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Old 10-09-2005, 09:14 PM   #1
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How to use hydrometer

Ok, this probably seems like a really basic question, but, how do I use my Instant Ocean hydrometer?

I'm brand new to keeping a SW aquarium, and I'm measuring the salinity for the first time. I'm finding the usage instructions that came with the device not very clear, so I'm unsure if I'm using it correctly.

I'm assuming that I need to fill it to the top, but does the little channel that's on the side of the unit need to be completely filled? Not sure if that's even possibly, since there's a cutout on the side that would appear to let the water drain out of the channel so that it's approximately 1/2 full (channel only).

Any advice? Really basic, I know, but I want to be sure that I get things right from a salinity and cycling standpoint before I add any livestock to the tank.


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Old 10-09-2005, 09:19 PM   #2
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You need to submerse the hydrometer down past the cut out. The hydrometer will fill when the tank water runs in through the cut out. When full, set it on a flat level surface to read it. Hope this makes sense.

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Old 10-09-2005, 10:28 PM   #3
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Open you garbage can lid, toss it in, and order a refractometer. You'll need one to be sure your SG is 1.009 (hyposalanity) when you QT any new fish so might as well bite the bullet now and get one. Can pick one up at Dr. Fosters ... for about $40. Good luck!

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Old 10-09-2005, 11:47 PM   #4
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Don't do like I did and submerge the entire thing into the tank. You will get too many bubbles on the needle/float to get a proper reading. Submerge it slowly until water starts flowing into the main chamber from the channel that fills from the bottom. Should work fine then.
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Old 10-10-2005, 01:03 AM   #5
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hydrometers are extremely accurate instruments when used right. make sure to get a sample from the middle of the tank, place it on a flat level surface and read the numbers then run warm water through it. Thats all. Mine is accurate to the nearest .0001 Which is more accurate then you need. Irecomend alchohol hydrometers but yours will work fine. Yes a refractometer is easier to read and usually more accurate but ultimately unecesary for the level of accuracy required.
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Old 10-10-2005, 09:29 PM   #6
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No offense, but that's not true unless you're talking about the handmade lab grade German ones that cost as much if not more than a refractometer. The swing arm are OK at best for FO due to their high error rate be it mechanical or operator, but any good arsenal would include a refractometer. Just my O2.

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Old 10-11-2005, 12:52 AM   #7
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Follow this link for a $35 refractomter from Foster & Smith. I usually don't do this..but you can't beat the price!

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Old 10-11-2005, 09:27 AM   #8
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I used a bulb hydrometer, a swing arm, and finally tried a refractometer....and promptly thru out the two hydrometers.
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:22 PM   #9
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if u stick with a hydrometer, make sure u make note of this point.

not only do u need a flat surface, but u need a LEVEL suface.

if the surface slants to the right, you'll get a lower reading
if the surface slants to the left, you'll a higher reading

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Old 10-11-2005, 01:39 PM   #10
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that was my point most surfaces in houses aren't level. I use the edge of the aquarium as its the most level I can find. Testing against the refractometers in the lab its very accurate.

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