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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It came today!



As some of you might know, I "tried out" the Hanna Photometers, and didn't have much luck with them. So several days ago, I broke down and ordered the LaMotte Smart2 Colorimeter. I had a bit of luck with, and may have developed a trust in the other LaMotte kits I have used. The range of the LR Nitrate-Nitrogen kit (0.00-3.00ppm NO3-N, or 0.0-13.3ppm NO3) is much more useful for testing the parameters I intend to keep my tank at (5-10ppm NO3). The fact that my parameters do not fall at the extreme end of the testable range means the results will likely be slightly more accurate.

Once unpacked and put in the case that I ordered (smaller of the two cases available), this is what everything looks like:



So far, the only reagent sets that I've picked up are the LR Nitrate-Nitrogen and the LR Phosphate. The case has room for 4 more "small" sized reagent kits. You can bet it won't be long until I decide on what will fill those spaces.

So I spent the majority of today familiarizing myself with the device and its multi-level menus. I ran quite a few tests today to check for consistency, and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the results so far! The range of results from testing nitrate-nitrogen (NO3ppm/4.43) was 1.97 to 2.00, running 12 different tests. the phosphate results ranged from 2.90 to 2.91 on 6 tests.





Although I have not tested standard solutions to calibrate the machine, the results I got DO make sense with regard to the dosing I've been doing on the tank. If a standardized solution test result differs from what it should read, the machine can be recalibrated by setting it's result to the standard solution, much in the same way a pH meter is calibrated.

I ran tests on reagent blanks to really nail down the accuracy of the machine. I will be spending the next couple weeks attempting to determine the reliability of the device. I will report any important findings here.
 

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Seems "Mad Scientists" tend to work to the wee hours of the morning, eh?

Wow. Nice hardware there. And to think I use a dipstick from time to time :)

High cost of the reagants though ... It will cost nearly a couple bucks per nitrate reading. The price of precision ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
dipan - along with the meter, I received a copy of their full catalog. I can actually order the reagents in much larger containers than come in the reagent kits themselves, bringing the price per test down pretty substantially! You can bet I'll be doing that rather than ordering any of the reagent "refills!"
 

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It's been 6 months. Do you still like your Smart2? Did you get any other test kits?
I'm thinking about asking the hubbie for this for me for xmas... I want the smart link software too... so I can just run all the tests.. then dump them into my pc.

I think I can import the results into aquarix and have pretty graphs of everything at each test day.

I'm a geek.. what can I say... And what they hey... if you aren't using it anymore.. maybe you would want to sell it to another geek... like me!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I LOVE it! The accuracy was fantastic staight out of the box when testing standard solutions. If it wasn't, it can be calibrated by the user. The resolution is amazing (0.01ppm for most tests). If I test 5 different samples of the same tank, I get the same results (statistically) each time.

The only testing I do without the Smart2 is the Ca and Mg (separately), which I use the LaMotte titration type kits for.


And what they hey... if you aren't using it anymore.. maybe you would want to sell it to another geek... like me!?
:hihi: :hihi: :hihi:
 

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Wow! That's looking like my next "gotta have"!

I've got a bunch of Lamotte kits, but not the Smart2. I love the regular Lamotte kits. They are not without flaws, but they are a WORLD better than your regular petshop stuff.

Can you test Potassium with that? I've got a Lamotte potassium kit that is killer. But it's not color based - it deals with the level of preciptitates in the water.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can you test Potassium with that? I've got a Lamotte potassium kit that is killer. But it's not color based - it deals with the level of preciptitates in the water.

Thanks.
Sure! It uses the same reagents (tetraphenylboron) as the LaMotte Kit you are probably using Steve. The device just measures how much light passes through the sample as opposed to watching the little black dot dissapear as you drop it into the sample. ;) It's range isn't quite as wide (only up to 10ppm) but simply diluting the sample makes it usable.
 

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The Lamotte is actually pretty nice and bit more user friendly than the more pricey ones.

The other good colorimeter is the Hach 890 series.

Also, if you look around, you can make your own reagents and save a lot of $.
This can also increase accuracy as the reagents are careful weighed for each sample to be tested.

If you want to test for NO3 and PO4, these are fairly good.
K+ is fairly accurate test using a colorimeter.

One trick you can do if you like to monitor, but do not wish to test daily or even weekly etc...........take the water samples only for each day to be tested, then freeze them in 50ml bottles(or something close).

Then thaw them out when ever you feel motivated, then run several test for NO3, or PO4 etc all at once!

This makes the calibration with a standard easier, as well as pulling everything out, setting it, remembering how and what to add etc.

Be careful when testing metals as their form, chelated state and other factors make a large difference in the bioavailability.

SuRje1976,
You might consider a nice set of volumetric flask for standard solutions for NO3, PO4, K(KNO3 can be used and makes a double standard for No3 and K) etc.

A digital tritrator from Hach might be something you'd be interested in as well.
I have an extra Hach DR 2800 spectrophotormeter for sale and a bunch of reagents if any one is interested:)
The spect is 1500$, like new, except 1/2 the cost.

