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FAQs about Marine Water Test Gear, Types of Kits, Selection

Related Articles: Product Review Marineland Labs/Aquarium Systems Hydrometer, Part 1 By Steven Pro, Captive Seawater Quality, Nutrient Control and Export, Seawater Test Kits, Nitrates, NitritesAmmonia, Phosphate

Related FAQs:  Marine Test Gear 1Marine Test Gear 2Marine Test Gear 3, FAQs on: Rationale, Use, Troubleshooting, Testing Methods: Liquid Reagent/Colorimetric, Dry Reagent Test/ing, "Paper", Titrametric, Electronic & About Brands/Manufacturers, & Specific Gravity

Some Better Brands: Hach LaMotte

Some Good Ones: Aquarium Systems Salifert SeaChem Tetra Tropic Marin Sera

Some So-So: Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (liquid) Hagen/Nutrafin Kent Marine Enterprises Red Sea

Water Test Kits.     10/21/14
Just a quick question please. Are API test kits of decent quality?
<Medium junk... made by other folks. Cheapies... really neither accurate nor precise. But about right for the mass majority of US consumers>
Someone on a forum (an experienced breeder of marine and freshwater) said they aren't. He recommended a make called 'Saliferts',
<Yes; much better. Umm; in the qualities mentioned above>
which is a brand I have not heard of before. What brand of test kit would you recommend?
<Hahhhhaaahhhhhaaaaaaaa.. Posted over and over on the site>
Thank you.
Kind regards,

Water testing     3/19/14
Hi everyone
I was talking to the owner of my LFS last night and the conversation came to the terrible quality of water test kits available to the hobby
<Mmm; some better than others... Hach, LaMotte... kits made for others by them>

and the huge price gap between hobby kits and what our local water district uses. We finally decided that a really serious hobbyist and certainly an LFS should send a water sample to a lab at least yearly to get pro quality analysis, so here are my two questions; First, what tests would you run that perhaps even the average store doesn't usually test for?
<A tough question... You/all should know that samples change with time... not the same w/ shipping. Maybe just the standard nutrient tests: NO3, HPO4... perhaps Potassium for summat new>
For example, what tests would you run to prove that your R/O unit was doing a tip-top job?
<Mainly TDS, conductivity.... one could use a mass spec...>

Second, if you've ever done this, is there a lab you'd recommend?
<Most any QA, quality assurance lab will/would do>

Thank you in advance
<Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Test Kits 7/4/2011
I was just wondering what would be an affordable yet reliable and accurate brand of test kits? I have used API test kits for a while and recently heard they may not be up to snuff as some others; would make sense since they are so inexpensive.
<They are not a bad kit for the money. I was wondering about Instant Ocean test kits. They do cost
more and I'm not sure if they would be better or not.
<Will be similar to the API kits.>
I do like the test kits that come in master kits with multiple parameters to test for, rather than buying each test separately.
<Yes, you do save a little money buying the entire package.>
Anyway I rather not spend the money on Salifert kits even though I hear they are top of the line.
<You get what you pay for. My personal favorites are the Salifert and LaMotte kits.>
Thanks for your time and
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Upgrading Tanks; and anemone comp., test kit grade/SW  10/18/10
Thank You for the quick response. I do have a couple of questions. I read that a Bubble Tip anemone *can* get along fine with a Sebae anemone.
<Can... have photographed them in the wild, contiguous>
Mine do well. I got the Bubble Tip prior to discovering WWM or I would have forgone that acquisition. I have tried to get the Bubble Tip out, after reading that there can be a problem, unsuccessfully.
You showed doubt in my Phosphate readings, something to do with my stinging-celled life. I truly get 0 phosphates when I check them weekly.
<Assuredly, the measure is less than 0., perhaps less than 0.0... but not altogether absent>
My Nitrates never get to 20. I either misunderstood your reasoning or my test kit is not very good.
<Likely the test kit precision to significant figures>
I guess I am unclear on what you wrote.
<And I apologize for not being clear/er>
If my test kits are not accurate then I should purchase a better brand.
<Mmm, not really. I suspect your kit/s is/are fine for what you have in mind>
I am using API.
<Not the best, but passable for most aquarists' use>
Thank you for the link. Most times I find what I am looking for. I no longer purchase anything of importance without referring to WWM. Thank you for this awesome site.
<Certainly welcome John/Tracey. BobF>

