Most cost-effective tests?

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Playapixie

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Has anyone done a comparison of the different brands of tests on a per-test basis? It's easy to see from looking at prices which kits cost less, but not so easy to see how many tests can be done with one kit. I'd love to see breakdowns on a per-test basis. Also curious if people really think the accuracy of the more expensive tests really makes them worth the price (for example, yes, you can get to 0.5 accuracy on KH with the Elos test and only 1 point increments with API, but does it *really* matter if my KH is 8 or 8.5?)

I've been using a combination of Elos and API tests and don't find that much variation between the results on most tests, though in some instances I can see the advantage to having a more detailed result. I'm up to 3 tanks that I'm testing now, and I'd like to get that cost down as much as possible.
 

Boomer

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There has not been any comparative test-kit tests in years. I had Jessie from Elos send theirs to ENC Labs for validation 4-5 years ago and at that time where pretty much spot on.

Most Alk kits can be a pain in the ass, as most are actually FW kits not SW kits and miss ~ 10 % of the Alk, thus, read 10 % to low. Meaning, if the kit reads 8 dKH, it is really more like 8.8 dKH. The Salifert is set to SW but have not seen any lab validation in that one either. The question with any kit is often quality control. I know Habib, owner if Salifert personally and know he sent his to Millero Labs, the only place to send a Alk kit to fit testing. He got back his results which I saw and was going to make required adjustments to make it very accurate. How accutare they are know I can not tell you. The other issue and a BIG issue is the guy in the mirror doing the testing, which has been proven many times on blind tests of kit users. So, in any kit, you are stuck be a rock and a hard place ;)

8 vs 8.5 dKH is a large discrepancy in a Alk kit. The real issue is how far off are any of them and in which direction.
 

NC2WA

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Boomer,

What does it take to get testing done?

Great info. But, if I am a newbie, which I am not, reading this thread I would be leery of trusting any test kit at this point. So what does one do at this point, just use their test of choice and hope it gets close to the reading we are looking for?
 

kpiotrowski

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Has anyone done a comparison of the different brands of tests on a per-test basis? It's easy to see from looking at prices which kits cost less, but not so easy to see how many tests can be done with one kit. I'd love to see breakdowns on a per-test basis. Also curious if people really think the accuracy of the more expensive tests really makes them worth the price (for example, yes, you can get to 0.5 accuracy on KH with the Elos test and only 1 point increments with API, but does it *really* matter if my KH is 8 or 8.5?)

I've been using a combination of Elos and API tests and don't find that much variation between the results on most tests, though in some instances I can see the advantage to having a more detailed result. I'm up to 3 tanks that I'm testing now, and I'd like to get that cost down as much as possible.
I'm hearing you and allthough I have many hundreds of dollars in elos, salifet, seachem, and hanna checkers, i mostly use the api for routine tests. hanna checker for phosphate and elos nitratate once in a while. but the bulk of my testing for general water chemistry I use the api pretty much weekly, and then every month or two the more expensive test confirm that my cheap ones apparently work just fine.

keep in mind though that curently I have a total water volume around 375g and use dosing pumps automatically via neptune apex thoughout the day, and weekly 50g water changes. so my system is pretty stable.
 

Boomer

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What does it take to get testing done?


Send to a lab that is familiar with seawater analysis, such as ENC Labs. I had Charles Delbeek @ CAS: Stienhart Aquarium send water samples there, Lou Dell from American Marine send their PINPOINT Nitrate Monitor and Jessie from Elos do the same for all their kits. To have a kit verified I would guess < $100, never asked.

I would not get all bent out of shape over it as long you are in range. People have to stop this crap of chasing numbers, like I WANT MY ALK AT 9.2 DKH . If you are 8-10 leave the dam thing alone. Same for Ca++, Mg++, others.

ENC Labs
http://www.enclabs.com/question.html
 

Playapixie

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That's pretty much why I asked. I don't keep particularly picky corals, so as long as my tests verify that I'm in the reasonable range, I think I'm good. Hence the question on cost-effectiveness (rather than precision of tests), as testing three tanks gets pricey...
 

toolz2

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Elos seems to work good for me but have several differnt brands if I dont like a results I compare with othsr manufacturers
 

Playapixie

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Which Hanna checkers do you have and how do you like them? Do you find them easier or harder than drop tests? I was just looking into those as an option. Thanks!
 

NC2WA

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playpixie

i have the PO4 hanna checker and LOVE it..it measues up to 2.0 which i like as most test dont tell you like instead they display the color blue at 1.0.

I also have the Calcium checker and it is eh ok...i do like the digital output of a number, but too many steps...i find the Elos test kit for Ca just as accurate..however if you want a pinpoint number the hanna checker is the way too go..

i just wish they would make one for Mg..
 

Pip Tazo

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I just bought the PO4 Hanna checker! Can't wait to try it.

It cost ~$48 for the unit and ~$8 for 25 additional tests on amazon.

(I am switching from regular BRS GFO to the high capacity one and I wanted to measure the differences accurately)
 

Playapixie

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My internet search seems to generally support that people like the Hanna checker for phos but the other ones a bit less. I think I'll buy the hanna checker when I get low on my current chemicals. Thanks for the input!
 

Playapixie

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NC2WA, yep, found that one last night! I like the idea of digital checkers but it sounds like the calcium isn't really any less steps and the alk is questionably accurate, but the phos seems well-liked. Too bad you have to calibrate between each use, as I'm now up to 4 tanks that I'm testing (how did that happen?): 2 nano reefs, a nano frag tank, and a nano freshwater planted tank. Eliminating time/steps sure sounds nice now, though I seem to have quite a little assembly line going.
 

NC2WA

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pixie,

agreed on the calcium comment..i own the calcium checker and the steps are just as numerous, not a fan of it..

hahahahahah on the tanks...it adds up fast...I was up to 6 QT tanks, then I started popping fuses. that is when i said OK enuff and down-sized and had a electrician install another 20amp outlet
 

Playapixie

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LOL downsized to what?

I totally see the benefit in having your frag tank in-line with your main system now, but that doesn't work in the nano world so well, and my house isn't equipped for a fish-room.

I do additionally have a QT tank that isn't set up yet, but at some point in my future it'll be back up for a while as I will eventually replace losses caused by a partial tank melt-down a week ago caused by me being stupid (first crash in my 2.5 years so that's something, but ouch!)
 

spieszak

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i have the hanna for alk, phos and cal. the calcium is just as many steps, and i wasn't able to make it reliable YMMV.
i really like the new red seak kits. they come with 'equipment', so that the vial screws on to a handle and the syringe sits in it. i always feel like i'm one hand short when testing.. the red sea kits solves that. (i have the three pack, but only really use the cal)
 

Playapixie

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Stacey, how do you like the Hanna for alk?

I haven't tried the Red Sea tests; do they give you accurate enough results?
 

spieszak

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i love the hanna checkers for both phos and alk.
side by side with other tests (sailifert for cal, hanna for alk, elos for mg) i'm getting consistent results with red sea. you do have to keep in mind there was a recall though, so, its worthwhile to make sure the lot number you buy/recieve isn't on the list.
honestly what i really like is feeling like i'm not going to spill or shake with the red sea kits. and i have trouble with the sailifert cal trying to get 8 drops.. my hands either over squeeze or under squeeze, lol

editing to add:woohoo! i just made hermit crab! :)
 
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