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Old 09-26-2006, 11:01 AM   #1
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Test Strip Accuracy

We all know that the dropper kits are more accurate than test strips, but I still use test strips for thier convienience with my work aquarium. My ammonia reading never reached 0 on an obviously cycled aquarium. I thought I'd send off a healthy complaint letter to Jungle, and this was thier reply:

Quote:
You are not doing anything incorrectly. The color pads can vary a little in their hue depending on conditions when they were produced. The test strips are designed to show whether the ammonia level in tank water is safe. I would not worry at all about an ammonia reading of .1 ppm. Even an ammonia level of .25 ppm is still considered safe.
This confirms what we all know, that test strips are really only good for ballpark figures.
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:37 PM   #2
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Pretty cool, thanks for the info!
Quote:
Even an ammonia level of .25 ppm is still considered safe.
Yeah, for how long?
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roka64
Pretty cool, thanks for the info!
Quote:
Even an ammonia level of .25 ppm is still considered safe.
Yeah, for how long?
You and I know that. Maybe thier test kit can read as high as .25 and still be really 0? I don't think the majority of the people that work at these companies actually know much about fishkeeping. There's probably 4 guys in a lab somewhere that have trouble convincing marketing that chemistry and biology are interesting and necessary for keeping healthy fish.

To boot, they have some standard attachments they stick on every reply that has directions for setting up a new aquarium. They have you doing massive equiptment checks, including running the tank empty for a week, then they have you cycle with fish! They don't even recomend any testing, just see if the first three fish are "thriving" after one week, and add another three fish every week. (Can you imagine what this would do in a small tank?)
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
They don't even recomend any testing, just see if the first three fish are "thriving" after one week, and add another three fish every week. (Can you imagine what this would do in a small tank?)
ACK!!! Poor fish. I guess they go by, if they survive add more. I wonder how they would like living/working in a room filled with ammonia.....
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:07 AM   #5
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I give up on trying to communicate with these people:
Quote:
Thank you very much for your messages. Jungle(r) Quick Dip(r) test
strips are designed from the same technology used in medical and science
laboratories, giving you fast and accurate results. Jungle Quick Dip
test strips are safe, nontoxic and simple to use.

Extensive testing has been done to assure their accuracy. The resulting
data indicate that these test strips can perform equal to or better than
the leading reagent test kits for the parameters tested when
manufacturers' directions for use were followed. Quick Dip test strips
were often as accurate or even more accurate than reagent test kits in
laboratory-prepared samples, designed to imitate aquarium water.

As for cycling with vs. without fish, it is a matter of preference.
Cycling with fish is generally a bit easier, especially for the
beginning hobbyist. If you feel more comfortable with a fishless cycle,
by all means do so.
Easier? Most people don't take fish sickness and death easily. Especially if you're helping little Susy set up her first aquarium. I remember when I was little, and my mother didn't know how to do it better. I was heartbroken when fish died.
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
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Yeah, I would think it is easier without fish, you know, feeding and testing water constantly. Just throw a cocktail shrimp in there and enjoy the smell!
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Old 09-27-2006, 12:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Extensive testing has been done to assure their accuracy. The resulting
data indicate that these test strips can perform equal to or better than
the leading reagent test kits for the parameters tested when
manufacturers' directions for use were followed. Quick Dip test strips
were often as accurate or even more accurate than reagent test kits in
laboratory-prepared samples, designed to imitate aquarium water.
I believe this passage speaks volumes. Imitation aquarium water is not the same as aquarium water. I would have liked seeing "real" aquarium water as the model.

Thanks D!
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Old 09-27-2006, 12:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roka64
Yeah, I would think it is easier without fish, you know, feeding and testing water constantly. Just throw a cocktail shrimp in there and enjoy the smell!
I actually prefer the "feed invisible fish" method. Spreads out the ammonia over time without going to direct ammonia dosing.

I occasionally daydream about setting up a planted aquarium specialty shop, where I'll sell esoteric things like pure ammonia droppers, and pre-mixed PMDD in dosing bottles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jchillin
I believe this passage speaks volumes. Imitation aquarium water is not the same as aquarium water. I would have liked seeing "real" aquarium water as the model.
Actually, my very first job was creating a measurement method for a natural substance. I followed the sr. scientist's procedure for about a month before I realized the science was completly bunk. You can't calibrate a measurement method without knowing exactly how much of substance x is in your test fluid. This requires either a more accurate test than the one you're developing or a solution mixed from pure water and weighed powders to a known concentration. (And how was the more accurate test developed? With an imitation fluid of course, because there was not a test more accurate than that one.) Other known impurities in your target fluid can be added to the imitation target fluid to see how they affect the test, but that's about as much as you can do.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:59 AM   #9
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I've been pretty lucky in that my LFS usually has an extensive plant selection. They also stock a good variety of plant nutrients, CO2 equipment, pruning tools, etc.

Getting back to the original topic. I test with both the liquid reagent kits and the test strips. I use the test strips for quick, rough tests where accuracy is not as important and I want to know about a few key parameters. I then use the liquid reagent tests when I need more information.
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