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It is noteworthy that tap water (including well water) needs to “gas out” before testing for p H as trapped CO2 will often give false readings of a lower p H until all the CO2 evacuates the water sample (I have seen more than .5 p H changes in gassing out).Please reference this article for more information about p H: “Aquarium Chemistry; p H” In marine aquariums it is also important to know what your pre-mixed water alkalinity, p H, and nitrates are as well as the water you use to top off for evaporation.All we are looking for in general aquarium keeping husbandry is trends and reasonable ball park figures, not 10ths of a degree accuracy needed for some scientific experiment (remember, we are not working on a cure for cancer here, just getting basic generalized numbers of our aquarium water parameters) Often, as with those who improperly use a medication (such as wrong parameters, incorrect dose, etc.), many will have one or two "bad experiences" and label a test kit as inaccurate.HOWEVER in my 1000s of daily tests, I have to throw out the very rare anomaly and state I have found little difference in most basic test kits as per what the job requires (I also performed many controlled tests of test kits & strips).Finally, before I go into each test kit explanation/review.
I find these vastly more useful and time efficient than so-called Master Test Kits which exclude the very important GH, and KH tests (without a KH test one cannot correctly maintain a steady p H or track bio load and without a GH one cannot monitor essential minerals).
Even when a reading is not 100% accurate, does a KH reading of 160 ppm versus 140 ppm make that much difference as long as it is showing trends such as a decreasing KH (possibly indicating an ever increasing bio load which would likely then call for lowering the bio loads and/or increasing water changes and increasing alkaline buffers)??
The exception would be for measuring r H (Relative Hydrogen) where a highly accurate ORP and p H reading are needed to complete this formulation.
Tap or well water still has some nitrates, minerals, carbonates, etc.
so use of this water for cleaning should be avoided.
It also has the added advantage that it can detect the more dangerous free ammonia and distinguish it from "total ammonia", which is both the free and ionized forms of ammonia (NH4, the ionized form is not considered toxic).