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Best Test Kit for Varied Colors?

279 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  en7jos
I have the API Master Test Kit, but I have a lot of trouble determining the results. Maybe I'm doing it wrong--I try to stand in a well lit room with the vial against the white part of the card, and judge the color, but the colors listed all seem to be close together.

Are there any other test kits one can recommend where the colors are more varied?
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Hi Ryan,

Is there a particular test that you're having difficulties with, or across all the API tests? Guess ease of interpreting the colour shades comes with experience of doing 100's of tests, but one idea is to make up some calibration solutions (for example, mixing various fert's in plain water to give a known level) and then using this to help inform how you read from the charts.

For pH, you could consider getting a decent quality (e.g. HM Digital) pH pen instead to give an actual digital reading.

For tests like nitrate, it can be hard to pick between two possible colour matches. My trick here is to compare the sample with the colours on the chart either side of the two possibilities and see which one the sample is nearest to (or maybe which one it is less like is sometimes easier). For example, if you can't decide between a reading of 10 or 20 ppm nitrate (because they are basically the same colour on the chart!), then compare your sample with 5 ppm (more orange) and 40 ppm (noticeably reddish) and see which one is closest. Then pick between 10 ppm if the sample more tends towards the 5 ppm colour, or pick 20 ppm if the sample tends towards the 40 ppm reddish colour. Does that make sense at all?

If you can mention which particular tests you have difficulty with, and what range of readings your tanks are typically at, then sure people can suggest specific test kits that might be clearer at those ranges.

Regards, James
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