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Old 01-15-2006, 09:16 AM   #1
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Do Test Kits go bad?

Hey all,

I have a test kit that is over 5 years old. The drops are all in sealed bottles for various tests... ph, alkaline, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates.. it is a Marine Lab 5-in-1 kit.

The PH test seems to be right on, but I'm worried about the other tests. The ammonia test has shown a murkie green color (equates to 0.5ppm on the test chart) every single time I tested. The Nitrite test always comes up a pale yellowish color, which isn't even on the chart (aqua color = 0, and purple color = 1 & above ppm).

My tank has been going for a couple months now, with Live Rock, cleaning crew, and a couple damsels. I have had nothing die, fish look healthy, and the cleaning crew is always on the move.

Is it time to buy a new test kit?
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Old 01-15-2006, 10:57 AM   #2
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Test kits can go bad, although I've had some last a long time. The more expensive test kits will have expiration dates on them.

You could try checking the test against known items, like vinigar should have a pH around 3, a clear ammonia window cleaner should be off the scale on ammonia, fertilizer should be off the scale on nitrate. Distilled water should be 0 for all nitrogen compounds, alk, hardness. pH may not be 7 in distilled water, as the CO2 in the air can turn it acidic.
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Old 01-15-2006, 11:54 AM   #3
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My new Salifert test kits have 2007 expiration dates. That would equate to maybe 2 years of shelf life. 5 years is probably too long and would time for new test reagents.

You might want to a take a sample to the lfs and ask them to test it too and bring your kit along to check for any differences.
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Old 01-15-2006, 12:05 PM   #4
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Thank you two much for the response! I scoured my test kit and finally found the expiration date in small small print.... August 2001!! 8O

That is good advice about the LFS, I'll bring a sample into them next week. I'll also do some of those neat comparison tests with household products... great idea!

It comes down to my kit expired over 4 years ago! LOL.
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