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Phosphate Checker - NOT


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Last night I sent this to Hanna Instruments. No response, yet.

Hello,

I just purchased an HI 713 Phosphate Checker and received it today. I opened the package and everything looked to be there without any damage from S&H. I removed the screw for the battery cover to insert the battery, and the metal terminal plate (anode) for the battery fell on the ground. It was already loose; looks like a "cold", or bad, solder joint.

I have a soldering iron that I can use and would be willing to repair it. If the black plastic over the small circuit board on the battery cover can be "popped off" or otherwise removed without damaging it. Can I do that, or is it permanently attached with adhesive? I'd rather fix it myself than wait for a replacement, because I really need to know the phosphate levels in my tank.

Thank you,

George Monnat, Jr.

Does RCA test phosphates?

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Why even bother?

www.mrsaltwatertank.com/site/algaechapter

Because I've started having nuisance dinoflagellates and macro alga (Valonia and Lobophora) that are being fed by the phosphates plus I now have SPS that don't like high phosphate levels.

Good artilce and from that,

Make no mistake, phosphates cannot be ignored in a saltwater tank, especially when it comes to battling nuisance algae. If you have phosphates, you’ve something that algae need (and badly want) to grow.

I'm getting in a TLF PhosBan reactor, and I'd like to get a phosphates reading before installing it and after running it, in conjunction with visual evidence of nuisance growth, to see if continuing to pay for PhosBan is worth it.

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I'd recommend cleaning everything from your return pump, power heads, to skimmer pump and collection cup with a toothbrush. 20% water change and run your phosban reactor and within a week you should start to see a noticible difference. I'm not having luck with the BRS phoshate remover and recommend either rowaphos or phos-guard.

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I have Hanna Checker if you want to borrow it. . .

Thanks. I just got this email from Hanna Instruments:

George,

The black cover likely will crack when you try to remove it.

If you are located in the USA give me your address and I can send you a new cover.

Regards,

Pete

That means I can break off the cover, solder the terminal, install the battery and see if the checker works. If it still doesn't work, I'll probably take you up on that offer.

I'd recommend cleaning everything from your return pump, power heads, to skimmer pump and collection cup with a toothbrush. 20% water change and run your phosban reactor and within a week you should start to see a noticible difference. I'm not having luck with the BRS phoshate remover and recommend either rowaphos or phos-guard.

Thanks, excellent advice.

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I just sent this email.

Pete,

I just re-soldered the battery terminal, inserted the battery and tested the unit.

HannaPhosphateCheckerFix1_16MAY2012.jpg

HannaPhosphateCheckerFix2_16MAY2012.jpg

I just happened to have a bucket of my tank water at work, but it has about a hundred dwarf cerith snails in it waiting to meet with someone after work. I used it just to test the checker and got 0.11ppm. That seems reasonable given I suspect that I have high phosphates, and it's from a bucket with snails that shipped overnight.

I'm going to stop by a nearby store/LFS on the way home and pay to have them use their high dollar phosphate detector. If it's close, then I'm all good and can use the HI 713 without waiting for the plastic piece. I'll replace it after I get it.

Thank you,

George

I think it works and shows that I'm on the ragged edge of the upper limit of 0.1ppm phosphates, but I plan on swinging by RCA (it's between work and home) and get it tested just to verify. Or at least test the same bucket water that I used as a comparison. And I only burned one finger to fix it.

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Hi George,

Even if you don't have any nuisance algae, you can still have high PO4. My previous tank was a PO4 sink but I never had any noticeable algae growth (besides aiptasia). The sooner you can get a handle on PO4, the better your tank will look.

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Hi George,

Even if you don't have any nuisance algae, you can still have high PO4. My previous tank was a PO4 sink but I never had any noticeable algae growth (besides aiptasia). The sooner you can get a handle on PO4, the better your tank will look.

I agree, and thanks for the imput. My TLF 550 PhosBan Reactor and some PhosBan were waiting for me at home yesterday after I got back from having my water tested at RCA. I just wanted to get good PO4 readings before starting up the GFO reactor. As mentioned above, when I tested the fixed HI 713 on the bucket of DT water plus snails at work, I got 0.11ppm. After delivering the snails, I stopped by RCA and asked Jake for the $2 phosphate test. He tested it twice with a reading of only 0.015! I can't remember the units (not ppm), but he said it was equivalent to ppm. He said something was off as it was taking longer to resolve than normal. I told him I’d bring a sample directly from my DT to him tomorrow (without the snail leftovers), and he wanted to try with a new Red Sea kit. He wouldn’t accept the $2 or $4 for the testing, but I don't know if I can resist buying a nice blue hammer there a second time.

