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Calibrating your refractometer


impur
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A lot of us have the inexpensive refractometers with the blue handle, or black. These refractometers can be had for 30-60 bucks. They are great in that they provide much more accurate testing of salinity in our tanks. But like all other equipment must be maintained. Regular calibration of this instrument is essential. The directions say to calibrate the unit with distilled water only. Some say to use RO. Well, both of those could throw off your refractometer and give you a false test result.

 

My refractometer says to use RO or distilled. I used RO and from day 1 have calibrated it every few months using RO. Then is stumbled upon a thread on RC, which said that using RO or distilled water may not be calibrating my refractometer exactly. In fact it might be quite a bit off!

 

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=953605

 

So wanting to make my SG perfect, i ordered 2 bottles of Pinpoint 53mS Salinity Calibration Fluid and tested my RHS 10-ATC with a blue handle. First with RO, i used my little screwdriver and brought the blue line to 0. Then i added 3 drops of the Pinpoint fluid. Now it reads slightly more than 1.030! The calibration fluid is exactly measure to read: 53.0mS 35.00ppt 1.0264SG

 

Now i don't know if this is a huge difference. And i'm not sure i can contribute that to my recent SPS problem, since all the water was adjusted with the same refractometer to the same SG, but it just might make the difference between a good looking reef and a great looking reef. I donno, i just want the best for my tank. If this helps someone, great! Just wanted to throw it out there.

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Where do you get that fluid??? I want some.

 

Ive been thinking about this lately actually...i asked the other day on RC where to find it but was ignored......B@stards!! lol j/k....kinda......anyway......

 

i obviously didnt look to hard for it or i prolly would have found it...........but any links on where i could get it would be mucho appreciated : )

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Interesting and good info. I use distilled water. I tested with both ro/di and distilled, and there was a difference between the 2. frankly, i found my good old plastic needle swinger more consistant. I checked it against a couple of other meters and a refracto. Decided the difference, used a sharpi, was happy, and the damm dogs got it,,,,,,,,,,,.....end of story, so back to the refracto

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ARF ARF ARF...........Though' date=' I don't know anybody else that has a road cat!!!!!!!!! :)[/quote']

 

Dont forget, Ike not only goes with me in my truck everywhere...he also floats down any part of the deschutes with me in my driftboat.........camps...........everything.......he will never leave my sight

 

hes a good kid ;)

 

But what the hell does THAT have to do with refractometers???(laugh)

 

Slide1.jpg

ike.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

But

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We still going to have a side by side shootout? Your cal fliud versus my Whiskey calibration technique?

 

 

Whiskey calibration fluid.........explain please

 

I imagine its going to go something like: "put whiskey on plate....close lid......calibrate"...............but just checking :D

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Close, put whiskey in mouth.... drink... little more.... little more... Hmmm what was I doing? Oh ya sticking ro water on my refract to calibrate.... LOL.. Why is it all blurry? LOL.

 

Anyhow me and Miles have the same Refract so he was going to calibrate with fliud and I was going to use ro and see if there was a difference. I beleive the fliud will be more accurate but for a refractometer I dont think it will be noticable. Now for a digital that measures to a tenth... probably worthwhile.

 

Now where did that Jack go?

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Can't really say, but i'd bet your SG is low. Most of the ppl on that thread over at RC came up low, although a few were on the high end.

 

 

There is also a DIY recipe you can make that is exactly 35ppt. I'll track down the link if anyone is interested.

 

Reef Aquarium Salinity: Homemade Calibration Standards

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-06/rhf/index.htm

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So what refractometer do you recommend? I was looking at several...Waves has a TAAM one, ebay for the RHS, and there's the milwaukee one. Or are you guys saying anything less than 80 bucks are all similar? If so, I might just go with the ebay one.

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So what refractometer do you recommend? I was looking at several...Waves has a TAAM one' date=' ebay for the RHS, and there's the milwaukee one. Or are you guys saying anything less than 80 bucks are all similar? If so, I might just go with the ebay one.[/quote']

 

You really have to stepup to the $100 range for a refractometer designed for SW. The problem arrises in that these cheapo refractometers, while properly calibrated they are fine for our tanks, are not made specifically for testing SW.

 

So spend the 40-50 bucks on the cheapo and just make sure you calibrate it correctly.

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