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· Just Cofused :>0
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what are some good multi or master kits that r easy to use ?
 

· Little fish in a big pond
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Salifert, Seachem and Red Sea are good and reasonably priced. Salifert doesn't make a "master" kit per se but many vendors will bundle tests for you. Seachem and Red Sea make bundled kits, as well as individual ones.

They are all reasonably accurate too.

IMO, avoid Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kits... they are often the cheapest... and you get what you pay for :(

Jenn
 

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Salifert, especially for calcium and carbonate alkalinity. The Tetra kits may be OK for qualitative testing for nitrates in >20 range and phosphates, ammonia, nitrites, but to get some respectable precision (repeatability) at low ranges, think Salifert, Hach, LaMotte, Red Sea (some of them), a few others I can't remember right now. If you have to match colors to determine differing levels based on shades, then you are already introducing a huge margin of error. Titratiion testing with end-of-titration color shift is much more accurate and precise, and it begins to make a difference when testing for Ca and alk and Mg levels in seawater.

Buy a pH meter for pH. Period.

Same for an ATC refractometer, although a swing arm hydrometer is OK to match SG when mixing water changes (final test should be with a refractometer)

Splurge on a thermometer that measures to at least +0.1 degree F, and ideally has a high and low temp range alarm for each system.

To start up a tank, just knowing a generalized range for nitrogen cycling is OK, but once the system is established and nitrates drop to the low ranges, then better testing kits are mandatory.

hth
 

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JennM said:
Salifert, Seachem and Red Sea are good and reasonably priced. Salifert doesn't make a "master" kit per se but many vendors will bundle tests for you. Seachem and Red Sea make bundled kits, as well as individual ones.

They are all reasonably accurate too.

IMO, avoid Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kits... they are often the cheapest... and you get what you pay for :(

Jenn
Agreed on Salifert and Seachem. Disagree completely on Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.

Seachem's nitrate test kit is very usable at the lower range - not at the higher range where the dye fails. Good for a reefer to know. The others I've tried use the same yellow-red dye that works well up to a point.

Seachem's phosphate test kit changes colors - not density - MUCH easier to read.

Aquarium Pharmaceuticals ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate kits are (in my exp) just as accurate as any of the others and WAY cheaper (I compared them to salifert, tetra, and seachem - same reading). In fact, I use a fraction of the specified sample and reagents - the results are the same. It's gonna take a LONG time to use up any of the above-mentioned AP test kits. On the other hand, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals calcium test kit is VERY expensive per test. Showcase had one for sale for about $20. It was good for (I believe) 20 tests.

I haven't tried a Hagen test kit that I could read.

For calcium and alk I like both seachem and sailfert titration kits (best accuracy)

For sure, listen to Tom. Get a good pH meter. AP, Salifert, tetra pH kits I've tried are impossible to read in the 8.3 range.
 

· Just Cofused :>0
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks , u guys ROCK!!!!!!! ( freeeeebirdddddd )
 

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bgi said:
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate kits are (in my exp) just as accurate as any of the others
clarification: Salifert's and Seachem's nitrate test kits are more usable/readable at lower ranges where reefers will be interested in low nitrate levels. I don't use AP or tetra nitrate tests on my reef tanks because the nitrates are so low they never register in the AP or tetra nitrate tests.

On the flipside, seachem's nitrate dye fails at higher levels where my freshwater grow-out tanks sometimes reach the upper nitrate ranges.
 

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I have been using the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master test kit which has tests for PH, Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. I bought it because it was cheap at Petsmart and being new to saltwater I thought they were all the same. After reading these forums, I will probably switch to Salifert or Seachem when I use it up. I also purchased 2 Nutrafin test kits for Calcium and Alkalinity from my LFS. You have to do alot of color matching and drop counting with these also though, and like tdwyatt said, this doesn't seem as precise as I would like. I can also vouch for the inaccuracy of swing arm hydrometers. Being new, I carried mine to the LFS to compare it to theirs. They were not even close. They opened a new one out of the package and it was completely different from the other 2. I will be getting a refractometer when I can afford it for sure. How many different things do most of you experienced reefers test for? I'm testing for Ammonia,PH,Nitrites,Nitrates,Calcium, and Alkalinity, and will probably buy kits for Magnesium, and Phosphates soon. Any others you think are critical for a mixed reef?
 

