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water testing methods
I've been lurking since November, when I rescued a big
carnivorous ugly nocturnal fish that needs a 30gal tank.
Obviously I need something to look at besides Sparky the electric
catfish, so I now have a lovely planted African biotope tank, too.
Since I'm a geek and used to using pH test strips in the lab,
I got test strips to keep track of my new tank water conditions:
NH3; NO2 & NO3; GH KH & pH; and Cl- for water changes.
Quick to use, reasonably sensitive, and when bought in
100-strip packages from big online suppliers, not so horribly
expensive per test.
Nearly as easy as reading the LCD thermometer on the side of the tank.
And at least 2 brands are available.
(Besides the box of narrow-range pH strips from Fisher Scientific
that somehow made its way from the lab to my water-testing bin.)
The longest test takes 1 min for the color to develop;
I can do all my testing in 5 min.
The color comparisons don't tell me whether I have, for example,
0.24 rather than 0.26 ppm NO2, but then, I don't really need to know that.
A reading of "closer to 0.25 than 0.5 ppm" is fine with me.
(Remember "significant digits" in high school science classes?)
Scary-expensive when bought from the LFS in 25-strip packages though.
On the other hand, now that all the nitrifying bacteria have made
themselves entirely at home, I only test about every week or two,
so I'm not using up strips very fast anymore.
Now, keep in mind that I'm testing for the health & safety of the fish,
not the fastest-possible growth of the plants.
So, finally, here's my question:
why are you people messing around with titrating kits?
What do you get from them that dip-&-read strips don't give you?
What concept am I unclear on here?
too far inland in West Lebanon, New Hampshire
but at least without chloramines in the tap water
(Dear EPA: Hey! Don't put chloramines in that! We *drink* that! Love, Z)
PS Many thanks to all the list contributors who have made
setting up & caring for the aquatic critters far less confusing and
mistake-filled than it would have been without you.
And to Actwin for public access to the archives!