Ugh, These Blasted Test Kits!...And Maybe A Little Kalkwasser Seesaw Effect? -- 03/18/08 Yep, admittedly I fell prey to bad test kits, first with alkalinity and then with magnesium. <<Very common, in my opinion>> Here is my issue, 1000 gallon system, my reactor used to be able to maintain Alk and calc at appropriate levels, the test kit I was using (Red Sea as I couldn't get Salifert at the time) <<Do try Seachem's line of test kits'¦good quality for value>> for magnesium was reading 1200 ppm. Little did I know it was below that by 200ppm per my Elos kit, <<I'm not familiar with this brand/manufacturer'¦though I do seem to recall favorable comments from Bob re>> and I was using Kalk which was eroding it further. <<Mmm, yes'¦I'm not absolutely certain of the science behind it, but I believe it is something to do with the addition of Kalkwasser increasing the precipitation nuclei of the water column, thus promoting the disproportionate loss of Magnesium>> Needless to say I fell into this desperate addition of varying buffers to maintain Alk and calcium until magnesium finally hit 1300+ (I'd like to stabilize it at 1400, I'm running Zeo Mag in my reactor and it's putting out 1350). <<I think it likely the reactors and the Kalkwasser additions are battling each other'¦probably best to discontinue the latter>> So, long story short, tested my levels last night, Mag 1300, Alk 8, CA 400. My reactor ran all day, is well tuned in with a pH of 6.5 and Alk output off the scale. I dosed Kalk for a while today to raise pH as it was floating around 8.1 and I wanted to get it higher (dripping maybe 20 drips per minute, in a 1000 gal system I thought it was just about right). Tested Alk tonight and it was 7, CA 360 and Mag 1200! <<Refer to my previous statement re the Kalkwasser use>> I do have a little detritus but not a big buildup. I don't understand why I can't nail down solid levels. I increased the CA reactor output and it's a steady stream, but I am really wondering at this point if I am not best off adding another CA reactor. <<This would be preferable to the Kalkwasser additions>> I do have heavy SPS but I can't believe they are sucking that much calcium. <<If exhibiting heavy or even just 'good' growth their demand can be considerable>> I am beginning to wonder if I am not in some type of runaway supplement nightmare <<'¦yes>> (I add all according to directions), but the sheer fact that Mag fell by 100 in a day (per my Elos test), indicates to me stop dripping Kalk, use Seachem's buffer for pH if need be, and dose mg according to directions until it stabilizes. <<Sounds like a plan>> I don't have any nutrient sinks that I know of (only DSB is a DSB 30 gal trash but it has no detritus in it). Any help is greatly appreciated! <<Stopping the Kalkwasser dosing and stepping-up the Calcium reactor(s) should make a dif'¦oh!..as well as a large water change to help bring all back in 'balance.' Regards, EricR>>

Water testing, methods   2/2/08 Can you recommend a lab that can test my reef aquarium water? Thanks Dave <Mmm, well... there are such services available... "mail order" (see a recent pet-fish magazine re)... but, much in the way of important measures (pH, DO, nitrogenous compounds...) changes rapidly with time, moving of samples... I would get/use your own decent test kits... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/martstkitfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files above... Consider a read of Baensch's Marine Atlas V. 1... very good coverage of the basics here. Bob Fenner> Test Kit Recommendations 4/7/07 Dear Wet Web, <Hi> What brand name test kit would you suggest to someone if they want very consistent readings? <Many brands to choose from here, Aquarium Systems, Salifert are a couple of popular ones that come to mind.  Might want to check some of the more popular forums to get an idea of what people use.> <Chris>

