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Old 02-08-2015, 11:14 AM   #1
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Triton ICP test results

I sent off a water sample from my salt water aquarium for professional testing. I really wanted to know what I was doing wrong. My soft corals were just looking sadder and sadder day by day. I got back the results and thought I would share them.

I sent the test to Triton labs in Germany. They have an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrograph. I don't know how you'd get much better than that for precision.

They test for the following elements: Na, Ca, Mg, K, Sr, B, Br, S,
Li, Be, Ba, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Al, Si, As, Sb, Sn, Cd, Se, Mo, Hg, P (PO4), Pb, I

They then grade your sample by how closely it matches 'perfect' sea water. My results were:

(Legend: Element, my result, ideal result, deviation)

Mg (Magnesium) 1278.00 mg/l 1370.00 mg/l -92.00
K (potassium) 250.20 mg/l 400.00 mg/l -149.80
B (Boron) 2.97 mg/l 4.50 mg/l -1.53
Li (Lithium) 380.80 g/l 200.00 g/l 180.80
I (Iodine) 16.76 g/l 60.00 g/l -43.24
P (Phosphorus) 0.00 g/l 6.00 g/l -6.00
PO4 (Phosphate) 0.000 mg/l 0.018 mg/l -0.018

It looks like the Iodine and Phosphorus have been completely depleted from the tank. I'm guessing the Calupera that hitch hiked into my tank has something to do with the phosphorus being depleted. Several others are low. Lithium is high but some google searches indicate most salt mixes are too high in Lithium.

I was glad to see I have heavy metals issues and the Calcium level was good. I used Aragonite sand in my tank.

The Potassium and Boron were also both very low. I found the Red Sea brand "Coral Colors B" supplement contains both. I ordered it and treated the tank. The maximum permissible daily dose was 10ml according to their specs. My soft coral immediately closed up and turned brown. They note in the instructions this is a symptom of potassium 'burn' so I stopped and waited. After three days they all opened back up and began opening up their polyps daily. All the corals seem to be MUCH happier with this treatment. I changed the daily dosage down to 1ml instead of 10ml and that seems to not shock them.

I don't work for, or have any interest in, any of the companies mentioned here.

Jay
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Old 02-08-2015, 02:22 PM   #2
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I would ask about the iodine test. There are 3 normal types of iodines normally present;
I2 iodine,
I- iodide, and
IO3 iodate.

Normal tests can only test for 1 or perhaps 2 types. For example my test kit only tests for Iodine, and completely misses the more important iodide.
I would ask them if the I result is one, two or all types of iodines.


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Old 02-08-2015, 05:51 PM   #3
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Since the machine flashes the sample water into plasma I doubt it's able to discern the levels of the different forms of iodine. I would think they'd all be destroyed.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:34 PM   #4
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That's the question. Do all 3 forms of iodines glow at the exact same temperature, or do they glow (spike) at specific temperatures? If they are at different temps then the machine can easily differentiate them (that's how they work).
In the end, if they do all spike together then your iodides are low. But if they simply didn't record the iodides, and only reported the iodines, then that number is much less important.


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Old 02-09-2015, 09:11 AM   #5
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I thought that once it's converted to plasma all chemical bonds are broken. But... I notice they do have one slot where they mention a molecule instead of an element (PO4). So my understanding is flawed or incomplete.

Why is the type of iodine important? Which organisms use it?
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:57 AM   #6
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Want to hurt your head? Read this.
Chemistry And The Aquarium: Iodine in Marine Aquaria: Part I — Advanced Aquarist | Aquarist Magazine and Blog
ICP does seem to measure all forms of iodine together.
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