Making testing easy with a magnetic stirrer

As we all know testing our system can be time consuming and challenging. Did I time the test, right? Did I count the drops, right? Did I shake...
By jsker, Jan 30, 2017 | |
  1. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Making testing easy with a magnetic stirrer


    As we all know testing our system can be time consuming and challenging. Did I time the test, right? Did I count the drops, right? Did I shake the vile long enough?

    After some thought, I started looking around for a way to simplify the shaking, dropping, and adding the reagent and I came up with using a lab magnetic stirrer. I use Red Sea test kits and also, I have also tried test on Salifert test kits using their vials and it works too.

    Equipment

    · Magnetic stirrer, I went with is the Apera Insterments link

    · I have also seen this model from Aquaristik link

    · 20 ml beakers for regular tests link

    · 10 ml beakers for small volume milliliter tests link

    · Tweezers to pull the stir bars out of the vials and beakers link

    · Silicone bakers mat, yes it is over kill but I have found that the reagents eat through cotton towels and discolor wood desk tops link

    · PTFE stir bar white, 10 mm and 5 mm. What I did, is order a 7pc set to get the sizes I needed. link


    Here are the traditional test Red Sea videos

    Nitrate



    Alk



    Ca




    Here is how I am now doing my test with the stirrer.




    I log my test results using my controller software and use my thread as a sort of journal to post my results there.

     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019

  2. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Partner Member 2019 Cyber Monday Sponsor R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Great job and thank you for sharing!
     
  3. Scurvy

    Scurvy Pirate Reefer R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Like this a lot, Thx!
     
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  4. dragon99

    dragon99 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I might have to try this. If only because tiny beakers are cool. Plus I already have a makeshift stirrer for homebrewing that might work.
     
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  5. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank you @revhtree
     
  6. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks for the great article @jsker.

    I've been using the SR Aquaristik Speed Test for a couple of weeks now and I find that when I use it for the Red Sea Nitrate test I get a lot of turbidity even when using a low spinning speed. Have you noticed this with any of your testing? Thoughts on improving the quality of the resulting mixture for ease of color comparison?

    Also, noticed you pull the pill out with those small forceps. Clever. I've been fishing the pill up with another magnet but the forceps look like a smarter solution.
     
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  7. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    @Scurvy you are welcome
    @dragon99 Ha the beakers are a little over the top, a lab coat would be pushing it

    I use the alrams & times with Windows 10 for my timers and that also cuts times for the reason I can do three test at once. This cut a lot of wait out also;)
     
  8. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    The SR Aquaristik speed test is pretty cool, but I also use the stirrer I have to mix food in a 250 ml beaker. I also use the stirrer to mix Mg if I need to dose in a 500 ml beaker. The one I use also mixes up to 3000 ml and I like the fact that I can mix larger amounts with the Apera. I regards to the Red Sea nitrate test, when I run the test it is pretty clear. With the Apera stirrer I can turn in down to were the stirrer bar barley spins. I went to a 10 ml beaker for the Ca and Mg for the reason that the beaker would move around with the 20 ml for lack of liquid. When I went to the 10 ml the beaker stays in place and I also get a better mix.

    When I get to the color change I stop and take my number from there. The Mg can be a little tricky, the color will change then go back to red. So I add a extra drop when the color changes.
     
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  9. mckinleyw

    mckinleyw AIRBORNE REEFER R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Tampa Bay Reef Keepers Build Thread Contributor

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    OK NOW I NEED ONE. This is a good concept. ive always wondered why I haven't seen this yet. Thank you.
     
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  10. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks, I'll try and slow the pill down even more to try and limit turbidity. Thanks.
     
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  11. radiata

    radiata Active Member NJRC Member

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    Thanks for the neat write-up!

    Looking at the Apera magnetic stirrer, one could use it for automated dosing of things like AcroPower, which need to be shaken before using.
     
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  12. andrew james

    andrew james Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I use this one it is awesome and cheap $25 on amazon

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. jsker

    jsker Reefing is all about the adventure Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 R2R Secret Santa Article Contributor Hospitality Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank you for sharing.
     
  14. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Does that one have speed control?
     
  15. andrew james

    andrew james Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Nope but it has a cool light if you want to check you Mg in the dark.
     
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  16. zachxlutz

    zachxlutz 120 Gallons of FUN R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Haha. Very cool. I do like the variable speed control on the SR Aquaristik on mine though.
     
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  17. andrew james

    andrew james Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    oh yeah the SR Aqua is definitely superior. I actually bought all the parts to make a homemade one with a potentiometer and a 3d printed body. I just haven't had the time to design a body I like yet.
     
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  18. Ramasule

    Ramasule Valuable Member

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    I came here for a write up, started watching a titration youtube video, ended with making love to my wife. Must have been that jazz.
     
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  19. Leadfooted

    Leadfooted Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Thank you! I'll be able to test much more accurately now!
     
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  20. RudyB

    RudyB Active Member

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    I made my own magnetic stirrer from parts of an old computer. If anyone wants I can do a write-up on how to make one. To buy the parts would be like $10 - $15. Let me know.
     
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