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View Full Version : Refractometers;NEW ref. std.



Boomer
10-21-2006, 01:10 PM
There has been some correspondence going with Lou Dell of American Marine, Randy and a reefer. Lou has told us that his ref. std. of 53 mS for conductivity/Salinity will work with refractometers. I'm looking to see if it will or maybe work for Hydrometers as well.

http://www.americanmarineusa.com/

Accessories

PINPOINT™ Salinity Calibration Fluid
53.0 mS standardized fluid for calibrating the PINPOINT Salinity Monitor™

Curtswearing
10-21-2006, 01:32 PM
Boomer,

You've mentioned in the past that our refractometers are off by .001 because they are calibrated to Sodium Chloride vs NSW. I would assume by using this reference standard, we'll be off a little as well. Obviously, they aren't bottling NSW.

I guess my question is, what is this product made out of? Is it Sodium Chloride or is it something else? If it is something else, do you know how much to adjust for manually?

Boomer
10-21-2006, 02:38 PM
It does not make any difference what it is made of but std solutions for seawater are KCl. If a 53ms is used to calibrate a conductivity meter and if you make up a salt mix at 53mS and the refract reads 1.026, which it should in that salt mix and if the refract reads the same in 53 mS solution as does in the salt mix, it is the same and can be used for the refract. Billy is going to get some extra and try it on hydrometer.

All you would need to do is take the solution and put it on the refract and turn the cal screw until the refract says 1.026 or 35ppt (3.5%). It is not impossible to make up a solution for all three. All it needs to do is give the same values as NSW. Since the refract is based on NaCl, if you now try to zero it in RO/DI it will not be zero but below zero. Reason, the scale on the refract is a NaCl scale and not a NSW scale.

What happen was this. Some guy took his 53mS and put it on the refract and was surprised at the reading. We told him you can not use a 53mS for refracts. He e-mailed Lou who has now stated flatly that you can use the 53mS for refracts, as he did some more checking and testing in the last day.

Curtswearing
10-21-2006, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the info Boomer. TWO THUMBS UP!!!

I always calibrated with distilled. Then Habib gave me free sample of a calibration standard which I used until the bottle ran out. Then I had to go back to distilled again. This seems like a great way to calibrate IMO.

IAP Brian
10-22-2006, 12:08 AM
Cool, thanks for the info Boomer. That issue has never even crossed my mind. I have just assumed calibrating my refract. with RO/DI set it to perfection. (or a close semblance there of)

NaH2O
10-23-2006, 09:20 AM
Here comes the airhead... lolol

I use the refractometer that doesn't need the 0.001 adjustment (RHS-10ATC). Would users of this refractometer still need to calibrate with the 53mS? My guess is no, but I've never been good at guessing :D. I've checked my refractometer occasionally with distilled, and its been right at zero (which it was when I first opened it up). What kinds of things throw off a refractometer calibration? With hydrometers there would be some things that can effect the calibration (not rinsing, improper storage). It would be nice to have a calibration solution for hydrometer use, if it works out well. Although, I suppose you'd still need to make sure air bubbles weren't present during calibration.

DonW
10-23-2006, 09:46 AM
Here comes the airhead... lolol

I use the refractometer that doesn't need the 0.001 adjustment (RHS-10ATC). Would users of this refractometer still need to calibrate with the 53mS? My guess is no, but I've never been good at guessing :D. I've checked my refractometer occasionally with distilled, and its been right at zero (which it was when I first opened it up). What kinds of things throw off a refractometer calibration? With hydrometers there would be some things that can effect the calibration (not rinsing, improper storage). It would be nice to have a calibration solution for hydrometer use, if it works out well. Although, I suppose you'd still need to make sure air bubbles weren't present during calibration.

Nikki,

What I do is adjust my refract to the meter. I have the same one as you and rodi always come out funky by comparison.
I calibrate my meter with pinpoint solution, test the tank and adjust the refract to the tank. If I go back and check against rodi its always well below the 0 and unreadable. I did check it against the cal solution this week-end and it matches the meter. So my guess is that adjusting our meters with rodi is causing us to run our tanks at a lower than desired salinity.

Don

Boomer
10-23-2006, 10:00 AM
Nikki

We are now finding some of those blue ones that need the error figured in. So, it would be best to cal it. I think the next article Randy comes out with will be on refracts or the one after that. Somre refracts are .003 below the zero when calibraterd proeperly.