Test Kit Shopping List... Scott, <Scott here, Captain...> Sorry, forgot to ask two more.  It is now or never (or at least quite a while) for getting stuff mailed to me here. <I see!> 1) Am testing pH, Ca, NO2, NO3, phosphates, alkalinity, specific gravity. Any other tests kits I should be using? <I think that you have a full set of kits to monitor the basic parameters that you need to care for a reef. Sure, you can test for stuff like silicate, strontium, oxygen, etc., but I think you have most of what you need. However, I do recommend a copper test kit. If you are going to treat sick fishes with copper, you must be able to monitor its concentration to avoid a potentially lethal "dose". Add that one to your list!> 2)  Am buffering RO water, but other than that, not using any additives (iodine, Kalk, etc.)  All my levels seems to be good, and steady so far -dKH 8-9, Ca - 450, pH 8.3, spg 1.025. <Sounds great...Just keep monitoring and adjust as needed to keep things consistent> Thanks again. Jim <And thank you for writing, Jim! Regards, Scott F>

Test Kit recommendations 11/1/03 Hello, <howdy> Well, its about time that I buy a test kit. My LFS give free tests to all parameters I want, but I'm just getting tired of driving over there twice a week. Would you buy a LaMotte, Red Sea, Salifert, Seachem  or would you suggest a different manufacturer? I want the master kit that includes all tests. Thanks in advance. Mike <LaMotte would be far and away the best choice. Hach is also a top shelf brand. For a less expensive "best pick" I'd take Seachem. Anthony>

- Additives and Test Kits - Thanks, Which Calcium and Alkalinity test kits do you recommend. <Hach, SeaTest, and Sera are all worth owning.> Are there any other test kits I should buy? <Hmm... a good nitrate test is always useful. Iodine/dide tests are good too but harder to find... other than that, I think you can skip most if you stick to a regular schedule of water changes.> Daryl <Cheers, J -- >

- Additives and Test Kits, Follow-up - Thanks, <My pleasure.> I'm still sooooo confused... <Oh? Please explain.> I'm thinking of ordering a Red Sea Calcium test (which tests dissolved calcium), and a Red Sea pH/Alkalinity test.  How does that sound? <Uhh... was Red Sea on that list of worthwhile test kits I gave you? I don't think so... I've not used these personally but have heard less than favorable reports from other aquarists. It's worth your time to spend a few extra dollars to get higher quality test kits.> I was thinking of also ordering a magnesium test kit, but can't seem to find one...is one really needed? <Not in my opinion.> Can I get by with just the calcium and alkalinity test kits? <I'd have nitrate, pH, calcium and alkalinity.> Since I will be putting in an order, which additives do you recommend? <I wouldn't 'order' any but wait until the tests come and confirm what you may or may not need.> I currently have Seachem reef complete, Seachem reef calcium, Seachem reef trace, and Seachem reef carbonate.  Will these suffice, or should I order different additives? Thank you sooo much, I wish there was some way to make this a little simpler! <Cheers, J -- >

Good Morning From Bernd - His LFS Has Closed! Good morning, crew. I'm the guy from Honduras. My LFS has closed. <I hate when the place you deal with closes...  Feel bad for the store owner.. but worse for my fish.> Now I have only one more store in the whole country that carries marine stuff. <ouch> I was using Instant Ocean salt mix the last 2 years. The other store has only Kent Salt mix and Crystal Sea Marine Mix , which would You prefer? <Personally I have never used anything but instant ocean, but I have know people that are quite happy with their Kent Salt.  But, reading articles online I found more than a few stating that Crystal Sea Marine Mix is one of the best.  Check out this link here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/feature/index.htm  Seems to say that they are quite happy with the Crystal SMM.> From reading Your FAQ site, I know that You like the Instant Ocean, but I can't get that any more. <You should look online and see if you can order Instant Ocean from online vendors and have it shipped directly to your house.> Also, I need new test kits. He has Seachem kits  and FasTest from Aquarium Systems.  Which should I choose? <I recently tried the Seachem kits at a friends home and found it not only very nice, but seems to be quite accurate.  I would vote on that one.> Thanks as always, Bernd <Sorry to hear of your LFS closing.  Hope things work out for your and your fish. -Magnus.>

