Which Hanna Phosphate Checker Do You Need? We Have The Answer And Some Crucial Testing Tips
Hanna Instruments has really revolutionized the way reefers test for a few key reef tank parameters with the advent of their digital water testing devices, the Checker Colorimeters. When it comes to phosphate testing, you can choose from four different Hanna Instrument Phosphate Checker Colorimeters. Knowing which of these four checkers is right for you is important for your success in keeping a close eye on those phosphates in your saltwater aquarium.
We recommend maintaining phosphate levels in your reef tank anywhere between 0.03 - 0.10 ppm at all times. In the grand scheme of things, these are pretty low levels so using a precision meter that can register such trace levels of phosphate is going to be important. This is exactly why the Hanna High Range Phosphate Checker really should not be considered for use on your reef tank which leaves three remaining Checkers for you to choose from.
Phosphate Low Range - This is the most common choice for beginners, those of you still within the first 12 months of setting up and maintaining a reef tank. Much of this time is spent learning and figuring out how to balance the nutrient input and bioload in your new reef tank. Phosphate levels are very likely going to fluctuate the most during this time and the Low Range Phosphate Checker provides the largest testing range, accurately measuring 0 - 2.5 ppm.
Phosphate ULR - The Ultra Low Range or ULR Phosphate Checker is for those of you who have stabilized food input and nutrient levels, typically your 2nd and 3rd year in the hobby. The Phosphate ULR measure 0.0 - 0.9 ppm meaning it is only accurate within these low ranges so it is important your confident in maintaining that ultra-low phosphate level at all times before investing in this particular Checker.
Phosphorous ULR - This meter is for the most advanced hobbyist who is interested in maintaining a ULN or "Ultra Low Nutrient" aquarium and really focused on dialing in that nutrient input down to the parts per billion (ppb). The Phosphorous ULR uses a smaller unit of measure and has a much smaller accuracy range of 0 - 200 ppb.
Once you have chosen the right Phosphate Checker, it is critical to become comfortable with the testing process. The value of the Hanna Checkers really only materializes when you can get consistent and accurate test results each and every time. Here are some valuable tips and best practices that we promise will help you get the MOST out of your Hanna Instrument Checkers.
- Buy the right reagents for your checker. Just reference the product descriptions on our website for direct links.
- Keep vials clean and spot-free using only RO/DI water to rinse and store.
- Wear gloves when performing the test to eliminate the risk of fingerprints on the vials.
- Use scissors to open the reagents carefully, fold the packet and add all of the reagent powder into your sample.
- Follow the timing instructions, use an external timer on your phone and do not guess or skimp on the shaking and processing times.
- Don't forget about the built-in timer on the checker. Press and hold the center button until 3 minutes is displayed on the screen.
- Don't forget to check your results after the 3-minute timer is complete. Once complete, you only have two minutes to view your results, or else you will be forced to test again.