Also, a decent light meter, say the apogee is nice also.
You can measure most things, except the light:(



Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the info Tom!

SuRje1976,
You might consider a nice set of volumetric flask for standard solutions for NO3, PO4, K(KNO3 can be used and makes a double standard for No3 and K) etc.
Got em already. :hihi: Use them for exactly that purpose. Got a very useful range of volumetric pipettes to go along with them, as well as quite a bit of other lab glassware. I'm waiting for the DEA to come banging down the door here while I'm weighing out all of the white powders to make dosing solutions!


A digital tritrator from Hach might be something you'd be interested in as well.
Tom, you're going to wind me up in divorce court... :icon_eek:
 

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While in divorce count, best to spend and reduce the amount that can be taken.
So rather than pipetters, try micro piptters like a 1.000-5.000 ml range, a 100-1000 ul range.

These can make precise transfer and dosing and serial dilutions much easier, they run about 70 $ or so off ebay.

you can check out Hach's web site and also see the DR2800:

http://www.hach.com/hc/search.produ...wLinkLabel=DR+2800+Portable+Spectrophotometer

Take a look at the parameters and ranges.

Do not forget about the freezing samples part, this will save you a lot of time and allow to to work on a time series of measurements when you do sit down and decide to test.

Still, for all the hoopla over nutrients and testing............very very few even consider critical CO2 measurements.

I've been after this one for decades.
And I have a LCO2 method on the way to accurately measure CO2 independent of any interferences.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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tom I was thinking seriously about the Lamotte Water Analysis Laboratory.
It comes with conductivity and pH meters plus titrating equipment and reagents for 50 -100 samples of about 24 different parameters. But it does cost .. best price I"ve found so far is 2395 for the whole shebang.
What tests/reagents are you combining with the Hach?
Why are you getting rid of it?
 

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Holey Moley Batman!

I got a few free minutes, and thought I'd go do a little research on the SMART2, and a few tests kits... seemed like a nice Christmas present to self, since I knew it wouldn't be cheap. But WOW WOW WOW! :eek:

I had no idea! These are freaking expensive! I did not realize that I would equate this decision to my consideration of a new 72" MH light fixture!

So what to do... SMART2 testing? Better halogen lights? SMART2? Halogen?

Hmmmm......
 

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Being a geek who doesn't have kids and yet is old enough to have kids in college.. means I have some free cash to spend on my hobbies. LOL.

Yeah it is looking expensive.. but I have some 'experiments' I want to do of my own. Plus I do some volunteer stuff on the side in my area. My mother is a grade school teacher and when I lived near her.. about twice a year I would do a 'science' day for her kids. I took them out and we collect water from different areas around the school like the road ditch, a bucket in an emtpy lot, the water standing in a puddle,etc. and we look at it under microscopes for critters. Seeing a volvox for the first time is amazing for a kid, they love daphnia and other stuff too. But the volvox was/is always the star of the show. I also have a best friend here who teaches high school AP biology and chemistry... she has the same kids in both classes and I go on a couple of field trips with them both as a chaparone and as a person who was a biologist to help teach some of the stuff on the trip (plus my cert in swiftwater rescue and wilderness rescue are assets to her). I think it would be fun for the class if we took the water analysis kit and did some in field testing like I did when I worked for the biological survey. A kind of water chemistry influences biology thing. This spring we'll take a canoe/kayak trip on the Guadelupe and I think I'll have them take samples every so often. I"ll have them record the sample GPS coordinates and we'll map them and also do the tests. Then we'll look at a satellite view, map the sample locations and discuss what could influence the samples (incoming creeks, roads, geology, etc) and we are going to seine fish and see what we catch at three of the locations too (can't do them all, but a small survey will be interesting to them). That way they can see what 'biologists' do in the field and it will be more real and interesting for them. The school can't afford that kind of test equipment. But I can.

I love seeing the look on their faces when they 'get it'. It's amazing to share the world with people. In the last few years, two of my mothers students have become scientists becuase of the experiences they had in my Mom's class when I visited. It was really wild to have a person walk up to me in a mall when I shopping with my mom and have them thank us for showing them something that led them to find their way into college and beyond. One of them wanted to buy us lunch. We did take her up on the offer and found out she was going to grad school. She was studying pollution monitoring and impact by doing invertebrate surveys... Very cool. Oh yeah, and she remembers the volvox.

Anyway even though I"m not a paid biologist now days... I still dabble at mini experiments (drives my husband crazy when I fertilize half the yard with one thing and the other half with something else to see what works better). I have a few ideas about things I want to try in some of my aquaria.

Anyway I don't have kids, so I have some money to spend on geeky toys for myself and I'm always doing experiments of some kind. Plus I can really help my teacher friend show the AP kids just what a 'real' field scientist does. It will be a lot of fun. I think that's worth the expense.

p.s. I think I'd go with the better lights, if I had to choose between the two.
 
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