· Reefer in training
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I got the Marine Basic and Reef Special kits from Seachem (I also have all their tests) pretty good. But I dont have anything to compare to. I'm happy with them
 

· Master of Perplexity
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I test for pH, salinity, calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, iodate. (test converts iodine, iodide to iodate, so it's total iodine) Occasionally (like when setting up a new tank) ammonia and nitrite/nitrate. Also occasionally total phosphate. I primarily use Hach test kits. They aren't really more expensive than the others, but they don't sell in lfs, and you need some glassware which can be up front more expensive, but they are definitely more accurate.
 

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RipTide said:
I have been using the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master test kit which has tests for PH, Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. I bought it because it was cheap at Petsmart and being new to saltwater I thought they were all the same. After reading these forums, I will probably switch to Salifert or Seachem when I use it up.
No reason to switch out ammonia or nitrite. AP's work just as well as any. Nitrates, on the other hand, would be better tested with something else like Salifert or Seachem. pH requires a meter.

RipTide said:
I also purchased 2 Nutrafin test kits for Calcium and Alkalinity from my LFS. You have to do alot of color matching and drop counting with these also though, and like tdwyatt said, this doesn't seem as precise as I would like. I can also vouch for the inaccuracy of swing arm hydrometers. Being new, I carried mine to the LFS to compare it to theirs. They were not even close. They opened a new one out of the package and it was completely different from the other 2. I will be getting a refractometer when I can afford it for sure. How many different things do most of you experienced reefers test for? I'm testing for Ammonia,PH,Nitrites,Nitrates,Calcium, and Alkalinity, and will probably buy kits for Magnesium, and Phosphates soon. Any others you think are critical for a mixed reef?
I only test for ammonia or nitrites when I see a problem or start a new tank. In my reef tanks, I test:
pH constantly (probe in the sump)
salinity during a water change,
calcium and alk regularly (hopefully less after I hook up a calcium reactor),
iodine and magnesium monthly,
borate, phosphate, nitrate, silicate, strontium when I feel like it just to get a baseline and see if something is moving out of norm.
 

· Little fish in a big pond
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I respectfully disagree with regard to Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia and Nitrite tests... they often give false positives, or readings that are totally out of whack. Have had this experience myself, as have many of my customers. (No I don't sell AP tests but almost everybody else does because they are inexpensive, and therefore a popular choice). I've seen a number of people in this forum experience the same thing.

Jenn
 

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JennM said:
I respectfully disagree with regard to Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Ammonia and Nitrite tests... they often give false positives, or readings that are totally out of whack. Have had this experience myself, as have many of my customers. (No I don't sell AP tests but almost everybody else does because they are inexpensive, and therefore a popular choice). I've seen a number of people in this forum experience the same thing.
THANK YOU, JENN!!!
 

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Ok. I'll believe it when I see it. :) I've seen more bashing of Red Sea than any other. Have you had problems with these?

I wonder if these bad ones have been sitting on the shelves for years. Seachem and Salifert's test kits aren't immune to problems, either. If it works...
 

· Little fish in a big pond
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The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweet price is forgotten.

It may well be that there are problems with other brands... but if you call those manufacturers, they will make it right by sending out new reagents or kits.

Call AP and tell them that you're getting wacky readings and they will tell you they've never heard of that before... and I personally know of at least 3 people who have made that call and received that response. AP tests have a short shelf life but no expiration date on the package (at least not that I'm aware of, since I don't carry them). Red Sea has an expiration date on the packaging and Seachem has a 5 year shelf life.

I prefer Seachem tests (although I don't like their ammonia test), and have tested Red Sea against Seachem and got parallel results. Salifert come highly recommended although I have not used them myself, and are known for their accuracy. If you really want to go all out, get LaMotte or Hach... and be prepared to shell out a bundle.

Jenn
 

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Thanks for the clarification. The AP kits I'm using are ones I bought over a year ago. I've cycled 15 or more tanks and have just started on the 2nd ammonia kit. One from a FW master kit and the other from the SW master kit. When they stop working, I'll toss them. Not worth a phone call to AP anyway.
 

· Jr. Reef Tank Engineer
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I think Tetra-test kits are fine for cycling a tank, but in the case of the NO3 test, once you go below 12.5 mg/l, all bets are off.

I've found that thier KH test correlates well with the Salifert test however. I've been using the Seachem NO3/NO2 test; seems like a good kit, but a bit tedious to use.

I haven't had any expereince with the Salifert Nitrate test but I plan to pick one, up along with a Salifert Mg test soon. I'll keep everyone posted!

- Michael
 

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For reef tank nitrate testing, I've tried AP, seachem, salifert, tetra. I prefer seachem or salifert. They work better than the others at low concentrations. If you think the seachem nitrate test kit is tedious, how about the iodine or strontium? ;)
 
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