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What test kits to use?

Chrispowell

Member
Joined
18 Apr 2014
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296
Hi all,

I want to test my tank water to work out different EI ingredient amounts in my water?

I see people refereing to keeping certain chemicals and different PPMs but Im not sure what to buy to allow me to test these?

Sorry for a vague question but hopefully someone is able to help

Thanks

Chris
 

Joe Turner

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14 Aug 2014
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150
Maidenhead Aquatics stock the JBL Proscape Test kit, which will test Fe and Mg, as well as those mentioned above.

Cheers, Joe
 

ian_m

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Why do you need to measure things ?

What will you do different, depending on the completely unreliable unrepeatable results of your hobby grade test kit ?

EI is dosing in excess, so ignore what your water already contains and just dose EI. Job done. No need to miss measure miss read anything.

The number of people that roll their own dosing ideas, based on false readings of test kit results (especially Mg) and then wonder why they only grow algae and melting plants.

If you really insist you must test your water, then the kits below are the way to go. These will give reasonable reliable & repeatable results compared to most hobby grade kits.
http://uk.hach.com/test-kits/multi-parameter-kits/family?productCategoryId=25114174848
http://www.lamotte.com/en/aquarium-fish-farming/fresh-water-combination-kits/3633-04.html
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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Thanks all, I understand the principles behind EI dosing but feel the best way to progress with growing aquatic plants is to understand and monitor the chemicals and see how these levels effect different plants.

Thanks for all the help though!
 

ian_m

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and monitor the chemicals
You don't need to monitor, that is the whole point of dosing EI, so you don't need to use test kits.

You know how much ppm each EI dose gives, therefore you know the dose in the water. Reset levels once a week by 50% water change.

I gave you links to suitable non hobby test kits, these will correctly measure the salts levels.
 

Chrispowell

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18 Apr 2014
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Yep thanks Ian!

Look like some decent kits

You don't need to monitor, that is the whole point of dosing EI, so you don't need to use test kits.

You know how much ppm each EI dose gives, therefore you know the dose in the water. Reset levels once a week by 50% water change.

I gave you links to suitable non hobby test kits, these will correctly measure the salts levels.
 

dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
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Hi all,
but feel the best way to progress with growing aquatic plants is to understand and monitor the chemicals and see how these levels effect different plants.
It would be good, the problem is that you need a lot of different kits and meters to actually get accurate results, and the tests and kits you need can vary dependent upon how hard and "salty" your water is.

I had a go at this a couple of years ago, mainly because some of the tanks are in a lab. next to an analytical lab., and I asked the technician to run a tank water sample through the AAS, ISE etc. when they had a run of water samples to analyze.

This gave me a datum to work from. The outcome was that it is quite difficult to get accurate, repeatable values for parameters like NO3-, even when you have Ion Selective Electrode (ISE) etc.

There are techniques that can give you more accurate readings for some parameters. You can get more accurate pH readings in very soft water by adding a neutral salt (usually NaCl), but if you have very soft water pH is going to be inherently unstable anyway. Conversely if you have very hard water you know pH will be ~pH8 and it really doesn't matter what you test it with, it will give you much the same value.

An atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS) will give you accurate and repeatable values for metals like potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca) etc. but the results may still need interpretation. If you're a plant there may be no difference in response between 5 and 50 ppm calcium, but there might be a huge difference in response between 0.5ppm and 5ppm Ca, and these critical values will vary from plant to plant.

I eventually settled on the <"Duckweed Index">, basically a colour and growth index of a non-CO2 (or light) limited plant and an optional conductivity measurement, because it is actually a much more sensitive metric than using test kits.

cheers Darrel
 

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