Best NO3 tester accuracy - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-04-2020, 11:58 PM
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I have tested my api kit against a commercial-grade Hach test that cost 100 dollars. They read the same.

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post #32 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 12:04 AM
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I have tested my api kit against a commercial-grade Hach test that cost 100 dollars. They read the same.
When you say they read the same, what does this mean? They are both difficult to distinguish?

Sorry, not sure where you are going with this and truly am curious.
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post #33 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 12:41 AM
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When you say they read the same, what does this mean? They are both difficult to distinguish?

Sorry, not sure where you are going with this and truly am curious.
I am curious too.

For instance, does that mean he can distinguish between 40 and 50 ppm NO3 with an API kit?

And I can tell you this, I have tested calibrated solutions with both API and Salifert........and API is sometimes not even in the same ballpark....Salifert always pretty much spot on.

IMO, I would never make decisions based on an API kit without using a calibrated solution first. Your entire assumption could very well be false.
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post #34 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 01:46 AM
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I too had the same concerns about the API test at first which is why I spent 100 dollars on a good nitrate test kit (only 50 reagent packets!). It's a colorimetric test that you evaluate using a transparent comparator that tints a reference vial of water that doesn't have the reagent powder in it. The kit is used by soil testing facilities and researchers doing quick field work assays as well as water treatment facilities.

Every time I thought "that API test can't be right" I would use my expensive kit and found that I get the same ppm NO3 within the resolution limit of the API kit.


Is the API kit perfect? No, it's very coarse grained and the colors are not good to the naked eye unless you have seen a reference solution in person.

I guess at the heart of it, spend the extra money on salifert if it really bothers you that much. I spent over 90 dollars more and now I stopped worrying about it. Or just make your own reference solutions and spend 0 dollars (which I wish I did before I bought such an expensive kit).

Has it so far proven accurate? So far, yes. For both SW and FW it has been within the same ball park as my Hach kit. And IMO that's good enough for my application.

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post #35 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 02:09 AM
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Every time I thought "that API test can't be right" I would use my expensive kit and found that I get the same ppm NO3 within the resolution limit of the API kit.


Is the API kit perfect? No, it's very coarse grained and the colors are not good to the naked eye unless you have seen a reference solution in person.
What do you mean by the "same" ppm NO3? Are you saying they would both for instance read 35 ppm? And you could distinguish that?

And that leads to the next question...what is the resolution limit of the API kit?

I'm not trying to argue, just trying to understand what you are saying. I have made a 25 ppm reference solution, and with the API had read something like 40 to 80 ppm....but who can tell?

Here is the link..............https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10675714


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post #36 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 03:03 AM
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I was just thinking the same thing last night. The difference between 10 and 20 ppm isn't distinguishable....what's with that? At 20 ppm I have to start worrying about the snails who don't like over 20 ppm, so a differentiation in those colors would be really helpful.
As with any hobby that is mostly supported by armchair scientists, it's good to question the parameters given such as "20 ppm for this particular snail".

I seriously doubt a scientist using the scientific method figured this out. It's likely a best, safe guess. These are often unrealistic however.

Just take a look at tanks with 400+ tds with healthy cherry shrimp.
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post #37 of 51 (permalink) Old 03-05-2020, 04:06 AM
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What do you mean by the "same" ppm NO3? Are you saying they would both for instance read 35 ppm? And you could distinguish that?

And that leads to the next question...what is the resolution limit of the API kit?

I'm not trying to argue, just trying to understand what you are saying. I have made a 25 ppm reference solution, and with the API had read something like 40 to 80 ppm....but who can tell?

Here is the link..............https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10675714
To within the gradations of the measurement color card that comes within the kit I could definitely tell the difference on the API kit. So far it has been accurate for me, but everyone's eyes, lighting conditions, and testing methods are a little different. In instances where my API test read 40, hach would also read 40 or near there. When API reads 5, Hach would also be around 5.

If you are finding yourself not able to differentiate at the higher range you can try diluting your sample some fold with distilled water. My experience with API has been OK so far.

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post #38 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-04-2020, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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May i ask the current Salifert NO3 test kit is for fresh water also? i dont see it lable on the box for fresh. I even called a reef store and asked them if the test kit is for fresh water and they said it is for salt water.

Can you advise what Salifert NO3 model you are using? and Hannah NO3 kit is for fresh water also?

Thanks
I use a Hanna HI96717 Phosphate High Range Photometer. I have to dilute the sample by 50% with di or distilled water to keep the reading in range. FYI: I had this meter left over from my reef tank days. I found the API test kit to be too inaccurate for my needs.
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post #39 of 51 (permalink) Old 04-04-2020, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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I use a Hanna HI96717 Phosphate High Range Photometer. I have to dilute the sample by 50% with di or distilled water to keep the reading in range. FYI: I had this meter left over from my reef tank days. I found the API test kit to be too inaccurate for my needs.
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Originally Posted by houstonreef View Post
May i ask the current Salifert NO3 test kit is for fresh water also? i dont see it lable on the box for fresh. I even called a reef store and asked them if the test kit is for fresh water and they said it is for salt water.

