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Old 02-05-2005, 01:39 PM   #1
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Water Chemistry & Test Kits...

I keep reading about testing water chemistry to optimize conditions for plants. It seems that some of the tests should be relatively precise. What test kits are recommended?

Thanks.
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:33 PM   #2
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Sorry to disappoint you, but test kits are not that precise! The stripe tests are notorious for being inaccurate. The liquid kits are OK for trending. That is, if you test your water & it consistently gives you a certain number, that will tell you the water is stable. But the exact number can be off by quite a bit if you compare it to real lab measurements. That's one reason people serious into plants & CO2 injection buy pH meters rather than relie on the test kits!
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Old 02-05-2005, 05:11 PM   #3
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You can get relatively precise measurements using LaMotte or Hach test kits, although they are considerably more expensive (~$50+ per kit) than average kits. But the run-of-the-mill test kits that you normally see at your lfs can only give you ball park estimates of your water conditions. They have an especially hard time giving accurate results at low concentrations. I would recommend using nitrate and phosphate kits to track nutrients (Seachem makes pretty decent low end kits), and also pH and KH kits to give you an idea of CO2 and alkalinity levels. And like jsoong said, avoid the stripe kits completely.
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Old 02-05-2005, 06:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info!

I've used Dry-Tabs for my aquariums in the past for NO2, NO3, NH3. I didn't enjoy crunching up the tablets in the test tubes very much, getting some on my fingers by accident...wondering what exactly was in the powder.

I think I'll borrow :P a pH meter and some buffer solution from work, see what it tells me.

Thanks again.
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