TEST CRAZY 3/19/04 Hello,  I am writing from Liverpool and have recently purchased and matured a marine reef tank, I think your site is great although I do lose days reading the advice you give, I wonder if you can help with one of my questions? <Glad to help! Welcome to the hobby!> I am a little confused with all the different tests you advise on your site, I do carry out weekly pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and salinity level checks, but I am unsure as to whether I need to be testing for calcium and iodine or anything else... <IMO, Salinity, pH, Alkalinity and Calcium are mandatory to test for (Also:  Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate during the cycle).  Other than that I recommend testing for anything that you are adding, and if you can't or don't test for it, don't add it!> As I said I have a 5 month old 44 Gallon Eheim tank and with 20KG of Live rock (cured in tank), 5 fish, 5 shrimp and some corals and feather dusters etc.. <All sounds very good if not a bit crowded.> I have recently found a cleaner shrimp dead it does not look like it had been attacked but I lost one of my two dancing shrimp about a month ago, I still have one dancing shrimp and a fire shrimp and they have both lost legs, I put this down to the introduction of a pistol shrimp last month which I have now exchanged. I have two peppermint shrimp and a new sexy shrimp but they are all healthy. <Pistol shrimp can and will aggressively defend their territories against other shrimp.  Most crustaceans are quite sensitive to acclimation.  Are you performing a slow and careful (dripping works well) acclimation?  They are also very sensitive to salinity and won't thrive in much less than normal sea water salinity (1.025).> After reading some of your FAQ's I am concerned about the test's I need to be carrying out or the additives I need for my reef set-up and whether the pistol shrimp was ever to blame for limb loss and whether it is me at fault. <Iodine additions can stimulate molting, and iodine overdose has been implicated in crustacean death.  The pistol shrimp is certainly a possibility too.> Thanks for the past insight and hope to hear from you soon. English Boy. <I hope this was helpful.  In a nutshell, be mindful of acclimation and proper salinity (always do check the salinity coming from your retailer...  it can often be scary low.)  Best Regards, Adam>

When in doubt... check the checker: Test Kit accuracy 3/29/04  Thank you for your reply. I had already bought a test kit replacement of the same variety (Hagen), rechecked my water and was still getting these sky high results, however I have taken your advice and purchased a different type (Tropic-Marin) and guess what - perfect results 8.4.  <ahhh... good to hear. As hoped/expected>  I have contacted Hagen as both of their test kits (new and old) gave the same inaccurate results. I have also spoken to a marine fish specialist retailer and they told me that this manufacturer is renown for inaccurate test kits he said that he had sent all of his stock back to Hagen (UK). So thanks again Anthony I can now sleep soundly once more!!! Dave Squire (England)  <always welcome. With kind regards, Anthony>

- Testing the Waters - Hello! I've been reading through the thousands of chat information you have about tank setup and had a few questions. I recently purchased a Glass Tropic Marin Hydrometer and a Instant Ocean Plastic Hydrometer for backup or comparison. After reading more on various web sites I was told that I would need a Refractometer and that the glass and plastic models are inaccurate and vary too much. Is this true? <Not entirely... the Tropic Marine hydrometer you have is a quality instrument and should be reasonably accurate. Most all swing-arm hydrometers are usually accurate, but not well calibrated - that is to say, they will read consistently but they may be off by 0.001 or more.> And if so can the cheaper Portable Refractometers($50.00) be used or is the more expensive full Ocean Tech($100.00) required? <Refractometers all operate the same way... just the build quality of the instrument will suffer.> Just see so many people going back and forth on this that I wasn't sure and figured the master reef keeper would know. <I use my refractometer to calibrate my swing-arm hydrometer.> Also I am debating over the test kit to use and which tests. I've been told to stay away from the Aquarium Systems kits and go with the Salifert ones. The Salifert tests are more but are they that much better or worth the money? <Yes, although the Aquarium Systems tests are decent - I'd avoid the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and Red Sea tests.> Or do you know of another test kit? <LaMotte or Hach... but these will cost you even more.> I heard SeaChem also to be good but less then Salifert. I don't mind spending the money for a good product. As for which tests, I was thinking: phosphate, nitrate, calcium, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, Alkalinity <At the very least nitrate, pH, calcium, and alkalinity.> I told that after I cycle the tank with my live rock that I wouldn't need the Ammonia or Nitrite tests. Does this sound correct? And do I need a low range nitrate after cycle? <Yes and yes... if you are in the money spending mode, then having all those tests won't hurt you, but it's true that you won't use ammonia or nitrite very often after your tank is cycled.> And finally I was going to use ESV KALKWASSER to replace the calcium and baking soda for a buffer. Do you recommend any other supplements or items I need to add to treat the water? <Sounds good to me.> Thank You for your great advice and web site, J <Cheers, J -- >

