Reefs dot com article on triton testing

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by hart24601, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. swk

    swk Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate all the discussion taking place. It's a real shame to have to bring attorneys into this. It's the sad truth about our society these days I suppose.

    On the issue of trust - I have a much easier time trusting someone who has nothing to gain financially from this, vs. someone who has finances involved or makes a living from said enterprise.

    Thats my bottom line and it puts the burden of proof on the party who makes a living from this to give enough information to decide for myself whether or not their service is trustworthy.

    Just my completely unsolicited, unscientifically edjumacated opinion on all this...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

  2. joefishUC

    joefishUC Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Regarding attorneys- This has been blown a bit out of proportion. Any company reserves the right to seek legal advice on all matters pertaining to their company. This is very normal part of business. Most large companies even have their own legal departments. The matter Richard is pointing to was in a private email exchange where Triton Gmbh stated that they would allow their lawyers to review the article. I don't believe any specific threats were made in this email. The last thing I or Triton wants to do is to get lawyers involved any more than they naturally should be- to guide us since we are not trained in law. Believe me on this.

    I am so **** excited to be talking about this science with you guys and everyone else and we honestly always have welcomed anonymous testing of the service. We just ask that it be done in the matrix of seawater. Maybe one day Triton will accept acidified samples but for the present time being, pricing structure and goal of our business we politely ask that samples be sent in seawater. That is what we are geared to test best. If you look at ENC labs, they are charging over $40 pr element outside of their basic saltwater test package which is more than 4 times what Triton charges. I do not believe they request that the samples be sent in acid either. Can anyone comment on this? Thx
     
  3. UK_Pete

    UK_Pete Well-Known Member R2R Excellence Award

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    Joe,

    If anonymous testing is welcomed thats great, but it didn't seem to be what we were hearing from Ehsan. If thats the company line then I think thats the answer the big guys were looking for, and I think also the little guys like me and the other people following this thread too. I think that exactly as you say triton have brought this type of testing to the masses and made it practical, taking testing to a new level. But to avoid nasty surprises like the results Rich Ross et al got, I think triton need to carefully explain the problems that might be encountered with each element they report, so its all known up front. Whatever the reason for the differences seen between the expected results and the actual results, if they are defined in advance, no one can say that there is any problem. I don't think that triton will suffer in any way from explaining this in advance.

    Re the matter of acidification, is there an actual technical reason to not acidify? I can see that for certain elements to be present in seawater samples other than as a precipitate on the walls of the posted vial, acidification would be valuable. My worry is that triton might just have jumped on this topic as a reason for the differences in results to the expected results, rather than from a valid scientific reason. Very slightly acidified seawater is of very little hazard compared to many things used in reef keeping - what about calcium hydroxide powder, muratic acid at 20 or greater percent, pure lye granules, and thats before even getting on to the reagents used in test kits. At 2% concentration, nitric acid is of pretty low hazard. I appreciate you might want it labelled as acidified, but many of us who are not anonymous testers would prefer to acidify samples (and label them as such) purely for the reason of getting accurate results for the elements that require it.

    Unless there is a real insurmountable reason you can't handle or adapt to handle these slightly acidified samples, I think it would be really useful to take them, not for the sake of anonymous QC of tritons performance, but for those aquarists who want the best quality results. If most triton testing is done with non acidified samples then anonymous QC testers would be better to send non acidified samples in, to be most similar to the samples that most hobbyists will be sending in. But there are plenty of us out here that want the best quality results and would prefer to acidify if it helps accuracy. If you can't then fair enough, I just think it would be a useful addition to the service.
     
  4. Ehsan@triton

    Ehsan@triton Well-Known Member

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    Hi Pete

    sorry pete I have not 100% understand that point.
    Cadmium is just 0.5 ppb out thats 0.0005 ppm .



    Well thats sound valid to me, but if you could write a bit simpler I would realy happy.


