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> Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 20:40:30 +0530
> From: "drajitathale" <drajitathale at hclinfinet_com>
> I would like to know about any DIY possibilities for nitrate/ammonia kits.
> Is it the monopoly of companies?
> Does one always have to spend for these kits?
> Dr Athale
> Baroda, India

The Concentration of Ammonia that we like to measure in a tank are in the
range 0.05 - 2 ppm? and Nitrates 0 - 100 ppm. There is definitely a way to
go about it DIY, but what about the dilution of the reagents? Can you
precisely measure out the reagents ?
It involves a bit of college chemistry and theoretically possible, you'll
even get the reagents/chemicals easily available at stores selling
Laboratory chemicals and 99.9 % pure.
After spending on test kits initially, I have stuck to 50 - 60% water
changes every Saturday. This works just fine for me and is cheaper, I don't
test for anything except Iron once in a while on my tanks. At initial tank
set up I have a few sacrificial fish in, that takes care of the ammonia /
nitrite burst in case there is one and I rarely loose these guys and I
change upto 50% water daily to avoid this.
In case you still want to test regularly try any Laboratory Chemicals vendor
and ask him for Merck test kits. They carry a wide range including Nitrate,
Nitrite, Ammonia, kH, Fe, etc., The resolution of the test kits may be high
( Low?) and the minimum concentration they can measure may be a little high
for aquarium use. Just double, triple or quadruple the aquarium water sample
and extrapolate. In India the vendors do not stock these test kits as they
have an expiry date of about a year after manufacture, you'll have to order
them and I have got many chemicals in a day or two from them, they'll let
you browse through their entire collection of catalogues to find what you
want. I suppose they like to see a madcap close up :).
These test kits do not have an AQUARIUM tag attached to it and are not
(relatively) expensive.
I know because I have spent a small fortune on the "Aquarium" test kits.
Watch your plants, fish and algae.

Madan Subramanian
Bangalore, India.