Electronic pH meter? Taking pH readings of tannin coloured water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Electronic pH meter? Taking pH readings of tannin coloured water

Hi folks,

For extremely darkly tannin coloured water, is an electronic pH meter my best bet?

I was also thinking of diluting with RO and extrapolating back, but I'm not sure how accurate the drop testing kits actually are (guessing a known pH reference solution would help).

Thanks,
Adam
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-21-2015, 07:20 PM
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For extremely darkly tannin coloured water, is an electronic pH meter my best bet?
Hmm, yes, if water is very dark then it's probably your only option. But most probably your water is not that dark (you'll probably not be able to even see fish in it in this case): water that seems really dark in big quantity can have just a slightly noticeable tint in small vial. Try it.

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I was also thinking of diluting with RO and extrapolating back
Oh, this will definitely not work for pH measurement.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-22-2015, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Figured...oh well, have to save my pennies for a bit. Any suggestions on a meter?

Tank water is fine, but I wanted to get a reference pH on my blackwater concentrate as well. That's basically pitch black.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-23-2015, 03:40 AM
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No idea about which one will be good - I don't use them because AFAIK good pH meters require constant maintenance (special solution for storage of electrodes and quite frequent calibration) and this is something I'm not willing to do. Plus they are quite expensive. On the other hand, there are tons of Chinese noname pH meters on ebay now for real cheap (~$10), you can try one of them and see how this will work out. They look similar to TDS meters and are often sold together with noname TDS meters (~$15 for both!). In the worst case you'll not loose much.

Why do you want to measure pH of the blackwater concentrate? IMHO this doesn't have any practical applications - even if you'll know exactly what is the pH of your concentrate and what is the pH of the aquarium water, you'll still not be able to tell what will be pH of this water with concentrate added.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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You raise a valid point. Sheer curiosity I guess. I'll live without knowing
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 06:56 AM
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You raise a valid point. Sheer curiosity I guess. I'll live without knowing
Yea, you are better off monitoring GH, KH, and TDS.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 08:22 AM
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Adam,
I use a PH-107 digital pH Meter to quickly check the pH.

I prefer to check electronically, because it covers a wider range than the API pH test solution but it works fine for my purpose. I also use pH paper test strips, but they are the worst since the color runs and are frequently inaccurate.

The API test and the PH-107 readings in general agree ~ pH 6.5 to 7.2, But I think the API test is actually off above pH 7.4 (vs calib laboratory pH meter). The precision on both is really not that great anyway, definitely no better than +/- o.2 pH.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 06:19 PM
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I was the manager of a lab the used fish as the experimental model organism for a number of years. We have a few thousand gallons of tanks and had to test the water every day. I have used dozens of different electronic pH meters including high end desktop models and they all become inaccurate very rapidly. Additionally, even after calibration and doing acid base baths for the electrodes different models would give different results. They are overhyped and untrustworthy in my professional opinion.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 06:48 PM
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I would have to agree with Kitten Party on this one. I've used them extensively in a professional setting for almost ten years now and have come to the conclusion that pH probes will return not accurate results even after calibrating them. I have found, however, that pH probes like being in the same environment. For instance, the lab grade pH probe I use on my apex actually holds a calibration for a month or two, but it just sits there. I never raise it above water and seldom handle it. The same is true for another probe i use to check my other tanks. I leave it in the aquarium water and simply turn it on when I want to. Although I still need to calibrate the probe, it holds much better than taking a probe out of water, and then putting it into a salt solution for storage. Storage is the bane of all pH probes.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks folks, very helpful! Eventually I'd like to have an Arduino based pH probe, but I'm a little ways off of that. Sounds like I may as well wait for that rather than get a standalone meter though.
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