    Based on what you all know now and what I and this article say , that ICP-OES testing of seawater is very difficult, the problem we have here is, a real and proffesional assessment of the accuracy will also be very difficult.
    Wich here seems to be underestimated.
    Even for just our Display Tank we would need to use " standard addition" in a lot of variations and, Test in between of a lot of different other aquarium tests , possible Memory effects, the transport and possible holding times aswell as the robustness of the method need to be taken into acount.
    We work on that for a long time now to find the real meaningful assessment by our self, for our customers.
    But something like that take time and a lot of practical testing , i think you can imagine.
    So we will come up with a PDF that will help the users with this point. It interference to the Measurment line , the real deviation in different amounts, and the worse case recovery will be in there, also wich elements are problematic with holding times and " glueness " to the container walls and other special behavior of atoms like Iodine and acid will be in there.
    Parcialy from time to tim eI tried already to put some of the inf here like the interference of I to P, or some deviations.





    I can not follow the hamburger I think there is a missunderstandment in here. I wanted to say if you want to assess a purpose of something, the best way is to use it for the purpose. But in here that has not happened.



    I agree pete thats it , we even write that in the ECS as we can not test IRON down to the NSW levels we just are able to find it if it is already to much... so if you add Iron in that case like Randy or Me and a lot of others, you better stop as you overdosing. Thats the information you get out of Iron in the case of TRITON Testing. And that is its purpose. It will make your dosing Transparent for overdose but will not get Iron into NSW level. We don´t hide that.
    In a lot of cases the Qualitativ analysis would be even enough, so no accuracy at all would be helpfull already for our purpose.


    You are right but that is not a easy point... I don´t feel offended at all people should know what the get for there money I am fine with that... and they can send in what they want if it helps them to feel more confident with it... The trust and knowledge part you also might be misunderstanded ( I know it is difficult I am a very poor writer ).
    I prefer to know things on my own, like a lot of my customers, we don´t like to trust our succsess to sombody else.We try to promote this kind of reefing. That is a core of our Products, if you have a close look you will see. I don´t want you to trust me and you don´t need to. If you want to ask me how you can assess your own tank Matrix in terms of how accurate it will be for the elements of concern, ask me and I will tell you.
    This would be real knowledge everything else is trust.
    And then we will end up in I trust Monti energy or Blue Colors powder... or the guys hwo assessed TRITON testing is perfect.... thats not TRITONs goal.

    As you can see professional indipendent testing/certification/acreditation is a very difficult and costy issue, we have tried to overgo that kind of proof to keep the price of the Testing low and be able to use also unconventionall methods easier and faster. have in mind that by a certification/acreditation the results wouldn´t get better, you would possibly just trust in them more.
    I mean that is what it is all about if you would like to pay more for the same , just because sombody tells you it is good, that is your descision, there are acredited Labs all over the world.... and normaly they don´t have reeftanks.

    But let us stay on Focused on the results and the questions, not on other possibilitys for now.
    I will start to answer the first question of the breakdown soon.

    All the best Ehsan
     
  5. Ehsan@triton

    Ehsan@triton Well-Known Member

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    You don´t I am fine , you are in the UK right Why don´t you come over and we do some testing toghether ? I can show yo jow we work if you want and, also the problems and benefits of everything, we have so often people from the UK over and show them everything.
    I mean obviosly not every american could come over but you it would be so easy just 4 ours by car or a 100 Euro flight and I will pic you up.
    That would be better then any third party testing :)


    Look above , i am here and going nowhere you are invited Pete.
     
  6. Ehsan@triton

    Ehsan@triton Well-Known Member

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    The new Accuracy sheet will look a bit like that , I think the test will get more value trough this kind of PDF (still some stuff is missing ) :
    Possibly something like this is what Pete thought about.

    Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-10 um 15.37.37.jpg Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-10 um 15.38.46.jpg Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-10 um 15.39.20.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  7. Thales

    Thales Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the discussion so far.