Can you advise what Salifert NO3 model you are using? and Hannah NO3 kit is for fresh water also?

Thanks
To measure PO4, the Hanna HI717 Checker®HC is $ 50.00 and is extremely accurate +- 5% of reading (much more practical pricewise than mine). FYI:For Fresh water planted tank purposes you would need to dilute the sample 50% to keep it in range of the meter.


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Last edited by Liquidgarden; 04-04-2020 at 05:05 PM. Reason: clarity
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post #40 of 51 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 08:48 AM
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Some of the salifert test kits can work for both salt and fresh. I use the "NO3 Profi test kit". It can be used for fresh and saltwater.
Hi Liquidgarden,

I have generally avoided Salifert test kits as the manufacturer doesn't explicitly state that their test kits are suitable for freshwater aquaria. And, their web site is unhelpful for freshwater test kits. As I write this, Salifert's site is saying 'Under Construction' for freshwater test kits! It has been stating this for at least a year. I cannot put my trust in a supplier that will not give me the information that I need.

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Last edited by Anon; 05-11-2020 at 09:34 AM. Reason: Trivial change
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post #41 of 51 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 09:05 AM
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I have a Salifert NO3 test kit. I find that the error with trying to match the color of solution to that on the card gives me about 5-10 ppm error. For example the color card goes from 25 ppm from one to the next color that is 50 ppm leaving a lot of room for error in my opinion.

I would like to be able to accurately measure my NO3 level to within +/- 2-3 ppm.

Is the Hach Nitrate Test Kit, Model NI-11 capable of this type of resolution?

I was looking at the Hanna HI 96728 Checker Nitrate Photometer although pricey has very good resolution of 0.1 ppm.

What is the most accurate NO3 tester for the best value?
Hi again,

Are you looking for accuracy or resolution? I suspect that you are, like myself, looking for both. As I understand it, a problem with nitrate test kits is interference from other monovalent anions such as chloride. To what extent this interference results in inaccurate measurements, I'm not sure. Like yourself, I like to 'get a handle' on what is happening in my tanks. It was Lord Kelvin who said (paraphrasing):

If you don't measure it, you can't manage it.

I'll now read the rest of this very interesting thread.

Anon

Last edited by Anon; 05-11-2020 at 12:17 PM. Reason: Simplify wording
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post #42 of 51 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 09:31 AM
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Is the API kit perfect? No, it's very coarse grained and the colors are not good to the naked eye unless you have seen a reference solution in person.

I guess at the heart of it, spend the extra money on salifert if it really bothers you that much. I spent over 90 dollars more and now I stopped worrying about it. Or just make your own reference solutions and spend 0 dollars (which I wish I did before I bought such an expensive kit).

Has it so far proven accurate? So far, yes. For both SW and FW it has been within the same ball park as my Hach kit. And IMO that's good enough for my application.
Hi Jeffww,

I'm in the UK where Salifert test kits are only marginally more expensive than API. But, I can get Technical Support from API but not Salifert. Would you believe it? So, I tend to use the other European suppliers' test kits such as JBL, Tropic Marin and the less well known, ITS Europe Ltd.

Would you care to put a figure on "within the same ball park"?

Thanks.

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post #43 of 51 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 11:59 AM
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At 20 ppm I have to start worrying about the snails who don't like over 20 ppm...
Hi @irishpat9,

Is that correct? Which species of snail or does this apply to snails in general? Most interesting!

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post #44 of 51 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 02:16 PM
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Cheapest accurate nitrate test is probably the Hach chromotropic acid test.

It requires a colorimeter though. Both it and the previous model (DR/890) can be found on eBay.

The standard cadmium reduction method doesn't work very well even with high quality reagents and a colorimeter:

https://www.ccpasec.org/images/QC/20...port-final.pdf


Another alternative but I have no idea how well these work:

https://nitrate.com/store/index.php/on-site-test-kits


P.S. Resolution and accuracy aren't the same thing. I doubt the Hanna is that accurate.
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post #45 of 51 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 09:00 PM
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Hi Jeffww,

I'm in the UK where Salifert test kits are only marginally more expensive than API. But, I can get Technical Support from API but not Salifert. Would you believe it? So, I tend to use the other European suppliers' test kits such as JBL, Tropic Marin and the less well known, ITS Europe Ltd.

Would you care to put a figure on "within the same ball park"?

Thanks.

Anon
I think within the color gradations on the API kit, you are going to be accurate. So 0, 5, 10, 20, 40 are quite easy to interpret on the API kit and have aligned well with Hach. You shouldn't need much more resolution for nearly any FW application. I think for SW it is fine too! I use my API nitrate kit on my stony coral nano reef! As long as it's less than 20 and more than 0 it's fine. I do have a fondness for aquaforest kits if you can get them in the UK. I use the following kits: API(ammonia, GH/KH, nitrite, nitrate, pH, Ca), Hach (nitrate/nitrite), Salifert (Mg [saltwater]), Aquaforest (alkalinity [saltwater]), Hanna (Ultra Low Range Marine Phosphate checker, TDS meter).
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