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Old 11/23/2015, 12:08 AM   #1
jason2459
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Triton vs. Aquamedic AWT vs. Hobbyist kits API Salifert Elos RedSea Hanna etc

Here it is the last Show Down. This time around I'm looking to see how Aquamedic AWT stacks up. AWT started out around 2006 and I've never heard anything spectacular about them but in 2014 Aquamedic about them out and is now Aquamedic Water Testing. And just recently Marine Depot started selling their mail-in kits which is where I bought mine from.

According to the FAQ on Aquatmedic Water Testing site:

"AquariumWaterTesting.com was started in 2006 as a small lab in the back of a warehouse. In 2014 Aqua Medic USA purchased all new laboratory equipment and renovated the old lab into a much bigger up-to-date professional laboratory within the confines of Aqua Medic USA and has been commonly referred to as the more appropriate name, Aqua Medic Water Testing. The new multiple work station laboratory has allowed Aqua Medic Water Testing to grow and manage the influx of water samples received daily with the ability to sustain growth."

Now I've already done a me vs. Triton out of curousity of how well I've been doing and everything seemed to line up where our tests were able to overlap.

Previous Triton test results
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2537234
In those results it showed low Mo and I. I got an Iodine and Mo/Sr supplement and dosed to their recommendations 3 days and 1 day before collection this rounds of test samples from the tank. So, we'll see what those values come back with.


In the past I've also done a lot of test kit comparisons and also recently logged a couple.

Old one where I compared API and Salifert Calcium and Alkalinity tests kits
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1927189

A recent Nitrate Test kit shoot out between NYOS, Salifert, RedSea Pro, and API
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2538789

Then also a PO4 test kit shoot out between Nyos, Elos Pro, Salifert Hanna Checkers x2, and Seachem.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2540702

So, this last round is kind of a final comparison for many of those and solidify my thoughts on them while also seeing how well AWT stacks up now that Aqua medic bought them out. I'm hoping spot on. There's a few areas where AWT and Triton don't match up to each other on what they test for like Nitrate as Triton doesn't test for that. But I have gotten a pretty good sampling over the past week to at least have a good understanding on where that's at now even at a higher resolution.


As for parameters that I'm concerned about and aim to be in are all pretty much listed in this article I've referenced many times over but always a great read by Rando Holms-Farley.
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/index.php

So, to try and keep this somewhat organized as I post up my results from a lot of rounds of testing Saturday night I'll split this up into a few posts.

But to kick it off. Here's a picture of what I tested with last night. Including calibrating pretty much everything that could be calibrated.




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Old 11/23/2015, 12:19 AM   #2
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General Parameters

First thing I think I'll post my basic parameters I was able to quickly grab before jumping into all the test kits.

Salinity: (I target 35ppt and slowly raising back to it after dropping to 34ppt)
34 ppt (slightly over) Via my Veegee/Vitalsine refractometer. I trust this the most. It's easy for me to read and has always been very consistent needing very rare calibration.

34.4ppt Via my Apex Salinity Probe. This I trust as a failsafe. It drifts a lot.

36ppt Via my Milwaukee digital. This always reads a rounded up 1ppt high even after calibration to 0 w/ ro/di

pH: (I target 7.9-8.4)
8.30 via Apex (I'm very upset to say my Hanna Handheld is broken I have to buy a new one. I've had it since 2009)

temp: (I use the Apex Seasonal Table so it varies)
77.0 via Apex

ORP: (I just find it interesting to track and compare it to events. I don't have a target)
386 via Apex







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Old 11/23/2015, 12:37 AM   #3
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Phosphates Hanna ULR and Elos Pro

I did this one first and at the exact same time I grabbed the sample water for both AWT and Triton. My PO4 drifts a lot and could drift even with in a couple hours as seen I think in that Nitrate Shoot out thread linked to in the first post.

I'm definitely at the very low end of my swings at the time I tested. I decided on testing with the Hanna ULR as it's always been my favorite and easiest of course to read. Then as a second test I went with the Elos Pro. After that phosphate shoot out I found it the best for the high resolution low range numbers. I saw no reason to use any of the other kits as they didn't have the resolution that the Elos Pro or Hanna 736 ULR have.

To start out I went ahead and compared the Hanna 736 ULR checker against the "calibration" set. I really wish they would call it a reference set as you can't calibrate the checker. But I usually get a reading between 98 and 100. In the phosphate kit shoot out the checker read 100 on the nose.