Salt water test kit Bob or whom it may concern, Hello, let me say what an honor it is to be speaking with you. I have read many of your articles and respect your knowledge and the years of service you have provided to the hobby. <Thank you> Here is my problem. I know it is going to be rather ambiguous but I am hoping you might have some recommendations. I recently bought a used 75 gallon DAS tank from an individual. He gave me a bag full of little vials. He told me this was the test kit for the tank. The problem is it has NO instructions. He apparently did not know how to use them either. The bag contains 5 tests. Copper reagent (1 vial liquid), PH indicator (1 vial liquid), nitrite reagent (2 vials liquid part A and B), ammonia reagent (2 vials liquid part A and B), nitrate reagent (3 vials liquid part A, B, and D one vial powder zinc dust) part C), it also came with a little water vial and a small scoop for the powder. I know the simple answer is to just throw it all away and go buy new. I thought of that BUT complete test kits start at around $50 AND I have 3 complete sets of each. They appear to be brand spanking new too! I am hoping that you with all of your knowledge might know how to utilize these test. Maybe one drop of each liquid and look for a particular color? I don't know. The kit was manufactured by a company called Marine Enterprises out of Towson, MD. I tried doing a search for them on the net and all I found was a boating company. I truly hope you might have some advice on how to go about using this test kit. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Hmm, looking in my spiffy Buyer's Guide (the industry does have periodicals...), Marine Enterprise does have a posted 800 line: 200-7258... give them a call and ask them to send you a set of colorimetric standards (comparative color), and the instruction sets that come with their kits... Explain your situation to them> While I have you does pom pom xenia or creeping xenia have any special needs? I have both and the creeping appears to be dying rather quickly. <Hmm, brisk, discontinuous current, high dissolved oxygen, some organic content in their water, absence of proximal stinging-celled animals... I would start using some iodine weekly and activated carbon once a month... to discount chemical interactions...> Thanks in advance, Rick Snoddy >> <You're welcome, Bob Fenner> 

Test Kits Can you make a recommendation for a manufacturer(s) of test kits? <Salifert, Hach, LaMotte> It would be for my own use, my business use, and possibly for a recommendation to AMDA. I would like your opinion for 2-3 manufacturers of reliable and accurate test kits. I want to be able to test for the following: Salinity/Specific Gravity Temperature pH Alkalinity Calcium Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate Phosphate It would be best if each recommended manufacturer made all of these kits.  <They do> It is something AMDA is considering, but that I am not suppose to talk about yet. You will probably find out about it at MACNA. Thank You, Steven Pro <If for the AMDA, get the Hach kit with a colorimeter/spectrophotometer. See their website. Bob Fenner>

Test Kits? Robert, What do you think is the best all purpose test kit for fresh and salt water tanks? Hagen Aquarium Master kit? <LaMotte, Hach, YSI... other folks make "fisheries", "water quality" kits that include spectrophotometric, titrametric as well as more-accurate-than-one-needs colorimetric (like most pet-fish units) assays with a whole bunch of testing parameters... but the Salifert and Tetra kits are likely about the best for aquarist use. Please read over the FAQs posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com re tests/testing. Bob Fenner> Thank You Tanya Hawkins