    Both here and other venues we have been assured that the idea of legal action is currently a non-worry. For this we are thankful. :D

    We are concerned about some of the motivations that Ehsan has been attributing to the article and its authors, as they are not accurate. We have do not have anything against Triton, we do not have something against Ehsan’s family, we are not planning on setting up a competing business, and we no reason to try to skew the results in any particular way (all of these accusations have been said by Ehsan in various places). Both of the authors have careers that they aren’t planning on giving up, and neither of the authors have any interest or anything to gain by doing something that could tarnish their own reputations. There is no intent to ‘gotcha’ anyone, to fool anyone, to use percentages in confusing or misleading manner, to manipulate data, and we don’t feel the article is disparaging to Triton. Perhaps there is the issue with Ehsan’s English combined with his trying to protect his company that helped him post things he may not have meant - we are going to hope that this is the case.

    The point of the article was to discuss the issues of ICP-OES and saltwater, explore some of the questions about how Triton is addressing those issues, and to present data from the certified reference material we sent to Triton to give a snapshot of the precision and accuracy of the testing. As we said in the article: fast, inexpensive, accurate and precise testing of saltwater would be fantastic for many reasons. We were pleasantly surprised at how well Triton Lab actually tested out in regards to the certified reference material. We are also quite surprised at some of the negative reactions to the article.

    For instance, reference after reference, as well as expert after expert, indicates that 2% nitric acid will have negligible effects on the testing results in both radial and axial ICP-OES. The acidification of samples is simply not an issue for any other ICP-OES analyst besides Triton. Triton has not provided any evidence as to why it is a problem for their testing, they just say it is a problem. This is unconvincing. The results we published seem in reality not bad for Triton, so I am unsure why the push is there to discredit them.

    Discussion about potential problems with the reference material itself are confusing as HPS makes these reference materials to be used exactly the way it was used in the article. Why should we trust that company supplying the reference material more than Triton Lab (at least at this point)? Because many labs around the world use HPS for a great many things, HPS always under intense scrutiny, and HPS offer’s a certified reference material. Triton is currently a private lab with no external oversight or corroboration. Again, the results published in the article seem not bad for Trition, so I am unsure why the push is there to discredit those results or the HPS reference material.

    It has also been said that the certified reference material in 2% nitric acid is not seawater, and that Triton Lab only tests seawater. This makes little sense to us, as it seems no hobbyist is sending Triton Lab actual seawater, but artificial salt water that may contain any manner of unknown constituents that could impact testing in any number of unknown ways. In the sense that all hobbyist samples are ‘sea water’, so is the reference material we sent to Triton, the only difference is that the reference material has been stabilized with 2% nitric acid (which has been shown to have negligible effects on this type of testing). Again, the test results seem not bad for Triton, so the push to discredit the results seems strange. Furthermore, Triton representatives themselves contacted HPS to inquire as to any issues with running a 2% nitric acid matrix despite non-acidic calibration standards; the HPS personnel corroborated the statements we made in our article.

    Some of the discussion about the realities and practicalities of the acidification of samples also seem without support; such acidification is not difficult, nor dangerous. It has been said in several places that a 2% nitric acid solution of 100l has 2l of acid in it - as if this is a thing to be scared of. However, the two percent nitric acid refers to the weight percent, not volume percent. The density of 2% nitric acid at 25°C is 1.00778 kg/L. Two percent of this, by weight, is 0.0201556 kg, and is the mass of pure nitric acid in one liter of solution. Multiply this mass of pure nitric acid by 100, and you get 2.01556 kg total, the mass of pure nitric acid in 100 liters of 2% nitric acid. Pure nitric acid has density of 1.504 kg per liter. Thus, dividing 2.01556 by 1.504 informs you that a 100 L aquarium of 2% nitric acid in fact contains 1.34 L of actual nitric acid. These types of calculations, and comprehension of the difference between weight percent and volume percent, are a critical component of the most basic understanding of analytical chemistry and are crucial when reporting testing results – which makes us nervous about other shortcuts that may be used in Triton Lab calculations or methodology. It doesn’t seem Ehsan has formal chemistry training, so perhaps the need for such attention has not been sufficiently instilled in him, but they are very important – there is a big difference between 1.34 and 2. Almost more important, saying there is “2 liters” of acid sounds really scary - but that “2 liters” is mixed with 98 liters of other stuff, and it isn’t going to jump out of solution and give you acid burns. As Craig Bingman pointed out, the personal protection equipment that is standard for handling a solution of 2% nitric acid is exactly the same as for saltwater or seawater.

