Test Kits

Dan wrote:

>Which kits would be the most accurate and easy to read for the
> PH (narrow range in the smallest increments posssible-somewhere between
> Nitrate
> CO2
> Iron
> KH
> Phosphate
>We would really appreciate the catalog numbers to the individual test

I have used the following test kits from Hach:

pH - Cat No. 1470-14 for pH 5.2 - 6.8 at .1 pH smallest increment
             1470-08 for pH 6.5 - 8.5 at .1 pH smallest increment
Nitrate - Cat No. 14161-00 for 0 - 1 mg/l and 0 - 10 NO3-N (0.02 mg/l and
0.2 mg/l smallest increment respectively)
CO2 - Cat No. 1436-01 for 1.25 to 25, 2 to 40 and 5 - 100 mg/l (1.25, 2 and
5 mg/l smallest increment respectively)
Iron - Cat No. 22993-00 for 0 to 0.2 and 0 to 1.2 mg/l (0.01 and 0.05 mg/l
smallest increment respectively)
Alkalinity (kH) - Cat No. 24443-00 for 0.4 to 8 gpg and 1 to 20 gpg (0.4
gpg and 1 gpg smallest increment respectively).  Multiply 1 gpg by 17 mg/l
for conversion.
Phosphate - Cat No. 2248-00 for 0 - 1 mg/l at 0.02 mg/l smallest increment.

All of the test kits are superb, easy to read, accurate and precise.  They
are also costly.

Although I monitor the water quality weekly with each of the test, I don't
think that they are all necessary.  For instance, The Aquatic Gardener has
an excellent article this month on using Hygrophila polysperma to monitor
water quality and water problems.

I think that most experienced aquatic gardeners use  plants (including
algae) to tell them when things are going wrong, and don't do a whole lot
of testing except when initially setting up tanks.  Accurate tests make you
feel better, because you can attach numbers to symptoms and watch for
trends that approach those numbers.  Experience with observations of the
plants themselves will do the same thing.

Augustine Rodriguez
Elk Mound, WI, USA