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My Kitty Cleans My Glass!
974 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just thought that I would share this with you all. If you are using for occasional water testing I found this to be interesting when I saw that my salifert was reading 448ppm and there test was reading 212ppm. So I sent an email asking what was up with that. Here is the response.

"Your test kits are probably fine. We use an Ion-specific electrode to
measure calcium. This probe will only "see" calcium ions, or essentially
"free" calcium in the water. It does not see calcium that is in any kind of
association with other elements such as carbonate, bicarbonate, fluoride,
sulfate, ect. Your titration style kit does not differentiate between the
varieties. Corals will use all types, but they prefer free calcium because
it is the easiest to use, but they don't really care. We chose the
ion-specific electrode expressly because it is a method that is not
generally available to hobbyists, in an attempt to give them an additional
piece of information about their water chemistry.
In natural seawater, about 20% of your calcium is found in these
complexed compounds. In aquaria, with the inherent ionic imbalances
associated with aquarium chemistry, as much as 40-50% may be complexed at
any given time. Watching both values for calcium over time, and making sure
that both values remain stable, indicates a more stable environment, and is
more conducive to coral health and growth. You may also note that in the
report that you received, our recommended values for calcium reflect the
amount of expected ionic calcium, and not the total calcium level of 400
that you are familiar with. Based on those values, you are really not that
far off from natural seawater, and well within the norm for aquariums. I
hope that this helps."

Professional Tread Killer
754 Posts
thats a pretty interesting site. and something to look into. i think its a great way to keep things in check. every few months or atleast 2x per year. its not so much the tests we have are really bad. but a mass spec and probes may get a better picture of what is really going on..

if nothing else they have an interesting study on the salts to browse through. i may look into this .. eventually.. provided i don't kill everything in my tanks moving them into one large one.. lol..

311 Posts
you should get what you pay for and it seems like they test using diffrent methods. if they give you data in relation to nsw then it is very valid usable data in a form which you might not be familuar with but makes sence. i would not be upset if they are willing to provide you with information like the one in the email to clarify and questions that you may have. you know for next time what you will get and if the servace is not that expensive might be good to do a few times a year for trend analysis. plan to check out the site here in a bit and see what it is all about....

11,345 Posts
I have used that service as well

Their results are suspect on many things. Silica, potassium, calcium and iodine to name a few. If you go to the reef chemistry forum at RC there are tons of threads on it, with several of the most knowledgable chemistry gurus in the hobby not trusting their results as well. Ironically, they use articles and quotes from Randy Holmes Farley to support some of their reuslts and conclusions....yet he is one of the guys who says they arent all that on top of it.

Most of my results from them were what I thought they would be .......but a few things as well as their concluions are a littel suspect. I double checked a few things with someone else with the means who did me a favor, and the results were quite different. I think the bottom line is that if you really want accurate reuslts.......its going to cost you $20 or so per test from one of the real labs....not $40 for 14 of them.

I wont be using them again
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