Please help me understand why ICP results

BeltedCoyote

Lord of the Memes
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2019
Messages
4,914
Reaction score
25,498
Before you can ask what these numbers mean, you first have to ask how accurate these numbers are. Should you trust these numbers? Are they BS? How can you tell? Bad news, vendors do not provide you with any information about the likelihood that the numbers they supply are close to reality. Without accuracy estimates, ICP measurements are only somewhat more useful then reading tea leaves.


Just for the record, we humans have no means to judge whether analytical results are “legitimate“. As for using dubious test results in some calculation, there is saying “garbage in garbage out”, which refers to conclusions based on dubious data aren’t worth much.

Confused Trailer Park Boys GIF
 
Avast
OP
Reefing_addiction

Reefing_addiction

Corals over Crack
View Badges
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
8,651
Reaction score
31,147
Location
Aurora
Just for a reference point my tank is doing wonderful
Yeah, have a good one. Seriously, good luck with your aquarium.
Well maybe I need to clean the glass.
CDF698B4-7477-4B87-91FB-AED01D93205C.jpeg
1ABEFB53-78AD-4A24-A406-ABEE9BF8159B.jpeg
 
OP
Reefing_addiction

Reefing_addiction

Corals over Crack
View Badges
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
8,651
Reaction score
31,147
Location
Aurora
@Dan_P
So do you test at all?

What is your recommendations on testing?
Do you dose anything?
Have you looked into the reef moonshiners method?
If you knew how an ICP test was performed would that give it any merit?
 

Dan_P

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
2,156
Reaction score
2,025
@Dan_P
So do you test at all?

What is your recommendations on testing?
Do you dose anything?
Have you looked into the reef moonshiners method?
If you knew how an ICP test was performed would that give it any merit?
I was very tempted to obtain ICP tests until a friend shared dozens of ICP’s from the various vendors. I read up on the method and what it takes to obtain accurate results. Then I did a head slap when realized no vendor guarantees their work. So testing is only done with hobby kits or methods I develop and validate myself. Unfortunately, that is not a wide range of analytes. As you gathered :) I have no interest in unverified data.

Hey, your system has a fantastic array of coral. I am willing to bet that your success is based on your skill and only a tiny bit on micro nutrient dosing.
 
Maxout

Bo.

Impatient as always
View Badges
Joined
Feb 25, 2020
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
9,296
Location
Albuquerque
I was very tempted to obtain ICP tests until a friend shared dozens of ICP’s from the various vendors. I read up on the method and what it takes to obtain accurate results. Then I did a head slap when realized no vendor guarantees their work. So testing is only done with hobby kits or methods I develop and validate myself. Unfortunately, that is not a wide range of analytes. As you gathered :) I have no interest in unverified data.

Hey, your system has a fantastic array of coral. I am willing to bet that your success is based on your skill and only a tiny bit on micro nutrient dosing.
How can you verify your home developed tests are accurate though?
 
OP
Reefing_addiction

Reefing_addiction

Corals over Crack
View Badges
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
8,651
Reaction score
31,147
Location
Aurora
I was very tempted to obtain ICP tests until a friend shared dozens of ICP’s from the various vendors. I read up on the method and what it takes to obtain accurate results. Then I did a head slap when realized no vendor guarantees their work. So testing is only done with hobby kits or methods I develop and validate myself. Unfortunately, that is not a wide range of analytes. As you gathered :) I have no interest in unverified data.

Hey, your system has a fantastic array of coral. I am willing to bet that your success is based on your skill and only a tiny bit on micro nutrient dosing.
It’s honestly been based on pure luck and random water changes.

I’m hoping to get away from water changes. I figured I try the moonshine method for a bit and see how the tank dose. If it works woohoo. I think after a few rounds of ICPs (even if they are not perfect) I can rough estimate what I need to dose monthly for trace elements. See the trend and run with it.

I really just let the system do it’s thing.

I have found those dosing calculators for alk to be total poop!

I’m currently working on getting my alk to 8.5 from 7.4 dosing ESV b ionic two part. It went 7.4 to 7.7 to 7.9 to 8 over the last week dosing 5ml a night. Plan on keeping that up until I hit 8.5 then reducing down to 2ml. To see if it holds.


And honestly my tank is running on a lot of guess work and luck.
 

Dkeller_nc

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
890
Reaction score
1,212
There's a good bit of "art" rather than "science" in reef keeping. Much like growing a garden and learning by experience what the particular vegetable plants are telling you by their appearance, growth rate, and yield, polyp extension, algal growth rate, coral color, and a great many other factors can be used to judge what a tank needs or doesn't need.

