Which do you trust more API Master pH or Milwaukee pH controller? - The Planted Tank Forum
 25Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 436
Which do you trust more API Master pH or Milwaukee pH controller?

The API pH test from the master kit shows my evening pH (without Co2) as higher than what my new Milwaukee pH controller shows. I calibrated the controller before use and did a test in the 4.0 buffer last night (controller was dead on with the buffer). The pH meter was showing 7.2, yet my API kit showed closest color is 7.6, the nearest next color on the card is 7.2 which has green tint and my result had no green so the API kit was telling me it was at least 7.3 and probably closer to 7.6.

My wild hypothesis at the moment is that the API pH tests are less accurate at the ends of their ranges so a pH in the 7.2 to 7.6 range is not well measured by either of the API pH tests since the pH test ends at 7.6 and the pH High tests begins at 7.4

On the flip side, I've worked in labs and with hydroponics before and know that probes are not perfect. Which do you think are more trustworthy, a probe or API chems?
ahem is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 08:22 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
pauld738's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Modesto
Posts: 363
I have a pinpoint monitor that calibrates to 7.0 and 4.0 solutions yet when placed in any of my tanks reads 0.3 lower than it should. Not sure what is going on with that.

And I switched probes. So it's definitely the unit. Not probes.

So yeah it could be the controller.



Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
ahem likes this.

Last edited by pauld738; 09-27-2020 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Clarity
pauld738 is online now  
post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 436
I'm inclined to trust chemical tests more. The exception is when the pH to be measured is on the ends of the chemical test range, then not so sure.

Your pH controller experience there is concerning since I think PINPOINT is a reputable company. I think my approach will be to continue to use the pH controller as a quick check and back stop for CO2 (controller shuts off CO2 in case my bubble rate is off) and still continue the API tests 2x daily (also have a drop checker in there).

The other issue I notice (and remember from lab days), the pH controller/meters are slow. You have to give them time to settle.
pauld738 likes this.
ahem is online now  
 
post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 09:42 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
pauld738's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Modesto
Posts: 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahem View Post
The other issue I notice (and remember from lab days), the pH controller/meters are slow. You have to give them time to settle.
Totally agree! I calibrate by walking away. Lol!

I actually trust pH probes more then chemical tests. You don't get the same pH picture using chemical tests. But I understand probe limitations. And use kh as an absolute test.

And to be clear. Those are pH monitors I am using not controllers. Don't know if they use the same circuit board.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Greggz and ahem like this.
pauld738 is online now  
post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 10:11 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Greggz's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Novi, MI
Posts: 5,269
I've tested a calibrated probe against the API liquid test, and in my opinion, the API is kind of a reasonable guess. Many times it is off quite a bit. At least to my eye, and that is part of the issue. Is that 7.6? or 7.4? or 7.8? Depends on how you perceive the color.

IMO, the deeper you get into the hobby, the more important precise control of CO2/pH drop becomes.

I drop mine in 0.05 increments until I hit the sweet spot. About once every six weeks I calibrate my American Pinpoint Marine probe, and it is rarely off more than 0.02. Very, very consistent. It also stays in the tank all the time. The biggest weakness of pH "pens" is how you store them between uses. You don't buy those probes, you rent them. They can go bad pretty quickly.

As usual, just my experience.....your mileage may vary.
ahem and pauld738 like this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Greggz is online now  
post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2020, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I've tested a calibrated probe against the API liquid test, and in my opinion, the API is kind of a reasonable guess. Many times it is off quite a bit. At least to my eye, and that is part of the issue. Is that 7.6? or 7.4? or 7.8? Depends on how you perceive the color.
That is very true. I have a light in the area where the tank is that has a cold white light and I find I need that harsh white to properly see the colors. Sometimes I pass the vial over the color card to see which color is LEAST visible through the vial (although that does not work with a dark solution). It's easier when you are on the boundary of a two color mix, less so when it is just a shade darker or lighter. For example the API phosphate kit is near impossible to tell between the three shades of green between 0 and < 1ppm. However the pH kit has blue only for 7.6 with green mixing in as you go to 7.2 and lower. So it's easy to see that it is pure blue or has a greenish tint. Same with the ammonia test, any greenish tint deviating from pure yellow means some ammonia.
Greggz likes this.
ahem is online now  
post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2020, 01:14 AM
Moderator
 
Darkblade48's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 11,845
I'd say both have their pros and cons, and if I had to choose, I would say use one, but verify with the other

pH probes should be calibrated on a regular basis, using at least a 2 point calibration (ideally 3 point). They also have to be stored properly in a 3M solution of potassium chloride when not in use. If you just keep them immersed in aquarium water, they will eventually go bad, so you also have to keep that in mind.

As for chemical tests, they're a bit less finicky in terms of storage, but human error plays a large role (as already mentioned). You probably could make it more quantifiable with a spectrophotometer, but there's really no such need for accuracy in our hobby
ahem and pauld738 like this.