This time it hit 99 which is to me still perfect




And the reading for the tank was 6ppb (or about 0.018ppm). That is about as low as my tank will get. All I care to be at is under .09 ppm. I actually took this test twice and got the same results. My tank usually bottoms out at around .03 but I have never tested as much as I have lately. Usually only when I see something off in the tank. I do not use GFO and haven't used it regularly for years.






The Elos Pro phosphate kit also agreed that it was at least below 0.024 ppm. The color was not 0 but not quite at the 0.024ppm coloration so in between.






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Old 11/23/2015, 12:51 AM   #4
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Nitrates Salifert and Red Sea Pro

For Nitrates I went with the Salifert and Red Sea Pro kit. The Salifert won me over in the nitrate shoot out for it's super quick results and ease of use just to check if my nitrates are under 5. That's all I really care about. I used just use API as it was cheap and accurate enough to tell me it's under 5. Which is very true and it's a great test kit for that. But after 10 years of slamming and whacking bottle number 2 around I'm ready to not do that anymore.

I'm extremely interested in what AWT comes back with for my Nitrate levels. I've never tracked my nitrates at such a high resolution before. API has nothing for between 0 and 5. RedSea was pretty easy to check that range.

But tonight I got 0. So, I'm assuming undetectable by both Salifert and RedSea Pro. I highly doubt I am at a true 0 but it's much lower then I though my tank ever gets too. I never thought about this until these tests but if my phosphates fluctuates so much between .03 to .09 all the time so must my nitrates. My phosphates are at their low end of the swing and so would be my nitrates. During the P04 shootout my nitrates were around 1 and my phosphates around .03. Now that my phosphates are under .03 (presumably) my nitrates have gone to undetectable territory even by the high resolution of the RedSea kit. I have never strived for ULNS and never thought it was a good system for me to have. But I guess at certain times I am there with at least nitrates. Nitrates do get consumed in a much higher ration then phosphates. C:N:P


I did both sets of these twice. All 4 times I got no color change what so ever.
Salifert: 0


RedSea Pro: 0



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Old 11/23/2015, 01:00 AM   #5
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Calcium API and Salifert

For Calcium I'm a big fan of API. Very simple, cheap, and more then accurate enough for me. I just want to be in a rather wide range here and high resolution doesn't interest me at all. I see no reason to pay more money on a kit that will tell me I'm at 450 instead of around 440. Which for I don't know how many years I've maintained around the same calcium levels which can be seen by my 2010'ish API vs Salifert Calcium and Alk thread. They are still reading about the same and still about the same results between the two.


API: 440

Very easy to know when you've hit the end point


Just make sure to keep track of how many drops dropped...





Salifert: 450

Also, very easy to know when you've hit the end point at a slightly higher resolution at a higher cost for the kit





But at least you don't have to keep track of the number of drops like with API



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Old 11/23/2015, 01:12 AM   #6
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Alkalinity

Alkalinity like Calcium API is more then capable for me. I just want to be around 7-11dkh. Quite the range and if I'm higher then that it's easy to adjust down and if lower end I don't know I've never been there. I'd just read another RHF article as I've read what he recommends many times but never committed something like that to memory. For adjusting down I've just had to go through. Last year I had a cleaning solvent mishap and wiped out all my corals.

So, for about a good year I had no stony corals or coralline to speak of but have kept my lime water ATO online as it has kept my pH inline very efficiently. I believe due to that my Alk has climbed and hit a high of around 12 or 13 if I remember right. So, I just started lowering my water change water's alk down with muriatic acid. (be very careful with that stuff). Then on top of that I've just started adding more stony corals and shouldn't have to do that anymore now that I'm in my target range again and reset back in the middle of it.


Also to note here Triton will not report back Alk. I believe AWT does so will see how it matches up here to API and Salifert.


API: 9

Again, very easy to tell the end point and don't have to count nearly as many drops dropped and couldn't be more simple. Keep dropping and 1 drop per dkh.






Salifert: 9.6-9.9
If really wanting to get a high resolution for maintaining a ULNS system this would do and easy to perform and easy to see the end point







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Old 11/23/2015, 01:27 AM   #7
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Magnesium Salifert and Red Sea Pro

For Mg I went with what I had. Salifert and Red Sea Pro. I've always went with Salifert here as they were made for detecting aquarium saltwater Mg levels and it has always been very consistent for me. It also matched up pretty well against Triton in my last triton review.

Red Sea Pro Mg test. I HATE. Out of all the test kits I've every used I hate it the most. I've had nothing but unreliable and inconsistent results with it. I have tried multiple reagent refills and even two new test kits to make sure the measuring devices were not off.

Salifert: 1470-1485 (I keep meaning to back off the Mg I add to my fresh salt mix but hopefully soon it'll get depleted with the new corals being added too)

I find it easy to see the end points. Some do not.