Scooterman
10-23-2006, 10:18 AM
I have a refract that is off, so now I'm confused?)
SO what do I need to do?
I still have my Tropic Marian floater, glass I could use but the tube is so big:) Wonder If I could us the TM to see just how close I'm at with the refract. ?

DonW
10-23-2006, 10:50 AM
I have a refract that is off, so now I'm confused?)
SO what do I need to do?
I still have my Tropic Marian floater, glass I could use but the tube is so big:) Wonder If I could us the TM to see just how close I'm at with the refract. ?

If you order up some pinpoint cal fluid you can use it to adjust your refract. I just tried it once but it did work and matches the meter.

Don

Curtswearing
10-23-2006, 11:10 AM
Somre refracts are .003 below the zero when calibraterd proeperly.

Good Heavens!!! I would rather use a plastic swingarm than one of these. I hope the instruction manuals let people know they are this far off. Can you imagine thinking you are at 1.026 when you are really at 1.023. I'm looking forward to the article.

LakeEd
10-23-2006, 11:46 AM
Okay, here I thought I was understanding this thread... then I see your numbers there Curt. This means when I'm reading 1.026, I'm "high" .003, not "low" .003???

I guess what most concerns me is... if my Refractometer is off, and when I've been keeping everything at 1.026 it isn't really there now, does it effect my tank if I continue keeping things at their current level... or is this something that I need to look into correcting as soon as possible???


Good Heavens!!! I would rather use a plastic swingarm than one of these. I hope the instruction manuals let people know they are this far off. Can you imagine thinking you are at 1.026 when you are really at 1.023. I'm looking forward to the article.

Boomer
10-23-2006, 08:55 PM
You will not know where your refract really is unitl you calibrate it in that 53mS solution. I have said time and time again that just because one has a refract does not mean it is more accurate. People just assume it is.

A std lag grade hydrometer for $100 - $200 will read .015 units to low on SG and it should, when calibrated in NaCl or you zero it out wiith RO/DI and then using it to check seawater.

We have had guys in the last few day with off-sets form 0 SG to as high as .004 SG on these cheap China refracts.

Scoot

The Tropic Marine has NEVER tested wrong in the last 10 years :D It is always right on the nose.

Here is a SG chart for it.

LakeEd
10-23-2006, 09:31 PM
I'm probably being very slow here tonight... this darn cold trying to get a hold of me again... but does that mean that I need to immediately do something about purchasing this calibration fluid, because my fish & corals are in imminent danger???

Or, is this like MOST things in our hobby... Change anything slowly... Consistency is most important... Don't allow Panic to move you, because you may move in the wrong direction???

Boomer
10-23-2006, 10:23 PM
Part 2 Ed :D

Scooterman
10-23-2006, 10:23 PM
Ed if they aren't deal yet then I would think your ok but eventually you would want to get it correct. So now we all need to go get the 53mS solution & calibrate our Refracts. & be happy, I think:)

IAP Brian
10-23-2006, 11:29 PM
Yeah, I agree with Scooter, and like most everything else in your tank I think keeping a constant is more important than rushing to get the tank to a specific level. I just need to get ahold of AM before the mad rush on 53mS solution starts :lol: . I have also been guilty of buying and using several cheapo china refracts ( they just don't like bouncing off concrete for some reason ??? imagine that :eek: ) Time to cough up the cash for a good one and get some cal fluid.

DisturbedReefer
10-24-2006, 12:23 AM
So just what brand and model is a "good one" everything I have seen available in the hobby is made in China including the ones for $100+. I have found some on the net that are industrial grade salinity refractometers, they are in the $200 range. What are the recomendations from the experts?

Scooterman
10-24-2006, 06:25 AM
Scoot

The Tropic Marine has NEVER tested wrong in the last 10 years :D It is always right on the nose.

Glad I have the large glass tube to keep things in check, we should all get one of these & be happy:lol:

DisturbedReefer
10-24-2006, 09:12 AM
Glad I have the large glass tube to keep things in check, we should all get one of these & be happy:lol:

I did a search for said TM and came up with nothing, got a source?