    We are also worried about the discussion of personal protective equipment in the Triton Lab. Ehsan writes “... and for sure lab coat, protective eyewear and gloves and all kinds of needed signs and declaretions.... ( safity is very important, and german government is very strict in that point ).
    Just to let you know all Pics on the webpage are original pictures of our facilities, not "faked buyed ones" . and even the hands on them are my hands” However the photos linked to support how much safety is important show lab work being performed without a lab coat or gloves (eyes are not shown in the pictures), which leaves us with a feeling of confusion - does Triton lab use PPE or not? They didn’t use any PPE while doing testing at MACNA. PPE are important for any lab work for both the safety of the lab technician as well as to ensure the integrity of the samples.

    Since the article appeared in the Skeptical Reefkeeping series, we feel that it is important to bring up the idea of Trust and the ‘proof is in the pudding’ ideas that have come up in discussions of the article. Trust is a difficult one for everyone. Anyone selling you anything says ‘trust me’, and given how many times people have been misled by such trust we need to be careful. There is a list of products for reefkeeping as long as my leg that have told us to trust them, however, upon closer scrutiny, it turns out that that trust was unwarranted. It isn’t that we are saying that Ehsan is not trustable, rather that other evidence to support his claims would make him more trustable. The idea that the proof is in the pudding - how wonderful the Triton aquarium looks – has nothing to do with the article about Triton Lab testing. There are a million ways to run a reef tank and a lot of them work and create amazing results. The article looks at the testing methods, precision and accuracy of the test results and specifically says nothing about how those values should be used or the Triton aquarium methodology because we simply do not know if something like elevated lithium is problematic in tank water or in a commercial salt mix.

    Another idea that has come up several times in several places is that people should go to Triton Lab in Germany so they can see for themselves what is being done. This seems confusing and unnecessary for customers to spend time and money to travel to become comfortable with testing methodology when that information could easily be supplied in writing.

    We think a real discussion might be helpful and needs to start with Ehsan answering some of the questions he posed in his list in a straightforward manner, with some support besides ‘trust me’. Or, he could say ‘the data in the article shows pretty much what we have been saying all along, and gives people a independent way to understand the test results they get from Triton’.

    Finally, we hope that Ehsan takes all of this in the neutral spirit intended – to continue discussion and share and develop knowledge and understanding.

    Rich and Chris
     
  8. Spracklcat

    Spracklcat Member

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    If determination of accuracy is too difficult and independent validation of the method is too expensive, what is the value of the test? I'm not trying to be obnoxious, I don't understand how Triton is selling super science testing because it is more accurate than kits, but then saying accuracy isn't important and validation isn't worth it.

    Christine
     
  9. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I would like to welcome some of you more advanced reef keepers and hope you will stick around and post in the forums. :) Ok continue...
     
  10. hart24601

    hart24601 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if what we are seeing here is why many companies in our hobby are not as transparent as triton has attempted to be. I think there are great points on all sides, but from a buisness perspective I wonder if it's better to avoid all the drama and not address it at all. It seems like most our reef chemicals and services from the big names rarely defend their products on the forums. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to see it, I just hope it doesn't sprial out of control.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  11. Ian Eisenberg

    Ian Eisenberg Well-Known Member

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    I am very happy to see this discussion happening. I am even happier to see it proceeding without the usual flaming and name calling that occurs on these forums. Please keep it going because this is better than a graduate course in aquarium chemistry!

    Also I now want a t-shirt that says "I Can Not Follow The Hamburger"
     
  12. Electrobes

    Electrobes Well-Known Member R2R Excellence Award Moderator Emeritus Article Contributor

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    Lol
     
  13. Ian Eisenberg

    Ian Eisenberg Well-Known Member

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  14. Ehsan@triton

    Ehsan@triton Well-Known Member

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    Hwo sad that funny thing?
    Well I write like a robot (a not english speaking one)... But thats funny LOL.
    I would like to order some of them for NERAC comming up soon.

