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Looking to Upgrade My Testing Supplies - Need Recommendations

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nautical_nathaniel

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I would like to upgrade from the API tests I have now to something a little more accurate and trustworthy among fellow hobbyists.

Currently I'm looking at this Salifert kit. Is there another site out there that has it priced cheaper?

I know I need pH, Ammonia/Ammonium, Nitrate, Calcium, Magnesium, Alkalinity, and Phosphate and that kit above includes all of those but do I need Nitrite as well? I normally don't give it anyways in a parameter report because nobody asks for it and it's always at or around 0 for me. My understanding is that in a well established aquarium it doesn't really come into play much anymore.

I also know Hanna Checkers are an option as well but I'm not too sold on their devices yet, I understand that they sometimes will give a range of values for the same water in subsequent tests. However, I trust fellow hobbyists and their first-hand experiences more than rumors and such so if someone has something that differs from what I've heard about them, I'd be happy to hear about it.

In terms of pH, would a probe be better and cheaper long-term? If so, is there a good setup with a small form factor that works well? Not all that interested in the Apex system because it's more components than I wish to invest in at the moment but I have considered the ReefKeeper lite before. The Pinpoint pH monitor at BRS is within my price point as well.
 
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nautical_nathaniel

nautical_nathaniel

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I use Hanna for Alk and Cal, I compared the results to AIP an was very happy. Plus super simple.
Thanks for the feedback, I may try a single hanna checker eventually and see how that goes. Right now I want to get something reliable without breaking the bank.
 

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Salifert alk works just fine, we used it for years with great success. Much easier than red sea IMO. Got the Hannah due to ease of testing since I try to check it often. It's funny because the salifert is really easy but since I use the Hannah now I'm like ughhh, I can't imagine doing the salifert anymore. Lol.
 

Js.Aqua.Project

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I personally use Red Sea tests for everything. Not overly expensive and I have not had any issues with accuracy between batches.

The Marine Care Test Kit includes pH, NH3/4, NO2, NO3 and KH (although I don't like this version of their KH test).
The Reef Foundations Pro Test Kit includes Ca, Mg, KH (prefer this KH test).
Then all you're missing is a Phosphate Test Kit.

There is a Algae Control Test Kit which includes the Phosphates Pro Test Kit and a Nitrate Pro which is more accurate NO3 test than the one included in the Marine Care kit (but IME unless you are running NO3 <1 the Pro test is superfluous).

So I would just do the Marine Care, Reef Foundations, and add the Phosphates kit.

I have tried using other peoples' Hanna checkers but found the results to be inconsistent from test to test (same test, same water, done back to back with different results), don't know if this is a product issue or if there is a calibration issue, I don't have enough experience with them to truly judge them.
 
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nautical_nathaniel

nautical_nathaniel

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Salifert alk works just fine, we used it for years with great success. Much easier than red sea IMO. Got the Hannah due to ease of testing since I try to check it often. It's funny because the salifert is really easy but since I use the Hannah now I'm like ughhh, I can't imagine doing the salifert anymore. Lol.
I think I will get the salifert for now just because I can get everything I need at once. I will look into getting the hanna checkers at some point soon too (maybe a Christmas/Birthday Present since my birthday and Christmas are 5 days apart haha
 
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nautical_nathaniel

nautical_nathaniel

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Still wondering about the pH probe though, don't really need a continuous monitor but something to stick in the tank quickly to get a reading would be nice. Any opinions on the offerings from Hanna or the ones BRS sells?
 

atx100r

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I use the Hannah PH stick..It is economical and works well. need to keep the sensor wet when not in use. No issue it comes with a rubber cap with room for fluid. I also purchased the storage fluid...Should last me a lifetime. I use hannah ultra low phosperus and DKH...Red Sea calcium and Magnesium and API for the rest.
 

lactose

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With 4 separate systems + QT and OT tanks I feel like I have a testing hobby that also involves fish tanks ;)

pH - probes in systems and then a pen kit for testing bag water differential to OT/QT tanks when getting new fish/corals. pens aren't super accurate I would imagine but more looking for it to be able to give me a consistent reading to know how different bag/tanks are for quick acclimation

Ammonia/Ammonium - API, relatively easy and I am typically just trying to see if I have any vs specific levels

Nitrate - API, relatively easy but not great and good enough range for me

Nitrite - I occasionally test this when cycling but feel that Ammonia/Nitrate are enough as Nitrite is a middle step not an end goal.

Calcium - red sea. if you add in the sr aquaristik speed test magnet stirrer from Aquaristik these tests are a breeze.
Magnesium - red sea. same as Ca

Alkalinity - Hanna Checker - very consistent for, Red Sea were my gotos before but this is so much easier now with the checker and love that it is 1ml of solution not a packet of powder

Phosphate - Hanna Checker, but I am discouraged by the packet of powder. I never feel like I get it all, it is hard to open and pour and you have to cut it open early or you don't make the 3 min timeout window (in my experience). Haven't found another kit I like.

That's my experience and hope it helps.
 

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Still wondering about the pH probe though, don't really need a continuous monitor but something to stick in the tank quickly to get a reading would be nice. Any opinions on the offerings from Hanna or the ones BRS sells?
That I can't help bud, I don't check ph
 

Js.Aqua.Project

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I used to use the Hanna pH probe before my Apex (which I occasionally check against Red Sea pH to see when it is time to recalibrate), and I did like it, fast results that were consistent with my Red Sea Kit/ I only stopped using it because I had the old probe that wasn't water proof, and it found a bucket of saltwater one day...decided it looked like a great pool or something....so now I just rely on my Apex.
 