Scooterman
10-24-2006, 09:34 AM
I can't find where I got mine but found it here.

http://wetpetsusa.stores.yahoo.net/trmaprhy.html

These look nice also, sure they are accurate also, just check the temp. calibration.

http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/listings.categories/ssid/32

DisturbedReefer
10-24-2006, 09:44 AM
I can't find where I got mine but found it here.

http://wetpetsusa.stores.yahoo.net/trmaprhy.html

These look nice also, sure they are accurate also, just check the temp. calibration.

http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/listings.categories/ssid/32



Ok I'm a goober, I thought there was some new Tropic Marin Refractometer out there. I must have missed the part about the old school hydrometer. I haven't used one since the 80's but if that is the only truely reliable test method then I'm in.

Boomer
10-24-2006, 10:07 AM
DisturbedReefer

You do not need an expensive one. The cheap China ones are good enough for us, just get it calibtaed properly. Soon there will be an article out on Refracts. As far as SeaWater one's there are only 3 set to seawater that are made on this planet and one of them is the Misco Digital Fiberoptic Sea Water Refractometer ( $649.00 discontinued a couple of months ago. ). Others are the famous Japanese Atago and the famous German Kruess. Atago is the other company that makes one for seawater ATC-S / Mill-E. And I have called and confirmed that it is a real seawater refract. As does VEE GEE, a newcomer, which has a seawater refract for $87, VEE GEE 43036 STX-3 Handheld Seawater Refractometer, which IS NOT A REAL SEAWATER refract.


Atago Seawater Refract $216
http://www.nationalmicroscope.com/microscopecatalog/product_info.php/products_id/230?osCsid=48b


Kruess ( the company the cheap Chiness are trying to copy with their fake blue ones, well know to be a std. color for Kruess refracts) The Kruess is $117but has no ATC and is not seawater.


Misco
http://www.misco.com/index.php

VEE GEE a real one seawater refract
http://www.novatech-usa.com/s.nl/sc.2/category.397/.f

DisturbedReefer
10-24-2006, 10:18 AM
DisturbedReefer

You do not need an expensive one. The cheap China ones are good enough for us, just get it calibtaed properly. Soon there will be an article out on Refracts. As far as SeaWater one's there are only 3 set to seawater that are made on this planet and one of them is the Misco Digital Fiberoptic Sea Water Refractometer ( $649.00 discontinued a couple of months ago. ). Others are the famous Japanese Atago and the famous German Kruess. Atago is the other company that makes one for seawater ATC-S / Mill-E. And I have called and confirmed that it is a real seawater refract. As does VEE GEE, a newcomer, which has a seawater refract for $87, VEE GEE 43036 STX-3 Handheld Seawater Refractometer, which IS NOT A REAL SEAWATER refract.


Atago Seawater Refract $216
http://www.nationalmicroscope.com/microscopecatalog/product_info.php/products_id/230?osCsid=48b


Kruess ( the company the cheap Chiness are trying to copy with their fake blue ones, well know to be a std. color for Kruess refracts) The Kruess is $117but has no ATC and is not seawater.


Misco
http://www.misco.com/index.php

VEE GEE a real one seawater refract
http://www.novatech-usa.com/s.nl/sc.2/category.397/.f

Thanks Boomer! I have a Milwakee Refractometer now and I also have the calabration fluid from PM for my monitor. If this is just fine as long as it is calibrated then I will do that. I was looking at the Atago one before but if it is not necessary then I will save my $$$. Thanks!

Boomer
10-24-2006, 10:33 AM
Scoot

That hydrometer at Aqautic Eco-Systems is calibrated to 60 F just so you know and the TM is at 77F

Also the TM
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=7360&N=2004+113202

LakeEd
10-24-2006, 10:40 AM
Hummm... sounds like it is being suggested to move backward in technology, using one of the "floaty-bob's" (hydrometer)... guessing exactly where the wicking of water is happening on the glass tube (especially if there is any water movement at all around it), to get a "close-guess" measurement.

At least with my Refractometer, I know its compensating for temp (why I purchased the model I did) so I don't need to worry about messing up any math, and the reading doesn't bounce around while I'm trying to see it.

I can buy into using a calibration fluid... afterall calibrating our pH monitors, and/or even a Salinity Monitor (which comes with the 53.0 mS calibration fluid you recommend), is something most of us are used to, and comfortable with.

