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I've been using the Aquarium co-op test strips and they are so easy to use that I've been getting low on them and decided to try the API Master test kit, it was on sale. I used the API kit and the only test that gave me pause was the Ph results, the Co-op test strips said I had 6.4-6.8 Ph But the master test kit says I have a Ph of 7.6 there was no green in that blue vial, so really concerned. I had a digital Ph tester that I have only used a couple of times it's a pain to use but it gave a Ph reading of 7.04... which one do I trust? I have noticed the test strip colors tend to run and so I will use 2 or more strips at a time to figure out a consistent reading but these numbers seem way off from each other.

Co-op Ph 6.4-6.8

API      Ph 7.6

Digital Ph 7.04

I

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I have found that the Tetra strip, as opposed to the Co-op strip,  is the closest to the API liquid kit in regards to PH. As to which one is right....I have no idea. My Tetra/API liquid will show 7.6-7.8, while the Co-op strips will show 7.2-7.4.

With that being said, I know what "normal" is to my tank on each of the tests, so I just use them to determine if something is out of its own "normal" range.

I have found that the colors can run/bleed easier on the Co-op strip compared to the tetra. Holding it perfectly level seems to help quite a bit.

 

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The API tests get a bad rap for accuracy, IMO.  If you are diligent, and follow the instructions to the letter, I’ve found them to be very accurate.

This being said, the one exception I have is with the pH tests (low & high).  The place where the low tests leaves off and the high test begins is very close to where a lot of people will be, making it difficult.  I rely on a digital meter for pH, a number leaves little to interpretation (as opposed to color matching).  A quality digital tester, calibrated properly is way better than then liquid titration or strip tests.

Tips for most accurate results from the API kit:

  1. Temperature - try to test as close to the actual tank temp as possible.
  2. Volume - do not blindly accept that 5ml line as accurate.  I’ve had tubes that were off.  Verify with another accurate method of measurement, then use those verified tubes.
  3. Time - follow the prescribed times for results.
  4. Lighting - compare to color charts under well lit conditions, light with a color temperature of 5000-6500 kelvin will be best.
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13 hours ago, quikv6 said:

I have found that the Tetra strip, as opposed to the Co-op strip,  is the closest to the API liquid kit in regards to PH. As to which one is right....I have no idea. My Tetra/API liquid will show 7.6-7.8, while the Co-op strips will show 7.2-7.4.

With that being said, I know what "normal" is to my tank on each of the tests, so I just use them to determine if something is out of its own "normal" range.

I have found that the colors can run/bleed easier on the Co-op strip compared to the tetra. Holding it perfectly level seems to help quite a bit.

 

Agree knowing what my “normal “ is on tests is most important to me vs. and exact number match. As long as ph is stable and not terribly out of whack fish are happy. Fish don't have test kits 🙂

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1 hour ago, Patrick_G said:

The AC strips look more accurate in this single test. 

I don’t know…. The API result looks like a solid 6.8 to me.

But color matching on a computer screen is not anywhere close to reliable.

Also, I would hope your test solution was prepared with distilled (or RODI) water, and at the prescribed temperature.

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21 minutes ago, tonyjuliano said:

I don’t know…. The API result looks like a solid 6.8 to me.

But color matching on a computer screen is not anywhere close to reliable.

Also, I would hope your test solution was prepared with distilled (or RODI) water, and at the prescribed temperature.

Yeah, the color didn’t translate well, but doing the test helped me convince myself that both test are accurate enough for me. 

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