2nd to last drop which would be ~1440-1470


Last drop put in to be at .01-.02 or ~1470-1485





Red Sea Pro: 1100 "Curse it and crush it! We hates it forever!"





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Old 11/23/2015, 01:29 AM   #8
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I will be dropping off the Triton and Aquamedic AWT main-in packages tomorrow.

I do like AWT's packaging for the return much better being in a box and not the semi bubble wrap like envelope of Triton. Triton got me results back in about a week which I was expecting longer.

So, now the wait.


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Old 11/23/2015, 08:56 AM   #9
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Summary of Parameters taken Just the numbers

Summary of Parameters taken:

Temp:
77F Display (Apex)
78.8F Sump (Apex)
78.4F Sump Cond probe (Apex)

Salinity:
34.x (Veegee/Vitalsine refractometer)
34.4 (Apex)
36 (Milwaukee Digital)

pH:
8.30 Display (Apex)
8.37 Sump (Apex)

ORP: 386 (Apex)

Phosphates:
6 ppb Phosphorous or 0.018ppm converted (Hanna 736 ULR) tested twice
< 0.024ppm (Elos Pro)

Nitrates:
0 (Undetectable via Salifert) tested twice
0 (Undetectable via Red Sea Pro) tested twice

Calcium:
440 (API)
450 (Salifert)

Alk:
9 (API)
9.6-9.9 (Salifert)

Mg:
1470-1480 (Salifert)
1100 (Red "Curse it and crush it! We hates it forever!" Sea pro)


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Old 11/23/2015, 09:12 PM   #10
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Interesting. Looking forward to see the results from triton. I always wondered what the difference between all the kits were.


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Old 11/30/2015, 10:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Hill View Post
Interesting. Looking forward to see the results from triton. I always wondered what the difference between all the kits were.
Thanks. I got my results back from AWT tonight. Still waiting for the Triton results but not expecting them for a few days. I'm surprised I got the results from AWT already with Thanksgiving being last week too.


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Old 11/30/2015, 10:55 PM   #12
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Old 11/30/2015, 10:55 PM   #13
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I'm not sure how much of that I can trust. Some of it seems in line but some of it seems way off. Will be interesting to see Triton's results especially on the PO4. At a quick glance PO4 seems high, Calcium seems low, salinity low, magnesium high compared to what I tested. No idea on ammonia since I didn't test for it and see no reason too but I have a hard time believing those numbers above. While things like Alkalinity seem right in line. Very odd results I feel. Even the nitrates seem high as I didn't register any change at all on salifert or redsea taking both twice and Red Sea I was easily able to read under 1ppm in the nitrates shoot out.


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Old 12/03/2015, 08:58 AM   #14
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Recent Triton results are in.









So it went from zinc being a concern to now tin. Not sure I actually have that much tin. No idea how it could have gone up like that in a month. The only thing that's been added was the Iodide and Strontium/Molybdenum supplements for 3 days before the samples were taken. I would hope neither of those two supplements would have tin in them.

Now to compile the results of it all.


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Old 12/03/2015, 10:01 AM   #15
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Compilation of tested Parameters:

Temp:
77F Display (Apex)
78.8F Sump (Apex)
78.4F Sump Cond probe (Apex)

Salinity:
34 (Veegee/Vitalsine refractometer)
34.4 (Apex)
36 (Milwaukee Digital)
31.9 (AWT roughly converted from 1.024)
33.96 (Triton calculated with an assumption of F and alk/temp from my readings)

pH:
8.30 Display (Apex)
8.37 Sump (Apex)

ORP: 386 (Apex)

Phosphates:
0.018ppm (Hanna 736 ULR Converted from 6 ppb Phosphorous) tested twice
< 0.024ppm (Elos Pro)
0.21ppm (AWT)
0.024ppm (Triton converted from 7.75ppb Phosphorous)

Nitrates:
0 (Undetectable via Salifert) tested twice
0 (Undetectable via Red Sea Pro) tested twice
0.9 (AWT)

Calcium:
440 (API)
450 (Salifert)
410 (AWT)
448 (Triton)

Alk:
9dkh (API)
9.6-9.9dkh (Salifert)
8.96dkh (AWT converted from 3.2 meq/L)

Mg:
1480 (Salifert)
1100 (Red Sea pro)
1500 (AWT)
1501 (Triton)

Other Parameters where they match up AWT vs. Triton:

Potassium
363 (AWT)
395.8 (Triton)

Silicon
0.37352 mg/L (AWT converted from .8mg/L of Silica if I converted right)
0.06732 mg/L (Triton 67.32ug/L)

Molybdenum
0.4mg/L (AWT)
0.00241 (Triton 2.41ug/l)

Strontium
8.4mg/L (AWT)
8.79mg/L (Triton)

Iodine
0.1 mg/L (AWT)
.076 mg/L (Triton 75.51ug/L)

Copper
0.02 mg/L (AWT)
0.00 (Triton)


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Old 12/03/2015, 11:22 AM   #16
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Between all the testing I've now done the past month or so I have come to a few conclusions right or wrong.