I guess my concern with this post is... things are sounding like our tanks are in HORRIBLE DANGER because we are using a Refractometer... which we have been told for years by almost everyone in the hobby has the easiest to extrapolate, steadiest readings available to use, at the most reasonable cost.

Reading between the lines here myself... I'm not seeing the use of a Refractometer as being a problem, just that we need to be aware that there IS a calibration fluid available out there (I know I wasn't aware of that at all) that we should be using if we wish to get as accurate as possible readings. Our tanks aren't in massive danger because we haven't been using this calibration fluid and have been using RO/DI instead (consistancy being most important in our Reefs), but we may not be sitting exactly where we thought we were.

Scooterman
10-24-2006, 11:18 AM
That hydrometer at Aqautic Eco-Systems is calibrated to 60 F just so you know and the TM is at 77F


yea I saw that!

± 0.0005 at 77° Fahrenheit TM is fairly close enough IMO, Once I cal. my refract. then I'll compare the two & use the refract. because it is quicker.

swissgaurd
11-03-2006, 10:12 PM
and here i thought this was my best investmant.
it sure made my life easier,ive got the milwauki brand, tested distilled water ,refract. read 0 perfect.hmm where can i purchase the 53mS
calibration fluid.

LakeEd
11-03-2006, 10:26 PM
and here i thought this was my best investmant.
it sure made my life easier,ive got the milwauki brand, tested distilled water ,refract. read 0 perfect.hmm where can i purchase the 53mS
calibration fluid.
Swissgaurd,

I would suggest Premium Aquatics. Below is a link.

http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PIN-SAL-FLUID&Category_Code=Pinpoint

swissgaurd
11-03-2006, 11:08 PM
Swissgaurd,

I would suggest Premium Aquatics. Below is a link.

http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PIN-SAL-FLUID&Category_Code=Pinpoint

thanks

vic

Scooterman
11-05-2006, 03:14 PM
Boomer does it matter what name brand Refract. as long as your use 53mS solution to calibrate it? I have a Sybon, so if I get this 53mS solution & adjust to it then I should be dead on correct?

Thanks!

Boomer
11-05-2006, 10:18 PM
No Scoot, as long as it is a SG refract, which that one is.

NaH2O
11-06-2006, 10:56 AM
Boomer does it matter what name brand Refract. as long as your use 53mS solution to calibrate it? I have a Sybon, so if I get this 53mS solution & adjust to it then I should be dead on correct?

Thanks!

Scooty - I just spoke with someone that said they double checked their sybon with the Pinpoint salinity calibration solution and the refractometer needed to be adjusted.

Boomer, can we use Randy's Homade Calibration standard, or would it be better to purchase a 53mS solution? He did an article on it awhile back. I'll grab the article and have a peek.

Boomer
11-06-2006, 11:39 AM
Yes Niikki Randy's is fine. The only issue is some are having proiblems measuring it up right. I have suggested if that is the issue then just take the salt and RO/DI water to the drug store chemist and have him do it. Bring a copy or he instucitons with it to be sure. The issue is partly the instuctions, ie. tablespoons or cups. There are wet and dry cups and talespoons and they are not the same. Randy did not know this at the time, neither did I. It took a chef to point it out to me.You are better off using Randy's instructions on dry mL.

Reef Aquarium Salinity: Homemade Calibration Standards
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-06/rhf/index.htm

chris&barb
11-06-2006, 12:20 PM
i just got a little dejavu

http://www.reeffrontiers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12191&highlight=refractometers

Boomer
11-06-2006, 01:48 PM
Chris we need to beat this into peoples heads :D

Scooterman
11-06-2006, 02:03 PM
I think between the swing arm, TM floater & refract. I should have it all figured out once I correct the refract with the 53mS solution. :D

Boomer
11-06-2006, 02:08 PM
Jim, form thefilterguys.biz now has real seawater refracts for $97 if anyone is interested.

http://thefilterguys.biz/refractometers.htm


http://thefilterguys.biz/images/VEEGEE.jpg

Scooterman
11-06-2006, 06:48 PM
Boomer do you need to use the 53mS on it also or just ro like stated?

Boomer
11-06-2006, 08:25 PM
Nope just RO/DI for that Vee-Gee. But I would still have a bottle of 53 mS just to check it but that is me :D