Hanna Nitrate Checker Review

NanoCrazed

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Got my new Hanna Nitrate checker in today and just finally had a chance to take it for a spin...

VERDICT: It's good if you want accuracy and consistency (outside of user error), and looking to measure for very targeted nitrate levels...particularly <5ppm.

PROS: Better resolution than typical test kits, especially for stick-heads looking ot control nitrates under 5 ppm.
CONS: Takes longer to test than any liquid test kit and lots of things to do and lots to clean following (mixing vial, sample cuvette, 2X syringes, needle, filter housing)

I read the instructions prior to the arrival of my nitrate checker... seems complicated but wanted to get a sense of how truly complicated it is by running a test. And after doing so, it's fairly involved. Though, I expect after a few times of getting the hang of it, it won't be complicated...but it will be tedious.

There are at least 7 steps involved... 3 reagents, 2 vials, 1 filtration... and if you're thinking your nitrates are over 5ppm, then add in a dilution step. AND, it won't save you time. It takes about 15 - 18 mins to do the test, fully buffered... here's how it breaks down:

  • 1 Min - sample collection and addition reagent A and B
  • 1Min - shake
  • 2 Mins - transfer solution into syringe, add filter, fill liquid into sample cuvette
  • 1 Min - zero sample
  • 3 Mins - Add regent C and shake for 2 mins
  • 8 Mins - Wait for reaction and measurement
Compared to taking up to 4 mins on a Salifert kit, or 8 mins on API...

And let's not forget if you guessed wrong thinking you have low nitrate <5ppm... run the Hanna test and it turns out you have higher nitrates than 5ppm afterall...then you have to rerun the whole test and blow another pack of reagents plus extra dilution steps. AND DOUBLE your time. Happened to me...
 

chipmunkofdoom2

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And let's not forget if you guessed wrong thinking you have low nitrate <5ppm... run the Hanna test and it turns out you have higher nitrates than 5ppm afterall...then you have to rerun the whole test and blow another pack of reagents plus extra dilution steps. AND DOUBLE your time. Happened to me...

Thanks for the review. This has been my beef with this Checker since they announced the range. While most reefers probably target 5ppm or less for NO3, having an upper testing limit of 5 ppm under normal circumstances really is only valuable if you target below 2 - 3 ppm. Drifting up by just one or two ppm, which is not hard or uncommon, maxes out the Checker and wastes a test.

Another perplexing thing here is the Salifert nitrate kit is actually really good at measuring values below 10ppm since you can use the low range reading technique (looking through the side of the vial instead of the top). The low range measurement is infinitely easier to read than the normal range. Sometimes discerning between 0.2 ppm, 0.5 ppm and 1 ppm is tricky, but every other gradient (2.5, 5, 10) is super clear.
 
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NanoCrazed

NanoCrazed

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Thanks for the review. This has been my beef with this Checker since they announced the range. While most reefers probably target 5ppm or less for NO3, having an upper testing limit of 5 ppm under normal circumstances really is only valuable if you target below 2 - 3 ppm. Drifting up by just one or two ppm, which is not hard or uncommon, maxes out the Checker and wastes a test.

Another perplexing thing here is the Salifert nitrate kit is actually really good at measuring values below 10ppm since you can use the low range reading technique (looking through the side of the vial instead of the top). The low range measurement is infinitely easier to read than the normal range. Sometimes discerning between 0.2 ppm, 0.5 ppm and 1 ppm is tricky, but every other gradient (2.5, 5, 10) is super clear.
Yeah, what bothers me on an OCD level is if 5 is really 5 or you're just maxed out on the range or bottomed out for that matter?

i do think it has a place like the Hanna ULR Phosphate... if you're keeping SPS, especially in a ULN setup, then the finer resolution is ideal.

What I will probably do is use Salifert nitrate as the initial test since quick and easy... if under 5ppm (AND, I have the time) or maybe 2.5, pull out the Hanna to get a proper reading. I care because I keep a lot of high end sticks... otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

For the majority of reefers, the box kits like salifert would be the way to go. I use to use API and hated the 5ppm gaps... salifert is a huge improvement with less work.
 

primoleo

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Yeah, what bothers me on an OCD level is if 5 is really 5 or you're just maxed out on the range or bottomed out for that matter?

i do think it has a place like the Hanna ULR Phosphate... if you're keeping SPS, especially in a ULN setup, then the finer resolution is ideal.

What I will probably do is use Salifert nitrate as the initial test since quick and easy... if under 5ppm (AND, I have the time) or maybe 2.5, pull out the Hanna to get a proper reading. I care because I keep a lot of high end sticks... otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

For the majority of reefers, the box kits like salifert would be the way to go. I use to use API and hated the 5ppm gaps... salifert is a huge improvement with less work.

Well, ULR Phosphate reads 0 to 0.3 (!!) phosphate, within the range of any proper reef tank.
0-5 ppm of nitrate is too low range. I'm sure there were some technical difficulties to make a larger range or to make it accurate.
 

robbyg

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Got my new Hanna Nitrate checker in today and just finally had a chance to take it for a spin...

VERDICT: It's good if you want accuracy and consistency (outside of user error), and looking to measure for very targeted nitrate levels...particularly <5ppm.

PROS: Better resolution than typical test kits, especially for stick-heads looking ot control nitrates under 5 ppm.
CONS: Takes longer to test than any liquid test kit and lots of things to do and lots to clean following (mixing vial, sample cuvette, 2X syringes, needle, filter housing)

I read the instructions prior to the arrival of my nitrate checker... seems complicated but wanted to get a sense of how truly complicated it is by running a test. And after doing so, it's fairly involved. Though, I expect after a few times of getting the hang of it, it won't be complicated...but it will be tedious.

