Test my own water or get the shop to do it?

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Matt, 6 Jan 2008.

  1. Matt

    Matt MASA Contributor

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    Went to Exotic Aquriums & pets in Boksburg today, will be picking up my new nano tomorrow morning! :thumbup:
    One question, I was told that I could just bring my water in to them for them to test it. is this a good idea?

    Should I not buy a test kit and do it myself?
     
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  3. Mike

    Mike Retired Moderator

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    Yes, get your own test kits, phosphate, nitrate, nitrite, PH will do to start with.
     
  4. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Exotic has a good reputation, if they are close enough then let them do it, although it is nice to have your own test kits so you can test at your own convenience, especially if something goes wrong then you can test right away instead of having to wait for the LFS to open the next day.
     
  5. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    I have just started reefing keeping. Doing your own testing is quite easy. i think it's cool to log the results and you will be able to see when certain events cause changes in the levels ( new live stock, increase feeding etc.)
     
  6. Matt

    Matt Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Awesome! I think i'll do a mix of both (let the LFS test as well as test myself)

    How much would a good testkit cost?
     
  7. palmerc

    palmerc

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    I'd get an alkalinity, calcium and nitrate test kit only. Rest you won't use too much so let the LFS's test these for you when and if required.
     
  8. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    You can get Tropic marin expert test set.

    Contains pH, KH, No2, No3, NH3 and NH4 all in one kit.

    Nice and easy to use.

    Calcium test kits seperate
     
  9. sunburst

    sunburst

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    I subscribe... Get the LFS to check the rest
     
  10. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    The problem with combo tests, is that they always sell you a few of the tests you wont really need and the reef pack or marine set is always lacking a certain one. The
    is far from what I would consider an expert test kit!! But then again expert is a matter of opinion.

    pH, NO3 and alk you would use often (amthough I believe with kits you are always guessing, something that you should not do with pH) The rest you would use only when setting up a new tank, and then very infrequently thereafter.

    Get yourself a pH monitor or pen and an alk kit. (a cheap alk kit is fine at tis stage)Also invest in a seachem nitrate kit which also tests nitrite and you are set to get your tank well on the go.
    Once you start adding calcium depleting organisms, invest in a calcium kit. I don't know the price of the expert twst set, but you wont be far off it if you get the ones I recommend. If it starts getting expensive, you can leave out the pH pen at this stage.
     
  11. Warr7207

    Warr7207

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    I will invest in the pH pen
     
  12. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Excellent advice.

    The water's pH can change dramatically when certain additives are added, and we all know that Newbies are always chucking additives into their tanks (been there, got the T-shirt :whistling:), so IMO a digital pH monitor is quite crucial for the tank's well-being, and for the aquarist's education.

    I also think that a beginner reefer, starting with a tank which needs to cycle, needs to check ammonium and nitrite. After the cycle you will rarely, if ever, use these tests again - so just let the LFS do them for you.
     
  13. Smithers

    Smithers

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    I still think the best bang for buck are the Tropic marin test kits. The last time I bought the PH kit it was about R120. Does 100 test and is easy to use. The rest of the test are very good as well.
    I prefer to have my own test kits. Expensive to go and get them all in the beginning but build up your collection.
    I test PH, Alk, Ca, Mg, No2, No3 and Phosphates. The rest i never really bother.
     
  14. LikesFish

    LikesFish

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    I personally do not like electronic pH meters. They are far too error prone. Here are some scenarios:

    1) A chiller affects Aquatronica pH probes so much that it drops by 0.5 units - even though the water is not 0.5 lower, the sensor reads incorrectly until the chiller stops. At least that happened on all my pH probes on all my tanks.
    2) Sometimes food gets stuck on the little glass bulb of the pH probe - this causes the reading to be about 0.3 - 0.4 units lower than it really is.
    3) If you do not calibrate even the best meters once a month they tend to drift - giving you some reading that seems reasonable but is actually 0.3 - 0.5 units wrong.

    I do not even use electronic pH measurements anymore - I use the Tropic Marine pH chemical test kit. As long as I am within the expiry date, I feel more confident if it reads 8.2 then it is higher than 8.0 and lower than 8.4 - and I am happy. No electrical interference, no food stuck in it and no calibration.

    But let me be perfectly clear - this is MY PERSONAL OPINION/EXPERIENCE ONLY.
     
  15. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    That is a problem caused by induced (stray) current. If you used a decent probe/meter with a potential matching pin this would not happen.

    Of course, if the measurements were made outside the tank (say in a glass beaker) either with a normal electronic pH meter or using the recommended pH Pen, this would also not be an issue.

    The recommended position for a permanently installed pH probe is in a high-flow area, preferably T'd into the return or CLS pipe. In this position the water flow will prevent anything from fouling the electrode. If installed into a pipe, it would also prevent algae from growing on the electrode - which is an even bigger problem than having food stuck to it...

    Agreed, but that's why it's important to regularly calibrate the probes, which is just another routine maintenance task, the same as doing partial water changes, or cleaning the pumps.

    But also no direct feedback when dosing additives, or when starting a new piece of equipment such as a calcium reactor.

    To me the advantages of this direct feedback far outweighs the easily solvable problems mentioned above, but of course that is only my humble opinion :)

    Hennie
     
  16. LikesFish

    LikesFish

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    Good points. My probe is the Aquatronica probe - no matter what I do, the Haelia chiller, when it turns on, interferes with the probe's measurements. For a probe continuously monitoring the water, this is bad.

    The pH probe is close to the return flow from the sump - so there is lot of movement, that is why the food floats in to the probe.

    I agree most of these issues can be resolved, but when I *really* want to know what the pH is, I use he chemical test. For trend analysis I use the probe.
     
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