Saltwater Test Kit Preference? Bob, A clarification: on your site, you say: My main question is: Do you have a recommendation for test kits? <Salifert, Hach, LaMotte...> I have gotten varying advice. One fish store recommended Tetra's test, another recommended Hagen's. Aquarium Systems SeaTest and FasTest seem to have a wide following but the store recommending Hagen said he quit carrying the FasTest and SeaTest kits because he got a lot of complaints about inaccuracy. In your book, CMA, you picture the SeaTest and FasTest kits. <These are okay... made by Hach for AS...> If SeaTest and Fastest are made by Hach, and you recommend Hach, are they that bad?  <Hmm, well... the reagents are made and packaged by them... but they are not strictly speaking Hach's products... not as accurate per the type, range of tests...> What are prices like on the others? I know LaMotte is very expensive, but what about Salifert and Hach? I'll look on my own, I just want a general idea of their class of price. <Salifert is reasonable, about twice the "average" sort of assay/test kits as the "major brands" pricing. Hach about three times> Also, looking at the Hach website, they have lots of different KINDS of test kits. Do you recommend a kind? Color wheel, color block, dip strip, spectrophotometers or colorimeters?  <Depends on what you're going to do with the gear, testing... likely the color block/colorimetric standards will do. I'd skip any/all dips... The kinds? Pick out the "pet fish" ranges you're interested in/use. Bob Fenner> Check out this page for a precision chart: http://www.hach.com/Spec/SKITMETH.htm Ben

pH, test kits I have 2 test kits one tablet form one drop they both give me different readings which one is more accurate and can you recommend a good test kit for future use. <Mmm, there are tablet and liquid test kits (colorimetric assays) that are about the same accurate and inaccurate... A bunch to say here... but generally both types of kits are "accurate and precise (rendering consistent readings) enough" for aquarium use... Do please read over the following FAQs section on kits: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martstkitfaqs.htm Hach, LaMotte, Salifert are some of the better manufacturers/brands. Bob Fenner>

Re: Yellow Tang getting brown patches, test kits,  Mr. Fenner, Thank you for your replies. I just want to tell you how much I am enjoying the book. Wish I had it last year. <Ahh, I as well> Just to let you know, I think I found the culprit causing the staining on my Tang. <What was/is it?> My ph is to low. I did 3 different tests and they all came up low. 8.0 or lower. I am getting a Red Sea Test Kit. It seems to be the better of the others I use. Fastest is good but I have a hard time reading it. Saltwater Master by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals is the other and the worst. None of the test colors are even on their charts. This is the one I've been using and it really taught me to have more than one test kit in the house. <Thank you for this personal account, input as to test kits> I will be doing a slow drip tonight of Kalkwasser. Hope it works and will let you know how my Tang is doing. He was worse this morning. Thank you again. Lois <Be chatting my friend in fish. Bob Fenner>

Test Kits Hi, just needed to know what types of test kits I should use for an established tank. Do I need a low range nitrate or hi, and do I need ammonia, ph, calcium, phosphate, or nitrite? I plan to keep fish only and maybe a few mushrooms or anything else that might be able to survive under a power compact lighting system. My tank is about two weeks old, but I can just get free tests during the nitrogen cycle at the LFS. I was looking into the Fastest brand or perhaps the Salifert. Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again. <For a fish-only tank, I like the Dry-Tab Master Test kit from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. It contains pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tests. They are reasonably accurate, inexpensive, easy to use, and difficult to contaminate. -Steven Pro>

Test kits I am interested in buying a master test kit for my FOWLR tank. I have heard of three good brands, Hagen, Salifert and Fastest. Which one do you prefer? I have been reading reviews on the net rating Fastest and Salifert as the supreme. Just need a push in the right direction. Thanks. <I have the Salifert pH, calcium, and alkalinity test kits and have been very happy with their performance. -Steven Pro>

Test Kit Question Hello Mr. Fenner, I just wanted to say keep up the good work. This is the best site that I have seen on saltwater, period!.  <kind thanks, my friend> Anyways, I was wandering if you could suggest a reliable and easy to read saltwater kit. I have a Red Sea kit and I can hardly tell what color test result matches the color scales. Very vague results and very frustrating. I am tired of spending my money over and over again to only find what I buy does not really work all that well. Your opinion would sincerely be appreciated. Thank You, Jim <unfortunately... there is a lot of variability between brands and even within the same line of colorimetric kits. Each line has some easy/accurate kits and some more difficult ones as well. Furthermore... the colorimetric kits are perceived differently by different eyes. Some people are colorblind or nearly so... others are more keen. For me... I like most of the kits in the Aquarium Systems line. Cheap, easy... fairly accurate and easy to read (but none are perfect). The best is to use digital meters when possible. Hach kits are good too but expensive. Best regards, Anthony>

