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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,