There are at least 7 steps involved... 3 reagents, 2 vials, 1 filtration... and if you're thinking your nitrates are over 5ppm, then add in a dilution step. AND, it won't save you time. It takes about 15 - 18 mins to do the test, fully buffered... here's how it breaks down:

  • 1 Min - sample collection and addition reagent A and B
  • 1Min - shake
  • 2 Mins - transfer solution into syringe, add filter, fill liquid into sample cuvette
  • 1 Min - zero sample
  • 3 Mins - Add regent C and shake for 2 mins
  • 8 Mins - Wait for reaction and measurement
Compared to taking up to 4 mins on a Salifert kit, or 8 mins on API...

And let's not forget if you guessed wrong thinking you have low nitrate <5ppm... run the Hanna test and it turns out you have higher nitrates than 5ppm afterall...then you have to rerun the whole test and blow another pack of reagents plus extra dilution steps. AND DOUBLE your time. Happened to me...
Great Review and thanks.
Only thing is I think 18 minutes is IMHO conservative. Add in the time to locate the right test kit in my pile of Hanna kits, then find a pair of scissors, Identify the different reagent packs and cut and puff them out, then read the quick instruction list, then read it again. Then there is the vial wipe down time and lastly you can add on 5 minutes to clean everything. Using your number plus the extra 10 minutes it takes me to do all that other stuff and I will no doubt be spending nearly 30 minutes doing this test.

Oh I would suggest to everyone that unless your absolutely sure your Nitrates are below 5ppm you do the 50ppm test and save yourself a lot of time and reagents.
 

Acrocrazy725

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I posted this in the Hanna thread didn’t see this thread.

I have Hanna nitrite checker came in today.
it is a lot of steps, I did watch video before I bought it. I still took the plunge !!lol
It’s a lot of steps and took me while following video a good 20 minutes. When I got to last reading timer went off after 8 minute and it gave me an error reading which said that the vile was upside down in machine. Come on seriously. It told me to turn over and redo test. Which is impossible because I used same vile for calibration as test. So basically I have to start all over again and hope after 20 minutes that I actually get a reading. I don’t have time tonight, but will try again tomorrow afternoon. I followed video step by step did exactly what they did. I think I might be able to cut this test down to 15 minutes with practice, but it is a very involved test. I might continue to use Red Sea on a regular basis and use the Hanna as a monthly checker Or if I am raising or lowering and want exact measurements.
I knew what I was getting into before I bought it . Lol
 
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sg88

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Yeah, what bothers me on an OCD level is if 5 is really 5 or you're just maxed out on the range or bottomed out for that matter?

i do think it has a place like the Hanna ULR Phosphate... if you're keeping SPS, especially in a ULN setup, then the finer resolution is ideal.

What I will probably do is use Salifert nitrate as the initial test since quick and easy... if under 5ppm (AND, I have the time) or maybe 2.5, pull out the Hanna to get a proper reading. I care because I keep a lot of high end sticks... otherwise, I wouldn't bother.

For the majority of reefers, the box kits like salifert would be the way to go. I use to use API and hated the 5ppm gaps... salifert is a huge improvement with less work.
If it is like all the other Hanna checkers a Reading of 5.0 will read simply 5.0 while a maxed out reading will flash the maximum number (flashing 5.0)
 

TrishK

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Mine was preordered long ago and was supposed to arrive today but it didn’t show up. The time doesn’t really bother me. The Strontrium test takes over 30 minutes. I just do cleaning and water changes etc while test is doing it’s thing.
 
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NanoCrazed

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If it is like all the other Hanna checkers a Reading of 5.0 will read simply 5.0 while a maxed out reading will flash the maximum number (flashing 5.0)
Yes, it's does do that that according to the manual...
 
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NanoCrazed

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Oh I would suggest to everyone that unless your absolutely sure your Nitrates are below 5ppm you do the 50ppm test and save yourself a lot of time and reagents.

Actually that's a good point -- I went back to the manual and didn't notice last night doing the test (at 2AM, so I have an excuse!) that the calculated range (via dilution) is 0.0 - 50.0ppm. So if you aren't dead set on accuracy <5ppm, this would get you covered.

BUT, there will be an extra dilution steps and adds more time to the process...
 
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NanoCrazed

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Mine was preordered long ago and was supposed to arrive today but it didn’t show up. The time doesn’t really bother me. The Strontrium test takes over 30 minutes. I just do cleaning and water changes etc while test is doing it’s thing.
Just don't forget to set the timer... easy to lose track of time multi-tasking when there's a large gap between processing and sample readout... :). I forget often...
 

Sleepydoc

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I watched the instruction video and it’s definitely involved. I can‘t see Hanna selling a whole lot of these - like @NanoCrazed said, it will mainly be of value to the OCD people trying to get precise control of their nitrates, and the Salifert test is reasonably accurate already.

The problem with this test is it takes a long time to do (15-20 minutes) and much of that time you are busy shaking, mixing, filtering, etc, so you can’t really do much else. If was just a 15 min wait for the test to develop and read it would be easier. I have to wonder why they didn’t use the same process as the salifert test and measure the absorption? Also, Given the need to mix, transfer and filter, there/‘s no way to even automate the test.

I remember a BRS video several years ago where they were trying to get precise nitrate readings. IIRC, they ended up using a salifert test on a Hach meter.

Edit: just for comparison, I can test Alk, Ca, Mg, phos, nitrate & Nitrite in 15-20 min, meaning this single test takes as long as testing all of my other parameters.
 
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xjiang7

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You probably have to wait for another hour for the syringe filter assembly to dry after cleaning it before putting everything back to the box. I work in a lab and use syringe filters often they should be disposable
 
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