These things SUCK! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-28-2005, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down These things SUCK!

I bought some of those test strips by Jungle that are supposed to test Nitrate, Nitrite, Hardness, alkalinity, and PH... how accurate are these things? The color chart is EXTREMELY hard to tell apart and it only gives ranges instead of exactly what you have. It shows i have something around 20 ppm nitrate, around 0 nitrite, a GH around 75 which it says is "soft", and alkalinity in the low range. PH is the hard one to tell, i know its either acidic or neutral but the thing constantly changes colors and the alkalinity changes blue after like 3 minutes of leaving it out, but the instructions say to do the readings 30 seconds after you pull the strip out of the water. WTH? Is there something a bit more easy to read and something more exact? I mean its nice to know the range but kinda sucks not to know exactly what you have. And how is someone supposed to differentiate between 6 shades of orange that all look alike that supposedly tells the PH?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 01:40 AM
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I too thought test strips were bad until I used Mardel's 5-in-1. It's a LOT easier to read the colors, and it measures GH down to below 50 ppm and you can actually read the indicator.

Just keep them stored in a dry place and they should be accurate.

I use a pH probe for pH though. (American Marine controller as part of an automated CO2 system so I always know my pH.)
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 03:08 AM
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You are correct sir! Test strips do indeed SUCK.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 03:18 AM
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Please don't waste you money on those test strips. Instead buy you're significant other some lunch or buy yourself a new DVD/CD. At least you'll have some benefit out of that.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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errrr....ok.... anyways, what other options for testing water qualities are actually good? I would try those other strips.... but ya, this pretty much did it for me. What about those things where you put the stuff in the water in a little vial and then wait for it to turn colors, same crap?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 05:33 AM
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Au contraire, ma frer! I actually like those test strips! Granted, I only rarely use them, but sometimes I am feeling lazy and just want an approximate idea of what is going on in the tank and do the dip and read thing. If you actually want reasonably accurate test results and don't want to spend $100 on an electronic tester, I say just buy the regular individual test kits you can find at any Petsmart or Petco. The strips are okay, but I wouldn't rely on them solely for results.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 05:52 AM
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Au contraire, ma frer! I actually like those test strips! Granted, I only rarely use them, but sometimes I am feeling lazy and just want an approximate idea of what is going on in the tank and do the dip and read thing. If you actually want reasonably accurate test results and don't want to spend $100 on an electronic tester, I say just buy the regular individual test kits you can find at any Petsmart or Petco. The strips are okay, but I wouldn't rely on them solely for results.
-Aphyosemion
Ok sorry I was harsh. I was implying that they are inaccurate and one should not use them in order to estimate nutrient uptake etc. Long story short, No one sells Kno3/Po4 kits around here except the strips. I used to attempt to use them as my only kit other than a AP master kit. Mucho problemo. I was showing 80 on the ol no3 chart. I was doing water changes like mad and everything else. Finally ordered a real kit and found that my no3 levels were zero. Brought no3 levels up to ten, tank was much happier and as an experiment I dipped the ol test strip in and in seconds it tested off the charts.

You are 100% right that they are great for a quick test when you don't want to drag out the other kits, but I would advise against them, if you don't have a trusted kit to back them up

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 04:10 PM
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I used the Mardell strips alongside several other test kits and the results were consistent between them all. If you want accuracy go Lamotte or Hach. If you want a quick update of tank conditions the strips worked the same as the drops.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 05:25 PM
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I also use the Mardel test strips. I think there better for testing Kh & Gh quickly, like when your doing a water change. I do get varied results on nitrates when comparing with other kit results, and the Ph is a little hard to read. Your supposed to read them at 30 seconds, except the nitrate is read at 60 seconds. I think the give you a general idea of whats going on in your tank and if your having some problems and just want to test quickly there great, because you can get on with your day without pulling out 10 different test kits.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2005, 06:48 PM
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Well, I can't figure out where all the hate for test strips come from. I feel they are WAY easier to use than trying to compare colors in test tubes. I feel the Mardel ones I am using are accurate. If they weren't accurate, then the company would be committing fraud by selling them as far as I'm concerned.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-01-2005, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypancistrus
Well, I can't figure out where all the hate for test strips come from. I feel they are WAY easier to use than trying to compare colors in test tubes. I feel the Mardel ones I am using are accurate. If they weren't accurate, then the company would be committing fraud by selling them as far as I'm concerned.
Heh, you've apparently never tried using a Hagen nitrate test kit

all other aspects of 5-in-1 strips aside: what if you ONLY need to do 1 test? a liquid test kit will cost you pennies to run the test...if you use a 5 in 1 strip, you just wasted the whole strip just to test pH (or whatever).
You can argue 'just buy both versions' but then you're spending even more money unneccessarily.

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