Test Kit Reccomendations

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by bigploch, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. bigploch

    bigploch Fan of Water

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Hello all.
    I am building a reef in my 110 (with a 30 gal sump of LR). I currently have a Tetra test kit which covers the basics, nitrate, nitrite, pH, ammonia, and Kh.

    What kit/individual tests do you use and why? I am not sure if I am covering all of the bases with that.

    What do I need to test the clean water from my RO/DI unit so I know it is working properly?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
    bigploch, Nov 29, 2008
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. bigploch

    ccCapt Reef Hacker Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Messages:
    3,302
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Northeast PA
    If you are doing a reef, along with what you mentioned, you should also test for calcium, magnesium and phosphate. Why? Because the only way to know your levels is test them.
    Buy a TDS (Total Dissloved Solids) meter.
     
    ccCapt, Nov 29, 2008
    #2
    bigploch likes this.
    1. Advertisements

  3. bigploch

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    26,996
    Likes Received:
    3,868
    Location:
    Ringgold,Ga
    +1 Capt
     
    yote, Nov 29, 2008
    #3
  4. bigploch

    Oscarsdad608

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    belleville,wi
    I am with ccCapt on everything but the phosphates. If you have algae you have phosphates. Test kits are not reliable for testing them. I think you need a photometer.
     
    Oscarsdad608, Nov 29, 2008
    #4
    bigploch likes this.
  5. bigploch

    Bifferwine I am a girl

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Messages:
    46,915
    Likes Received:
    5,888
    Location:
    Lynnwood, WA and missing Tucson, AZ
    I also think a phosphate test kit is a waste. Phosphate tests read false zeros all the time. Algae will use the phosphate as quickly as it is released in the water, making the test kit read zero, when in actuality, you have a phosphate problem.
     
    Bifferwine, Nov 29, 2008
    #5
    bigploch likes this.
  6. bigploch

    JAG107

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,497
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Corona, Ca
    Salifert is a good brand for nitrate, if you're doing a reef tank. I don't know how low your test reads, but a lot of the common ones go from 0 to 5ppm on up, salifert will give you a reading down to 0.2
    I think the guys on RC reccomend a Hanna phosphate meter, but those are over $200 I think.
    Salifert for magnesium, and for calcium you could probably use just about any brand IMHO
     
    JAG107, Nov 29, 2008
    #6
  7. bigploch

    Altohombre The Tennis Pro Reefer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,268
    Likes Received:
    167
    Location:
    Highland Park, NJ
    Salifert are nice test kits for individual things.
    API is a good master reef test kit for the major things during the cycle and for nitrate testing.
    A refractometer is a must for salinity (how much salt in the water) testing.
    To test your RO/DI to make sure it is zero you should get a TDS meter.
     
    Altohombre, Nov 30, 2008
    #7
  8. bigploch

    messiah023

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Naples, FL
    I've used a sampling of almost every kit out there.
    I liked the API, until I had two faulty kits (expired dates on outside of packaging).....you have to check for that.
    Of all the tests, I keep going back to the SeaChem test kits.
    They are not as pricey as the Salifert test (also great) and they are pretty accurate.

    They have a Marine Basic kit (PH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite).
    They also have a Reef special kit (phosphate, iodine/iodide, silicate).
    Another one I used was their REEF STATUS series for Magnesium, Calcium & Ka.

    Sample some tests and find the ones that work best for your testing needs.
     
    messiah023, Nov 30, 2008
    #8
  9. bigploch

    Rcpilot

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    3,976
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    Agreed on the phosphate tests. My API phosphate test was reading 0 today and I've currently got a hair algae problem that would get me voted Grand Exulted President of the Hair Algae Club, with Honors. :grumble:

    I use Salifert for:
    Calcium
    Alkalinity
    Magnesium

    I use API for:
    pH
    phosphates (worthless - see above)
    KH (backup)
    Ammonia
    Nitrites
    Nitrates
     
    Rcpilot, Nov 30, 2008
    #9
  10. bigploch

    JAG107

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,497
    Likes Received:
    208
    Location:
    Corona, Ca
    RC,
    that's why I gave up on the API for phos. They are very hard to see anything above 0, and the next highest level on the card is what, 0.25? Thats already too high for corals. The Salifert goes down to 0.03ppm, but even that's tough to tell by looking at the sample. I'm not ready to spend $250 on a hanna meter, either, so I'll just stick with my "no algae/algae" eye tester along with the salifert :)
     
    JAG107, Nov 30, 2008
    #10
  11. bigploch

    bigploch Fan of Water

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Jag maybe I am not understanding this but, if you have algae, then you have a phosphate problem?

    And to cure a phosphate problem? I am assuming (and yes I know what happens when you assume) a major water change is in order?
     
    bigploch, Dec 1, 2008
    #11
  12. bigploch

    RyanG ^*Eternal Dumbass*^

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    569
    Location:
    Cuba, New York
    That is a good start at curing a phosphate issue, another good thing to go along with that is to use a phosphate remover IE phosban, rowaPhos, basically and Granulated Ferrous Oxide<GFO>

    Just an off note Tap Water is a good way to import phosphates make sure youre using RO/DI water.
     
    RyanG, Dec 1, 2008
    #12
  13. bigploch

    bigploch Fan of Water

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    The damn RO/DI is stuck at the UPS place down the street. It was out for delivery Wednesday afternoon but with the holiday and the day after being a holiday for ups and ups not delivering on weekends unless you pay more I haven't received it yet. When I get it I guess a major water is in order or do a little at a time?
     
    bigploch, Dec 1, 2008
    #13
  14. bigploch

    RyanG ^*Eternal Dumbass*^

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    569
    Location:
    Cuba, New York
    Do it a little at a time, a lot of people have started out with tap water. You dont really ever want to do more than 50% unless it is an emergency and then you want to really watch things carefully for the next few weeks. 20-30% water volume is a good rule of thumb.
     
    RyanG, Dec 1, 2008
    #14
  15. bigploch

    Stupidsreef

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Granite city IL
    I use Salifert or Elos. I want to someday try out the API, I've heard a lot of other reefer's love it.

    I think Capt answered it best for why to test.

    I too agree that without a Hanna meter no test kit will give you true number's on Phosphate. Good water changes and a form of phosphate media should do the job.

    And Ryan is on spot with the water changes. No more than 50% unless it's an emergency. So you have IMO +1 advise given to ya.
     
    Stupidsreef, Dec 1, 2008
    #15
  16. bigploch

    Altohombre The Tennis Pro Reefer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,268
    Likes Received:
    167
    Location:
    Highland Park, NJ
    my test meter for phosphate is my eyes. If you have algae you have phosphates. If you don't it's at zero.
     
    Altohombre, Dec 3, 2008
    #16
  17. bigploch

    bigploch Fan of Water

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Do you mean any algae or bad algae is present? if you have phosphates at all or a problem level of phosphates?
     
    bigploch, Dec 4, 2008
    #17
  18. bigploch

    dustin_P74

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    9,262
    Likes Received:
    657
    Location:
    Marietta, GA USA
    if you have any amount of phosphates then you will have bad algae since that is what they eat
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 4, 2008
    #18
  19. bigploch

    bigploch Fan of Water

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Can anyone reccomend a good "phosphate media"? I have no idea what that is or how it works. I will do a little research in the meantime so I can understand what we are talking about here.
     
    bigploch, Dec 13, 2008
    #19
  20. bigploch

    dustin_P74

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    9,262
    Likes Received:
    657
    Location:
    Marietta, GA USA
    your going to need a phosphate reactor, and then a good media is phos-ban
     
    dustin_P74, Dec 13, 2008
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.