Test strips VS Test drops - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Test strips VS Test drops

how big is the diffrence, what is the diffrence (besides the obvious one being a liquid one being a dip and done)
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post #2 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 04:43 PM
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how big is the diffrence, what is the diffrence (besides the obvious one being a liquid one being a dip and done)
Mitch, your question seems a bit backwards. It's the strips that dip 'n done.

It is generally held that the strips are inaccurate, but it is not clear if they are even consistently inaccurate or not. Although the liquid fresh water test kit costs more, it is more reliable for consistent accuracy - and if you're going to bother to test (and make decisions based on the results), you/we want the most accurate tests available. Otherwise, why bother testing at all?!

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post #3 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Mitch, your question seems a bit backwards. It's the strips that dip 'n done.

It is generally held that the strips are inaccurate, but it is not clear if they are even consistently inaccurate or not. Although the liquid fresh water test kit costs more, it is more reliable for consistent accuracy - and if you're going to bother to test (and make decisions based on the results), you/we want the most accurate tests available. Otherwise, why bother testing at all?!
forgot to add a comma ghrammer isnt my strong suite. why is it generally held that they are inaccurate eveyone says this but why? liek saying jump off a bridge its fun and everyone else says so. what makes a liquid test kit more accurate then a dip and done kit? what is the diffrence (trying to rephrase and make the question more clear)
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post #4 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 04:51 PM
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The strips can accumulate moisture from the air that messes with the results. I don't think there is a problem with nice fresh new strips... but how fresh they are when you get them is an issue.

Never used them myself, just the liquid tests.

Liquid drops are pretty accurately measured.... as long as you can count.

I expect, but don't know, that you get more tests per dollar with the liquid kits too.

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Last edited by JDM; 02-26-2013 at 04:53 PM.
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post #5 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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they always said you pay for the convience, and im pretty sure the test strips have a experation on them like the drops, the strips are also sealed in a container. how much a diffrence could the moister from the air effect them? its not liek we are testing in a sauna. jsut trying to stir up some informative debate here
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post #6 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 08:34 PM
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how big is the diffrence, what is the diffrence (besides the obvious one being a liquid one being a dip and done)
I suppose that depends on how important it is to you to know exactly what your numbers are. If you are one that changes an arbitrary amount of water, then it's not very important that the numbers be exact. I change 80% of the water whenever I do a water change - for me the numbers are unimportant, so much so that I don't bother testing. If you determine the amount of water to change based on the test results, then it's obviously important that they be accurate. Test strips are said to be less accurate. To me, as long as they are not giving a false negative, they're working fine. If they give you a false positive, then you do a water change...doing an unneeded water change isn't a bad thing, though if you are constantly getting false positives then that would probably lead to some form of insanity. The chances of getting false readings from a liquid kit are far less. Too, the propensity for strips to get contaminated is much higher.

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post #7 of 36 Old 02-26-2013, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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I suppose that depends on how important it is to you to know exactly what your numbers are. If you are one that changes an arbitrary amount of water, then it's not very important that the numbers be exact. I change 80% of the water whenever I do a water change - for me the numbers are unimportant, so much so that I don't bother testing. If you determine the amount of water to change based on the test results, then it's obviously important that they be accurate. Test strips are said to be less accurate. To me, as long as they are not giving a false negative, they're working fine. If they give you a false positive, then you do a water change...doing an unneeded water change isn't a bad thing, though if you are constantly getting false positives then that would probably lead to some form of insanity. The chances of getting false readings from a liquid kit are far less. Too, the propensity for strips to get contaminated is much higher.
im trying to figure out WHAT makes them (test strips) more inaccurate then drops? everybody says everyone thinks drops are better but its all hearsay never heard any facts to back it up thats what im looking for here. everyone dogs the strips. why? and how would a strip get contaminated if its in a sealed container unless you are fingering them before you plop them in.
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post #8 of 36 Old 02-27-2013, 07:20 AM
After doing more research I'm convinced that test strips can be inaccurate for many reasons. Most notably is moisture degradation in humid environments. However, it's interesting that the degree of inaccuracy may not really matter much.
For instance, IF you are testing and discover high ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or even a shift in pH, would it really matter how much? If a strip indicated .25ppm and a liquid test indicated .5ppm, it would still require a partial water change...so any precise value is somewhat moot.

Now I'll continue to use the liquid API Freshwater Test kit, but even I'll confess that at times the color interpretation between the sample and a couple of color bars on the chart is pretty subjective....and this interpretation affects accuracy.

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post #9 of 36 Old 02-27-2013, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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so safe to assume unless your doing very very fine doseing to your aquarium that a test strip woudl suffice? cant see anyone needed to test soo accurately very often. a test strip with the all in one in my opinion is just as good as the drops, sometiems cheaper and way more easy. not to menbtiuon you dont have to have 7 diffrent bottles. and some strips come with the gh and kh on them while api its a totally diffrent kit. i understad about the humidity. there cant be enough humidoty in anyones home (un less they dont use a/c) that it coudl really effect the strips. heck im sure it would take a sauna to effect the strips liablity. cant find anything online like this thread. still havent heard any solid evidence or facts either way other then a really really humid enviroment.
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post #10 of 36 Old 02-27-2013, 04:07 PM
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The opinions expressed are based on experience from tanks with fish only and tanks with fish and plants. Many may get by with low end test strips with fish only but I prefer the liquid drop test kits for more accurate readings because I have plants. When algae pokes its head, you do not want ball park readings from low end test kits to solve the problem.
The manufacturers would lose a lot of business if test strips were found to be just as accurate as the liquid drop test kits. So to each his own. Cheap test kits equals cheap results.
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