    All the best Ehsan
     
  15. reefwiser

    reefwiser LMAS R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Ehsan we understand you so do not feel that you are not being heard. I applaud your efforts to explain yourself in your non native language.
    Your efforts are to push the hobby forward is important. As we needed to be moving forward in chemistry for quite. We are not in the 90's anymore and we need to be looking at thing way more in depth that most want.
     
  16. acesq

    acesq Well-Known Member

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    I have been following this discussion with great interest and appreciate Eshan's involvement as well as the Rich and Chris's thoughtful response to some of the criticism leveled at them and the article. As an aside, I think its absurd for anyone to challenge Rich and Chris's motivations in writing the article -- they are scientists who have devoted a large portion of their lives to improving our knowledge in this field. If they got anything wrong, I have no doubt they will correct it, but on the acidification issue, it seems they have volleyed that ball back into Eshan's court.

    Since I am a reefkeeper and not a scientist and I have used Triton's testing service (and will continue to use it since the article did validate the test results to a large extent -- something that should not be lost in this discussion), I would like to direct the discussion back to answering the questions that are raised by the article and the questions posed by Eshan in his post a few days ago just so that I can understand how much reliance I can place on the accuracy of each of the separate test results. Since I am not (yet at least) a full Triton elementz user, my purpose in testing my water is to troubleshoot problems in my tank. As such, some of the more minor and potentially dangerous elements are my greatest concern (Al, Cu, Tn, etc.).

    And since you invited more questions Eshan, I have two of my own that I would like to add:

    1. Since we are not acidifying our samples before sending them to you for testing to what extent are the results of any of the tested compounds/elements impacted by the passage of time?
    2. If there is an impact, do you factor that impact into the reported results or do you report the actual values found? (i.e. if you have determined that an element is absorbed by the vial at a particular rate, do you increase the reported value by that absorption factor)

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    Art
     
  17. GainesvilleReef

    GainesvilleReef Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    I posted this on another site as well.

    IMO the original article seemed to be biased and with an agenda. Calling a company's marketing claims "fallacious" set the wrong tone for this discussion for it to ever be scientific. It seems that certain people have let there ego's take over and now we have my science is better than your science instead of how to use the product practically. I am very big fan of all involved and very disappointed in all involved. As the article shows it has accuracy as good or better than the test kits we use. It is definitely fit for purpose for a hobbyist. I don't think Triton ever intended it to be a replacement for the lab analysis the article compares it to.

    I would rather the time and effort be spent on how to use the tool properly and how not to use the tool. For example how to interpret the elemental analysis. Randy's article was much better time spent. Shermanator you brought up some good points on the value or lack of value of elemental analysis. That sounds like a much better discussion than what is going on.

    Just my opinion.
     
  18. Thales

    Thales Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry you feel this way. We worked very hard to keep the tone of the article neutral, and as we have said, we were happily surprised at the results. I suppose if there were an agenda, besides the stated agenda of the Skeptical Reefkeeping series, it was to discuss why ICP-OES testing isn't used by everyone and why it generally isn't inexpensive.



    Fallacious just means logically unsound. It is not a put down, and the word was only used once in the article regarding a particular claim, which is unsound. Any scientist making a fallacious claim would want to know about it asap.



    Don't you need to know if the testing is sound before you talk about the practicality? If the testing was off by several orders of magnitude, there would be no way to use it practically. Now we have an idea of how accurate and precise the testing is which can lead to a better practical use.



    I don't think it shows that at all. I am not sure that data even exists for the accuracy or precision of hobby test kits, and the article certainly doesn't compare Triton testing to hobby kits. Other comparative testing reported in the forums seems to show that Triton is about the same as some hobby kits, at least for the more major elements.
    Sorry you are disappointed.



    As the article says, this is for each person to decide based on what the purpose might be.



    ICP-OES is 'lab analysis', and is tested the way the article tested it. Many, including me, feel that now we have a ball park in which to place Triton testing, making it more useful.