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Here's links for the evolution of Dr. Randy Holmes-Farley.

First he stated that rinsing food may help with phosphates.

Then after some more study, he concluded that rinsing food os a waste of time, and he mentions choice of food for phosphate content.

Here's an archived link to an old study of phosphates in food, if you want to compare.

Let us know what you discover.

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A quick update, I still can't get good phosphate numbers.

16MAY2012

My HI 713 reading: 0.11

RCA's Deltec kit reading: 0.015

17MAY2012

My HI 713 reading: 0.28 (after 5 minutes, down to about 0.23 after 10 minutes)*

RCA's Deltec kit reading: 0.0092

RCA's new Red Sea kit reading: 0.036

* I add to "cheat", because the HI 713 times out after two minutes between samples. You're supposed to dissolve the reagent in the vial in less than two minutes, but it took at least 20 minutes to dissolve the reagent. So I had to use two vials to give me enough time to dissolve the reagent.

Jake on the 16th and another RCA guy (sorry, I didn't get the name) on the 17th both complained that it took much longer than normal for the kits to resolve their color. The 17th tests were on two ends of the color chart. Something in my water is messing with both of RCA's pro kits and my electronic, but reagent-based, HI 713.

One thing I know is off with my chemistry is that my magnesium is crazy high. Two things happened in a short time frame that I did not think about as they happened. My Mg went low for the first time ever shortly after I started adding a clam, one LPS, a couple shrooms and some more ornamental crustaceans. For the first time, I added Mg using Dr. Holmes-Farley's recipe using magnesium chloride (MAG Flake deicing salt and Epsom salt); it was only 1 gallon but I didn't know it would add that much Mg. Shortly after that, I did a large water change that apparently added even more Mg (I thought it would reduce Mg, but it went up after the WC).

Anyway, my Mg is around 1700 ppm instead of 1250-1350 ppm. Everything else is within normal ranges, except maybe PO4 which I can't get a read on. I mentioned this to the Hanna Instruments guy:

Mg is not listed as an interferent but I suppose it is possible that it is slowing the reaction down as it seems to affect the other test kits.

I wanted to get a phosphate number before starting my TLF 550 Reactor with PhosBan, but last night I went ahead and started it. It might take forever for my Mg levels to come down. Then again, maybe not as I've added about 10 SPS frags and some other stuff recently. I don't think the high Mg is a problem - nothing seems angry and everything looks as good or better than before the Mg hike. Lots of shrimp molts, and none of the shrimp look deformed.

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* I add to "cheat", because the HI 713 times out after two minutes between samples. You're supposed to dissolve the reagent in the vial in less than two minutes, but it took at least 20 minutes to dissolve the reagent. So I had to use two vials to give me enough time to dissolve the reagent.

I think I remember reading a response from Hanna that it is not necessary for all the reagent to dissolve prior to analysis. I'll have to go look for that response, but I was a little surprised.

I can't imagine that your PO4 levels went up that high over night, you might be right and something might be interfeering, unless you stirred up the sandbed or scrapped a bunch of algae.

High Mg shouldn't make a huge difference on anything, except bryopsis, that stuff hates high Mg. Your sps frags probably won't absorb a lot of Mg either. It will probably fall on it's own. What salt are you using? I'd be more worried about high Ca2+ as a result of the high Mg.

Also, be careful adding that much 2 part Mg. The epsom salt has a lot of chloride (I think) that might throw off some of your minor elements.

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* I add to "cheat", because the HI 713 times out after two minutes between samples. You're supposed to dissolve the reagent in the vial in less than two minutes, but it took at least 20 minutes to dissolve the reagent. So I had to use two vials to give me enough time to dissolve the reagent.

I think I remember reading a response from Hanna that it is not necessary for all the reagent to dissolve prior to analysis. I'll have to go look for that response, but I was a little surprised.

Chris you are correct. I had the same issue that George is having, waiting for the regent to dissolve & the tester turns off.

George, I called Hanna & they indicated the regent will not dissolve completely. I belive they recommened 30-60 second swirl.

Dave-

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Did you ever get any resolution on this george?

Sorry for the horribly late response. I haven't tried it lately. Last time I tried it at home or at RCA it wouldn't read anything. Either could RCA with their test kits. I need to find a calibration test bed, I guess.

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