A healthy aquarium environment is a given, for your fishes and you. The aquarium’s water column is most important, making its perfect and optimal condition crucial. So you have to maintain it all the time. Although sometimes the bad condition of the water is not visible to the naked eye. The dirt and all can be seen, and you can clean it when dirt gets accumulated. But some are not visible. So to be aware of these conditions, water test strips are a must.
But are they accurate? Let us go on to know whether the widely used water test strips are accurate or not.
What are water test strips?
A water test strip is a tool that contains reagent tablets that, when in contact with a water sample, cause the reagents to change color. Like litmus paper, it functions similarly.
The test strips include tiny, color-changing pads down them. Each of these pads is intended to identify a certain water characteristic, such as pH or nitrate levels. It enables us to calculate the water’s ammonia, nitrite, and pH levels.
Are Water Test Strips Accurate?
Water Test Strips might be widely used but is not something you can trust completely. They are not always accurate. Some test strips also have a scale that does not prove accuracy.
Some test strips also mention that water test strips must be used in a small amount of water. As using it in a diluted solution might not give out accurate results. So, test strips are not accurate and you must not use them very often.
Factors depending on the accuracy of water test strips
Water test strips might give you a result instantly, but they are not accurate enough. There are some factors in the aquarium that might affect the accuracy of the test strips.
The amount of water that the water test strips says a lot about the accuracy of the result it shows. The amount of ammonia, pH, and nitrite differs with the amount of water that the water test strip is exposed to.
The temperature of the water column also affects the result of the test strip. As the temperature affects the density of the chemical content of the water, so this directly impacts the water test strips.
How to use a water test strip?
A water test strip might not be the best way to test your aquarium water, but it is not that they are inaccurate all the time. They are an easy way to test the water, so its not a harm to use it sometimes. Well, lets move on to how to use a water test strip.
- Get your strip and dip it in your aquarium – First of all, what you have to do is get hold of your water test strip. After that all you have to do is submerge it in the aquarium’s water column. Keep it in there for a while. Also remember to not to hold your water test strip at its end and avoid touching the pad.
- Take out the water test strip – After youre don’t with submerging it, then its time to take it out. Remove it from the water and you will se variations in the color.
- Check the results – It is now just a matter of matching each pad with the colour scheme found with your test strips. The majority of the critical water quality metrics in your aquarium have now been correctly verified.
How long do water test strips last?
Aquarium test strips are often packaged in a sealed packet that has to be stored in a dry, cold, and dark environment to prevent moisture exposure. You must adhere to the expiration date indicated on these packets to avoid receiving erroneous findings. Since the chemicals are so delicate, prolonged exposure to air might cause them to deteriorate quickly.
Test strips have a limited shelf life. You cannot ensure that the test findings will be accurate when the reagents in the color-changing pads start to break down over time.
Other ways to test your water
Test strips are not the only existing way of testing your aquarium water. You can use Liquid test kits to test the water in your aquarium. The liquid test kits are far more accurate than water test strips. You can get better readings with liquid test kits. The liquid test kits are easy to use as well. Also reading it is easier than the water test strips.
So liquid test kits are considered better than the water test strips and we recommend you to use liquid test kits for better results and accuracy.
Water Test Strips don’t promise accuracy all the time. They mostly give accurate results but not all the time. Also, some factors affect the results in a water test strip such as temperature and quantity of water you use for testing. Nevertheless, they are easy to use and reading it also the same. You only have to dip it in and read the color changes from the box. Anyway, there are liquid test kits that are more accurate than the water test kits.