What test kit do you use ? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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What test kit do you use ?

What brand of test kit do you use on your tanks ?
How expensive are the replacement solutions ?
Where do you buy them ?

I'm shopping for a "real" test kit. I understand some don't test KH or GH. Is it more economical to buy for example an API kit and get a separate GH/KH test ?

The brands I found on a quick search were:
API incomplete
Red Sea and
Hagen
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 04:38 PM
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I only tried API and was quite happy

that was 2 years ago - now I do not bother testing
I was "nervous & new"
but now I get it :-)
HTH

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 04:39 PM
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I have always trusted API Liquid test, I purchased the GH/KH Seperatly.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonG75 View Post
I have always trusted API Liquid test, I purchased the GH/KH Seperatly.
What brand GH/KH test did you buy ? Where from ? (if you remember)
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2011, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've got a Shrimp tank, which is why I now am concerned with testing. My 5g fish tank has been up and running for over a year now w/o any issues. Since I've gotten CRS I want to test my 10g.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 02:19 AM
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I've been using API kits for NH3/4, NO2, NO3, GH, KH, pH, and phosphate. It took some time to get used to interpreting the colors, but now I can get a good feel for where things are going to land after 30 seconds instead of waiting the entire 5 minutes (for some tests). All in all I've been pleased.

Since I got past the initial cycling on my two tanks, though, my most frequent testing is for nitrate (NO3). The API kit involves two reagents and 1 minute of "shaking". Not a big deal, but kind of a PITA. I'm considering trying the Seachem Multitest NO2/NO3 version as in seems easier to implement.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 02:58 AM
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Just a tip with any test kit. Always test twice and if you get mismatched tests test until you get the same thing at least 2-3 times in a row. It uses up reagents fast but it will tell you if something's horribly wrong with your technique or your kit.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 03:01 AM
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I use the API Master Test Kit, which includes tests for pH (including high range pH), Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite. I purchased the API Freshwater pH and KH test kit separately; for this test kit there appear to be different tests for saltwater and freshwater so be sure you get the right one. Because I keep inverts, I also use an API copper test kit. I use Mardel test strips for frequent testing, and the API liquid reagent tests for better detail if I have a peculiar reading with the test strips. I have used other brands, but these are the ones that I like the best. I have also used Hanna and Milwaukee electronic testers, but I think that the API is better for my needs because they are far less expensive and do not require special solutions for calibration like the electronic probes do. Usually API refills/replacements are pretty cheap, both in an LFS and online. One thing I like to do is have two different tests on hand for important parameters, so I can get a second opinion to verify if I need it.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 06:15 PM
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whats a test kit?
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I lost a few shrimp, so I want to make sure everything is ok. I only lost 1 at a time, here and there. No major die off. My tank is heavily planted and needs a major trim.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 01:05 AM
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It doesn't matter what kH kit you use as they all are pretty much the same.
None of the GH kits you listed is worth anything.
You need a kit that tests for Ca and Mg. The only reliable kit that does this is made by LaMotte. From the concentration of Ca and Mg you can calculate the GH but it is a worthless number and cannot help you set up a good planted aquarium.

If you play with chemicals you should know some chemisty.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 01:42 AM
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It depends on how important accuracy is to you. If you're taking the time out of your day to run tests then I'm guessing you want some pretty accurate results. For this you need kits that contain reference solutions for validation. At the lowest price point is Seachem...pretty good bang for your buck. Above that you can try salifert or elos...both have good test kits.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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My plants and fish are fine. I want the readings for my Crystal Red Shrimp. Thanks. I appreciate the continuing input.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 09:13 PM
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best bang for the buck.... is the api 5 in 1 test strips. 25 test for 15 bucks. well i know its the the most accurate.... but really if your goal is to make GH/ KH/ Nitrate/ Nitrite 0-2. No problem about it. all ph,gh,kh,nitrate,nitrite in one strip, 25 strips.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 11:16 PM
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For most test kits, the Lamotte are good (as mentioned already) and well priced for what you get, cheaper is NOT better. As with every test kit,........ make a reference solution, or buy one off someone else. You cannot trust test otherwise.

If your cheapo test kit sis accurate over the desired range using a standard reference, then you ARE OKAY. If not, then you need to account for that.

Simply because you have a more $$$ test kit, does not EVER imply you can simple forgo the standard reference step however.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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