API strips vs wet testing - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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API strips vs wet testing

Does anyone have any feedback on whether water test strips are less/more accurate than using a liquid test kit?

Also, I noticed at most LFS, they sell plastic hang inside the glass visual indicators to show levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, etc....how accurate are these devices I wonder?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 02:06 PM
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Test strips provide quick testing but with lesser accuracy compared to the liquid kits.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 02:17 PM
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I've used the strips quite often. I find the Jungle test strips I buy at Wal-mart give me colors I can judge better than other strips.
My spin on the question depends on the user. Since both tests depend on judging colors, it depends on the users judgment how accurate the test will be. We each have to know ourself. Do we really do the testing we need if it is time consuming and tedious? If we do, the liquid tests can be more accurate. If we don't, I think most would agree that a test strip used is going to give a more accurate reading than a test not run at all!
If one requires a very accurate test reading the liquid tests may be more accurate, but then if one is only judging if the readings are changing, the strips will tell you that.
Finding which works better for you will take some experience.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 11:41 PM
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I've used the strips quite often. I find the Jungle test strips I buy at Wal-mart give me colors I can judge better than other strips.
My spin on the question depends on the user. Since both tests depend on judging colors, it depends on the users judgment how accurate the test will be. We each have to know ourself. Do we really do the testing we need if it is time consuming and tedious? If we do, the liquid tests can be more accurate. If we don't, I think most would agree that a test strip used is going to give a more accurate reading than a test not run at all!
If one requires a very accurate test reading the liquid tests may be more accurate, but then if one is only judging if the readings are changing, the strips will tell you that.
Finding which works better for you will take some experience.
Words of wisdom.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 11:52 PM
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Test strips are notoriously innaccurate and too expensive.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 12:51 AM
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Test strips are notoriously innaccurate and too expensive.
Youre involved in a notoriously pricey hobby.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 02:15 AM
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That's part of the personal choice type idea. If one wants to speak of cost, do we figure labor? Do we figure in the cost of spilling the chemicals so that they are lost or even worse if the chemicals are on the carpeting? I see no reason the two ideas can't co-exist! I like options so I would not want to do away with either system but then we seem to be in an era where some people fell their way is THE way. Is it any wonder congress can't agree on anything if we can't even accept that there are two styles of testing??
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 02:23 AM
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Watch out, I left my strip bottles open and ruined $15-18 worth of strips. I'm back to liquid tests now.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 03:01 AM
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I tend to use strips for a quick glance every so often. If the strips seem a bit wonky, I back them up with liquid tests.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 03:19 AM
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I think the test strips get a bad rap, I use the Mardel 5 in 1 test strip and I buy them buy the 100's, they give a quick and accurate reading, IMO. I also have some API wet kits for pH, kH, & gH that I use to set my RO water and confirm the test strips once in a while but my point is once you compare the two you get a real feel for the colors on the test strip, plus I love to get a quick look at my nitrates before the water change, it lets me know if I need to adjust my ferts for the coming week.

I like API for wet
and Mardel 5 in 1 test strips


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
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Test strips are notoriously innaccurate and too expensive.
This is what I mean and it's how rumors are started. Do you have any actual experience with them or are you just repeating what you've heard others say.



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Watch out, I left my strip bottles open and ruined $15-18 worth of strips. I'm back to liquid tests now.
Don't leave the lid off anything you want to be accurate, wet or dry.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 04:45 AM
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Years ago I compared the strips and the liquid test by API, and I got slightly different readings on NO2, but NH3 was waaay off. The difference probably isn't large enough to end up killing fish, but I'm anal about these things and want the most precision I can get without actually taking my aquarium water down to the lab and getting hardcore.

If it gets to that point, I guess I'll really have a problem.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 02:20 PM
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There are so many ways to mess up the readings on each that one person doing a test on both really doesn't mean much. If it is the first time you have done a liquid test, can we be sure you are reading things as they should be? Were the drops dispensed in an accurate way? When reading the colors of the strips were they done under the correct lighting for consistent results? One can't call it consistent results if it is only done once! So many places where doubt is thrown into the results. It takes experience at doing either to get it right so if one has a bias for one form or the other , it can change his decision on which is accurate. As a human being, we are not very dependable.
The only answer I see for which is best is to personally try each with an open mind and find which fits you the best.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 03:16 AM
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The best wat to read any strip or color card is to walk outside, you'll be amazed at the difference and how well the colors match.


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