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test kits

Jim Wilson asked about test kits.  I have tried quite a few and have a few 

Seachem's phosphate test kit is adequate for aquarium use.  It compares very 
favorable to the Hach spectrophotometer + accuvac system, which is very 

For a nitrate test kit, I have had good luck with the very inexpensive Wardleys 
test kit.  It gives you the answer in colors that represent broad ranges ( 
values that are like: 10, 20, 30, etc.), but you don't really need to know that 
the nitrate is 11.5ppm; you (or at least I) only need to know that it's between 
10-15ppm.  This also compares well with the Hach, given the limits stated above.

For iron, I prefer the LaMotte, but I have to admit that now that I have figured 
out how much to add to acheive a given result, I never use it anymore.
I used it quite a lot in the beginning in order to "calibrate" my dosages; this 
was critical and VERY tank specific - it seemed to have very much to do with the 
types of plants in a particular tank.
I don't have much faith in other iron test kits.  
Even the LaMotte is a little hard to read and compares only so-so with the Hach.

Hope this helps,

Roxanne Bittman