Anthony


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
and
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Eheim Pimp #362 - Eheim 2213 x2, Eheim 2028, Eheim 2217, Eheim surface skimmer and Eheim autofeeder.
Victor Pimp #33 - HPT272-125-350-4M
Darkblade48 is offline  
post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2020, 02:07 AM
Planted Member
 
en7jos's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Singapore
Posts: 294
I bought a new HM Digital pH pen (new model, seemed best accuracy available, temp compensated, etc) and did 2-point calibration. To be honest it's next to useless in my tank so I've gone back to my API chemical testing. Not sure if this is because of 0KH, but it takes so long to settle that usually turns itself off before reading looks even half sensible. Put it back into cal solution and the readings are on the dot, straight away. I can assume that it just doesn't play well in 0KH water. The API test at least seems consistent, but you do have to accept at least a +/- 0.2pH uncertainty from my experience.

Does anyone know if API chemical tests are affected by 0KH, and if so, in what way please?
ahem likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
en7jos is offline  
post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2020, 02:18 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
pauld738's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Modesto
Posts: 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by en7jos View Post
I bought a new HM Digital pH pen (new model, seemed best accuracy available, temp compensated, etc) and did 2-point calibration. To be honest it's next to useless in my tank so I've gone back to my API chemical testing. Not sure if this is because of 0KH, but it takes so long to settle that usually turns itself off before reading looks even half sensible. Put it back into cal solution and the readings are on the dot, straight away. I can assume that it just doesn't play well in 0KH water. The API test at least seems consistent, but you do have to accept at least a +/- 0.2pH uncertainty from my experience.



Does anyone know if API chemical tests are affected by 0KH, and if so, in what way please?
Yeah, pH probes need a certain amount of carbonates to get a reading.

The limited amount of reading I have done on chemical tests suggest they are not affected by the lack of Kh.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
ahem and en7jos like this.
pauld738 is online now  
post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2020, 11:10 AM
Planted Member
 
en7jos's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Singapore
Posts: 294
Thanks Paul. So I guess API liquid tests could be considered more accurate than an electronic probe / pen device then when you're dealing with 0KH conditions then?
ahem likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
en7jos is offline  
post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-28-2020, 07:23 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
pauld738's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Modesto
Posts: 363
For sure the probes can't handle it. In true 0kh water.
I do suspect it doesn't take much though. But that is just my very unscientific perception of what is happening when I have used pH probes in very low, but not true 0kh water. :-)

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
ahem likes this.
pauld738 is online now  
post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 12:26 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Greggz's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Novi, MI
Posts: 5,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post

pH probes should be calibrated on a regular basis, using at least a 2 point calibration (ideally 3 point). They also have to be stored properly in a 3M solution of potassium chloride when not in use. If you just keep them immersed in aquarium water, they will eventually go bad, so you also have to keep that in mind.
I can only speak to my experience.

My American Pinpoint Marine probe has stayed in my tank for about 3 years.

I calibrate once every six weeks or so.

Rarely off more than 0.02.

I'm actually amazed at how well it stays in calibration.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld738 View Post
Yeah, pH probes need a certain amount of carbonates to get a reading.
I would say it's very little.

My water is about 1 KH.

pH probe works great rock solid and consistent.

But IMO it does pay to get quality probe.

Cheap ones don't last long.
ahem likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Greggz is online now  
post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 12:39 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
pauld738's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Modesto
Posts: 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I can only speak to my experience.



My American Pinpoint Marine probe has stayed in my tank for about 3 years.



I calibrate once every six weeks or so.



Rarely off more than 0.02.



I'm actually amazed at how well it stays in calibration.
I've seen you say that before. And it does seem odd, especially with my experience. Not saying that it's wrong though. :-)

I didn't think the Pinpoint probes that come with the unit were gel filled. Maybe that helps. I have noticed my gel filled probe holder longer than any of the Pinpoint probes I've ever received.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Greggz likes this.
pauld738 is online now  
post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 12:49 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Greggz's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Novi, MI
Posts: 5,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauld738 View Post
I've seen you say that before. And it does seem odd, especially with my experience. Not saying that it's wrong though. :-)

I didn't think the Pinpoint probes that come with the unit were gel filled. Maybe that helps. I have noticed my gel filled probe holder longer than any of the Pinpoint probes I've ever received.
Yeah mine is a small sample size......just one.

And maybe I am lucky.

But I will say I bought cheap probes and pH pens and most are pretty much junk. Very unreliable and prone to failure.
ahem and pauld738 like this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
---
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Greggz is online now  
post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2020, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 436
I have an APERA pH pen arriving today that I hope is better than the $20 Chinese pens. I want to check against my Milwaukee controller and have some to use in buckets etc..

My experience from hydroponics and in lab was that removing the probe from a solution was the main death sentence. Even when you store it properly it is a challenge to keep the probe effective and not drifting. I think leaving in tank works to extend the life.

As far as the chemical tests like API, there seem to be fewer variables. If you make/count the drops properly and are using a clean tube and fresh reagents, it's going to reliably produce the same result each time, every time. There is more behind the scenes with a pH meter: probe health, unit calibration, unit software/firmware, the kh content of what you are testing ...
pauld738 likes this.
ahem is online now  
Reply

Tags
api master test, milwaukee, ph controller

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome