Alternatives To Api Test Tubes?

Fruity
  • #1
I am getting seriously tired of these things leaking when I shake them! I actually wrap a washcloth around the nitrate one.

Has anyone found a suitable alternative that you like?

The originals were bearable with one tank, but I've had it now that I'm checking on two aquariums!
 
david1978
  • #2
I seen plastic tubes on amazon with screw on caps. Haven't bought them but they look like they would be better.
 
IHaveADogToo
  • #3
This is very much a thing. A lot of people replace these test tubes. I haven't yet, I'm still using the original tubes, but I've definitely seen people do this for these same reasons. I can't find the thread now but just recently someone recommended replacement tubes and I can't remember what they were.
 
mattgirl
  • #4
I often see this subject come up. Seems a lot of folks have the same problem. I guess I was just lucky with my test tubes because I haven't experienced the same problem.

When shaking the test tube I hold the top on tightly by holding it with thumb on the top and middle finger on the bottom. I shake the tube but don't get carried away with it. I have never had one leak while holding it this way.
 
DarkOne
  • #5
#000 rubber stoppers from Amazon. They sell it in 5 and 25 pks.

2018-01-28 18.05.59.jpg
 
mattgirl
  • #6
I seen plastic tubes on amazon with screw on caps. Haven't bought them but they look like they would be better.
This would be a great option but my concern would be, what are they made of and would the chemicals we use react with that plastic. I would think plastic would be cheaper than glass so I would think API would switch over to plastic if there was one that could be used.
 
jdhef
  • #7
I put my pointer finger on top and my thumb on the bottom when shaking the tubes.
 
Willed
  • #8
#000 rubber stoppers from Amazon. They sell it in 5 and 25 pks.
View attachment 455255
Thank you I am definitely buying these! I wear gloves especially because of the little bit of leaking I get even when holding them tightly. Do the #000 vials have the measurement you need on them? I’m going to look them up now.
EDIT: I see now that they are only rubber stoppers, not viles. My bad.
jdhef some must be better than others because I hold mine closed the same way and as tightly as I can with strong hands and I get consistent leaks.
 
Fanatic
  • #9
I am not quite sure why the nitrate test tube leaks more than the others, it’s weird.
Anyways, I do recommend those rubber stoppers, they work nicely.
 
Willed
  • #10
I am not quite sure why the nitrate test tube leaks more than the others, it’s weird.
Anyways, I do recommend those rubber stoppers, they work nicely.
Well you do vigorously shake that one for a full minute
I swear there’s some gas pressure in there too from the chemicals combining.
 
Fanatic
  • #11
Well you do vigorously shake that one for a full minute
I swear there’s some gas pressure in there too from the chemicals combining.

I think that may be it, even when I cover the lid, it still leaks.
You can always leave the lid off, and cover the opening with your finger.
I would wear gloves if you are going to touch undiluted chemicals.
 
75g Discus Tank
  • #12
Any clear container would work. Use a syringe to make sure you get the right amount of water from the tank and add the correct amount of drops in.
 
Fruity
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
I often see this subject come up. Seems a lot of folks have the same problem. I guess I was just lucky with my test tubes because I haven't experienced the same problem.

When shaking the test tube I hold the top on tightly by holding it with thumb on the top and middle finger on the bottom. I shake the tube but don't get carried away with it. I have never had one leak while holding it this way.

I put my pointer finger on top and my thumb on the bottom when shaking the tubes.

I wish this worked, I squeeze the cap on with my middle finger and thumb but still get splashes everywhere. I have pretty strong hands, too (work construction.)

It kind of sounds like you get good or bad lids in the kits.
 
mattgirl
  • #14
I wish this worked, I squeeze the cap on with my middle finger and thumb but still get splashes everywhere. I have pretty strong hands, too (work construction.)

It kind of sounds like you get good or bad lids in the kits.
I guess I was lucky to get well made tubes. I know some folks could actually see the distortion around the rI'm of some of their tubes and it was impossible to get those to stop leaking.

Hopefully you will be able to find a solution to this frustrating problem. The rubber stoppers might be the way to go. Hopefully the rubber they are made of will work alright with the testing solution.
 
DarkOne
  • #15
The #000 rubber stoppers are just the stoppers that fit the API test tubes. I bought a bunch of them at my LFS (they had a display on the counter and I grabbed a few handfuls). I've been using them for about 6 months now and they work great. The plastic caps have an indent to act like a stopper on the vials but they don't create a full seal which is why they don't work well, even with a lot of pressure. Some vials are more uniform and will create a better seal than others but still most likely leak. There were a few people that commented that the solution caused redness or irritation on their skin but I've had all the solutions on my skin and it had no effect on me so YMMV.

One thing to note when using these rubber stoppers. If you put them on while wet, they might slide off a little as the liquid will act as a lubricant between the glass and rubber.

The stoppers are made of natural rubber and resistant to most chemicals. Mine still look brand new after 6 months of use.

The 5pk is $8 and the 25pk is $13.

5pk


25pk


I made the trays from a 2x4 with a 5/8" hole drill bit on a drill press.

