Water Testing Kits?

Discussion in 'Test Kits' started by AnnaEA, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. AnnaEA

    AnnaEAValued MemberMember

    Ok. It's official.

    I *hate* color matching.

    So - are there any kinds of water test kits out there that aren't dependant upon the users ability to match colors?

    Anna the aggravted with color matching.
  2. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    LOL Anna what's the problem and why are you having trouble? hehe what kind of test are you usin?
  3. OP

    AnnaEAValued MemberMember

    I've got dip strips - a five in one kit, and an ammonia strip -- both my book, and my LFS suggested that test strips were 'close enough' in accuracy, and reasonabley inexpensive for a beginner.

    My problem is that I can't tell the colours apart to read them though. :(

    I'd really like some test method that doesn't depend on my ability to accurately match colours, or tell one shade of something from another.

  4. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    I have had the test strips and I HATE them -- they suck and they were very inaccurate.

    I don't know of any testing kit that you can buy without havin to match up colors, but I can recommend a VERY good and accurate testing kit:

    Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit.

    This is awesome.. Instead of the strips, it is a vial and solution type test, but very easy. The water in the vial turns a certain color after 5 minutes and you can compare it to the handy dandy little laminated chart they give you.. It's relatively cheap for what they offer you: Accuracy and more than 700 tests!!!

    I'm sure you can find one at your neighorhood FS or Petsmart :)
  5. newbie101

    newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    About the color match problem, you could ask a friend (or kid, or whoever) to do it for you.
  6. chris02_84

    chris02_84Valued MemberMember

    I have the same problem cause i'm color blind...i have to have my wife look at the test strips..and tell me what they are..lol
  7. OP

    AnnaEAValued MemberMember

    Yeah, I am definitely ditching the test strips once I run through this batch -- I was thinking the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals looked good. And I am going to keep my eyes open for a reasonably priced pH meter. I can't afford the high end lamotte or hach test kits. :(

    I think I should be able to manage well enough with the test strips to get through cycling -- when I don't have any fish in the tank to be depending on their accuracy *lol*

    And my husband suggests that I get a full spectrum lamp or lightbulb in the area, to make the color checking easier -- I have one by my plant bench, and am going to take the test stuff there tonight to see if that helps.

    Anyways, that's the plan.

  8. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    The APFMTK - tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and high range pH.

    :) It's a good buy -- you can get it for around 20 dollars :)

    Also -- the extra light will probably help also
  9. OP

    AnnaEAValued MemberMember

    Using the full spectrum light helped a lot - made the strips much easier to read.

    Looking back over a few days readings now I don't see any signs of bacteria doing their thing yet, but I do see that my parameters seem nice and stable, which is good.
  10. OP

    AnnaEAValued MemberMember

    Okay - I still hate colour matching, even when done with test tubes of water instead of strips with wet pads on them.

    I finally succumbed and got myself the Aqua Pharmaceuticals test kit, and used it today instead of the test strips.

    My results were practically identical to what the strips have been getting me, if considerably more fussily obtained. Only two things tested differently - my pH tested as 8.0, instead of 7.8 , and my ammonia tested as a shade darker then 1.0 and a shade lighter then 2.0, which is slightly higher then 1.0 the test strip measured yesterday. Nitrites and nitrates were both 0.

    All in all, that is an acceptable margin of error for me. I'll keep the test strips around for daily testing through cycling, and when I add fish and stuff, and have the more precise and finicky test for weekly/monthly testing.

    I figure, using the test strips will let test quickly that everything is roughly where it should be, while the more precise kit will be useful for pin-pointing how out of what things are (if they seem out of whack) and in deciding what to do about them.

    Probably when things are cycled and stable, what I will do is use the test strips for my weekly testing, and the kit once a month.
  11. bullhorsetook

    bullhorsetookNew MemberMember

    I have been using the kits for a while but even with these I find the color matching to be a bit irrating. Right now I am using the Tetra Water Test Kit for the past year. It's ok. I gave up on the strips long ago.
  12. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    It may not seem like much now, but it will when you're thinking that your tank has cycled and it really still has some toxic chemicals in the water.....It's even more important if you've got fish in your tank as for example, if your strips show your ammonia at 1.0 and the liquid shows at nearly 2.0, that's twice as high......

    Just some things to think about.
  13. luper

    luperNew MemberMember

    lol i hate color matching b/c i feel that im misreading them... :(

    i wish there was an all in one electronic one... inexpensive though lol
  14. luper

    luperNew MemberMember

    ps.. i payed like $27 for the master test kit yall are talking about... i see online at petsmart for $10 less!!!! me off :( (i got it at petsmart too!)...

    i am new and just cycling my tank right now and my ph is like WAY up there near 8 :( though i think the Ammonia is starting to rise since the color seems slightly different than yesterday... ill ahve to get the ph down to 6.8 before its feasable to add the fish i want (ill add plants and shrimp first though in a few weeks)
  15. vin

    vinWell Known MemberMember

    You'll probably find that as your water parameters stabilize, your pH will settle down...Have you tried testing it out of the tap after it's sat out for 24 hrs? That would give you a pretty good base line.....

    Most fish will adapt to your water's pH...It's the nitrites, ammonia and nitrates that you have to worry about the most. Just check with the LFS where you plan to get your fish and see what they keep their fish at. Unless you're talking some specific cichlid species that require a low pH of like 6.0, you'll find that most fish will do fine in a range from 6.8-8.0,The other thing you'd want to avoid is artificially raise or lower your pH as it becomes difficult to maintain it over time.
  16. luper

    luperNew MemberMember

    well i agree with what you said.. i put in a plant today from the lfs... i have eco complete substrate and my heater is coming tomarrow with like a half dozen more plants from this plant palceo nline I may get some shrimp from the pet store tomarrow too..

    but the ph is a bit lower today, and i saw a slight difference in the ammonia... i think it will be fine and next month ill start putting some fish in..

    i will also hate those color matching lol.... i want a number not a color :).. im lazy though i guess and its not tooo bad i suppose..

    ps: anyone want driftwood b/c i accidently won two auctions at ebay for some driftwood which was dumb lol i haven't got them but they were cheap and i dunno how much i'd want them lol