Re: LaMotte test kits
Tom Wood said:
Disagree about ease of use. The LaMotte I had used a very caustic acid (don't wipe your hands on your bluejeans unless you want that holey look) and was no more easier to read in the comparator than the paper charts. Also, with that 4.4 multipier thing, the LaMottes aren't really that more precise anyway. If the color falls between two vials, which number do you use to multiply by?
The caustic acid is asorbic acid.
They don't use cadium reduction like the ones we use, we recycle the cadium afterwards, not a hobbyists grade thing
I tried a number of cheapy test, the AP's still give funny readings every few hobbyists I talk to, some claim they work, some claim others work, but consistently Lamotte kits have a better record which is why I suggest folks use them if they are serious about it, if you want to use something cheaper, to get a ballpark figure, by all means do so but make sure it's accurate and test against a known standard.
SeaChem uses the same reagents apparently, but their kit is not very useful IME.
Yeah, but I'll bet you did a lot of testing to get to that point. Someone new to the hobby doesn't have that background. Hell, even those of us in the hobby for a while would like a fast easy check now and then. I think if you are going to give advice to the general public, you need to set aside your own background of knowledge and advise based on the most simple technique.
Why do you think I suggest things like EI?
You can guess the dosing till the next water change for 2-3 -4 weeks and watch the plants, there are no rules suggesting that 50% weekly water changes are required, I've never said that was ever the case, but it puts everyone that's having trouble on the same page and rules out other potential issues such as testing, organics, DOC, and manually removes algae.
You can guess quite well as you gain experience to avoid water changes, use slower growing desire layouts to avoid pruning as much etc or embrace them and garden like a nut.
That testing I did was for a reason, not merely to measure one tank's needs!
I tested based on one thing, maximum growth rates
at high light and non limiting conditions, I measured the levels carefully and then assumed
that any other tank would use no more than this amount. That is well considered and defendable assumption and reduces work for aquarist. I don't do work/testing for mainteance alone, I answer a specific clear question. Then use that knowledge to estimate (hence the name Estimative index if you are curious) and correlate with plant growth and health.
Then that frees me and many other folks from testing altoghter and few have more than 6 w/gal of PC lighting.
I do not need to even know what their levels are nor see their tank to help them get back on track. That's powerful and helpful.
Given that and the accuracy of dosing with a 1/4 teaspoon (+, - 1ppm of NO3), new hobbyists all over the world don't need test kits nor know what the deficiency signs are to hit a good level.
Then my advice is extremely well founded to a much larger audience.
Folks with more experience can and will want to test if they so chose.......it's certainly not required in any way shape or form though.
I typically will suggest some measurements/testing if you look at my advice, but it certainly can and is being done without any test kits ever. I keep a large degree of flexibilty there, if they have them and wnat to get into that, I suggest doing it the right way with what I know to work well.
If AP kits work well, go for it. Just check them.
It's experience that allows folks to do that.
I don't test plant tanks merely to maintain them.
I want to gain some insight from all that testing and hard work.
Once I know what's going on, I no longer need to do that extra work.
I know the rates of uptake
relative to a particularly lighting level under non limiting conditions.
Knowing that is far more useful in application than testing each tank you may have. I have many tanks, I maintain some very nice tanks. I'd spend most of my time testing rather than answering questions and designing specific test to answer questions. I have to test carefully answer some critical questions.
Additionally, non CO2 tanks typically, (although they do not have to and is often the advice not to test
), get no testing either.
Nor water changes, some small amount of dosing with SeaChem EQ and KNO3 depending on the fish load can be very useful. Flourite and onyx seems to work much better than soil + sand. Same for RFUG's.
Again, no testing at all nor water changes, things occur slowly, so responding to the tank's needs is rather easy. Eyeballing certain fast growing plants makes this nor that difficult or seemingly impossible.
By slowing things down in terms of growth rates, having experience with high growth rates with CO2, allows you to scale things down.
The rates and levels of NO3 needed to sustain healthy plant growth at that slow uptake level is so small there are no hobby test kits that can measure say 0.1-1.0 ppm of NO3.
So what do you do there?
Well I went and tested it using cadium reduction and with a very accurate method.
Rates are close to 5 to 10X less those of CO2 enriched tanks.
Now that is far more useful than merely one case study on a high light tank.
I'll discuss that more later in some articles.
I see no reason why folks cannot have a nice planted non CO2 that does not look like donkey and can grow a much wider variety of plants.
You need to see what impacts the growth rates and that knowledge is useful and helpful for other folks that do not have that knowledge or those types of resources and interest, they can still gain from someone else's research without having to do it and repeat it.
Very often things have been repeated and repeated, look at many thing I often end up saying.
Same old hat.
Why repeat the same research several times?
Do it once right and then use that as the baseline.
Over time I've found those baseline rates where very close.
I've upped the PO4 and NO3, while reducing the K.
Having enough NO3 based of adding KNO3 to a known volume of tank water is going to make 100% certain that there is enough NO3 in that tank, wereas a test kit is often suspect, many new folks have no clue how or why to use or make a standard solution either.
Most folks get into the hobby to grow plants, not test, so watch and grow the plants. I have the experience, so folks can learn from that or investigate it themselves if they desire.
Either way, I can help develop which ever path they want to pursue, does not matter what method or goal they might have.
All I ask is that it involves something with chloroplast and/or thalkaloids + water.
That's a pretty broad based help ethic.