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test kits

Jim asked about the Seachem nitrate, phosphate and iron test kits.

I bought the nitrate and phosphate kits a few years ago as a beginner
fish keeper.  We weren't really into plants at the time, so I used it a
few times in the beginning then let it sit for awhile.  As we got
interested in plants, I tried them again but noticed that they were a
hassle to use (small mixing "bowls" that tended to tip easily) and the
color comparator seemed to rely a lot on interpretation.  Since they
were old, I decided to buy a new nitrate kit (don't have a new phosphate
kit yet).

Although I think the Lamotte nitrate kit is less convenient because of
the powder involved, I feel more confident in the readings I get from
it.  The Seachem kit uses "drops" as a unit of measurement, and combined
with the relatively small sample size, I get the impression that a small
difference in drop size could result in a not so small difference in
test results.  Much of the higher cost for the Lamotte kit is probably
due to the comparator, but if you try it, I think you'll find that it's
easier to interpret.  I forget, but I think the Lamotte kit also
provides higher resolution readings (anyone please correct me if I'm

Good luck,
Wade Shimoda