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Old 03/07/2018, 10:08 AM   #1
Hydrus
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Need New Test Kit

I'm looking purchasing a new test kit...well new test kit"S". I had previously been using the master API kit...I never kept sps and I didn't ever see a need to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate really - at least not in my tank that has been up for 23 years. Those levels never changed.

However, now that I have upgraded my lighting I am able to keep a variety of corals that I never had in the past, including sps. This leads me to the conclusion I should probably start keeping an eye on other things in my tank...calcium, alk, etc. My question is what test kit brand do you guys recommend? I see a lot of talk about Hanna and I know my LFS has that on his shelves. He also has some other brands but I'm just not sure what to pick.

Also, what things would you recommend I test for? For example he said I don't need to test for iodine or anything like that. I tried to ask the LFS owner what he does recommend but he tends to talk down to you when you ask questions like that and he feels you should know these things already before coming into his store. Its super frustrating when you're made to feel stupid for asking. I'm sure the answer is dependent on what you want to keep in your tank but I'm looking to just get starting buying 2 or 3 kits of the top most common things I should test for.

Thank you for any help with this


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Old 03/07/2018, 10:21 AM   #2
mcgyvr
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In general API test kits get a really bad rap.. They from my experience are just as reliable as any test kit.. They just may not have as precise of scale/graduations..

Most though will recommend Red sea or Salifert..
The Hanna checkers are usually very nice too.. (some debate about their accuracy from some but in general they seem reliable)

I've always used Red Sea or API and recently tried Nyos and Salifert for nitrate.. To me Nyos was hands down easier to read vs the Salifert kit..


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Old 03/07/2018, 10:24 AM   #3
Vinny Kreyling
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I use Salifert for everything except Phosphates, there I use a Milwaukee photometer because the color is just too hard to read on the Salifert.
Many like the Hannah Checkers.
I test for Alkalinity, probably THE most important to keep stable.
Magnesium a close second, then Calcium & Nitrates.
The newest thinking is Nitrates up to 10 is OK, Phospates have been seen rising to over 1 without a detrimental affect & the jury is still out, but trying to keep it too low is probably not a good idea. Magnesium helps hold the balance of Calcium & Alkalinity & somewhere between 1350 - 1400 is OK.
Calcium should be around 450.
Red Sea & NYOS are others brands mentioned for testing.
In an established tank there is no need to test for Ammonia, buy cycling a new tank you do need to.


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Old 03/07/2018, 05:32 PM   #4
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for alkalinity, hanna can't be topped....


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Old 03/07/2018, 09:28 PM   #5
bertoni
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Salifert and IO tests have worked well for me. The Hanna alkalinity meter does get good reviews on average, and it's probably easier than doing a titration.


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Old 03/08/2018, 02:23 AM   #6
Dan_P
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If you have the energy read the instructions online to get a feeling for what each test involves. Detecting color intensity or color differences is involved in all test kits.

NO3 - Salifert and Red Sea give a colorless solution for zero nitrate. API does not. Both Salifert and Red Sea can detect NO3 below 0.5 ppm. Red Sea is cheaper but just a little more complicated.

PO4 - Salifert is colorless at 0 ppm and can detect down to around 0.03 ppm. Hanna ULR Checker claim to fame is that it provides a result far more consistent than the human eye with a color comparator and detects color below the level that most human eye sight can. With this Checker, PO4 is detectable below 0.03 ppm but with the inherent variation in the method, detection below 0.03 is a rough approximation that can be improved by running tests in triplicate. I have switched because I wanted to avoid color chart use.

Alkalinity - there isnít anything fancy about titrations but the differences in color change at the endpoint can be very important depending on how well you see color differences. I can detect a Salifert endpoint more easily than an API endpoint. Salifert uses a syringe that delivers smaller drops than API which means it can be easier to determine the true endpoint. Recently, I switched to the Hanna Alkalinity Checker. It gives the same result as APi but there is no titrating annd no judging color change. Results are likely to be more consistent with the Checker.

