Frustrated! Should I change test types?

jacob.morgan78

New member
Man! I'm getting tired of trying to figure out these colors for measuring my levels! I think it must be my eyes! I currently use the Red Sea Test Kits for Calcium, Alk, Mag, Nitrates, and Phosphates. It is much better than when I used API but I still struggle! For instance, last night, I couldn't tell if my phosphate was 0 or .08. There's even a level between but my sample looked like both 0 and .08 (but not .04!) Frustrating! And with the titration types, I can't tell when the color has changed to the target color. There's always a few shades before it gets to the end color and I'm never sure when it has arrived at the end color. I follow directions exactly. I've watched the demo videos to make sure I'm doing it right. They seem like great tests and I've read great things about them but I don't know if they are for me... :(

My question is should I change to the Hanna Checkers, the ones with the digital read out, so I don't have to worry about the colors?!? Are they less accurate than the red sea tests. Are they worth the extra money?

Thanks!
 

Allmost

New member
digitals are mostly [hanna] more accurate, and easier to use. but they cost more.

make sure to do the tests in a room AWAY from your reef tank [dont want blue actinic light on it] well lid room. like the washroom. also have a piece of WHITE paper to work on, so u can place the sample over the white sheet and tell the color.

HTH,
 

Curtis.H

New member
Check out the Red Sea test kits. They use titration (you measure the amount of the reagen used to reach the end color). You still have to match a color but the color you're matching is an end point, not somewhere on a gradient. After you titrate a certain amount of the reagent into the sample the color will stop changing.
 

Tmoriarty

New member
Check out the Red Sea test kits. They use titration (you measure the amount of the reagen used to reach the end color). You still have to match a color but the color you're matching is an end point, not somewhere on a gradient. After you titrate a certain amount of the reagent into the sample the color will stop changing.

He is already using those tests if you read his whole post. He has a hard time telling when the end color is reached.

What I do (I use the redsea titration tests) is wait till the color starts to change and add two/three more drops, that is about your end color. If you are a drop off up or down there is normally not to much of a difference, at least with the mag/alk/calc.
 

jacob.morgan78

New member
digitals are mostly [hanna] more accurate, and easier to use. but they cost more.

make sure to do the tests in a room AWAY from your reef tank [dont want blue actinic light on it] well lid room. like the washroom. also have a piece of WHITE paper to work on, so u can place the sample over the white sheet and tell the color.

HTH,

Thanks, I've changed locations all the time trying to see the color correctly... just get more frustrated. I really think it's my eyes because there's really no sense in how difficult it is for me... (maybe slightly color blind or something... who knows) The red sea test kits are awesome in that they provide a white background on their little color wheel thing to make it as precise as possible...

If you are a drop off up or down there is normally not to much of a difference, at least with the mag/alk/calc.

good point... maybe I shouldn't be so picky.

I guess that I'm really thinking that I'd be much happier with a something that just told you the number instead of trying to diciper (sp.) it. However, I don't want to drop the extra money (I'm just a teacher) on more expensive stuff if it's not worth it or not as accurate. Can I get some feedback from that percpective?

Thanks!
 

rrasco

New member
That's why I want to get the Hanna checkers too. I have the phosphate one, but I've only ever seen it read 0.00. I have the same problem with the RS test kits too, finding the end color. I also hate doing the Mg test because that 15 second 5 drop step.
 

jacob.morgan78

New member
That's why I want to get the Hanna checkers too. I have the phosphate one, but I've only ever seen it read 0.00. I have the same problem with the RS test kits too, finding the end color. I also hate doing the Mg test because that 15 second 5 drop step.

Do you trust the 0 reading? Do you get the same reading on other tests?

I hate that 15 second step too! It seems to be accurate however I've received consistent 1500 readings for a long time now and I can't remember the last time I dosed Magnesium. I guess that's possible though.. I do frequent water changes with IO reef crystals...
 

rrasco

New member
Do you trust the 0 reading? Do you get the same reading on other tests?

I hate that 15 second step too! It seems to be accurate however I've received consistent 1500 readings for a long time now and I can't remember the last time I dosed Magnesium. I guess that's possible though.. I do frequent water changes with IO reef crystals...

No. I've only used it once, and I know there is po3, it's more than likely being consumed as it becomes available. I have plenty of macro in my fuge to tell you it's there, but I started running GFO a few weeks ago (that's why I have the tester) and the GTA, HA, and cyano in the sump is receding.

The Mg test always tested high for me, like 1600 constantly. Mg gets used MUCH slower than cal/alk though, so that's not uncommon to get a consistent reading like that. I of course used to do my test wrong, I was pulling the plastic tip of the syringe off before filling with reagent, so my readings have always been a little high. I'm not sure how high, I need to retest but I've been lazy.
 

rrasco

New member
I ran some new tests last night with the 'correct' method of leaving the syringe cap on when filling with reagent...and the numbers seemed a lot more reasonable: 8.4, 370, 1300. So Mg wasn't testing high every time for me, I just had to learn how to perform the dang tests correct. Now I know what I really need to be dosing!

I still want hanna checkers for cal/alk though.
 

Psyops

Still Learning
Same problem here with seeing the color differences. I have been using the Hanna checkers on NO3, PO4, and Alk now. NO issues with any one of them. I guess until I get blind enough that I can't even read the Hanna checkers.

Alex
 
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