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Reliable Test Kit -- What do you recommend?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by dantra, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    I’m about to purchase the test kits needed for my planted aquarium. What are the minimal tests required for a healthy tank? I don’t need/want to test needlessly. I am purchasing a test kit for gh, kh, pH. I don’t think testing for iron is necessary. What about testing for ammonia, is it necessary? What else do you recommend?

    Also what are reputable test kits that you like or trust?

    Thanks for your input.
    Dan
     
  2. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Some would say that you don't need any test kits.

    I use kits that test for PH, GH, KH, nitrates, and phosphates. After a tank has been set up for a while and I get a feel for the rate at which it uses nutrients, I test only once a month or so, and then mainly for nitrates.

    I have an ammonia test kit but I have never used it.

    Some test kits are good and some are not. Here's a link to an evaluation of phosphate test kits that I made three months ago. http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/science-aquatic-fertilizing/39719-comparison-four-phosphate-test-kits.html

    Good luck!

    Bill
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    U prefer and have for nearly 15 years, Lamotte and Hach test kits, they are accurate, easy to use and cost more, but they are worth it if you want to put much trust(not complete trust though, no test kit will allow that).


    Generally, NO3, PO4, GH, KH are the main things measured.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. dantra

    dantra Lifetime Charter Member
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    You guys are fantastic. So basically I can get by with testing for nitrate, phosphate, GH and KH that sounds simple enough. I’ve done some research and know enough not to go nuts with testing everything and micro-managing the amount of micro and macros in the tank especially if I intend to dose EI.


    I really don’t mind spending more for quality items as long as it provides what I’m looking for and does what I need it to do with accuracy and little fuss.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I view test kits radically different from most hobbyists, namely because they are tools to investigate hypothesis for myself, rather than monitoring.


    Thus they are very good when used properly and can teach you a lot and answer many questions.

    I like folks to prove things for themselves.

    Often, I hear the failures, folks who could not follow the directions or had something go wrong they could not pin point.
    They blame a method for that, rather than themselves.

    They often cite test kits in support.
    But these same folks also do not calibrate nor moniter things well to begin with and cannot produce a control tank to manipulate.

    I started off being pretty good, not really testing.
    Then I started testing a lot.
    Then I answered many questions I had.
    Then I realized I did not really neee dthe test kits any more.
    I also realized that most aquarists, if they chose, and the trade offs are great, also do not need them.

    But if you want to prove some things, investigate etc, then yes!!!

    I think everyone that has ever taken my test kit advice has been very pleased once they bought the $$$ nice kits.

    I have a 3000$ HACH spect to do much of my testing.
    I was not as pleased with the Hanna as I'd hoped(still an 800$ unit).
    I have 2 light meters that are waterproof that measure in Micromols/m^2/sec.
    I have a DO meter
    I have 2 pH meters
    I have an ISE probe based meter
    I have a redox and temp meter
    I have a 0.001 gram scale
    I have a custom made pH/KH reference CO2 meter that accurate to about 0.1 ppm CO2.

    And at the lab we have a Beckman spect, Atomic adsorption, all sorts of meters, methods, tissue anaylsis, you name it.

    Yet for all this equipment and methodology, I still generally suggest folks to not really test, rather, watch the plants carefully.

    I've come full circle several times with all this and added the human factor into this and my advice.

    They(the plants) are ultimately what you add/not add things for, not to achieve some water parameter criteria, that's just a ballpark "range", not some precise measure.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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