    I suppose that is why different authors write different articles. For most of the elements it seems we actually don’t know how to interpret the analysis. Many US tanks show high Li, however, the tanks look just fine and the corals look just fine - we simply don’t know if high Li, and how high, is problematic. It certainly doesn’t seem to be causing any problems. Much more work needs to be done in this area, though it seems reef keepers are the only ones who may actually have reason to do it. The recent ReefThreads podcast with Craig Bingman discusses some of the issues surrounding these ideas.
     
  19. GainesvilleReef

    GainesvilleReef Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    Richard,
    I know what fallacious means. And as a big fan of yours, I was giving my opinion that your article came across as very negative. Perhaps you should re-read your article with more empathy for Triton. Also, others listed in your article have been making very disparaging posts about Ehsan and Triton. None of which is useful to the conversation.

    When I sad 'lab analysis', I meant analysis for the purposes of research where all the certifications and traceability are useful. I don't need certifications to decide to throw Cuprisorb in my tank if I get an elevated copper from my triton test. Triton testing is being marketed to hobbyist not research institutions. What I saw in the article is a bunch of people that have access to free (meaning that they are not paying for it themselves) ICP testing and expensive standards as well as other precision lab equipment throwing Triton under the bus because it is not as good as they expensive methods they use. Nobody would expect it to be the same. Why should Triton be beat up for offering a "volkswagen" to the market place.

    Please keep up the my toys are better than yours arguments. It makes for good theater. But in the end, only institutional scientists can afford those kind of toys. Maybe it's the elitist perspective that is putting me off about all this.

    When I first used Triton testing I sent duplicate samples and ran my own tests at the time of the samples and everything matched very well. They matched quite a bit better than another testing service in the business. So, I approached it with some skepticism as well . But, I never had the notion that it was the same thing you compared it to in your article.

    Thanks for responding and letting me disagree with you.

    Please understand that I am one those who will wait anxiously for your next article. Keep them coming.

    Carl
     
  20. Thales

    Thales Well-Known Member

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    :D I read it a million times trying to look at if from their perspective - I am friends with everyone involved. I think in the end we decided to make the article as neutral as possible and fully understand that that in itself can come off as strange.



    I am not sure who you are talking about. That said, I can’t control what other people write, but agree that the overtly negative stuff, isn’t always a great way to go. The negative stuff that Ehsan wrote about the article and our motivations was not fun to read.



    Right, but if the Triton testing is off, you would be wasting money on Cuprisorb - or you could be adding a different element in excess amounts that could be dangerous. The point of the article wasn’t to certify the results from Triton, but to get a snapshot of the precision and accuracy to try to inform the utility of the test results. The results of that snapshot seem to support exactly what you are saying about Triton.



    I am not sure I understand this part. Two people wrote the article and neither of us have free access to ICP testing and reference materials. The only ICP-OES used in the article was Tritons, and we paid for the reference material. I do think Triton plays both sides of the scientifical nature of the ICP-OES saying that the results are fit for purpose while at the same time talking about the scientific pedigree of their methods (and saying that Public Aquariums, which are research institutions, are using their testing because of its scientific pedigree). Because we wanted to know how accurate and precise the Triton testing is, we did the best we could by sending a certified reference material to be tested. I am not sure there is any under bus throwing as the article was - here is what we know about ICP-OES testing, Triton is doing it differently, we don’t know how they are doing it, here are the results of the experiment we ran and the results are better than we expected. We are not beating up a ‘volkswagen’ offering, we are trying to inform how ‘volkswageny’ it is.



    Like we said in the article, nothing would make us happier that Triton testing being great. Please realize that Triton is doing something that no other ICP-OES professional does, or thinks will work. In that light, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to want to corroborate their results and methods.



    I hear you, but at the same time, it is the same thing we talked about in the article. ICP-OES is ICP-OES, and Triton is using ICP-IES in a non standard way (and the standard ways exist for a reason). All we did in the article is send a certified reference material to Triton and report the results. And the results seem to support some of what Triton says about itself.



    And thanks for letting me try to change your mind!



    Thanks so much!
     
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