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LaMotte test kits

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by JadeButterfly, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    I've noticed that there are several Nitrate test kits model from LaMotte.

    which model is the preferred one(easiest to use) for our aquariums?

    Though I'm looking forward to getting only the Nitrate test kit, if anyone knows the preffered model for other tests (in case other tests also has multiple models) for our aquariums, I would appreciate if you posted it up (just for future reference)
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    I have a slightly used one for sale, 40$.
    It's a 3354 model.

    I have a lab grade NO3 meter that's accurate to about 0.1ppm of NO3 and another one at work that's about 0.003ppm of NO3 accurate.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Gill Man

    Gill Man Prolific Poster

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    Here's were I got my Iron and Calcium test kits. I plan on getting nitrate and phosphate later this month if I really want. I'm testing less, but the dang Seachem nitrate test is so hard to compare, I want a more reliable test result to taillor my fert regimen.

    http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/listings.categories/ssid/13

    I'm going to get the one that goes up to 10 mg/L. I just have to dilute 1:1 with distilled water and double the results you get. If you need, you could also do a 1:2 dilution or greater and use the appropriate multiplication factor to get your results.
     
  4. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    :) jadebutterfly, i too use lamotte 3354. its a 2 tablet,with octa-slide. easy to use. just make sure kit is not out of date., been there. :) :) regards,cornhusker
     
  5. Tom Wood

    Tom Wood Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    I think it's time to change the 'Lamotte is best' meme. I use the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (AP) NO3 test kit and found it every bit as accurate as the LaMotte, so I threw the LaMotte away.

    If you don't believe me, get a new AP NO3 kit ($7 at Petsmart) and dose a known dose into clean water. Use The Fertilator over at APC to quantify the dose and expected result, then test it. It'll be right on. (Follow the directions, especially the shaking.)

    We simply don't need the precision of the more expensive kits. The AP kits are very easy to read in the 0-5-10-20 range. Above 20 is difficult to distinguish, true, but that area can just be labelled 'too much' anyway.

    I think it does a huge dis-service to anyone coming into the hobby to recommend the expensive kits when there is a perfectly suitable cheap alternative. The end result of the expensive recommendation is likely to be no testing at all. Imagine walking into a car dealership:

    "I'd like to buy a Taurus."

    "Mercedes is the best."

    "I understand, but I don't want to spend that much."

    "Mercedes is the best."

    "I understand, but I can't afford rent if I buy a Mercedes."

    "Mercedes is the best."

    "I understand, but I can't eat if I buy a Mercedes."

    "Mercedes is the best."

    "Never mind, I'll walk"

    TW
     
  6. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    Thanks for the site Gill Man

    too bad they do not have the 3354 model.

    I searched up the 3110 model and find the method a lil bit more work.

    3354 seems to be the cheapest...does anyone know where to get lamotte kits cheap? and are willing to ship up here (Canada)?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Gill Man

    Gill Man Prolific Poster

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    I know, I prefer the 3354 model, which I found at: http://www.reefsplendor.com/pages/lamotte/lamotte.1.html for a reasonable price (for La Motte). Those comparators, sliding or octet are just so easy to compare and get a good approximation for those of us that can't distinguish shades of red on paper.
     
  8. JadeButterfly

    JadeButterfly Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    yeah I'm tired of all the test kits i've used before...I just can't make out the colour properly.

    darn. too bad reef splendor doesn't ship internationally :(
     
  9. Wö£fëñxXx

    Wö£fëñxXx Prolific Poster

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    I am going to have to agree with Tom Wood on this, it really is not that hard to get accustom to using a cheap-o and a rough estimate is all we need anyway, but it's you're money.
    I will leave the expensive kit's to the biologist's and colorblind.. :D
    We are not building "piano's" but growing weed's underwater, varibles change daily, if one could set the N03 level and keep it that way, maybe it would be different.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    My past experience with test kits warrants the better quality, I've done more testing on water than anyone I've ever met in this hobby. I do it as part of work as well.

    You can calibrate and check the test kit against standards and even if it's off, that be accounted for, so cheap kits can be used certainly if they are consistent. In the ranges and accuracy ranges I've been interested in, Lamott is okay, I needed something more precise and consistent personally.

    For the money, the cheapy kits are not a bad deal, I would not place much reliance on them unless you have tested them against a standand and do NOT assume each NO3 is going to be the same, calibrate every test kit.

    Lamott test kits are nice, easier to use and perhaps the ADA/Dupla of test kits for hobbyists.

    I don't need kits for the hobby, I can look and tell if the plants need NO3.
    That's much more important than testing (noting plant health and growth). Some of the best tanks and plant folks do not use test kits at all, except for CO2 and even there I and some others don't need a test kit.

    Many don't use pH/KH at all, just eye ball with a bubble rate.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Tom Wood

    Tom Wood Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    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?

    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.

    TW
     
  12. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    Several months ago I tested five inexpensive nitrate test kits. Four appeared to be accurate up to 15 or 20 PPM, because their results were about the same. (The fifth one was awful.)

    I would think that for professional work LaMotte or something even more accurate would be required, if for no other reason than the results of a test might appear in a scientific journal or be evidence in a court of law. But for general use I doubt that precision is needed.

    Bill
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    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.

    What?

    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.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Tom Wood

    Tom Wood Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    Hey Tom,

    I didn't mean to suggest that you weren't helping people out, you are. Hell, it's your work that got me way farther along than I would/could have on my own or by listening to a lot of the voodoodoo that's out there. All I meant was that when you say "I (meaning -you-) can tell by looking at the plants" that that presumes your level of experience, which not everybody has. But you know that, I'm sure. I also understand what you are trying to do with the EI thing even though it's not for me.

    So when I comment here, knowing you are working on a book too, I'm just trying to give you some feedback that might help you connect with your eventual readers. I will admit that I like making declarative statements because I've found that they provoke the best response. :p

    TW
     
  15. chubasco

    chubasco Guru Class Expert

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    Re: LaMotte test kits

    TW, I can't imagine anybody mistaking your mincing, politically correct statements as being declarative and provocative...perhaps it's just me :D BTW, just set up a tank with UGF and gravel, and now my wife
    wants the tank :( I'm getting the water report for the Ca and Mg and
    sticking with my AP kit, too.

    Hope you post pics when you get the goldfish set up in your 90 with new
    bulbs.(?)

    Bill
     
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