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Old 12-20-2010, 03:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question What is the best testing kit?

I've grown up with and still enjoy using API products, but I've seen a few people on here chatting up other tests offered by other companies that are better/easier to read. I'm about run out on my API Master freshwaterautolinker.com autolinking image Test Kit and I'm looking to see if I can improve my game any. Suggestions?

Here's what I like about API liquid tests:
Glass tubes (easy to clean, don't stain)
5 mL tests, so you're not draining your tank for one test (important when you're running a battery of tests on a 10 gallon)
Easy to buy (most LFS's carry API stuff, and Petmountain.com has the full line, including extra test tubes).
High accuracy - however, I've heard these are not the most accurate, and that's what I'm interested in.

I've got a SeaChem iron test kit and it drives me nuts, as well as their phosphate test. Not only are the directions hard to read/understand, but I have to overdose the ever living out of my tank to get a reading on iron, which I'm guessing either means I'm doing the test wrong or my plants are Herculean.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best testing kit?

Like you, I've grown up using API....in an aquarium hobby sense anyway. I've honestly never heard they were inaccurate. I believe that for most people's purposes, they are accurate enough to provide the necessary information you need to make decisions and/or monitor your tank and accurate enough to keep your fish healthy - which is the most important part.

As far as the accuracy goes...what test do you run to prove that. And is it just as likely inaccurate as well? Kind of difficult to tell whose system is more accurate unless you have an outside place that can test their kits.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best testing kit?

Just to clear this up a bit. It's not that a API test is inaccurate what it is is your getting a ball park reading as with most drip test. One of the best test on the market IMO is Salifert test kits. That maybe a little pricey but your readings are dead on. Monitors will be the best way to keep a eye on your water levels.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best testing kit?

I think it is less an issue of inaccuracy than an issue of having difficulty in distinguishing certain colors against the chart. I do not really see this as an issue, though, since most of the levels that the color becomes hard to distinguish are all bad. ie. I had a hard time distinguishing between 3ppm-5ppm nitrite.. but really, anything about 1ppm is probably more than I want. I've found the API tests adequate for telling if something is dangerously high, and usually I am able to tell if it is a little dangerous, or lethal. Some others have more demanding needs, as some fish require better parameters. I just thought I would point out that sometimes it is just good enough.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best testing kit?

Thanks for the input everyone. I agree that accuracy is not the end-all-be-all, because we don't really need to be, but the color charts are what bug me sometimes. i.e. hard to tell the difference between 40 and 80 ppm on the nitrate test. Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best testing kit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtm2007@yahoo.com View Post
Thanks for the input everyone. I agree that accuracy is not the end-all-be-all, because we don't really need to be, but the color charts are what bug me sometimes. i.e. hard to tell the difference between 40 and 80 ppm on the nitrate test. Merry Christmas!
Tell me about it. Between 40-80ppm on the nitrate test chart look identical to me.

Though when I think about, either way it is time for a water change.

Merry Christmas to you also!
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is the best testing kit?

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Originally Posted by rtbob View Post
Though when I think about, either way it is time for a water change.
Exactly the way I look at it. I've been doing 50% on all my tanks for a while now and I rarely test my nitrates. Every time I do I always do it before the water change just to see where they've crept to and they barely register 40.
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