Tests

Water tests: here's how to test correctly

Water tests help you to „understand“ your aquarium, to pinpoint problems and give you the opportunity to correct the water parameters so that your fish, invertebrates and plants thrive.

Testing aquarium water - here’s how

Which test is for what and how do you test correctly? Aquarium water can be clear and yet toxic to aquarium inhabitants! What needs to be tested regularly and why? Which tests should be carried out when there are aquarium problems? We explain with specific examples which tests you really need in which situation and why.

There are various kinds of tests

Depending on the procedure we distinguish between the following types of water tests:

Colour comparison tests

Fill two cuvettes with your aquarium water. Put one cuvette on a colour field of the colour chart to take any inherent water colouring during the reading of the colour into account (JBL comparator system). For better handling put the cuvettes into the plastic holder which you can move back and forth on the colour chart’s colour fields. Place the second cuvetter on a white field and add indicators which colour the water. Now compare the resulting colour with the colour on the colour chart and read the value.

Colour change tests

JBL PROAQUATEST KH Carbonate hardness , JBL PROAQUATEST GH General hardness , JBL PROAQUATEST CO2 Direct , JBL PROAQUATEST K Potassium , JBL PROAQUATEST Mg Magnesium Fresh water

Add water from your aquarium into a cuvette. Add the indicator drop by drop until the colour changes. Depending on the test the colour change is different, e.g. from blue to orange, using the carbonate hardness test. The number of drops you need for the colour change to occur equates to the value of the measured parameter. If, for example, you use 5 drops for the colour to change from blue into orange, then the carbonate hardness would be 5 °dKH.

Turbidimetric test

This includes the JBL PROAQUATEST K Potassium . With the help of reagents and your aquarium water you produce a cloudy, whitish liquid which you add little by little into a test tube with a scale, until the cross below the test tube is no longer recognisable from above. The scale then tells you how much potassium is available in your water.

Permanent test

This includes the JBL PROAQUATEST CO2-pH Permanent . Add an indicator to a tranparent vessel, which is attached to the inside of your aquarium pane. The indicator reacts with the CO2 from your aquarium water and indicates, depending on the CO2 quantity, a specific colour which can be compared with an affixed scale. This way you can read the CO2 content on a 24-hour basis!

Test strips

These include the JBL PROAQUATEST EASY 7in1 and JBL PROSCAN . The strips test pH, GH, KH, NO2; NO3, chlorine and calculate the CO2 content (only JBL ProScan). JBL PROSCAN ).

Dip a test strip into your aquarium water for three seconds, shake it several times HORIZONTALLY so that excess water can drip off and compare it with a colour scale which shows you the resulting value. For JBL PROSCAN put the test strip onto a special colour chart from which you take a photo with your smartphone and a free ProScan app after a waiting time of 60 seconds. The app reads out the colours and gives you the resulting values extremely precisely, plus a recommendation on how to improve your water parameters.

You can read what your results mean here:

As soon as you have carried out a test, you will receive a result (e.g. in milligrammes per litre (mg/l)). This will show you how to interpret the result and whether any further steps are required to optimise the water.

Water values

Which water tests are important? How can you achieve perfect water values?

Find out more

Tips for carrying out the water tests

Always hold the bottles with the indicator liquids vertically. Then the drop size is always the same.

Always discard the first drop since it is not always full sized. Keep a light pressure on the bottle after the first drop, so that no air is sucked in and all the following drops come out steadily.

Always position the cuvettes on a white background to better recognise the colours during the colour change tests.

Always thoroughly rinse the cuvettes with tap water after testing (better would be distilled water – JBL Dest ).

If your test has a comparator block, please use it!! A manual moving of the glass vials on the colour charts WITHOUT a comparator block leads to a different colour perception, because the plastic block throws a shadow onto the liquid part of the vials.

For JBL PROSCAN you need to know the following: don’t shake the water off after dipping the test strip as you would shake a fever thermometer. It’s better to tap it gently on a cloth or on absorbant paper. Make sure your mobile phone doesn’t cast a shadow when photographing the colour chart with the test strip.

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