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nautical_nathaniel

nautical_nathaniel

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With 4 separate systems + QT and OT tanks I feel like I have a testing hobby that also involves fish tanks ;)

pH - probes in systems and then a pen kit for testing bag water differential to OT/QT tanks when getting new fish/corals. pens aren't super accurate I would imagine but more looking for it to be able to give me a consistent reading to know how different bag/tanks are for quick acclimation

Ammonia/Ammonium - API, relatively easy and I am typically just trying to see if I have any vs specific levels

Nitrate - API, relatively easy but not great and good enough range for me

Nitrite - I occasionally test this when cycling but feel that Ammonia/Nitrate are enough as Nitrite is a middle step not an end goal.

Calcium - red sea. if you add in the sr aquaristik speed test magnet stirrer from Aquaristik these tests are a breeze.
Magnesium - red sea. same as Ca

Alkalinity - Hanna Checker - very consistent for, Red Sea were my gotos before but this is so much easier now with the checker and love that it is 1ml of solution not a packet of powder

Phosphate - Hanna Checker, but I am discouraged by the packet of powder. I never feel like I get it all, it is hard to open and pour and you have to cut it open early or you don't make the 3 min timeout window (in my experience). Haven't found another kit I like.

That's my experience and hope it helps.
That definitely helps, thank you for all of your feedback!
 
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nautical_nathaniel

nautical_nathaniel

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That I can't help bud, I don't check ph
May I ask why? I don't check mine everyday but now I'm sort of paranoid after seeing some folks' pH drop down to around 7 at night haha
 
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I got tired of chasing numbers to be honest. Some might disagree but i prefer stability more than anything. The corals are growing and colorful. My ph doesn't drop below 7.9 at night. I switched back to aquavitro from ME coral and the ph is higher and more consistent. I used to freak if the ph wasn't 8.2 or higher, I've noticed no change in constantly dosing to chase ph so I stopped. Alk and calcium dosing has been plenty. I'm not telling you not to check ph or that it's irrelevant, just saying what I do.
 

XNavyDiver

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I would like to upgrade from the API tests I have now to something a little more accurate and trustworthy among fellow hobbyists.

Currently I'm looking at this Salifert kit. Is there another site out there that has it priced cheaper?

I know I need pH, Ammonia/Ammonium, Nitrate, Calcium, Magnesium, Alkalinity, and Phosphate and that kit above includes all of those but do I need Nitrite as well? I normally don't give it anyways in a parameter report because nobody asks for it and it's always at or around 0 for me. My understanding is that in a well established aquarium it doesn't really come into play much anymore.

I also know Hanna Checkers are an option as well but I'm not too sold on their devices yet, I understand that they sometimes will give a range of values for the same water in subsequent tests. However, I trust fellow hobbyists and their first-hand experiences more than rumors and such so if someone has something that differs from what I've heard about them, I'd be happy to hear about it.

In terms of pH, would a probe be better and cheaper long-term? If so, is there a good setup with a small form factor that works well? Not all that interested in the Apex system because it's more components than I wish to invest in at the moment but I have considered the ReefKeeper lite before. The Pinpoint pH monitor at BRS is within my price point as well.
Sorry if someone has responded to this part of your post already, but I've got a lot of experience with Hanna checkers and I haven't read through the entire thread yet... Hanna alk I'm very happy with. It's been very consistent with its readings for me. There was a short period where I was getting some wonky results, so I ask questions in the Hanna sponsored thread. The Hanna rep sent me their calibration cuvettes and a new bottle of their reagent for free. I've never had a problem since then. It's been pretty spot on from what I can tell. I make it a point to test exactly the same way every time, and wash out and polish the cuvettes every time.
Hanna ULR PO4 is also a worthy investment. These rely on little packets of reagent, but once you develop a routine with them, it's very easy and again, from what I can tell, pretty darn accurate. The secret is consistency in your method I think. I've developed a habit of starting the po4 test and while that is brewing, I start the alk test. I can get both done in about 5 minutes.
Get the calibration cuvettes for both, and use them periodically to make sure it's testing within the manufactures range of error.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I would like to upgrade from the API tests I have now to something a little more accurate and trustworthy among fellow hobbyists.

Currently I'm looking at this Salifert kit. Is there another site out there that has it priced cheaper?

I know I need pH, Ammonia/Ammonium, Nitrate, Calcium, Magnesium, Alkalinity, and Phosphate and that kit above includes all of those but do I need Nitrite as well? I normally don't give it anyways in a parameter report because nobody asks for it and it's always at or around 0 for me. My understanding is that in a well established aquarium it doesn't really come into play much anymore.

I also know Hanna Checkers are an option as well but I'm not too sold on their devices yet, I understand that they sometimes will give a range of values for the same water in subsequent tests. However, I trust fellow hobbyists and their first-hand experiences more than rumors and such so if someone has something that differs from what I've heard about them, I'd be happy to hear about it.

In terms of pH, would a probe be better and cheaper long-term? If so, is there a good setup with a small form factor that works well? Not all that interested in the Apex system because it's more components than I wish to invest in at the moment but I have considered the ReefKeeper lite before. The Pinpoint pH monitor at BRS is within my price point as well.
No need for nitrite ever.

I'd do pH by meter, and alk by DIY using that pH meter.
 
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nautical_nathaniel

nautical_nathaniel

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No need for nitrite ever.

I'd do pH by meter, and alk by DIY using that pH meter.
Thanks for the input, is there a particular method to using the pH meter to read alkalinity, perhaps as some sort of formula or something?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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