Ever wonder if your test kits are accurate?

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by Vhuang168, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2015
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    Its always been at the back of my mind but my tank has always correlated with the the test results. If anything was off, the tank showed it.

    There are formulas online to make your own reference fluids to test against but it usually necessitated hunting down chemicals and having a precise enough measuring equipment to make sure that your reference fluid is indeed of that concentration. And you can't use the instrument you are going to check to check if the fluid is made correctly.

    The other thing that I pay attention to is if my testing procedure is correct and I'm not introducing elements that impart another variable into the test.

    While browsing BRS during the May group buy, I came across a Multi Reference Solution by Fauna Marin. I purchased it and used it last week with the whole battery of my test kits. I am happy that all my test kits and testing protocols have returned results well within the tolerances the test kits provide. Some read consistently low, some high, some spot on. I've taken note of which are different and will make a note of when recording the numbers.

    Parameters that can be tested


    It covers a pretty good range of parameters that are relevant to home aquaria. The units are metric so there is a little conversion you have to make but its very easy to look up. Most are in mg/l which is very very close to ppm and for all intents and purposes they are equal. Alk is in ppm.

    Overall I like the product and will continue to use it. I plan on using it whenever I start a new pack/bottle or reagent and if the results of my regular tests seem suspect.


    If you try it, let me know how it works for you.
  2. Bruce Spiegelman

    Bruce Spiegelman BOD

    Mar 12, 2016
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    Wow -- what a cheap "solution" to an issue that's been bothering me for a while now. Out of curiosity what test kits and protocols do you use?
  3. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2015
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    I dislike the ambiguity of color kits, that and I have a moderate case of protanopia so color tests are not really for me.

    So I like Hanna testers and I use the Alkalinity, Calcium and Phosphorus meters.
    Nitrates I use Red Sea Pro and recently Salifert and Nyos (I came up with 0 on the Red Sea Pro but wasn't sure so I bought the other 2 which confirmed. This was before I bought the Fauna Marin Multi Reference Solution).
    Mg I use Red Sea Pro, Salifert and Nyos. With my case of Protanopia, Mg test kits are especially hard. They almost always go from Purple to Blue and that is a hard change for me to detect. My kids and wife have been pressed into service as a color analyst many times!
    I also have the Red Sea Pro Reef Color test kit for Fe, I, K. Salifert for Si.

    As for protocol, I strive to do the tests the same way everytime.
    Use the different syringe for different reagent if there are more than 1 but always the same syringe for the same reagent. For that reason, I try and use tips on all the reagent syringes.
    Always rinse out bottles, syringes before and after use with RO/DI. Bottles are filled with RO/DI before storing.
    Bottles are also rinsed out with tank water (after RO/DI) before use.
    Bottles are placed in the Hanna checkers in a specific orientation every time to ensure the variations in the glass are the same during calibration and during testing.

    So testing consistency is what I strive for and it has served me will so far. That and reading instructions for test kits. Esp Mg ones, the end point is sometimes not what you think it should be.
  4. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    Mar 22, 2016
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    Yeah I never liked the color chart. Especially when you are trying to keep nitrate high but not too high (20-30ppm range) for fw planted tank.
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2005
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    Yeah loved the color chart where you have a difference between yellow, slightly orange yellow, a bit more orange yellow, orange, and did I get punched in the kidney's pee"yellow"

    My view of test kits though is not so much their accuracy but whether or not they give me consistent results, ok so my calcium isn't 400 but is in fact 380, as long as it keeps reading that amount and my tank is doing fine then I don't worry.
  6. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

    Dec 10, 2011
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    As long as I'm close ( doesn't have to be exact ) I'm good. To be totally honest I let my corals tell me. Their happy , colorful , healthy and growing I'm fine. If I see them looking funny I know somethings up.

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