1. I don't trust AWT for many of the parameters they tested
2. I don't trust Triton in regard to at least heavy metals
3. Don't chase specific numbers but keep in a safe range
4. My eyes are much better at detecting issues
5. My own testing is more then good enough for me with the chosen kits I tested with in this final round minus Red Sea
6. I don't trust Red Sea at all for it's Mg test
7. I love my vitalsine/veegee refractometer and still believe it to be the most accurate device I have for testing salinity
8. Keep doing what I've done. Don't break what's not broken.


I was really hoping to get back some results from AWT that would be reliable in the key areas I would normally test for. Salinity was reported by them lower then all the devices and testing done by me and calculated by Triton. Calcium was way off. I understand a range of accuracy but 410 is well below what I would expect that range to be compared to 440-450 grouping from me and Triton. Alkalinity was close and so was Mg seemingly on point. My testing on Mg was low compared to AWT and Triton. Alk was also very close and well with in an acceptable range of error I think.

The big thing with this was Phosphates. AWT's results are way off and find it interesting that AWT reports it as good. Most reef keepers would consider anything above .09 high and some ULNS folk would consider anything above .03 as very high. If I was depending on AWT as my sole source of testing I would be taking some pretty drastic actions to reduce those PO4 levels. Probably first using some lanthanum chloride with my diatom filter to bring the levels down to where GFO wouldn't be exhausted with in the day or possibly hours.

I also have a hard time believing AWT's Silica numbers. I do use RO/DI and always make sure to have 0 TDS using multiple DI stages as well. Even Nitrates tested by AWT, even though a very low number, seems high compared to what I tested multiple times with two test kits getting undetectable amounts. .9 would be well with in both of those test kits ranges of detection and resolution.

The Iodine and Molybdenum levels being elevated doesn't surprise me as I dosed for those for 3 days leading up to the testing based on Triton's recommendations. But AWT recorded much higher compared to Triton which registered Iodine in a good range slightly higher then their set point and Triton still shows Mo being a slight deviation lower then their set points.

Out of what I would be most concerned about that AWT tests for Salinity, Nitrates, Phosphates, Calcium, Alk, and Magnesium I can really see myself only trusting 2 out of those 5. Not very good.


I'm also now skeptical about some of Triton tests. Particularly their ability to test consistently for some of the metals. Looks like I'm not the only one http://packedhead.net/2015/triton-la...ater-standard/

In my testing which were about a month apart Triton first reported high levels of Zinc 6.58ug/l but in the second testing they were under the set point 1.77ug/l. Seems like quite the drop. But then at the same time Triton reported in the first test undetectable levels of Tin 0.0ug/l or outside of their limits of detection but in the second round of tests Triton reports "strongly deviating" amounts of Tin at 3.40ug/l . Since there have been 2 changes to what I've done to the system there is the possibility that Tin was introduced in either the dosing of Iodide or Strontium/Molybdenum as suggested in the first round of testing by Triton. I highly doubt it though.


Based on the first round of testing Triton suggested a Molybdenum dosing of 34.1ml/day for 2 days and 13.59ml for 1 day. I didn't find Mo by itself locally I did find some Kent Strontium/Molybdenum and decided to use it. As according to the first rounds of tests Strontium was slightly low but with in acceptable ranges of the set point and Molybdenum is not something I really care to increase that much of anyway least it becomes toxic. I went ahead and dosed 40ml of that for 2 days and 20ml of it on the third day in the mornings. I took the water samples in the evening.

For Iodine Triton suggested 5.48ml for 1 day. I found some seachem Iodide and dosed 5.5ml of it that morning as well on the day that the water samples were taken at night.

Which doing just that alone reminds me why I have never got into dosing and testing and dosing and testing and dosing and testing etc etc etc. I would have to chase numbers all the time and considering there are ranges of accuracy/inaccuracy would constantly be adjusting dosing amounts. For some that's fun but for me no way. I have a hard enough time trusting myself and the test kits I use and now have doubts in "professional" labs as well. This is where a single sample and data point are not very useful. That's where I've found over time just watching and enjoying my tank is much more enjoyable and I can see with my own eyes if something is off. Then get into testing to help, hopefully, point out some problem areas with the chemistry of it all.

