Test Kit Hell

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by mytank, 4 Jun 2012.

  1. mytank

    mytank

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    So here is one for the books:

    I have four different test kits (all expire in some month in 2014).

    Hanner Checker - Phosphate and Alkalinity

    H2Ocean - MG, Calc, KH

    Red Sea Marine Test Lab - Ammonia, N02, N03, PH, KH

    Salifet: Calcium

    Here is the conundrum - THEY ALL GIVE ME VASTLY DIFFERENT RESULTS!!!!

    So:

    Hanner Checker:
    KH 141ppm = roughly 8.1DKH
    H2Ocean: KH 6DKH
    Red Sea: KH 4DKH

    Then Calcium:
    Salifet: 400
    H2Ocean: 320

    Calcium seems minor but to me that's to much of a difference for SPS...

    So now the question - which one to trust and what to go by to dose..........
     
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  3. Achilles

    Achilles

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    unfortunately this is very common issue, i have decided to stick with the test kit which seems to show me best what i am seeing in my animals for me that is salifert most of the time.

    Hobby test kits are terribly unreliable
    The Hanna checker should be more accurate though but not for lab grade

    I find it very rare that test kits will actually give the same reading from different manufacturers of course a dkh difference of up to 4 is just terrible

    but id go with Hanna-8.1kh salifert 400 Calcium on this one

    The h2ocean 6kh and h2ocean 320Calcium doesnt make as much sense to me at 6dkh id expect a higher calcium reading
     
    Last edited: 4 Jun 2012
  4. BParker

    BParker

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    My two cents worth follows..

    Differences can at times be linked to the sample volume or method of dispensing the reagents. The smaller the volume the greater the potential error. Calibrated syringes are also better to use than plastic droppers.
    'Simple' tests kits should be ok for checking parameters you are not too concerned about - if fluctuations between kits are within the upper and lower acceptable limits.

    Use kits with titration techniques for those that are more critical. I use the Red Sea ones. I am sure there are others as well, just not tried them as yet.
    A tip with these type of kits, -- always discard the remaining reagent in the syringe as contamination during mixing can occur!! If you expect to use much less than the total amount recommended for the titration, start off with 1 or 2 ml less. The kit will last longer.

    As for salinity. Check your floating hydrometer regularly against RO water. Assuming you do not have a refractometer or probe!

    Good Luck!!
     
  5. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i agree, i had the same issue last night testing, using salifert and red sea
    my kdh was 5.9 and 7

    but thanks for the advice achilles
     
  6. LouiseS

    LouiseS

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    glad to see this doesn't only happen to me :p
     
  7. Mc

    Mc

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    So what have you found to be the most accurate test kit for alkalinity?
     
  8. mytank

    mytank Thread Starter

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    @Mc in my opinion and this is my opinion and my experiance (before vendors jump on the boat) there is nothing like a Hanner Checker. When I read the other forums the Zeo forums (where the guys are @nal about the accuracy of the tests), RC etc the experianced and serious reefers use the hanner checkers for the tests that they supply. I.e.

    ALK
    Calc
    Phos

    Soon
    Nirtite and Nitrate

    They use light to determine the concentration of say ALK and PHOS in the water with their reagents.

    I have used plenty test kits now and most recently Red Sea which is known to be one of the best but never got the level to testing measurements and accuracy of the hanner checkers...

    For example:

    All the others tell you to say .4 or .5 for alk, hanner is .1 as it measures in PPM then you have to do the conversion.

    When doing PHOS it measures in PPM (Total Phos) and also it does it in exact all the way to 0.00

    Still I would agree and I would want one like @Achilles says lab grade testers which would be far more accurate :)

    Again my experiance ....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
    Mc likes this.
  9. Mc

    Mc

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    Thanks for the advice.;)
     
  10. mytank

    mytank Thread Starter

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    Always a pleasure remember its my view might not be right ;)
     
  11. Helga

    Helga

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    mytank,
    I had the same experience between API, Salifert and TropicMarin. Decided to buy RedSea's new test kit.... Reef Foundation Pro test kit. Just to make sure!!!

