Water Test Kits
I went through a few old threads, but didn't exactly find what I was looking for. I just started a 2 g SW desktop tank. I need to do a water test before I can add anything else(currently have 3 lbs of live rock). I do have a refractometer.
What test kits do you recommend? something that is easy to use and reliable? or will last me a long time?
My parameters also remain the same right, regardless of the size of the tank? Thanks a lot :-)
I went and got strips the other day. Dip it in and within 60 seconds you compare the strip colors to the chart. It's got saltwater and fresh in the same chart. Measures Nitrate, Nitrite, Hardness, Alkalinity and pH if that's what you're looking for. Something like 25 strips in there I think.
I personally like API tests kits since I find them easy to perform, fairly easy to read in most cases (though I have difficulty differentiating 5 from 10 on the nitrate chart), and presumably accurate enough.
I had purchased Salifert test kits, and after the novelty of feeling like a scientist working with syringes wore off, I found myself gravitating toward the API test kits because Salifert seemed to require more effort for an unknown and possibly non-existent benefit in accuracy. I figured I was better off going the route where I was more likely to test the water more often. I still use the Salifert Magnesium test kit, though, because I don't think API makes one.
When I got serious about monitoring phosphates, I got a Hanna Phosphate "checker", which takes the guess work out of trying to differentiate slight color variations in test results, http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hannah+phosphate&x=0&y=0. That's probably overkill for a 2 gallon tank, though.
As for the strips mom2thebest2 recommended, I used strips occasionally before I converted my FO tank to a reef and got serious about my water parameters. I've read people say they aren't very accurate, but can be good for getting a general idea about certain parameters. Depending on what you're keeping, a general idea may be enough, though. I might try testing with strips again to see how they compare against the results of my API tests. If the results are similar, then I may use them to check the parameters I'm reasonably confident in. Of course, they don't test for things like calcium, magnesium, phosphates, etc., though, that you'll want to test for if you're keeping a reef.
I'd just finished going through the 9 pages of water chemistry threads to find all the ones about test kits, and your post was one of the most helpful posts, so thank you.
Going to try to go out tonight to see what I can find for test kits. Hope I can find one fairly quickly, or I might end up venturing on ebay :-D
Sure thing, glad I could help! If you decide to go the API route, they sell a "Reef Master" test kit that bundles calcium, carbonate hardness, phosphate and nitrate together. http://www.amazon.com/Mars-Fishcare-Reef-Master-Test/dp/B000HHQABO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1294956391&sr=8-2
If your tank is mature, you shouldn't have to bother with nitrite or ammonia tests (since ammonia should be broken down into nitrite which should be broken down into nitrate in a cycled tank), but you'll still need a pH test and a magensium test.
Of course, others may prefer Salifert over API, and those two aren't the only names in the game. At the end of the day, you should be fine so long as you get a test kit from a reasonably well known/well regarded company.
A word of advice (although I suppose this has all been advice), if you intend to make your tank a reef tank then I would more or less treat it like a reef tank now. I believe I still have phosphates leeching out of my rock because I used tap water in the tank for a long time before "waking up." :-P
I use the API calcium test and the Salifert magnesium test. I would use an API magnesium test, but I'm not sure they make one. If you get the API Reef Master test kit, the calcium test is part of it.
Just to give you an idea of what I was talking about, this is the Salifert calcium test
and this is the API calcium test
Assuming they are both reasonably accurate, and I have not read anything that said the API test isn't, I would get the Salifert test if you want to impress onlookers, and the API test if you want to keep things simple. :-P
Sorry if I wasn't clear, DisneyCoralReef, the API calcium test comes as part of the API Reef Master test kit.
The Reef Master test kit includes: calcium, carbonate hardness, phosphate and nitrate together.
If you get the Reef Master test kit then you don't need to get the calcium test kit separately. :-)
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