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How do you measure specific gravity?

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How do you measure specific gravity?

  • Swing Arm Hydrometer

    Votes: 60 38.7%
  • Floating Hydrometer

    Votes: 10 6.5%
  • Refractometer

    Votes: 80 51.6%
  • Conductivity Probe

    Votes: 3 1.9%
  • Taste Test

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    155

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
I want to know what device you use to measure your specific gravity and/or salinity. Are you happy with what you use?

Swing Arm Hydrometer users: Do you perform any maintenance on your hydrometer? (i.e. Rinse in RO/DI water and/or soak in vinegar once a month or so)

Refractometer users: How often do you recalibrate your refractometer?

Conductivity Probe and Floating Hydrometer users: Do you have to do anything to maintain them?

Taste Testers: How do you know the taste is right? Any side effects?
 

Montanarocknreefer

New Sheriff In Town
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
Messages
467
Location
Missoula, Montana
Hey Nikki! I wash the hydrometer with RO/DI water after every use.

Just got a refracometer and have not used it yet!:)

I am sure I will be very happy with the refracometer over the swing arm soon!:D
 

esmith

AQUAMANIAC
Joined
Oct 9, 2003
Messages
451
Location
Shoreline, WA
Used to use a hydrometer, and did wash it out with RO after each use. For the last ~2 months I have had a refractometer, and it works great. Makes me feel a bit more comfortable now that I can really see what level my water is at, although the hydrometer was only off ~.003. I have yet to recalibrate it (I forgot about doing that once in a while), but everything in the tank seems happy so I'm sure it's still dialed in.

Eliyah
 

DonW

R.I.P.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,753
Location
Tacoma, WA
I have a swing arm that I keep clean with ro water. I check it against my refracto every so often. I stopped taste testing when I got ich. Someday I'll get a uv sterilizer and go back to taste testing.:razz:

Don
 

mattseattle

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2003
Messages
2,694
Location
Seattle, WA
yeah I was using a Swing Arm for the first 6 months I had the tank. I didn't know there was anything else out there till I read about a Refractometer. Well I just bought one a few months back. I calibrated it then and I check it about once a month to make sure it's still accurate. I use my Swing Arm for quick testing. It's only off for about .001 and I know that now so I compensate for it. I rinse it out with RO water after every use.
 

CarlaW

Scarlet Begonias
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
7,670
Location
Columbia Falls, MT.
I use a refractometer that I got about 2 months ago. I calibrate it every month. Used to use the swing arm and I cleaned it out with vinegar once every 2 weeks.
 

pro_builder

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
16
Nikki,
I use a refractometer. I test calibration every other month, but have never had to change it, yet.
I always rinse it off with RO/DI water when I am done using it.
Hope this helps.
 

TDEVIL

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
110
for now i use a swing arm hyd. but the refractometer is coming ;)

i rinse it out after every use, in tap water, then i taste it ;)

Jay
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
I use a swing arm. I have never tested it against a refractometer, and I never rinse it off. I am a rebel.

Actually I am planning on getting a refrac really soon. hehe
 

Beeba

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2003
Messages
300
Location
Portsmouth, OH
I use a swing arm hydrometer and rinse it after each use. I usually have to tap it after it fills to get the bubbles off the arm. Does anyone feel that they are getting significantly different readings after switching to a refractometer?
 

Curtswearing

Mantisfreak
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,203
Location
St. Louis, MO
I use a refractometer but use a swing arm for quick checks. I rinse out my swing arm with tap water or RO/DI water.

I have read that it is a good idea to store the swing arms in a ziplock bag in between uses but I haven't done that in the past. However, I'm seriously considering making this change in my preventative maintenance routine.
 

Hooked

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2004
Messages
185
Location
Indianapolis
You really can't just taste it.

You have to drink a whole pint to be sure. Start with a siphon in the main tank to acquire the proper taste.
 

Illusion

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
610
I use a refractometer and only calibrate it if my levels vary from what they normally are.. So far in the last six months I have not had to calibrate it at all. At the time of this posting i tested with Ro/Di water at it still reads correctly..

James
 

Drummer

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2004
Messages
23
Location
Spokane, WA
I've calculated my body weight to specific gravity ratio and now if I float without touching the bottom, I'm right on the money !

When that doesn't work, I use the trusty refractometer.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
LOL Scott....you'll love that refractometer from premium aquatics. I have it, too. It has been very accurate in testing the air quality of my dry tank :D
 

class clown

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 8, 2005
Messages
1,861
Location
Bothell, WA
refractometer all the way baby! I think it was worth every penny. I broke about 3 of the floating arm things before investing in mine. i got it off ebay for $50 or so and have been really happy with it overall.
 

KrautBurner

too "edgy" for this place
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
359
Location
Bremerton, Wa
"Swing Arm Hydrometer"

but I also regularly (once every other week) backup my testing by taking water samples to my LFS (they test for free, and provide RO/DI water too)

my Hydrometer seems fairly accurate with my LFS's Refractometer
same with my test kit (my test kit shows slightly higher Nitrates than the LFS)
 
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