In my particular opinion, it's somewhat risky to use single-point assays, even using sophisticated scientific instruments like ICP, to determine the dosage of trace elements in an aquaria. There are several reasons for this - one is that most labs don't acidify their incoming samples. That means that some amount of metallic trace elements that are bound up in particulates in the water generally won't be quantitated. However, as these elements are depleted in the water column by the various lifeforms and/or abiotic processes, these particulates can re-dissolve. Perhaps a much more important reason to be cautious about dosing trace elements based on estimates of consumption from one or more ICP assays is that many trace elements in sea water are necessary for many lifeforms, but are toxic if they become too concentrated. There are many such trace elements, but the main one that many aquarists would be familiar with is copper. Copper is required as a co-factor for several necessary enzymes, but in extremely small quantities. And, of course, too much copper is deadly to most of our reef tank denizens.

The bottom line is that I think ICP is extremely useful for verifying a suspected metallic pollutant that is causing problems in the aquarium - copper from plumbing in a reefer's house/apartment, zinc from corroding fasteners and/or reef inappropriate equipment, etc...

I'm much more skeptical of using ICP as a maintenance tool over regular water changes. There's no doubt that in extremely skilled hands like the gentleman that started the Dutch Synthetic Reefing method, constant assaying of the system's water by a multitude of analytical tests with back-dosing of the individual elements does actually work, but in the hands of a reefer of average skill, water changes are far and away a much simpler (and cheaper) means of maintaining reef tanks in a healthy condition.

Note that this is not the same thing as thinking that water changes can keep up with minor (as opposed to trace) elements such as calcium, carbonates and magnesium. Those pretty much require testing and dosing in some fashion.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
44,831
Reaction score
33,702
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
So you use the Chlorine to determine salinity? Interesting

so then my salinity is where I want it, right? Man I should have taken chemistry lol

Chlorinity/salinity is good for real seawater, but it is only a crude estimate for reef tank water because the other main ion that has a negative charge (like chloride) is sulfate, and it often deviates a lot in reef tanks. So knowing chloride does nto give good knowledge of sulfate in a reef tank, and hence doesn't give good knowledge of the salinity.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
44,831
Reaction score
33,702
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
@Randy Holmes-Farley can you help me understand how to figure salinity from my icp test results

Calculator is the best way.

You need to know either most of the negative charge ions (sulfate and chloride, possibly bromide) or the positively charged ones (sodium, magnesium, magnesium and potassium).

Most everything else can be ignored as they are too small to contribute much.
 
BRS

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
44,831
Reaction score
33,702
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
I have found those dosing calculators for alk to be total poop!

Good calculators for ESV-B-ionic should be nearly perfect, as long as you are dosing the right dilution and know the water volume.
 

DrZoidburg

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
365
Reaction score
214
Location
Near Lake George
Right that is where the number 1.80655 comes into play. It is a constant factor based on chloride ratio averages of real natural seawater taken around the world. An old way (official use 1969). Modern methods also use a whole arsenal of testing. Temp, pressure, conductivity, density, computer programs and sensors, loads of math.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
44,831
Reaction score
33,702
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Right that is where the number 1.80655 comes into play. It is a constant factor based on chloride ratio averages of real natural seawater taken around the world. An old way (official use 1969). Modern methods also use a whole arsenal of testing. Temp, pressure, conductivity, density, computer programs and sensors, loads of math.

Yes, I understand, but it is not optimal for reef tank water salinity, IMO. Natural seawater has fixed ratios of the major ions, and knowing one tells you all the others, hence knowing chloride is good enough.

Reef tank water varies substantially in the other major ions in relation to chloride, most importantly, sulfate, the third most abundant ion in seawater by weight and completely disconnected to chloride.

As a crude estimate, chloride is OK, but not better than that.
 

DrZoidburg

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
365
Reaction score
214
Location
Near Lake George
Yes, I understand, but it is not optimal for reef tank water salinity, IMO. Natural seawater has fixed ratios of the major ions, and knowing one tells you all the others, hence knowing chloride is good enough.

Reef tank water varies substantially in the other major ions in relation to chloride, most importantly, sulfate, the third most abundant ion in seawater by weight and completely disconnected to chloride.

As a crude estimate, chloride is OK, but not better than that.
I agree I was just pointing that out. One can see that natural seawater is not your tank. I did say earlier too many variables for this reason.
 

Do you have a battery backup plan in place?

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 28 33.7%
  • NO

    Votes: 50 60.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 5 6.0%
A Reef Creation
Top