best, most accurate, test kit

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Mar 9, 2019
Hi. I test for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, kh, gh, ph, iron. Have a planted tank. I was using API and then was running low so I got a new test kit (Nutrafin master kit (but it looks like they use fluval test charts). After testing with the new kit, I saw that the phosphate was much higher than the api test kit said it was - which would explain my black algae issue. anyway, I am not all that crazy about this nutrafin master kit and I'm wondering what everybody's opinion is as to which test kits are the most accurate. And input on which are easy to use. Thanks for your input.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]
They are home test kits, not laboratory testing. You get what you pay for.

There is this professional kit at over £800.

Thats £840 for 125 tests. £6 for each individual test.

The test kits you have been using are fine for the purpose you are putting them to. They will all have their quirks and inaccuracies. Some of them dont even test for what it says it does. The API KH test is actually a test for alkalinity. The nitrate test detects both nitrate and nitrite. The ammonia test shows ammonia and ammonium combined. Take them for what they are, an indication of whether something is present, low level or high level. Expecting accuracy outside of a laboratory is unrealistic.
Phosphate is also the most inaccurate test and phosphates don’t cause algae. The algae is caused by some other reason. Probably by some kind of organic loading plus too much light.
Algae grows anywhere there is water and light. Add nutrients and it grows faster. Algae problems in aquariums and natural waterways are caused by an imbalance between the light/ nutrients/ plants. If you have too much light or too many nutrients, and not enough live plants, then algae grows.
Nutrients exacerbate algae growth but they do not cause algae. It is an important distinction.

If you watch the video there is a bottle of tap water which is under 120 PAR of light (very high in aquarium terms) and it has Estimative Index levels of nutrients added. The bottle does not grow algae because there are no algae spores. It is unfair to say that nutrients cause algae. Nutrients as far as algae are concerned could mean many different things, vitamins, enzymes etc, inorganic fertilisers salts, organic nutrients from rotting wastes etc.

If you have too much light and too many nutrients then algae does indeed grow faster.

I believe that a tank’s efficiency is the key deterrent to algae in that how quickly and efficiently it decomposes.

In my tank, I don’t do water changes and I dose inorganic fertiliser salts once per week and I don’t get algae. Literally none. I put this down to the maturity and stability of the biofilter, raw plant mass, shrimps/snails and floating plants.

Tanks in the early stages of development don’t have this level of efficiency and algae becomes the predominant flora.

I like to believe that algae grows in the absence of higher plant life and potentially elevated levels of harmful nitrogen with a high biological oxygen demand to provide food, shelter and a source of oxygen in failing systems in order to support higher lifeforms, restoring balance to see that life goes on. Algae is not a pest, it’s an indicator and ridding it with peroxides and antibiotics is counterintuitive. Algae just dies when the tank is right. Or better put, it steps aside to let the higher macrophytes take the mantle. After all, higher plants provide more oxygen to the water column AND the substrate, provide more shelter and security, places to spawn and feed etc.
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