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All test strips can work well as a barometer to note changes in parameters, but are not as exact as testing with liquid testers.
--I dont ( or wouldn't) purchase anything from Aquarium CO-OP on any day... but, that's outside the scope of this post. --
If your looking for a quick idea of changes in your aquarium-- any test strips are fine. If you want more accuracy- bring out the testing liquids.
 

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Product reviews are permitted. Vendor reviews are not (this could potentially change.) So no worries here, @greenguppy.

But about these test strips... I've found them to be hot garbage because they're crazy inaccurate when not properly stored. No better than API or anything else available on the market. There are 9 or 10 original equipment manufacturers/OEMs for test strips currently in the hobby and only a couple are remotely decent for our purposes. All of them come from manufacturers that also produce spot checking test kits for the medical field (contrary to what YouTube guy says, test strips aren't really used for much more than a quick glance - just like in this hobby.) The all-in-one strips have never been reliable in my experience. Far too many variables like humidity and temperature sensitivity that cause these to go bad super-fast. Yes, even the ones YouTube guy is promoting.

While the YouTube guy claims there's some conspiracy of retailers trying to get people to buy more expensive liquid kits over test strips, that's just not based in reality. Hobbyists steer newcomers away from them because they're truly only useful for people with a bit of experience under their belt and when someone has a feel for what's what just by looking at a tank. Everyone gets there if they stick with it for a while.

YouTube guy suggests liquid test kits aren't great if they aren't high end and that's also not what I would consider based in reality - there are thousands of us here on the forum to back me up on this bit. I'd argue that's more than anecdotal. They also aren't too expensive. Even if you need multiple kits. Most of the time, they end up being cheaper than test strips. The $9 you pay for an ammonia/ammonium kit (liquid) that lasts a couple years is cheaper than strips. Same for nicer pH kits from companies like Sera - $12ish retail for a kit that is far superior than most other hobbyist kits and will last a couple years once opened. The $15 total I pay for liquid gH & kH from Sera is a steal. There's almost nothing available that's as cheap, accurate or easy to read for what we do.

Getting newcomers to use a liquid kit and to feel comfortable using them in general makes them more likely to keep tanking. In part because they're less afraid of it. In part because they quickly learn water parameters aren't as complicated as they appear from the outside... or in YouTube videos. Really seems to set people up for a bit more success. Note: this is just anecdotal on my part, obviously, but I've seen thousands of newcomers flow through this forum through the years. Shrimpers specifically. The ones who get over their uncertainty about liquid test kits quickly end up being way more successful than those who don't bother.

Reality is most people don't need to test very often at all. I keep super-sensitive shrimp and am constantly redoing tanks and starting new ones. So I test with some frequency and spend a ton on testing equipment. Almost no one needs to do what I do. So a liquid gH & kH kit and decent nitrate kit every few years for the average shrimper? It's a no-brainer - just spend the $25-$30 every few years on nicer liquids and have better accuracy.

Something else we should probably consider is single-use plastics. Going through 200 little plastic strips that can't really be recycled is absurd, in my opinion, when you could have a single bottle that's in use for multiple years. And is recyclable. I personally think this is something we should consider with more frequency and seriousness in this hobby. The less waste we have, the better.

TL;DR: Sometimes stuff on YouTube is misleading. Even if the person talking to you is endearing. Liquid test kits don't have to be expensive.

/rant

Update: To be clear? Kevin Novak is a pseudoscience conspiracy theorist who has next to no idea what he's talking about. He's never been able to prove anything he claims. He just speaks in circles and references people who reference him. It's hokey nonsense from a grifter who is doing nothing but confusing newcomers to the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you very much somewhatshocked, I will stick to the API for rn. In the future I will check out the sera tests.

Sent from my KFONWI using Tapatalk
 

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I'm not over joyed with the api liquid test kits because even if there is no variance in drop size and such matching colours is well as accurate as flipping a coin. Having said that accuracy is relative. so they might be more accurate than strip test (i can't vouch either way) I hardly find the liquid that accurate.
 
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