Startover Test Kits

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by livingwaterplanet, Mar 24, 2017.


Are Multi Test Kits worth buying?

  1. Yes, as long as it is high quality

  2. No, buy individual kits

  1. livingwaterplanet

    livingwaterplanet Reef Zen Monk/Supporting Member

    After a 5 year break from the hobby, I am back with a 187g tank. See my tank journal. I just started to cycle dry rock in a Brute yesterday. Tank still needs more cleaning and plumbing. I hope to get rockscape and water in it in the next 7-10 days.

    I played around with a lot of test kits starting with the cheap APIs. Ended up going all Salifert + Hanna Phosphate.

    I'd like to start building my test kit "portfolio" in 2 stages tracking my tank development. Possibly:
    • Cycling/FOWLR for 2-3 months
    • Add SPS Frags once basic parameters are stable
    So far I am looking at Red Sea's Basic Marine Care Kit for phase 1 (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, ph) then Red Sea Pro Reef Foundation (calcium, alk, mag) for phase 2. Also, maybe get another Hanna Phosphate Meter for phase 1.

    Thoughts, recommendations?
  2. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    If you're planning an ultra low nutrient system, a hanna phorphorus checker is a must. The phosphate checker has too much error tolerance to be accurate if you're running 0.03 or less. What I use the most is my Hanna Alk Checke. Then probably comes the Hanna Phorphorus checker than Salifert calcium, nitrate, and magnesium.

    I've also never understood the old adage that you should wait until a tank matures before adding SPS. I think they're talking more about the reef keeper than the tank. Your water is never going to be cleaner than at the beginning for SPS anyway! I personally added SPS within a week of cycling my rocks.

    I use BRS 2-part, feed a lot and dose Acropower Amino Acids.
    Newjack and livingwaterplanet like this.
  3. livingwaterplanet

    livingwaterplanet Reef Zen Monk/Supporting Member

    I was hesitant in diving back into SPS right away due to negative SPS experiences in my old 55g tank BUT I understand a 187g is a different ballgame.

    Thanks for reminding me why I ended up buying a Hanna Checker in the first place.

    Yes, I am going for low nutrient. My last tank, I liked SPS, clams, and anemones. Don't care much for soft and LPS.

    So you recommend Hanna ultra low range phosphorus and alkalinity checkers? And the rest Salifert like I did 5 years ago.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    If you're running a ULNS, I don't think there's another hobby kit that can pseudo-reliably detect phosphate levels less than 0.03 ppm. I always read 0 on salifert and hanna phosphate checker, but I had green hair algae. Phosphorus checker was able to report 0.012-0.021. One reason, I do like the Hanna checkers a lot is because I hate trying to rely on my eyes as to what colors match what and what constitutes a change from pink to blue/grey.

    One thing that bugs me about the Hanna checkers, is the phosphate/phosphorus checker. The reagent is kind of like a fluffy powder that comes in a packet (almost like a sugar packet), so sometimes you make a mess putting the powder in the vial. This is a minor complaint though because I've perfected my technique. :)

    If I didn't have a Hanna checkers, Salifert would be my choice.
  5. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    There IS a CORRECT way to add Hanna reagents.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    rygh likes this.
  6. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Silly me I cut only on the spot where it says to cut.
    Looks like it will work well that way.
  7. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    I test NOTHING
    Corals grow, fish spawn
    I feed the system generously
    I do large regular frequent water changes
    I have many specimens over 10 years
    I've killed more livestock chasing numbers with test kits than I care to mention
    livingwaterplanet likes this.
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    The problem with this advice: You are not specific enough on your big water change amounts.
    If someone interprets that as going from 25% per month to 30% per month, their tank could be in trouble.

    Having seen the amount of water you change though, I do agree with you.
    Giant water changes, especially with natural sea water, is a very good alternative to all the nonsense we do chasing numbers.
  9. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    I do agree that I'm some what vague
    But my point was that it is not required that a reefer be tied to test kits and the "rainbow" of bottles offered. And it may actually be less expensive to do the regular 30% or more water changes than to keep buying the various media, drops, and powders

    If it works, don't fix it!
  10. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    Different strokes.

    I'm the total opposite. I test. A lot! I also do very very little water changes.

    I feel stability is key in coral growth. I run a CaRx that replenishes a lot of what stony corals use in there skeletons. I also test for trace and replenish accordingly.

    Fish are fat and corals grow and color.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    different paths to the same desired destination

    If it works for you, then do!
  12. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Consider maybe not having any fish. No fish means no feeding and no pooping. Therefore you can tune your tank towards coral.

    I didn't test often, but when I moved to a bigger tank, my corals just wouldn't thrive. After swapping lights around (from new lights to the old lights that I KNEW could grow corals), I sent my water away to Aquamedic to test and it came back that my Nitrates were about ONE THOUSAND times too high. So yeah ... I should have been testing.

    So while I battle nitrates (water changes, biopeller reactor, bigger skimmer ... possibly the reintroduction of a deep sand bed) I've been using an API test kit. It is hard as heck to read, however i DO know that currently my tests are full on red of some shade and my target is yellow. So as long as the test is NOT yellow, I know I'm not at my target. Unforunately the API Nitrate test must be the hardest test ever invented to read. The testubes are round and impossible to get lit in any way that you could compare with the color chart. All I check for now is "yellow or not yellow".

  13. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    I remember an article that ReefBuilders did saying that fish poop was beneficial to the growth of corals.
  14. roostertech

    roostertech reef noob

    I have both API and salifert nitrate kit and the salifert is waaaay better.

    API is error prone (if you did not shake bottle #2 good enough) and much harder to read in low range.

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