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Re: Water Testing?

Brandon <byott at albedo_net> wrote:

> Subject: Water Testing?
> I am told that I can get up to 30
> elements tested.  Obviously, all of the macro nutrients and major water
> parameters will be included (pH, CO2, nitrates (ites), PO4, Fe, K, etc) but
> I am wondering which micro nutrients I should include in the to-be-tested
> list?  The other question, is if anyone knows weather I need to specify
> different chemical compounds e.g.. CaCO3, or if I can just request Ca to be
> tested (hardness is a bad example, but same with sulfates, other oxides
> etc.)

I run an ICP at work, as well as an IC (Ion Chromotography). Both 
instruments will cover any needs you have. A sequential ICP will 
give all 30 elements at once. It's good to know what you have, but 
for the most part I concentrate on the macro elements (Ca, Mg, Fe, 
and K). I make sure to have trace amounts of the micros (Cu, Co, 
B, Mo, Mn, V, and Zn) available in my tanks and an ICP will verify 
their presence or absence. Micros can be amended with PMDD, or 
commercial products. Macros can be added with salt additions, or 
with commercial products, also. 

An IC, or wet lab methods, can give you very accurate numbers for 
NO2, NO3, Cl, F, SO4, etc. I mainly look at the PO4 and NO3 
numbers. I add SO4 and Cl with my K, Ca, and Mg additions, and 
really don't pay them any attention, as long as my cations are at 
the right levels. Be SURE to find out how your NO3 and PO4 
concentrations are being reported. Different labs report different 
ways. Most report nitrates, nitrites, and phosphates as N and P. 
Hopefully you don't have any nitrites. If they do report as N and P, 
multiply the nitrate N by 4.43 to get nitrate NO3, and multiply the 
phosphate P by 3.06 to get phosphate PO4. 

Alkalinity and pH will be helpful in determining CO2 levels, provided 
you get the sample tested ASAP for pH. As you lose CO2, the pH 
rises. Try to collect the sample without leaving a headspace in the 
container. A headspace will allow a place for CO2 to gradually 
dissipate from your water, especially if the sample is shaken or 
moved around a lot. When the lid is removed, the CO2 is lost. Just 
like shaking your Coke too much and it loses it's carbonation. 

Jamie    <"\\\>< Aquatic plants, water chemistry, and cichlids
Greenwood, SC     http://www.ais-gwd.com/~jjirons