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LaMotte tests

Mike wrote -
"2)With all the discussion of test kits on APD, can somebody tell me what
brand is the best?  Is LaMotte worth the price?  I would like to measure Fe,
CO2, KH, Ph and Phosphate."

I use LaMotte tests for everything but KH (which is Tetra).  Some things to
consider:  At a recent plant club meeting we were testing some water for
those who did not have kits.  While waiting for the LaMotte test, one of our
members said, "mm, not used to waiting for results".  Apparently his tests
give immediate results.  Nitrate is 10 minutes, PO4 - 5 min., and Fe - 3
min.  If I run every test in the book it takes 15 to 20 minutes from start
to cleanup.  The quality of light used when reading does make a difference.
I have started using a MH bulb in my plant room - er um, the boiler room
with plants :-)  I have been told by LaMotte that daylight is best.  My wife
bought me a pH monitor because I was always asking her opinion.
Interestingly, her readings, usually at about .3 lower than mine were closer
to actual readings when cross checked with CO2 test.  Neither one of us had
much luck distinguishing a photoperiod change.  The only use for a CO2 test,
IMHO, is to calibrate your eye to the pH test when cross referenced with the
pH / KH chart.

The LaMotte kits are expensive, but refills are inexpensive.  However, I
have been purchasing from Petwarehouse and they do not carry the Fe test or
refills.  So I periodically have to order directly from LaMotte.  If you
order less than $25 - $50(?) of stuff the shipping is brutal.  So I order
refills for everything.  Not so cheap because prices are higher than most
retail outlets.  Anybody have a source for LaMotte refills including iron?
Or perhaps everybody should hound Petwarehouse into carrying this item.  The
benefit of ordering from Lamotte is very fresh refills.

LaMotte has good customer support.  I called them on a couple of different
occasions for help and have been connected with a technician.  On one of the
calls got excellent help.  The other tech was moderately helpful.  After one
of the calls I got a email from the person in charge of sales to hobby type
businesses to find out if the problem had been resolved and, if so, how.
That kind of experience leads me to be partial to LaMotte.

Jay Reeves