Today we’ll be taking a look at the Elos Calcium test kit.
Every good aquarist knows it is vital to maintain proper levels of alkalinity and calcium in your reef aquarium. They are the key components for keeping corals healthy, happy, and growing.
Fortunately both can be measured easily and reliably with good quality test kits.
Now, when it comes to high quality aquariums and accessories, one brand name typical shows up in the top of the list: Elos.
The tanks made by this renowned Italian company are considered to be the ‘Ferraris’ of aquariums. And although they tend to be a bit pricey, many longtime reef keepers consider their test kits, fish foods, and other accessories to be top-of-the-line as well.
I myself find their phosphate (PO4) test kit to fantastic.
So I decided to give the Elos calcium test kit a try as well.
The Elos calcium test kit screams quality from the moment you open it up.
Everything from the logo-embossed glass testing vial to the color quick guide looks and feels top rate.
The kit comes with four reagents labeled A, B, C, D.
Three are used in the Approximation Test. And all four are used in the Precision Test.
The approximation test allows you to test your calcium to within 50 ppm (e.g. 50mg/l if you prefer metric) of it’s actual value. Essentially it’s a quick check just to see if your calcium is within the recommended range of 380-450 ppm.
Then, if you desire a more accurate reading, the Precision Test allows you to read your calcium within 10 ppm.
I’m not going to go into details of performing the tests. There are already plenty of videos online that show it – such as this really nice done by Coralvue:
The key thing to know is this: in order to a Precision test, you first have to do an Approximation test. Otherwise you will use up the D reagent quite fast.
If you calcium tends not to shift very much, you’ll only need to do an approximation test once, and can then use it as the basis for all the Precision tests you do thereafter.
But if your calcium tends to shift quite a bit, you will have to do an approximation test before each and every precision test.
When I first saw that the Elos calcium test kit offered the choice of doing a quick, ballpark test or a more precise test, it seemed as though it would result in the use of less reagent … and therefore the kit would last longer and save money in the long run.
It turns out the opposite is the case.
As I said, it is a quality kit. The color changes are very easy to distinguish. And determining the calcium value from the number of drops required to reach the color change is very easy to do – especially since they provide with an easy to read conversion chart.
If you would like to try it for yourself, you can order one from most any large, online aquarium store such as Coralvue or Premium Aquatics … or even from Amazon.
However, the reading I got from the Elos calcium test kit was the same as the reading I got from my Salifert calcium test kit – the brand I had been using up until now…
And the Salifert kit also measures to a precision of 10 ppm … while only requiring one test each time … using just three reagents … and for two-thirds the cost.
Oh, and both kits are good for 50-100 tests.
The bottom line: When I use up this reagents in the Elos calcium test kit, I will be switching back to the Salifert calcium test kits instead.
Both are great kits. But the Salifert kit is a bit quicker and easier to use … not to mention less pricey.