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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that Lamotte is the best one out there. I also know that there is no way in the world I can afford that brand, paying my own way in college as well as rent, gas, fish food, etc. As much as I like to do things the right way, this is one that I just can't do right now, so I'm looking for a substitute.

I was wondering what other people use for test kits. I was talking to a knowledgeable friend of mine who is really into reef tanks and he mentioned "Salifert" kits that he uses. They do a good job of getting very particular readings, as far as what I can tell from the directions and the color charts and the reef community has a lot of good things to say about them. I was wondering if anyone here knows about this brand or has any direct experience with it; I'm chewing on the idea of picking up a phosphate and nitrate kit to see how well they work. The Tetra nitrate kit works well enough for higher NO3, but it really isn't very specific, so I'm not too hot on it.

If you don't use Lamotte or Salifert, please anwer this post, anyway. I want to know the brands people use for which parameters and what they think of them.
 

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I second the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. I use their nitrate test kit (I've had about five over the years now). Each one has proved as reliable and accurate as my Lamotte test kit (which is now collecting dust). During the summer, when I purchase a better digital camera, I will do a Lamotte vs AP visual for everyone.

I also use AP's pH test kit. KH/GH, I use are from Tetra (and with the KH/pH, I get my CO2 levels).

I use Seachem Multitest for Phosphate levels.

Carlos
 

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I use SERA for KH. It's not hard to make a choice for KH kits as most are usually number of drops = KH. pH kits need more accuracy. The small range ones are better 6.0 - 7.4 or something... AP falls into this cat.

I don't measure my GH, not really so critical as my tap water is pretty good.

As for nitrite and nitrate, I use Bioplast, going to switch to AP if I can find it.

As for ferts, the best test kits is plant health observation for me :lol:
 

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I use the Redsea N and P kits. The N kit is much easier to read then AP kit I had. About $3 or $4 more but I will pay that for something easier to read. as for KH, GH and pH I use the AP kits. Cheap and easy to read. I don't see a need to spend more on those as it is not as critical to be super accurate.
 

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I use Red Sea NO3 & PO4, both of which are far superior to anything in thier price range, including AP. The Nitrate from AP sucks for getting low ppm accuracy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So Red Sea seems pretty good for phosphate and nitrate? Those were the two parameters that I was most curious about. I still like the specs on Salifert, so I might give those a try, especially since I can get a pretty good deal locally on them. If I do, I'll let you guys know how it goes... they are quite specific and if my reef tank friends like them, they're probably pretty dang good. :)

I second AP's ease for the really important parameters, like NO2, NH4, KH, GH, and pH. I have those and Tetra hanging around my apt, but they aren't gonna do the trick for the nitrate testing I want to do at this point.
 

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I just picked up some TropicMarin kits and they are very easy to use, and compared against other kits the results were similar. That Fish Place had them on sale locally, not sure about mail order.
 

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My AP test kits, except KH/GH, are either in the garbage now or sitting on the shelf and collecting dust. Had problem with every single one, showing basically the same levels, levels which are not correct or levels which can not be tolled apart b/c of very similar sample color.

Example:
Having 75G Lake Malawi biotope where fish aggression has to be controlled either through heavy fish load or many hiding spaces, I was able to easily test accuracy of LaMotte and AP NO3 test kit. AP test kit with it's very poor low range testing was showing between 0-10pp -depending on a day. I wasn't satisfied with AP result and I brought my LaMotte test kit which handles 0-10ppm NO3-N --> 0-44ppm NO3. After multiple tests I was getting the highest reading which would probably go higher on bigger scale. This was more accurate since I was feeding a lot at the time, fish-load was high and I haven't done a water change in 1 month. I tried AP few more times and I tossed it.

LaMotte test kits are:

1. Sold for ~50$ (I know price is not a good argument but don't you think people would buy cheaper if they were showing the same ?. Why do you think "more experienced" hobbyists prefer LaMotte (look at Tom's kits selection)
2. Used by people who do water testing for living
3. Used by hobbyists who are bio/chem students (list is long)
4. Used by many, many, many saltwater folks which are step above FW when it comes to water testing.

I would use AP test kits to measure KH/GH but nothing else. Choice is yours :idea:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I definitely won't be asking Doc Wellfish for any of his NO3 tests.

I was discussing the subject of test kits with some friends at the LFS and they mentioned that Merck kits (supposed to be on the same level with Lamotte) are going to start showing up to test display and customer tanks. Looks like I'm not going to worry about buying Lamotte until later if I can get it done for free with a pharmaceutical-grade kit.

I'm still impressed with what I heard about the Salifert, so I'll probably spend some time in the lab at the LFS comparing the two. If the Salifert comes through and looks to be dependable for a planted tank, I'll let you guys know. No one seems to be able to answer if Salifert can tell me about total phosphate... I guess I'll find out in a few weeks just how accurate that brand is.
 
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