TIPS FOR PROPER USE OF AQUARIUM TEST KIT
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Water quality is without a doubt the most important factor in successful aquarium keeping. The health and well being of aquarium fish is directly related to the condition of the environment in which they live. Parameters such as PH, presence of ammonia and nitrite, and water hardness cannot be known simply by looking at or smelling aquarium water. Fortunately, aquarium test kits are available so that you can monitor the water quality and prevent stressful conditions from occurring. Incorrect use of test kits, however, can result in inaccurate test results. Below are "testing tips" that will help you get accurate test kit results with any test kit.
READ THE DIRECTIONS
Every test kit we make at Aquarium Pharmaceuticals contains detailed instructions on how to use the kit. (Available at Big Al’s Supercentres) The first mistake many aquarists make is not thoroughly reading the testing instructions. They often assume, for example, that one test kit requires the same number of reagent drops as another kit they have used. Other aquarists are in a hurry and don1t wait for the colour to fully form in the test tube. Still others let the test tube sit for half a day, and then wonder why the colour in the test tube does not match the colour comparison chart. Almost every testing mistake can be avoided by reading the instructional booklet before making a test.
USE TEST REAGENTS CAREFULLY
Our test kits use either liquid or Dry Tab® test chemicals, called reagents. The liquid tests require that a certain number of drops be added to the test tube in order to run the test. Adding too many or too few drops will give inaccurate results. Always use the right number of drops. Holding the liquid reagent dropper bottle tilted to one side, while adding drops to the test tube, can result in drops inconsistent in size. Hold the reagent bottle in a completely vertical position while adding drops to the test tube. This insures that each drop of reagent is the right size.When testing with Dry Tab test kits, make sure you are adding the right tablets to the test tube, especially with two-tablet kits. Some kits require that you add two tablets at one time, while others require the tablets to be added one at a time. Dry Tab test kits also require a specific colour development time for the proper colours to form in the test tube. Take your time when using test kits. Many test errors occur when the aquarist is trying to rush through the test procedure.
ALWAYS USE CLEAN TEST TUBES
Never store the test tube full of water and test reagent. This allows residual test chemicals to bind to the test tube, making the tubes hard to clean. Never use soap when rinsing test tubes. Soap can leave residues that cause inaccurate test results. Simply rinse out the test tube and cap with tap water after you are finished.
USE TEST TUBES CAPS, NOT YOU FINGERS
Always use the plastic snap-caps when shaking the test tubes. Your fingers contain residual soaps, oils, and other substances that can affect test results.
READ THE TEST RESULTS IN BRIGHT LIGHT
Test kit colour comparison charts are designed to match the colours formed in the test tubes. Certain types of household lighting can make colour matching difficult. Avoid reading test results near 3soft white2, pink, or other tinted light sources. Many aquarium lights use 3colour enhancing2 bulbs designed to intensify red and blue colours on fish and aquarium ornaments. For best results always read test results in natural daylight or under white fluorescent lights.
Aquarium test kits are invaluable tools for helping us maintain a healthy aquarium. We design all of our test kits to be accurate and easy to use. Incorrect use of test kits, however, can lead to wrong conclusions about water quality in the aquarium. Follow test kit instructions carefully, take your time, and you’ll get the right result every time.
BY JIM LAYTON - AQUATIC BIOLOGIST
AQUARIUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC