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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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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It comes down to people posting weird results with the strips then to have it done with the test kits and it is more consistent... all anecdotal of course. Long term I doubt the strips are more cost effective.

I don't test everything every time and, if I were on town water, I wouldn't need to do a GH and KH test. I often will do only ammonia, or nitrites. Today I only tested for nitrates but a few weeks ago I was testing ammonia and nitrites twice a day.

How much are the strips anyway?

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
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.
what is measured in a tank with plants by liquid tests that test strips dont test for? and when we say inaccurate are we talking 0.001% or like 25% off or what. also if they are off by a certain degree why is it and we have already heard the extremely humid climate as a factor. but im saying in your normal everyday home where the humidity wouldnt be effected. might like to add strips are about the same price sometimes cost more.

Test results can be affected by contamination or improper storage, and our color perception depends to some extent on ambient light and background colors. In addition, really frequent water tests can motivate some to try for perfection and thus constantly fiddle with water parameters. A more relaxed approach is safer for the fish.
 

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. still havent heard any solid evidence or facts
In high school I remember doing an experiment on accuracy vs precision. We used strips and also liquid reagents. The chemistry teacher felt that the liquid tests were more accurate than the litmus paper, and I remember that the results supported that. That was some 15 years ago, so unfortunately I cannot recall more than that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
well since there hasnt been any sure fact or fiction here, this is my conclusion - strips are just as good as drops. with the drops there is no way they are labratory accuracte same with the strips. as long as strips are properly stored and not fingerd all up before use they will show the same readings as drops with some diffrence that is to minute to matter in a home aquarium with or without live plants with or without super sensitive fish. strips are alot more easyier to use and less time consuming however they do cost more then drops.

so basically it comes down to a personall prefrence ratehr then a accuracy issue in the home aquarium, so next time you dog strips and say they arent as accurate as drops remember the diffrence in readings im sure can only be found by lab testing both and then compareing. even then the diffrences are more then likely minute like i said before.

both equally acurate, strips easy to do but cost more. drops cost less and take longer to do and have a minimal amount more of accuracy that wont effect a home aquarium. any agree here?
 

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How much are the strips anyway?

Jeff.
About 5x more per test. Throw in that you are possibly stuck testing for other test on the strip it only multiples that further.

Personally, test strips have their place and IME they are not as bad as forums make them out to be. I find that some of them have a wider variation in colors then liquid tests making them easier to read which can reduce inaccuracy due to interpretation.
 

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I agree. Like I said earlier, as long as you aren't getting false negatives, or always getting false positives, I don't see how it matters that the results are as accurate as they can be - Says the guy that doesn't ever test the water.
 

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The false negative would be the only problem, really. Ammonia, nitrite should be zero and nitrate should be as low as possible, say try to aim for no more than 10ppm. pH, well, it varies throughout the day so a relative value is OK if it is stable and appropriate for the fish.

I don't know why the accuracy is more important with plants than without.

I'll stick with liquid. Long term cost isn't really an issue but its nice to get good value for a dollar.

Jeff.
 

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It all comes down to proper balance of nutrients. With test strips, you are getting a best guess ball park result. In the 80's, when I had a reef tank, parameters were more strict and I started with test strips and I suspected the results. Upon purchasing a more expensive liquid drop kit, the results were in favor of the liquid drop kits because the results matched how my fish were behaving. I scraped the strips and never purchased them again.
Strips are not cheaper if they give mediocre results.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It all comes down to proper balance of nutrients. With test strips, you are getting a best guess ball park result. In the 80's, when I had a reef tank, parameters were more strict and I started with test strips and I suspected the results. Upon purchasing a more expensive liquid drop kit, the results were in favor of the liquid drop kits because the results matched how my fish were behaving. I scraped the strips and never purchased them again.
Strips are not cheaper if they give mediocre results.
that was the 80s alot has changed since then. untill someone can come up with some facts that back it its all hearsay
 

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Well,
We are just the users of the products. If you want a unbias opinion closer to fact then heresay, then I suggest you contact a company or companys that just make liquid drop test kits only and ask for an opinion. I believe Seachem does not make test strips. If thats correct, then there's a good reason they don't.
 
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