I was at a chemistry conference last week (Pittcon) - primarily analytical chemistry. Several of the vendors also provide products for aquariums (LaMotte, Hach, etc). Saw a couple of interesting things:
1. Phosphate testing. Industrial Test Systems, Inc. (www.sensafe.com
) makes all kinds of test strips (I know - not necessarily the best way to test). They gave me some samples of their phosphate test strips. Here is what I think is neat: The phosphate test strip is merely a reagent delivery
system! You swirl the strip in a 5-ml sample for 30 seconds and the solution turns color (not the strip). After a minute you match the color in the tube to the chart (0-2ppm). Sure will save me a lot of time and hassle messing with my multiple-reagent phosphate test! Not sure if I'll refill once it runs out - like all test strips, they are more expensive.
2. Nitrate testing. LaChat Instruments (a division of Hach) (instrument here
). This instrument is way out of reach for aquarium use, but read about their cadmium reduction "cup". Instead of a powder or a solid suspended in a liquid, they have made a copper cup, coated it with just enough cadmium, then overcoated with copper. It goes in the test solution, shaken for 30sec, then the remaining reagents are added for the typical nitrate color change. Here is what I like about it: Since cadmium is a toxic heavy metal, it is incredibly easy to take out the cup and have it recycled and the cadmium is contained - how many of you currently save your cadmium powder?? I would guess most toss it in the trash or the sink - technically, that is illegal! Do you use your finger to cover the tube while you mix?? The cups are not currently sold for individual tests, but one of the people who developed the cups is trying to convince Hach to do so (I had her put my name in as someone interested in this). Sound expensive? The cups are only 20-30cents each in the automatic analyzer. Won't be as cheap as the other nitrate tests, but still not too bad.
Fun with chemistry!
72g bowfront planted, CO2, 4x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, 2 angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, betta, albino bristlenose pleco, albino cories. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias, java moss and fern, anubias
2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.