Ca - I found the API test to be comparable to Salifert but much cheaper, though I use a syringe with the API test in place of the supplied dropper bottle to improve the consistency. I am very tempted to buy the Hanna Ca Checker.

Mg - I have only used the Salifert test for no other reason that I trust Salifert and never had a reason to look at other test systems.


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Old 03/08/2018, 09:31 AM   #7
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My own preference:

Calcium: salifert / red sea
Alkalinity: salifert
Magnesium: salifert
Nitrates: salifert + red sea (i usually take an average), API for rare cases where nitrates are insanely high
Posphates: hannah checker (ppb), really takes out the human eye error
pH: API high range (don't run a probe)
Salinity: Hands down the milwaukee refractometer, which weirdly happens to be my most satisfied purchase in the hobby

I'd also recommend a TDS meter of some sort to make sure your RO/DI water is good, if you don't already have one.

If you are dosing these elements, i'd also testing for:
Potassium
Iodine
Iron


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Old 03/08/2018, 09:39 AM   #8
Hydrus
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Thank you so much everyone. I guess I just thought one brand would cover everything but now it makes so much more sense that there are different ones suited for different situations. I'll be swapping my 55 into a 75 on Saturday and will be going to the LFS to pick up a few supplies so go ahead and get a few of those kits.

You guys have helped me so much...I was getting really stressed with so many options out there. Not to mention I got a few frags from a guy that apparently had bad hair algae because now I have hair algae growing around those plugs. I've tried to manually remove it but something must be off in my tank for that to take hold so I need to check my phosphates (my nitrates are so low it's not registering on my API kit).

Thanks again!


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Old 03/11/2018, 05:21 PM   #9
Antegon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydrus View Post
Thank you so much everyone. I guess I just thought one brand would cover everything but now it makes so much more sense that there are different ones suited for different situations. I'll be swapping my 55 into a 75 on Saturday and will be going to the LFS to pick up a few supplies so go ahead and get a few of those kits.

You guys have helped me so much...I was getting really stressed with so many options out there. Not to mention I got a few frags from a guy that apparently had bad hair algae because now I have hair algae growing around those plugs. I've tried to manually remove it but something must be off in my tank for that to take hold so I need to check my phosphates (my nitrates are so low it's not registering on my API kit).

Thanks again!


BRS has a few good videos that show them using each kind, so you can get an idea of whatís involved with each.
https://youtu.be/tim5MOJJlgw



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Old 03/16/2018, 12:09 AM   #10
tkeracer619
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Alk - Salifert
Ca - Salifert
Mg - Salifert
No3 - Salifert
No2 - Salifert
PH - Salifert and Pinpoint Probe
Ammonia - They all kinda suck... Have Salifert, API, Jungle Buddies Strips, but typically use a Seachem Ammonia Badge.
Copper - Hanna Copper Checker LR and Seachem for cupramine.
Po4 - Hanna 736 ULR Checker
SG - ATC Refractometer with calibration fluid.


Since my incoming water has chloramines I use Hanna Total Chlorine and Total Ammonia ULR freshwater checkers to make sure my RODI is up to snuff.

Sure I missed a few things...




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Old 03/16/2018, 11:39 AM   #11
Volcmreefer
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Hanna for ALK and Salifert or Nyos for everything else! Good luck!


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Old 03/18/2018, 08:14 PM   #12
Antegon
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Need New Test Kit

Big Red Sea fan myself if you donít want to spring for Hannah checkers or probe


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Last edited by Antegon; 03/19/2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 03/19/2018, 10:05 AM   #13
d0ughb0y
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I have tried them all. I was a test junkie once. in the end, I keep it simple and have only used api in the last 8 years. test only alk, ca, and nitrate. even nitrate test I think I can get away without testing, as I can gauge by how fast algae builds up on glass.


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