Pittsburgh Stores I have a question for those few of you that are familiar with the dealers in the Pittsburgh area (Anthony, Steven Pro). Which would you buy stock from given the choice <I like them all for certain things.> or would I be better off to have it shipped in from FFE or something of that sort? <FFE is a great sponsor of ours, but I always prefer to purchase livestock that I have seen. Drygoods I would order in a heart beat, but I am always leery of purchasing livestock sight unseen.> Lately the LFS closest to me seems to have been slipping in their water quality or something as I'm always seeing corals that are not happy and fish that don't seem so happy and their answer is always "I just did a water change" is that an ok answer? <I bet I can guess who this is. The problem with one store in particular, is they have begun transshipping a lot of their livestock. The fish and inverts are much cheaper, but in generally rougher shape.> I would like to add a lionfish to my set up soon and am debating where to buy it. <My best answer is going to be a bit of a cop out. You really have to shop around. I do not purchase all my livestock (both for personal tanks nor customers) from one source. I always check out different places and select the best stock from them.> Thanks once again for all your help, Colleen in Pittsburgh, PA One other quick question, I'm currently using Masters test kits. Is there a better brand I should get as these never did show any nitrites or nitrates and still are showing all levels as being 0 (ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates)? <I am not familiar with a "Masters" brand, but I think (because of previous correspondence) you are referring to the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Dry-Tab Master Test Kit (pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate). I really like this brand/model. They have individually sealed, dry, dated reagents. I have also used Seachem's and Salifert's pH, alkalinity, and calcium kits and have gotten consistent results. -Steven Pro>

pH Test Equipment Hello, I am having trouble finding Seatest by Aquarium Systems. Do you mean Fastest?  <ahhh...yes.> Do you know of an online store that sells the test kit that you are talking about so I can order one?  <yep... http://www.reefsplendor.com/pages/testing/fastest.html just one of many places. And keep in mind that efficacy is somewhat in the eyes of the beholder with colorimetric test kits since we all see color differently. A kit that is very clear to me may not be as much so for you. That's why digital equipment is recommended so heavily. pH pens like the Hanna instrument you have unfortunately are low grade pieces of equipment. A handheld meter will serve you better my friend if you choose to invest.> Thanks, Jeff <best regards, Anthony>

Test Kit Query Hi. <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> My name is Peter and I was wondering if I could get info on test kits. <Sure.> Is Salifert as good as I hear? <Accurate as far as my history with the product.> I'm looking to buy the following: (Iodine, Calcium, Nitrate, Nitrite, Alka/KH, pH, Ammonia, Dissolved/Oxygen) is this ok or m I missing something? <Depends on the livestock you intend to keep- But the list does seem pretty thorough.> Do you know best retailer on the net as far as prices? <What's cheap today can be costly tomorrow- I'd look for closeout sales.  Google is your best friend for pricing.> My LFS is not much of a help. Do you know a GOOD retailer in NEW YORK CITY especially Staten Island or Brooklyn? <Sorry, no, I'm from the other side of the country!> THANK  YOU VERY MUCH FOR " WETWEBMEDIA" and all info on it!!!!!!!!! <No problem at all.  Good luck in your hunt! Ryan> - Help, Crabs Dying, Follow-up - Thanks J! <My pleasure.> We are going to slow down and I took several deep breath's!  LOL - good advice. <Works in most circumstances.> Thanks for the info on the Coral Beauty, she looks great, eats great - she has the food gone in 30 seconds or less! <Sounds good.> I will watch her if I get worried again. Glad to have so many experience people like yourself to help us along - it is the LFS's that continue to "sell" us stuff before it is ready, they don't care if you crash your stuff I guess as they think you will just be back for more... too bad, not good long term business plan. <No, but most businesses of this type are worried about the here and now, the immediacy of paying the bills.> Thanks again! Do you have any preference for Alkalinity and Ca testers or test kits? <I've always liked the Sera tests, the SeaTest(s) are pretty good too.> Don't mind paying a lot for ones that are worth it! <Well... you can spend lots of dollars on nice kits, the ones I mention are reasonable. If money is no object, the Hach and/or LaMotte kits are excellent.> Anne & Rick <Cheers, J -- >

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