decent test kits

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by reef addict, 29 Jan 2013.

  1. reef addict

    reef addict

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    As a newbie to this hobby! What test kits are a must have? What corals are easiest to start with
     
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  3. RocketRooster

    RocketRooster

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    You MUST have a decent hydrometer or brine refractometer.
    You MUST be able to test pH
    You MUST be able to test Nitrates and Phosphates.
    Usually alkalinity , magnesium and trace elements are taken care of for you with a good salt mix if you do regular water changes.

    Soft corals like Mushrooms, button polyps, xenia and Zoas are the easiest to keep.

    And Aiptasia. "The newbie's friend" :)
     
    Last edited: 29 Jan 2013
  4. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Thanks, the market is full of test kits! Thinking of using NSW for water changes??
     
  5. RocketRooster

    RocketRooster

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    Well then all you need is a thermometer :)
     
  6. Perky Pets

    Perky Pets Sponsor

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    Get someone to test the NSW first , we find our local water is a little high in Phosphates and a little low in alkalinaty , so at least know how yur water is before prolonged use.
    David
     
  7. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Time to educate the Newbie here!
     
  8. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Thanks I would have just collected and placed in the tank! I still feel I should get a decent test kit though!even though I will be using NSW What makes have proven to be the best?
     
  9. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    you will still need NH3 NO2 and NO3 how else will you know when your tank has cycled, or if there is a problem?
    These are what most noobs start with allong with temp and ph

    Next people normally buy po4 test kits.

    ALK, Ca and Mg is normally after that.

    there is a succetion of required test kits depending on the age of your tank, maintence, coral types and amounts and the bio load you place on it.

    personally i like the red sea range of test kits but most are in the same ball park. Ph i use a ph pen for
     
  10. Sammy

    Sammy

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    In 10 years of Reefkeeping I've never tested my ph, with a good substrate I.e caribsea and your alk, ca, mg and sg in check your ph conforms.

    The professionals her might disagree but that's wot worked in my reefs.

    They only time I tested ph was my first reef and being a panicing newbie.
     
  11. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Guys thanks for all the advice! Would natural sea sand work as a substrate?
     
  12. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    When starting out, you will need an ammonia and nitrite kit. You only realy need these when something goes wrong after the tank has cycled, so if you have a good lfs close by, best to get them to test these for you while tank mauring.
    I would not buy a pH kit, as the colours are often difficult to distinguis. Get a pH pen and calibrate regularly.
    A vital piece of equipment is something to check salinity with. I would not buy anything other than a refractometer with Auto Temperature Compensation. Its not a kit, but its damn important.
    No need for NO3 and PO4 kist in the first two months.
    A good quality Alkalinity kit is a must from the get go to eternity.
    Calcium and magnesium you'll only need after about three to four months, as long as you do regular monthly water changes and have not stocked calcifying organisms..
     
  13. Gesiggie

    Gesiggie Challenge accepted

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    Yes, it would, if collected at a clean spot, and at least 1m below the low tide line.
     
  14. RocketRooster

    RocketRooster

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    I forgot about the cycling aspect, @butcherman. Good job!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  15. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    How often during the cycling period do I carry out tests
     
  16. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Dangerous question, as it really depends on your budget, and how obsessed you'll become with chasing correct parameter "numbers" and accuracy and precision.
    The sad reality is that a lot of hoby grade kits are no good for anything more than an indication..... Which is often, but not always good enough.

    Hereby recommendations of brands which have worked for me:

    Ammonia: Seachem ammo alert. A little sticker that does a great job of warning you of ammonia levels.
    Nitrite: Salifert
    Nitrate (sorry, forgot this vital one in post above) I would go for the New Red Sea Range.
    pH, nothing less than a pH pen. The milwaukee brand is awesome for entry level as well as their Martini range of Laboratory toys.
    Salinity, nothing less than an ATC refractometer. Try Milwaukee or Deltec. Stay away from the cheap Chines junk.
    Calcium: Seachem, or, if you are willing to import, get your hand on some La Motte. Bigger budget, get one of those checkers from @Andre@ReefAquatics
    Alkalinity: Salifert, or again, if you willing to import your own, get a La Motte. Bigger budget, get one of those checkers from @Andre@ReefAquatics
    Magnesium: Salifert is good enough, or if you have a huge budget, get the seachem, which is great as it measures borate alkalinity too.
    For PO4, I would not waste any money on hobby grade kits, unless you are willing to pay for a Hach / Deltec kit, which is very close in price IIRC to the Hanna mini photometer checkers sold by Reef Aquatics.
    Strontium, Seachem
    Iodine, Seachem

    Think I have covered most of them now...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  17. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Just been on the Reef Aquatics online site! They have refractometers! No price is given! Would these products be commonly available in LPS!
     
  18. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Yeah, most LFS stock them nowadays. but be careful of the brand you buy. Speak to @Nemos Janitor for a quality one. The milwaukee ones are avail through Sams, but they dont ship. You can contact me via PM for their agents details, as they are not a sponsor here.
     
    Last edited: 29 Jan 2013
  19. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys! What I have also noticed is cheap versions of lots of test kits! I am guessing to stay away from these!
     
  20. Ed_Maddocks

    Ed_Maddocks

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    Can't beat the Red Sea kits for quality and accuracy. You welcome to come past my place sometime and check mine out before you decide.
     
  21. reef addict

    reef addict Thread Starter

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    Thanks I will need to take you up on your offer! Haven't bought any test kist yet!
     
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