Most effective method of testing - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Most effective method of testing

Beyond the standard API kits that are out there,

What other tools, methods, kits are there to test water parameters? Are there electronic methods of testing (probes and such?)

I want to be able to run test beyond that basic (Ph, GH/KH, NiTri, NiTra, Amonia, etc)

What about testing phosphates, calcium, etc.... ?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 10:04 PM
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The Hanna 'Checker' seems like a good idea....
http://www.hannachecker.com.au/
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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The question is does it work? and they only have non-standard testers...
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 08:04 AM
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Electronic meters:

There are plenty of electronic pH meters out there, ranging from all-in-one sticks to things like the American Marine pinpoint with detachable probe. Note that ph probes require you to store them in a special solution, and have a limited lifespan

There are also plenty of electronic TDS meters out there, which can be useful if you raise shrimp.

I've not seen any well reviewed meters for other freshwater relevant parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, kh, gh, etc).

Other tests:
API and other vendors make freshwater suitable tests for phosphate, Iron, KH/GH and a few others..

I guess the big question is: Why do you want to test, and how much do you want to spend?

Personally I own:
API FW master kit
Salifert nitrate test
API phosphate
API KH/GH
HM Digital AP-1 TDS meter

At the start, I used ammonia and nitrite tests regularly, to monitor cycle.

I have started doing KH/GH tests with water changes, as it seems my local supply varies, and I am actively monitoring this after a fish loss.

I use the nitrate and phosphate tests to monitor my dosing when I mix new fertilizer solutions, but they are otherwise mostly idle. Maybe once a month I test these two, along with TDS just to see how things are going with my fish load.

Pretty much everything else sits idle unless problems crop up.

New to planted tanks, avid gardener/tinkerer.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 10:16 AM
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I use the API phosphate test as well. I also bought seachem's ammonia test because there are many people that get false readings on the API kit. In fact I just tested last night and showed higher than 0 on API but 0 on Seachem.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kep View Post
I use the API phosphate test as well. I also bought seachem's ammonia test because there are many people that get false readings on the API kit. In fact I just tested last night and showed higher than 0 on API but 0 on Seachem.
From what I understand, the SeaChem meter only registers free ammonia and not total ammonia.

I had a situation where my API kit was registering 4+ ppm but my SeaChem meter only showed 0.05 ppm (green).
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 01:25 PM
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The Seachem ammonia test kit (not the little stick on thing) can be done to read either free or total ammonia, you just add an extra reagent to make it read total ammonia...


http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod...T_Ammonia.html

Besides, free ammonia is a generally more useful number anyway....

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-25-2015, 09:17 PM
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I switched from API to Salifert for Nitrate, and am much happier. Easier and more accurate.

I use Seachem Iron test, and have tried nothing else -- it's mediocre, hard to read and reagent goes bad pretty quick, but they do give you a reference solution and from reading despite being mediocre it may be one of the better ones. I'd love to know if there are better ones.

Also used Seachem for phosphate and like it, fast and easy.

HM Digital AP-1 TDS meter as mentioned above - really happy with it.

API seems ok for ph though not terribly accurate (but accurate enough), their KH and GH seem OK as well, and I use the ammonia and nitrite and it seems OK (mostly just looking for yes/no there anyway).

Temperature: I use a Thermopen. FAR more accurate than any of the junk I've seen at fish stores, but pricey (however I bought it for steaks - very nice there, amazing how inaccurate meat thermometers generally are).

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