Photometers

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I am considering the purchase of a photometer as the "ultimate" test-kit.

I know that Irie Ivan has bought a Hanna C99 instrument - Ivan, can you please give us a bit of a write-up on it?
  • How easy is it to use,
  • How does one go about testing for the various chemicals?
  • Do you need to also buy the C9800 reactor for our water tests, or is this only needed for the COD test?
  • How long does it take to get a reading?
  • Have you ever checked / calibrated the instrument against another instrument (or against a known standard)?
  • Does Hanna keep all the chemicals in stock, or do they need to order it from overseas every time?
  • What tests are you doing with it?
  • Have you considered other makes of instruments before you bought your unit - if so, why did you choose the C99?
Oh, and any other information you consider relevant :)

Has anyone else ever used such an instrument?

Thanks,
Hennie
 
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I am considering the purchase of a photometer as the "ultimate" test-kit.
If you have the cash to splash, a very nice "toy", BUT do you really need it?
Just remember, it cannot test four of the most important reef parameters: ca, alk, mg and NO3.


I know that Irie Ivan has bought a Hanna C99 instrument - Ivan, can you please give us a bit of a write-up on it?
I actually bought the HI 83203 ( HANNA instruments® :: Photometers), photometer for aquaculture.
The C99, or HI83099 (HANNA instruments® :: Meters ) is the big daddy of the photometers, but for most of our intended purposes, complete overkill. (but then again, you don't strike me as the average aquarist, and you mentioned something bout a bank overdraft....)
One step down would be the HI 3200 ( HANNA instruments® :: Photometers ), which does everything the c99 does, except the chemical oxygen demand, which i have no clue as to how to apply knowing this value in reefkeeping.....YET! Surely dissolved oxygen (measured by all three meters above, would be more practical)

There is quite a price difference between the models, and I would recommend the Photometer for aquaculture, (hi 83203) as it is more affordable and does not have a plethora of testable parameters which I will never use. (do you really want to test things like nickel, chromium, cyanuric acid, hydrazine, etc????) You can of course charge Bloem's local wastewater dep for testing their water, but word will soon get out and your meter might be affirmatively redistributed.

Before I answer your questions, let me explain the principle behind a photometer as best I can. (mods please feel free to edit this part to make more sense, as i dropped science in std7)
When light of a certain colour (spectrum) travels through a liquid which contains a coloured substance, it will exit with a slightly different colour.
A water sample is mixed with a reagent which, (dependent on the "strength" of the parameter reacting with the reagent) changes the colour of the sample, and therefore the colour of the light leaving the sample. The colour change (intensity of the colour in the reacted sample) is measured by a photosensor, then converted to a digital reading in ppm. (think yellow light travelling through blue water of different intensities). Often the colour change is not detectable by the naked eye, especially when we start getting down to small increments (which make a huge difference in our tanks in eg. PO4). How many of us can truly trust our eyes when we measure between blue, blue and hmmmm blue on for example a po4 or pH test kit?

Almost lost myself there:blushing: .... anyway, to your questions:
  • How easy is it to use
    : Its actually incredibly simple, but to use it properly, and obtain accurate results, requires attention to detail, still nothing difficult, just a major step up from working with some cheap hobby grade crappy test kits. The manual/instruction booklet is simple to understand, very well written and extreamly explanitory.
  • How does one go about testing for the various chemicals?
    : Each parameter requires different reagents. They require the meter to be zeroed, by filling a cuvet (vial with a screw top) with the sample to be tested, and setting that as the clean sample. Once the reagent has completed its reaction with the parameter being tested, the result is shown on the lcd screen. Most of the tests we do is simpply a case of zeroing the sample, adding a reagent or two, mixing and taking a reading. Each test procedure is slightly different, but clearly and easily explained in the comprehensive manual.
  • Do you need to also buy the C9800 reactor for our water tests, or is this only needed for the COD test?
    Not sure what the c9800 reactor is, but I think i answered this at the start of this post. Basically the c99 is the hi83200 with added chemical oxygen demand added.
  • How long does it take to get a reading?
    Each parameter has a different reaction time, anything from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • Have you ever checked / calibrated the instrument against another instrument (or against a known standard)?
    Yes for pH and nitrate in which it came spot on, but for PO4, I have not, Tested it against ro water, 0.06, then against rodi water with a new prefilter, new membrane and new resin, and it came out at 0.00, pretty much where it should be.
  • Does Hanna keep all the chemicals in stock, or do they need to order it from overseas every time?
    I have no idea whether Hanna South Africa keeps all the reagents on hand, but as they are mostly sold in packs of 200 tests, you should have more than enough time to get new reagents if hanna has to order it on your behalf. The most regular test I do is the PO4 low range (0.00 to 2.5ppm), and this reagent can be interchanged with the martini instruments reagent, which is readily available through a masa sponsor.
  • What tests are you doing with it?
    As mentioned above, the test i do most often is the PO4 low range. The parameters the hi 83203 can test are as follows: Ammonia, nitrite, po4, Chlorine free and total, copper, dissolved oxygen and pH. It can also measure nitrate, but only freshwater, as the method is influenced by sulfate........ Three additional tests i would have liked to be able to do would have been silicate, iron and iodine, all three can be done with the HI 83099 and the HI 83200. (but not worth the extra expense imho)
  • Have you considered other makes of instruments before you bought your unit - if so, why did you choose the C99?
    Yes definitely. Was actually not going to buy the Hanna, was going to just get the Martini low range photometer for PO4, as that was the only parameter i was unsure about. The accuracy of the Martini is as good as the Hanna, it is easier to get hold of, it comes with reagents for 200 tests and is available through a sponsor and a friend. Was first two minded between the hanna low range photometer for PO4 (HI 93713) HANNA instruments® :: Photometers and the Martini MI412 low range photometer for PO4 Milwaukee MI412 LR Phosphate Photometer, Meter, Martini MI 412 . Then I found a great bargain on my current hanna meter, including reagents, so could not refuse it. Was it not for the bargain (my meter and reagents at the price of either a hanna without reagents or a martini with reagents) I would have purchased the Martini.
Oh, and any other information you consider relevant :)
Yes ther is quite a bit, but will wait for some more questions, as it really is time for bed now.