2018-01-30 15.36.14.jpg
 
Sarah73
  • #16
I put my pointer finger on top and my thumb on the bottom when shaking the tubes.
Do you not read where it says "Don't touch these chemicals with your fingers as they can burn."?
 
DarkOne
  • #17
Do you not read where it says "Don't touch these chemicals with your fingers as they can burn."?
Not all people. He might be one of them, me too. I grew up working on cars and motorcycles so I get tons of chemicals on my hands/skin and rarely ever had any irritation. I've had all the solutions in the API Master test kit on my hands at one point and never had any issues. I'm guessing my skin has turned to leather in my old age .
 
Sarah73
  • #18
Not all people. He might be one of them, me too. I grew up working on cars and motorcycles so I get tons of chemicals on my hands/skin and rarely ever had any irritation. I've had all the solutions in the API Master test kit on my hands at one point and never had any issues. I'm guessing my skin has turned to leather in my old age .
Oh, hush. No need to make me jealous. My skin can be sensitive, but I'm just a youngling still .
 
mattgirl
  • #19
Do you not read where it says "Don't touch these chemicals with your fingers as they can burn."?
The finger on the top is to hold the cap on tightly. and can you imagine the lawsuit if they didn't say that and someone had a bad reaction.
 
Fruity
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Not all people. He might be one of them, me too. I grew up working on cars and motorcycles so I get tons of chemicals on my hands/skin and rarely ever had any irritation. I've had all the solutions in the API Master test kit on my hands at one point and never had any issues. I'm guessing my skin has turned to leather in my old age .

Lucky! Something in the nitrate test BURNS!
 
Sarah73
  • #21
The finger on the top is to hold the cap on tightly. and can you imagine the lawsuit if they didn't say that and someone had a bad reaction.
Well, I just imagine finger on the top. No cap
 
Willed
  • #22
Well, I just imagine finger on the top. No cap

I just want to point out to everyone that just because it doesn’t make a reaction or irritation doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to let it on your skin.

It doesn’t irritate my skin either but I still wear gloves. You can smoke cigarettes for a decade and not have cancer, yet lol

PS I bought the stoppers thanks for suggesting them!
 
Dch48
  • #23
I am not quite sure why the nitrate test tube leaks more than the others, it’s weird.
Anyways, I do recommend those rubber stoppers, they work nicely.
You use the same one every time? I rinse them out good and just pick one out at random every time.
I like those stoppers too because yes, the vials do often leak no matter how I hold them.
 
Fanatic
  • #24
You use the same one every time? I rinse them out good and just pick one out at random every time.
I like those stoppers too because yes, the vials do often leak no matter how I hold them.

No, mine are all random tubes, but they leak no matter what.
 
Dch48
  • #25
Lucky! Something in the nitrate test BURNS!
Nitrate #1 contains acid. It's either sulfuric or nitric, I forget.
 
Fanatic
  • #26
Is it just me, or do none of the test solutions burn or dry my skin?
 
wodesorel
  • #27
DarkOne, thank you for that photo!!! That is exactly what I wanted to build but was having trouble describing it to my hubby, as I do all the tank maintenance.
 
Willed
  • #28
Is it just me, or do none of the test solutions burn or dry my skin?
No it’s not just you, it doesn’t bother my skin and others have said the same. I still don’t think it’s good to let it on your skin on a regular basis. It can still have health concerns that aren’t as obvious as red or dry skin, and they are likely more serious albeit more subtle, longer term and less likely.

I promise I don’t mean to be condescending by including these photos because I know many of us have the same bottles, but I’m trying to make my point. Everyone keeps seeming to group no irritation with no handling worries and I personally think you should be a little more careful especially over the long term.

PS I realize the manufacturer is going to overstate any disclaimers for their own liability but I think even if you water down the warnings some healthy precautions don’t hurt.
 

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DarkOne
  • #29
While none of the solutions irritate me, I know it can't be good to make contact with my skin which is why I searched for a better solution. I looked at different vials and came across the rubber stoppers.

Another tip is to use a syringe with a 4" 14g blunt tip needle (luer lock) to fill the vials with water. I also use the syringes for measuring Prime, Stress Coat, plant fertilizers and meds.
 
Dch48
  • #30
DarkOne
  • #31
I just ordered a pack of 10 on eBay for $4. They're white but should be just as good.
When I was looking 6 months ago, the price per stopper was the best on Amazon for the 25pk. The only cheaper price I found was lab suppliers and only buying in lots of 100 or more (might've been 500 or more). Also, I needed 12 stoppers so the 25pk was better than the 5pk.

DarkOne, thank you for that photo!!! That is exactly what I wanted to build but was having trouble describing it to my hubby, as I do all the tank maintenance.
This would be more for your hubby (and anyone else here thinking about making one):
A 9/16" forstner bit would probably be the best size for the vial holes. 1/2" was way too tight and I had to sand the hole with a dremel to fit the vials (first pic I posted). I couldn't find a 9/16" forstner bit so I went with a 5/8". The vials wobble just a bit but not enough for them to fall out or tip over. I set my drill press to drop in 1". I used a 1" forstner bit to make the tray to hold the stoppers in the 2nd pic I posted. I finished by just sanding the block of wood so it's smooth. You can paint it to seal it but I was too lazy.
 
