What is your preferred way of checking salinity?

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Camaronero

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The tropic Marin hydrometer is and has been my first choice, since I’ve been searching for a US vendor to have that in stock even before purchased everything for my build... Impossible.
I personally use the Hanna HI96822 digital refractometer.

It is simple and easy to calibrate and has been very consistent. I do warm it up with my hand to 78 degrees prior to calibrating or measuring to ensure that the sample is as accurate as possible.

There is deviation if there is a large temperature difference. This is true with all salinity measuring tools. They all claim to have temperature compensation built in, but beyond a few degrees they start to lose accuracy.

I would not recommend the hand held pen style Hanna salinity tester.
https://premiumaquatics.com/products/hanna-98319-waterproof-salinity-tester.html
It drifts a lot and requires constant recalibration. You also have to use their 35ppt solution to calibrate it which is a consumable item (I have tried to use others and it never "recognizes" them). People seem to love them, but I question how they feel about them after long term use. Works great as a thermometer though.

The "Gold Standard" for me is the Tropic Marin High Precision Hydrometer. Noting to calibrate and it just works every time; just at the cost of ease of use.
www.bulkreefsupply.com

High Precision Hydrometer - Tropic Marin

Ensure that your equipment is reading correctly and your aquarium is at the right salinity with Tropic Marin's High Precision Hydrometer. Many tank inhabitants are sensitive even to minor changes of the water conditions. Unfortunately as we've all experienced, salinity reading equipment as...
www.bulkreefsupply.com
www.bulkreefsupply.com

And the "I'm not just sharing bogus information just to hear myself talk" photo... One is far better than the other.
1648833115346.jpeg
Also forgive me for the two part response, but the only viable vendor RIGHT NOW is eBay (German vendor), where your given the option to purchase it with a graduated cylinder which I think is awesome +saves you a trip to the odd science website + ensures your not experimenting with other containers, BUT shipping is 3+ weeks which is excessive for my situation.
 
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Camaronero

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Also forgive me for the two part response, but the only viable vendor RIGHT NOW is eBay (German vendor), where your given the option to purchase it with a graduated cylinder which I think is awesome +saves you a trip to the odd science website + ensures your not experimenting with other containers, BUT shipping is 3+ weeks which is excessive for my situation.
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BRS if you see this..... pls get your hands on this ASAP¡¡¡
F7B87CAF-9BB2-4B53-B085-74EBBFFE7CC6.png

Would y’all consider this top of the line and my best choice? Or do y’all know any other options that are more accurate and a little less expensive¿
 
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Camaronero

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I prefer conductivity meters, especially ones with capability to read a wide range from RO/DI functioning to kalkwasser potency to seawater salinity. Good ones can also read salinity and temperature continuously during acclimation.
Can you please give me an example or two? Once I stray away from reef online vendors the information is confusing and I don’t know if I’m purchasing the right instrument...
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Hanna is the best, just stick it in the water and get immediate result, along with temp too, perfect for mixing new water.

The Hanna is certainly not the best conductivity meter, but I understand cost is an issue for most folks and it is certainly adequate.
 
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I use a refractometer. Same one for 10 years and it was used when i got it. Been accurate forever. But its annoying when checking at night.. I'd love to get a conductivity probe but I always hear stories of accuracy issues. That green milwaukee digital is probably my next move
 

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I use a refractometer. Same one for 10 years and it was used when i got it. Been accurate forever. But its annoying when checking at night.. I'd love to get a conductivity probe but I always hear stories of accuracy issues. That green milwaukee digital is probably my next move
It's honestly the best meter available at that price point. I love mine as it makes it very simple. You do need to calibrate it every few days with RODI though as it can drift a bit.
 
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Sean Clark

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I'm really thought I was alone on this one. Floating glass hydrometer. I keep 2 on hand, using since the 80's, no muss, no fuss. Years ago they claimed the label would slip inside, It never had it happen to me...
I have had a label slip before but that was on the cheapest one I could buy at the home brew store.
 
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PeterEde

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I'm really thought I was alone on this one. Floating glass hydrometer. I keep 2 on hand, using since the 80's, no muss, no fuss. Years ago they claimed the label would slip inside, It never had it happen to me...
I bought a glass one. Yep the label slipped. Spent ages trying to get it back into place and that was the end of that
 
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Camaronero

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I'm really thought I was alone on this one. Floating glass hydrometer. I keep 2 on hand, using since the 80's, no muss, no fuss. Years ago they claimed the label would slip inside, It never had it happen to me...
My top choice on my list. Heard the tropic Marin one is stellar; can you give me suggestions on different brands?
 
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So.. I lost 2k in coral due to a faulty Hanna Salinity tester. Hydrometer is the only way to go. However, I recently had my tongue calibrated by NASA engineers so I use that as a backup to double check the hydrometer.
 

trmiv

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Tropic Marin Hydrometer. Amazingly I haven’t broken it yet (knocks on wood). I also own a Milwaukee digital refractometer that I use from time to time if I’m testing something where I can’t get enough water for the hydrometer. I’ve tested both on my tank and they read the same.
 

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floating glass hydrometer. No calibration needed, no second guessing. Has a deviation of .001, mix my salt up to 1.025 which puts me in the 1.024-1.026 range and I'm done.

I also use a swing arm hydrometer. The swing arm is more accurate than the hanna tester.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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Can you please give me an example or two? Once I stray away from reef online vendors the information is confusing and I don’t know if I’m purchasing the right instrument.

Sure.

No device used by ordinary hobbyists for salinity (refractometer, conductivity meter or hydrometer) is the best of its type, but they need not be. We really do not need super precise measurements of salinity. If we can be sure we are accurately measuring +/- 1 ppt, or maybe +/- 0.5 ppt, that is good enough for most people.

In terms of selecting a desirable conductivity meter, it depends on what you want to use it for. For example, a pen type is not suitable to measuring water continuously during drip acclimation, or measuring the tank 24/7. A meter with a range that does not get down to 10 mS/cm will not be suitable for limewater potency, and one that cannot read a few uS/cm is not suitable for monitoring RO/DI function.

I use and like older (used) high end conductivity meters with 4 electrodes in them,. I often recommend the Orion model 128 and related models. These types are too expensive for most people when new ($500 to >$1,000) but can often be found on ebay for a lot less.
 

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