Unless you: (a) are really obsessed with the numbers (guilty), have (b)the money to spend (it was xmas bonus time), and know how to correct whatever you find, (thanks to liaquat for all the help) rather spend the money on maintaining proper husbandry techniques, researching and caring for your tank.
 
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When I was at the pool shop they have something similar but it tsted ph, sg, alk...not sure what else...
 
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Prices:
The big daddy ( HI 83099 ): around $900
The big daddy without chemical oygen demand testing (HI 8300): around $800
The photometer for aquaculture (HI 83203) around $500
The hanna low range phosphate photometer around R2000
None of these meters come with reagents, prices vary from R100 to R400 for reagent packs, usually doing 100 tests per pack.
The Martini Low range photometer for PO4 (MI 412): Around R2000, including reagents for 100 tests.
 
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Do you need to also buy the C9800 reactor for our water tests, or is this only needed for the COD test?
After a bit more reseach, i think you meant the HI 839800, test tube heater, required for the COD test. Like i said, I am not familiar with COD testing, but from what i understand, you will need the reactor to test cod.
At a quick glance, the only dfference i see between the HI 83099 and the HI 3200 is the COD test, so I think the HI 3200 would be the better option.
 
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Thanks for all the info - I really appreciate it
Only a pleasure, hope I helped you with your decision.

How accurate are the tests, compared to the "Good" test kits.
Extremely accurate. On for example a PO4 test on any of the above units, accuracy of 4%. IOW when po4 is actually 0.02, the meter will read at either, 0.0208 (which will be displayed as 0.02) or 0.0192(which will be displayed at 0.02)
Even good test kits hardly stand a chance when it gets down to small increments and low values.
 
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Only a pleasure, hope I helped you with your decision.


Extremely accurate. On for example a PO4 test on any of the above units, accuracy of 4%. IOW when po4 is actually 0.02, the meter will read at either, 0.0208 (which will be displayed as 0.02) or 0.0912 (which will be displayed at 0.02)
Small typo there, the 2nd reading on the lower end of the scale will not be 0.0912 but 0.0192.
 
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Thanks viper. Was just checking to see if you are awake and doing your job.;)

OR
Maybe my dislexia is settling in with old age:blushing:
Fixed it, thanks

Personally I would not buy one of these units, as I run on a tight budget.
Furthermore:

You still need to test salinity, calcium, alkalinity, nitrate and magnesium, something these meters cannot do.
Unless you have an aquatic business, (anything from maintaining aquariums to breeding fish) OR numerous setups, I would recommend the following: One of the PO4 photometers, (1st choice still the Martini) a pH monitor, Refractometer, quality Alk, Ca, Mg and NO3 test kits, and if you really must splash out a ORP controller or a dissolved oxygen meter.
 
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Furthermore:

You still need to test salinity, calcium, alkalinity, nitrate and magnesium, something these meters cannot do.
Have you seen the specs on the new 83200-2008? HI 83200-2008 Multiparameter Photometer with up to 45 Measurement Methods
It claims to measure the following (and some others):

Alkalinity 0 to 500 mg/L
Calcium 0 to 400 mg/L
Color 0 to 500 PCU
Copper HR 0.00 to 5.00 mg/L
Copper LR 0 to 1000 μg/L
Hardness (calcium) 0.00 to 2.70 mg/L
Hardness (magnesium) 0.00 to 2.00 mg/L
Iodine 0.0 to 12.5 mg/L
Magnesium 0 to 150 mg/L
Nitrate 0.0 to 30.0 mg/L
Nitrite HR 0 to 150 mg/L
Nitrite LR 0.00 to 0.35 mg/L
Oxygen, Dissolved (DO) 0.0 to 10.0 mg/L
Ozone 0.00 to 2.00 mg/L
pH 6.5 to 8.5 pH
Phosphate HR 0.0 to 30.0 mg/L
Phosphate LR 0.00 to 2.50 mg/L
Silica 0.00 to 2.00 mg/L

Do you think all of these tests will work correctly on salt water? How do you find out if a particular test will work on salt water or fresh water only as you found out about Nitrate?
 
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Welcome Schwaggs, nice to have some international visitors.



This HI 83200-2008 is insane, wicked that you can get everything in one. Any idea on pricing ?

Generally this kind of product would handle any form of liquid.

Wow, that's on my wishlist.
 
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Calcium 0 to 400 mg/L
OOH nice, hope its for saltwater.

potassium 0 to 200ppm
, very nice, hope it works in salt water.

See on the site method reagent code is not released yet, so wonder if methods for alk and ca are titration or color measured. Would be interesting to see how the meter measure calcium through either method.

Would be really nice if hanna was to develop a meter specifically for marine ornamental, coral culture.
Pity the mg is so low range......

NH3, NO2, NO3, Alk, Mg, Ca, Sr, Fe, PO4, I, residual O3, Dissolved oxygen, Si, pH,.....
Did i miss something
Even better a RELIABLE meter with a few probes to do it all......
 
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Pawn your house for one of those.
 

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