6.86 solutions. I don't need anything more accurate than that on a fish tank. There's tons of negative reviews on that pen too... like most other pens, even the ones costing 4X as much.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 01:36 PM
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Ph pens tend to be wildly inaccurate. I use an American Marine pinpoint ph meter, it will cost but is worth every penny. My meter is on year 8 without a single issue.
Part of the reason is people don't regularly clean and calibrate them. Not to mention storing them dry for long periods of time. I have one of those cheapo yellow pens that cost a whopping $15 that is typically within .05 accuracy on both 4 and 6.86 solutions. I don't need anything more accurate than that on a fish tank. There's tons of negative reviews on that pen too... like most other pens, even the ones costing 4X as much.
it sucks to have to calibrate your meter every time you use it though. They tend to not be made well and consistency doesnt exist with them in my experience seeing variations over >1.0 from brand to brand and test to test. Many wont hold calibration, Ive used dozens from pens and wands to hand held units with probes and desk mounted units, I will never buy a pen or wand again. Accuracy definitely matters, especially where consistency matters. Using a pen is no better imo than using the liquid test kits. I use my PH meter to help me monitor my co2 levels, a little flux in readings from a pen could lead to gassing over 80 fish or constant unneeded fiddling with the needle valve. You lucked out with one thats only off by .05 so far! Still wouldnt trust it, but I am biased these days from seeing and experiencing the stress of faulty and poorly made equipment.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 02:10 PM
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it sucks to have to calibrate your meter every time you use it though. They tend to not be made well and consistency doesnt exist with them in my experience seeing variations over >1.0 from brand to brand and test to test. Many wont hold calibration, Ive used dozens from pens and wands to hand held units with probes and desk mounted units, I will never buy a pen or wand again. Accuracy definitely matters, especially where consistency matters. Using a pen is no better imo than using the liquid test kits. I use my PH meter to help me monitor my co2 levels, a little flux in readings from a pen could lead to gassing over 80 fish or constant unneeded fiddling with the needle valve. You lucked out with one thats only off by .05 so far! Still wouldnt trust it, but I am biased these days from seeing and experiencing the stress of faulty and poorly made equipment.
I do see your point and have been through a few different pens/meters myself over the years between fish keeping and gardening. The worst one I ever had was a Hanna ph/tds combo meter. Absolute junk. The tds meter was pretty close the pH probe was problematic. I paid more than I wanted for that pen, so I swore that I wouldn't waste that kind of money on a pen again. My logic is they all suck where precise accuracy is needed, so I may as well just get a couple of cheap ones and see how they compare against the liquid test. I was surprised when mine kept calibration after a week. I went for two weeks and it was off by nearly half a point. So yeah, they need frequent calibration. Lucky for me, frequent means weekly... not daily. If I store it awhile, and I usually do after dialing in CO2 and checking results of a new buffering substrate at first, I simply fill the cover with either storage solution or 4.0 reference solution. Cleaning and re-calibration is a given when it needs to go into service again.

I would still recommend one over a liquid kit any day, even if I had to calibrate daily. It only takes 5 minutes to calibrate them. Not a big deal, IMO. Beats playing the guessing game with colors. "Is this light green or a medium-light green?" I mean, a cheap pH pen costs about the same as an API test kit and it usually comes with calibration powder that can be used many, many times... assuming you don't cross contaminate the solutions.
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