Water test kits

EA James

Member
Hi all,
I’ve read a few things on here about people not liking/using test kits for various reasons, usually because of inaccuracies but what do you do when there’s an issue?
Say for instance you have a few fish get sick or die, surely the first thing to do is check the parameters?
I’ve been looking into a jbl test lab that covers pretty much everything but it’s £75, is it worth it?
I’ve been advised on here to test my phosphate and I’d also like to test my KH for co2 balancing and I’m guessing it’s helpful to have the other tests too? Nitrite and ammonia especially
Cheers, James
 

lilirose

Member
I use test kits despite them being frowned on, for the exact reason you mention here. They are useful for getting a quick look at what's going on in the tank. I have never noticed huge inaccuracies- the results are usually close to what I expect given whatever reason I'm testing. Right at the moment I've had a fish disappear in a jungle tank, have done everything short of a teardown to find her with no luck, so I need to test for ammonia daily until I figure out where she went.

I am using up the last of an API Master Test Kit but when it's gone I will replace it with a JBL- I already have the JBL NH4 test and I like it better than the API kit. I will always have a complete test kit available for my tanks.
 
Basic home titration kits ie wet chemistry drop tests are OK. The test strips seem to be much less accurate.

For plenty of sick fish scenarios the use of a microscope can greatly assist in working out what course of treatment is needed. But it's easier to get a sample from a larger fish.
 

dw1305

Expert
Hi all,
I’ve been looking into a jbl test lab that covers pretty much everything but it’s £75, is it worth it?
The first thing to say is that
Say for instance you have a few fish get sick or die, surely the first thing to do is check the parameters?
Yes it is, but the issue is quite likely to be something that we can't easily test for (internal parasites, pesticide contamination, emergency chloramine dosing etc.).

Dissolved gases (of any description) are difficult to test for, and so are most monovalent ions (like potassium K+ and nitrate (NO3-)) due to <"their solubility">. Even if you have a method, gases are particularly problematic, because you only need a very short period of <"high CO2"> (or <"low oxygen">) to kill your fish.

This <"honestly is the answer">, it might not seen as scientific as testing your water, but it is actually the approach scientists are taking away from the analytical lab.
........I approach this in a different manner, using methods <"based on probability">, I understand that it doesn't give you an empirical value, but it is less reliant in any methodology that has a single point of failure.......
For plenty of sick fish scenarios the use of a microscope
Personally I would see <"a microscope"> as a better investment as well.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:
Say for instance you have a few fish get sick or die, surely the first thing to do is check the parameters?
If you find one or more parameters seem to be outside an acceptable range, you need to do a big water change to fix it.
If they are all within acceptable range, there must be a problem that you cannot test for (or a problem with the tests) and you need to do a big water change to fix it.
So you could make a water change the first thing you do, saving the time and cost of the testing.
 

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