It’s been 2 years since Kevin Costa from Hanna Instruments talked to me about the possibility of a Nitrate checker on a podcast I did for Marine Depot. They announced the upcoming checker less than 24 hours ago and I bet everybody is itching to pre-order. It still feels like the best kept secret though because at the time of writing this article, a search for nitrate checker on Hanna’s website did not show the cute new lilac family member. In fact even their instagram is curiously silent on the subject. I found a link to the much awaited checker from a different Instagram they have.
The timing is great. There is a current ongoing discussion on forums about a hack using the Hanna Phosphate checker to test nitrates. Maybe Hanna was listening? 🙂 Nitrates are the bane of my life at the moment (so are phosphates but I digress). Like most hobbyists’ test kits – the struggle to accurately guess your levels is very real. The color range jumps significantly from one level to another in some cases, while in others the color in the vial just doesn’t match up the with the swatches on the chart. This can lead to a frustrating experience if you’re new to testing at home as I recently found out on one of my Instagram chat groups. User error, not reading the instructions, not following instructions, or not understanding the instructions on top of the color matching sounds like a recipe for erroneous readings. While user error still exists with the Hanna family of checkers, the color matching guesswork is taken out of the equation by Colorimeter technology.
Here’s what Hanna says:
Get highly accurate results with the HI781 Marine Nitrate Low Range Colorimeter. With a digital read out, there is no more struggling to determine colors visually. This nitrate tester’s compact design fits in your pocket or stores easily in your shop.
- For use with saltwater samples.
- More accurate than chemical test kits.
- Dedicated to a single parameter.
- Small size, big convenience.
- No errors with a digital readout.
- Ideal for aquariums and marine biology applications.
- Easier to use and more accurate than chemical test kits.
- One-button operation makes getting your nitrate results simple.
- Great for saltwater aquariums.
The HI781 Checker®HC (Handheld Colorimeter) is a simple, accurate, and cost-effective way to measure nitrate in your saltwater aquarium.
Nitrate is a by-product of the Nitrogen cycle. Excessive amounts of nitrates in a reef aquarium can promote the growth of undesirable organisms including algae and dinoflagellates while insufficient amounts can lead to starvation in which SPS and other corals will show signs including the loss of color and paleness.
The HI781 Nitrate Checker HC is a handheld colorimeter that uses the Beer-Lambert principle to determine the concentration of nitrate colorimetrically. The HI781 is designed specifically to measure low levels of nitrate in a saltwater aquarium.
I run a high nutrient system and I’m not sure if this new checker will work for me. The website does not give the range that can be tested with the colorimeter. Perhaps there is a dilution method like some of the other test kits on the market, which would be great. I’m looking forward to trying this checker out and hearing about other users’ experiences as well. The Hanna Marine Nitrate Low Range checker is listed at $49.95 on their website and you can sign up to receive a notification when it is available. There has been no announcement about the checker’s expected release date as of yet.
What are your thoughts? How high are your nitrates?