Fruity
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
This would be more for your hubby (and anyone else here thinking about making one):
A 9/16" forstner bit would probably be the best size for the vial holes. 1/2" was way too tight and I had to sand the hole with a dremel to fit the vials (first pic I posted). I couldn't find a 9/16" forstner bit so I went with a 5/8". The vials wobble just a bit but not enough for them to fall out or tip over. I set my drill press to drop in 1". I used a 1" forstner bit to make the tray to hold the stoppers in the 2nd pic I posted. I finished by just sanding the block of wood so it's smooth. You can paint it to seal it but I was too lazy.

Totally making this!! Thanks for instructions
 
Willed
  • #33
Totally making this!! Thanks for instructions
This is a clever use of the “welcome” reaction lol
Yea I’m thinking about going to my brothers shop in the next few weeks and getting him to help me with it
 
DarkOne
  • #34
This is a clever use of the “welcome” reaction lol
Yea I, thinking about going to my brothers shop in the next few weeks and getting him to help me with it
Like I said, I'm lazy

It's not really a project if you don't buy more tools, right? It was a good excuse to get a forstner bit set.
 
wodesorel
  • #35
Thank you for more details!!

I have had the chemicals sting before, but mostly the smell sinks in and is hard to wash off. I have super sensitive skin though and can develop contact dermatitis from practically anything, including saltwater. Nitrile gloves are a blessing.
 
RainbowJack
  • #36
I also felt the tubes we're thin & fragile in addition to the weeping caps. My choice was to order new vials with good seal threaded caps. So the size to hunt is 2 dram which is about 8 ml.
Amazon has a seller (Greenhealth) sells a package of 12 each WITH 6 each 5ml (marked) droppers for $5.68. They measure 5/8" dia. X 2-3/8" long. Not as fragile as the API, don't leak and they are lab glass. Ought to give them a try.
 
Dch48
  • #37
I also felt the tubes we're thin & fragile in addition to the weeping caps. My choice was to order new vials with good seal threaded caps. So the size to hunt is 2 dram which is about 8 ml.
Amazon has a seller (Greenhealth) sells a package of 12 each WITH 6 each 5ml (marked) droppers for $5.68. They measure 5/8" dia. X 2-3/8" long. Not as fragile as the API, don't leak and they are lab glass. Ought to give them a try.
Are the vials exactly the same diameter and thickness of glass as the API ones? If not, the color accuracy will be affected. If the vials are a larger diameter, then looking through the liquid and comparing to the card will give a different result. The liquid will appear darker. The thickness of the glass will also have an effect. I've actually been pleased with the durability of the provided vials. I have dropped them onto a tiled floor with no damage occurring.

They hold 2 drams which is only a little over 7 ml. I don't think you could shake up the solutions as well. Reviewers also say they leak sometimes.
 
RainbowJack
  • #38
Dch48 I appreciate your attention to detail but frankly you are over thing somewhat. You can have 5 people use the same kit & tubes and get slight different results. Testing is as much about observing change patterns as it is accuracy. The glass is more thick they are not the exact same size but I did same test from same aquarium in API tubes and Amazon tubes you cannot see the difference. Been using A-tubes for 3 years. No deaths, not even when the screen popped off my canister and sucked in 5 fish. I bred Golden Nugget Pleco. My fish love their water quality.
API tubes use 5 ml for testing and they are just over half full. These 2 dram tubes hold a Max 7.4 ml so if drop in 5ml plenty of room to shake it up.
 
Dch48
  • #39
Dch48 I appreciate your attention to detail but frankly you are over thing somewhat. You can have 5 people use the same kit & tubes and get slight different results. Testing is as much about observing change patterns as it is accuracy. The glass is more thick they are not the exact same size but I did same test from same aquarium in API tubes and Amazon tubes you cannot see the difference. Been using A-tubes for 3 years. No deaths, not even when the screen popped off my canister and sucked in 5 fish. I bred Golden Nugget Pleco. My fish love their water quality.
API tubes use 5 ml for testing and they are just over half full. These 2 dram tubes hold a Max 7.4 ml so if drop in 5ml plenty of room to shake it up.
At 5/8 " in diameter they are significantly bigger than the provided vials which are 1/2" or a little under. In my opinion that is enough to throw off the readings. Now, in the case of the nitrate test the darker appearance will indicate a higher level than what is actually there which might not be a bad thing. Since some of the other color gradations in the other tests are very slight, those readings can be more inaccurate. I'm sure API took all these things into consideration when designing the kit and providing the color charts. I'm sure the size of the vials was a consideration. Therefore, in my opinion, the replacement tubes are not suitable. Also, you put in 5ml of water but by the time you add 20 drops of the nitrate solutions , you have noticeably more than that in the tube. Therefore even less space for shaking.
 
RainbowJack
  • #40
I guess it would behove me to stop using them. Since no deaths in 3 years is purely anecdotal. Yeah, I'll have to think twice on that idea. Thanks for feedback, all feedback is good.
 

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