Better nitrate test kit than API? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Better nitrate test kit than API?

I don't like the API test kit. It's too hard to see if I have 10, 20 or even 40 ppm in the tank. Perhaps my color vision is just bad.

Anyone does anyone have an alternative to using API brand?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 08:16 PM
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I really like the Sera NO3 kit, and it's pretty easy to read. A little involved, using 4 separate reagents (3 liquid and 1 dry), but much more accurate by all accounts. I love the whole Aqua-Test box, actually, much better and easier to read than API.

Here's a sponsor who carries them:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=327002

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 11:45 PM
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If you are willing to pay the price, LaMotte makes excellent test kits as well.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 04:34 AM
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If you are willing to pay the price, LaMotte makes excellent test kits as well.
^^^+1 LaMotte or Elos but they are pricey.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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Cool. I'll check them out. All I'm really concerned with is nitrate and phosphate. Too bad you can't really test for K+
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 04:29 PM
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I also get meaningless readings with the API liquid tests. It all looks pretty much the same. When I built some known levels in samples and tried different test methods, I came up with the Jungle test strips bought from Wal-Mart as giving me the best color difference. Since the colors can be seen differently under different light, I think we all need to set a standard for what we see under the light we use. Since it is all a color judgement , using the same color as the same number each time and watching for change is far more important to me than the actual number.
I do like the API phosphate test better than others.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Agreed. The phosphate test is pretty good. Nitrate is only good for knowing if you have less than 10 ppm or over 10 ppm
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 09:42 PM
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I bought the Sera master kit, and was pretty happy with it. The only thing I had trouble with was the KH and GH titration (but I've always had issues with titration...), and I suspect that is because my water tends to be pretty soft to begin with.

I recently exhausted one of the reagents on both the NO3 and NH4 kits, which is kinda frustrating, as the other reagents seem mostly full. I did get two complete tank cyclings, plus a handful of other results, so I can't really complain too much.

Recently bought the API kit until I get something else ordered, and it does seem a bit less accurate and harder to determine the colors then the Sera kit.

The Sera NO3 kit might be more work then the API (not certain about that with all the shaking involved with the API one), and I'm dubious of how precise my measuring of the dry reagent was with the little spoon, but the results seemed to be fairly accurate and consistent during cycling.

I've got a Nutrafin kit on order, so I'll get to see how that compares, and maybe I'll try some Elos kits next...
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
I bought the Sera master kit, and was pretty happy with it. The only thing I had trouble with was the KH and GH titration (but I've always had issues with titration...), and I suspect that is because my water tends to be pretty soft to begin with.
To get more exact you can use 10ml water instead of 5ml, with each drop then being 0.5 dGH or dKH. I find that it's not a subtle change once you hit it, though.
Agreed on that little spoon.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Positron View Post
Cool. I'll check them out. All I'm really concerned with is nitrate and phosphate. Too bad you can't really test for K+
I've seen Hanna K+ photometers for reasonable $ used here and there.
The method is turbimetric generally.
I think Lamotte makes one for K+, 30$ or something, same for the NO3 and PO4.

You need to make a known standard if you want to put ANY FAITH in your test methods, regardless of the brands. That said, Lamotte has been the most consistent for NO3 of all the brands I've used that are under 100$, not photometers.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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