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Reference Solutions

As much as I dislike the cheap aquarium industry test kits, they are ever
popular due to their low prices and easy availability. What is needed is a
simple way to determine if a particular test kit is worth while and/or
still viable due to reagent life. 

I wonder if the chemists on this list could develop some simple ways to
create reference solutions against which to compare a test kit? It would
need to use easily available chemicals and simple measures which are not
too error prone. Obviously, "2 grams of NaHCO3 in 10 ml of water" isn't
something that most home chemists could reproduce (Pushak excepted).
Something on the order of "one tablespoon of baking soda in 1 gallon of
distilled water should generate 5 degrees of carbonate hardness" would be

What would it take to create a reference solution for: 

>carbonate hardness and/or alkalinity (same thing under specific

>general hardness (calcium plus magnesium ions)







If we could create such solutions, it also might be interesting to collate
the results of using various test kits against them. A benchmark for test
kits. I volunteer to check LaMotte test kits and collect results submitted
by others. 

George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth at frii_com)