    Heart stopping moment....
    API test kits you count the ml of the solution that REMAINS LEFT OVER in your syringe during your test. Then according to the indication card you work out your ie. Calcium or Magnesium levels etc.

    With RedSea you count the ml of solution USED in the syringe.

    Off course I missed that on the new RedSea pamphlet. Nealy had heart failure.... the Calcium and Magnesium was about zero. I knew this was impossible, so after a stroooong cuppa.... I went through the pamphlet again and noticed my mistake...

    My readings still always varies between a bit between these test kits. But not to such an extend though. Ordered myself Hanna testers from the USA.. still awaiting the delivery!!!
     
  12. Albert Terego

    Albert Terego

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    You need to get some std solutions to test against. Salifert has a Calcium std included in their test kits. You could make up your own alk std with bicarb (preferably baked i.e. sodium carbonate) if you can get somewhere to weigh quite accurately.
     
  13. mytank

    mytank Thread Starter

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    @Helga

    Yeah and its worst when you about to hand over to the tank watcher and you not sure what to dose.

    I did some tests with @bryan late this afternoon. The most accurate was the hanna checkers and I am going to use that for the items I can!
    The second closest was RED Sea and close second (very close) Salifet.

    The shocker for me is on DKH Red sea was 2 points off my hanner checker so my hanner said dkh of 9.1 and Red Sea said 7.0.

    I think all the advise on this thread is spot on :) trust the hanners for what they good at and for the rest pick the brand and do the test.

    In addition learn your tank!!! I have started to learn my tanks "personality", I know when the fish and or corals are starting to show signs .....
    I.E. My gsp stays closed in the day after the previous night I doesed a lot into the tank. That tells me it was a little on the to much side ;)

    My clams are a good temp gauge for me.

    My sps for nutrients :)

    So totally agree about knowing ur tank :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  14. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    Just remember that borates in the salt can effect the kH measured by different test kits as some test kits include the borates in the kH reading whilst others don't.
     
  15. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Correct.
    @mytank what salt are you using?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  16. mytank

    mytank Thread Starter

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    Seachem salinity :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  17. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    Had the same problem as you with Seachem. Just google seachem and borates and you will find that seachem salt has a very high borates concentration which leads to kH test kits giving false readings. This is one of the reasons I won't use seachem salt ever again.
     
  18. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    Have a look

    "Depending on your test kit, it may be testing for either 'total alkalinity' or 'carbonate hardness (KH).' Alkalinity is a term often used synonymously with KH, but they are not the same. Alkalinity is a measure of your total acid binding ions, including bicarbonate, carbonate, phosphate, borates, iodates, silicates (and the list goes on). KH is a measure of only your carbonates and bicarbonates. Because of this, you may have a high alkalinity, but a low KH (however you cannot have a high KH and low alkalinity). Since Reef Salt contains borate in addition to carbonates and bicarbonates, you will see an elevated alkalinity, but not necessarily KH. Our ReefStatus: Magnesium and Alkalinity test kit, if you can get your hands on it, allows you to distinguish between total alkalinity, carbonate alkalinity, and borate alkalinity. Unfortunately, other test kits may claim to test for 'Alkalinity' but in reality are only testing KH, since the term is so widely used in place of KH."

    SeaChem Reef Salt - alk testing [Archive] - Seachem Support Forums

    http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1772160&highlight=seachem+borate
     
  19. Ala Jardine

    Ala Jardine

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    I have had the same problem - at one point, a Cape based dealer refused to sell me test kits because I continually returned them.
     
  20. mytank

    mytank Thread Starter

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    Sigh - and there I was thinking Seachem was the fazilllllll salt ......
     
  21. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    its the seachem reef salt that has the issue, i havent seen/heard of the issue with seachem salinity
     
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