Author Topic: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert  (Read 2708 times)

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Offline humbug

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Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« on: May 02, 2012, 10:42:55 AM »
When buying some products over the internet, I found a very good deal for the Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert.  These are little plastic tags which fix to the inside of the aquarium and give a constant indication of ammonia and pH levels in the tank. They usually retail for something like $10 - $15 each, and are supposed to last for 6 – 12 months in use.

As I am in the process of setting up a number of tanks, I thought it might be worth trying a pair of these to use as a first alert to any significant changes in a tank during the first few weeks of establishment.

I placed the pair of them in a four foot tank for the first six weeks after setting it up in the fish room, and then about a fortnight ago I transferred them over to the display tank I’m currently setting up in the house. 

They were handled and installed exactly in accordance with instructions.  The product data indicates that they may not be 100% accurate for the first day after installation, and after that may take 15 minutes to react to changes in water conditions.

Well, the ph Alert has been effectively useless from day one.  Whether immersed in water from our tap with pH 7.0, or in my display tank with a pH of around 8.4, the monitor looks like the picture below.  Everyone who sees it asks the same question – how do you interpret it?  The indicating section is the circle in the middle, which you supposedly compare with the colour scale around the outside.

I’ve had a bit more faith in the Ammonia Alert . . . . until now.  In both tanks it has constantly been indicating >0.02 ppm ammonia, which is in line with API test kit readings. 

But now I have started fishless cycling the display tank, and have had the “total ammonia” level above 4ppm for the past two days, confirmed using an API test kit.  The Alert indicates “free ammonia” rather than the “total ammonia” level given by the API test kit.  The tank currently has a pH of 8.4 and temp of 26 deg C, and therefore by my calculations should have a “free ammonia” level above 0.5ppm.  The “toxic” level on the Alert represents 0.5 ppm of “free ammonia”, and at this level the Alert should be registering dark blue, but it has barely changed colour from the original bright yellow.

So, based on my experience to date, I don’t have any faith in these devices.  If you are currently using these for piece of mind, I suggest you should use caution, as they may not be quite as accurate as you think. 

(For the record – the display tank is currently pH 8.4, 26 deg C, and no dechlorinator was used on set-up.  The tank was filled, planted and left for around three weeks before I set up filters and began fishless cycling.  Alerts were placed into this tank about a week after filling, and were kept wet in the transfer between the two tanks, which took less than a minute.  The photo shows some algae, but most is on the glass rather than on the device.  There is a small amount of algae on the sensor surface, but not in my opinion enough to affect readings – most of the indicating area is clear.  I can’t think of anything that I have done which could impact the accuracy of the readings.)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 11:13:52 AM by humbug »
I love my malawi haps!  (And I suppose some of those tang whitebait are a bit OK).

Offline Hood

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Re: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 05:19:07 PM »
Great review!! :Thumbup:
I'll have to share this on PROTAS with a link back to here to Ozfish if that is ok with you mate?
You get full credit for your article.   :Yes:

Offline Oblivion

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Re: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 10:25:13 AM »
nice review, i seen these when i first started keeping fish, was going to buy them until a guy in the store who always gave good advice quietly said "honestly mate, by the time you buy them you might aswell get the freshwater master kit from API, lasts longer, checks more stuff, and unlike these you actually get an accurate reading"


Offline humbug

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Re: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 11:29:28 AM »
A further two days into the cycling, and still absolutely no change in colour of the alerts.  Reading reviews on the internet, some people absolutley swear by them, while it appears that there are an awful lot of people who have had similar experiences to me. 

I paid $7 total for the pair - well below rrp.  I wonder if it was a clearance sale by a company deciding not to continue to stock them :HAPPY NO:
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 11:32:08 AM by humbug »
I love my malawi haps!  (And I suppose some of those tang whitebait are a bit OK).

Offline scubasteve84

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Re: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 12:05:38 PM »
Also i could have been a faulty bunch that they realised and moved on quickly. unfortunatly this does happen with online shopping.  :No:

Offline NT-CICHLIDS

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Re: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 12:23:20 PM »
I have used and sell them, never had a problem and always thought they were a good thing  :Yes:
Katherine Tropical Fish

Offline humbug

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Re: Review: Seachem Ammonia Alert and Seachem pH Alert
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 01:53:21 PM »
I got them from a well known and respected on-line shop - a company that I will continue to deal with.  I just think the product is suspect. 

If you do a google search, you'll find that this isn't a once off.  There's lots of experiences out there just like mine.  I'm lucky - I've not had fish at risk.  Not everyone has been so lucky.
I love my malawi haps!  (And I suppose some of those tang whitebait are a bit OK).