Although we’ve used test-kits from quite a few different manufacturers over the years, it’s always interesting to try new offerings. As such, we were keen to put the new MarineLab Multi-Test kit from NT Labs into use.
Consisting of 4 different tests (Alkalinity, Nitrate, Phosphate and pH) and priced at just under £30, this kit is pitched at hobbyists who’s needs lean towards convenience of use and tracking of key parameters at a relatively non critical level of accuracy. With the tests included, this kit offers an interesting alternative to the similar Saltwater and Reef kits offered by US manufacturer API.
Coming in a water-proof resealable pouch which should easily keep the contents safe and sound, the components were all clearly labelled and instructions were easy to use (also resistant to water damage). The tube caps worked effectively meaning no leaks, and while the reagent bottles don’t have child proof caps, we don’t think this is should go against the product (lets face it, if your kids can get their hands on these items then you aren’t storing them securely). EDIT: incidentally, we have just been told that the latest packs do now have child-proof caps.
Here’s a summary of our other key observations:
What we liked:
- Tests were very simple and quick to perform.
- Results, while not pinpoint in accuracy, tallied those attained from separate kits
- Packaging was excellent (no cardboard or paper elements to spoil)
What we thought could be improved:
- Tubes were OK but completely flat bases (rather than slightly ridged) would have made sample colour analysis even easier
- Volume markings on tubes could have been clearer (only a feint line half way up indicates 5ml)
Based on the fact that we only have a couple of minor suggestions, we’d certainly recommend this product, more so given the fact that this is one of the least expensive sets on the market. There are more comprehensive and narrower-range tests out there but we’d suggest this kit is just the ticket particularly if you have a successful, low demand system ticking-over that just needs a quick check every week or so (this manufacturer does offer a few other test kit packages for other situations incidentally).
Look out for our review of the NT Labs Magnesium and Calcium kit shortly.