Which, for my purposes it looks like my own testing and chosen kits are more then accurate and acceptable for me. Through all the trying out different kits they all seem more then capable as well. Except for the Red Sea Pro Mg kits. I've never once gotten anything consistent or accurate enough from it.

Going forward I'll not dose anything else besides some Mg, much less of Mg then I've been doing, to my regular Instant Ocean salt mix and some Limewater for ATO. Keep up with my ~1% water changes daily, carbon dosing with vinegar, skimming, and algae harvesting and call it good. That seems to keep things well enough in order. Importing what I need and exporting what I don't want.


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Old 12/03/2015, 12:12 PM   #17
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and wow I just noticed the complete Butchering of Randy's name in the first post. Could a Mod modify that for me please? That was terrible and I can only blame that on a late night posting after a long day and posting from my phone....


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Old 12/03/2015, 01:22 PM   #18
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thanks for sharing. I'm also having trouble with red sea mag. test...it comes back low. i use natural sea water in my tank so i use that(just collected) for reference on all my testing...i find API to be accurate enough for my tank..to bad they don't make a mag. test.


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Old 12/03/2015, 01:37 PM   #19
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Nice job, thanks for sharing.


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Old 12/03/2015, 02:20 PM   #20
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Well, I am not surprised by the difficulties with the testing. Getting accurate numbers for trace elements is going to be expensive for the time being, I think. AWT seemed to do a rather poor job, which is what I've heard from others. Thanks for the information!


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Old 12/03/2015, 03:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdsage View Post
thanks for sharing. I'm also having trouble with red sea mag. test...it comes back low. i use natural sea water in my tank so i use that(just collected) for reference on all my testing...i find API to be accurate enough for my tank..to bad they don't make a mag. test.
I've always found API to be more then accurate and consistent for me except for pH and PO4.

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Nice job, thanks for sharing.
Welcome. I hope it helps and it was very informative for me to go through this exercise.

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Well, I am not surprised by the difficulties with the testing. Getting accurate numbers for trace elements is going to be expensive for the time being, I think. AWT seemed to do a rather poor job, which is what I've heard from others. Thanks for the information!
Yeah, I was really hoping since AquaMedic took over AWT and says they upgraded with all new lab equipment they would have been somewhat more accurate. I don't think they were even in the ball park with some of those results which was rather disappointing.

I might look to do another Triton test in a month or two after not dosing anything that I just introduced. They may be worthwhile just out of curiosity once or twice a year.

The Tin reading really threw me off. The zinc I can see coming in with the algae sheets or food I feed but that had a pretty decent drop in levels so I don't know. I've seen 3 other people now having high Tin levels just recently as tested by Triton so I'm not sure if they just had some kind of interference. 2 on this forum including me and 2 on other forums. One person on the other forum actually had multiple readings from Triton over the past year and it was reading 0 tin levels up to just this past weeks reading.


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Old 12/05/2015, 11:25 AM   #22
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I'm a sucker for data points and analysis. I just ordered a 3 pack. I figured I'll use them sooner or later.

I'm thinking how I want to do this next test as I doubt its the supplements I added. As soon as I get the kits I'll dose the same amounts of each 3 days leading up to taking a set of water samples. Only thing that will have changed is ~1% daily water changes from the last test. Which is why I decided to test again sooner then later. It will be with the same new saltwater used for water changes. Basically everything the same. If it's the supplements it will either be the same or increased amounts.

If the zinc is is not detected again I will assume testing error in the last test. If it's still showing in the results from the next test I have to assume it's in the water and I will want to find the source.


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Old 12/06/2015, 05:16 PM   #23
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I've seen 3 other people now having high Tin levels just recently as tested by Triton so I'm not sure if they just had some kind of interference. 2 on this forum including me and 2 on other forums. One person on the other forum actually had multiple readings from Triton over the past year and it was reading 0 tin levels up to just this past weeks reading.
That sounds like a possible testing problem to me.


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Old 12/06/2015, 07:33 PM   #24
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Last paragraph in my last post above there should say tin and not zinc.


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That sounds like a possible testing problem to me.
I'm thinking so but anything is possible and hope to rule that out. If there is tin in the water it should still show up. Even if no more is added. To short of a time will have elapsed for all of that to be exported.


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Old 12/07/2015, 01:26 PM   #25
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When using api alk test if drop 6 is blue,drop 7 is greenish,drop 8 is yellow... would it be correct to assume my alk is about 7.5? or a solid 8?


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