Maidenhead Aquatics Master Test Kit

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Fish Herder
Jun 11, 2013
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[SIZE=10.5pt]Maidenhead Aquatics Aquarium Master Test Kit[/SIZE]
This is Maidenhead Aquatics’ own-brand liquid master test kit – more accurately, it’s actually a ‘white label' version of a test kit produced by Colombo BV from the Netherlands. It is £29.99 to buy in-shop, but delivery at around £5 would apply if ordering online. For that price you get a liquid test kit capable of testing for Ammonia (NH3+NH4), Nitrite (NO2), Nitrate (NO3), pH, GH, KH and Phosphate (PO4). The equipment included with the kit is; 6 plastic testing vials, a 5ml syringe and a small plastic ‘spoon’ to measure the powdered reagents. It also includes an instruction manual which doubles as the ‘colour card’ for each test.
[SIZE=10.5pt]How long have you owned this product?[/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]I’ve had this test kit for around 5 weeks – purchased around 8th August 2013. I wanted to do a review much sooner, however, with a product of this nature I think it is important to take the time and use it numerous occasions and over a period of time.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]Ease of Use.[/SIZE]
The test kit is no more difficult to use than any other liquid test kit, in my experience. I have tried both the API Master Test Kit and separates from Salifert (Ammonia and Nitrite). If there are any doubts about how to use the kit even after reading the manual, the rear of the box has 7 QR codes printed on it which can be scanned (with any device that has a camera) to access Youtube™ videos showing the correct usage for that specific test. Granted, some of the codes are out of order/mislabelled, however, this is a nice touch, I think, and a nice way to make use of technology that most of us have access to.
[SIZE=10.5pt]In Use...[/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]In my opinion, Maidenhead’s kit is actually easier to use than the API kit...for a few reasons. The illustrative nature of the manual/test card is very helpful as opposed to wordy instructions and no pictures. The test colours beside the test instruction rather than separates is handy, too.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]I like that the test vials are plastic and not glass (API kit), they can stand on their own much more safely, no need for a stand – I ‘lost’ a glass test tube from the API kit very early on due to carelessness. I like how each of the tests requires 5 drops (you don’t have to remember 3 or 5 or 8 for different ones) each per reagent, apart from the powdered reagents, of course, and also the GH & KH tests. Somehow it sits better with me that all of my most used tests will run out at the same time. The GH and KH tests, due to their nature, could run out much more quickly or much more slowly depending on your water type. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]With particular reference to the Nitrate test in the API kit; bottle number 2 had to be shaken vigorously on each use to re-dissolve the particulate reagent which could leave a substantial margin for error – how could you be sure you had shaken it enough? With the Maidenhead kit, this isn’t necessary as the 3rd, powder reagent can be added separately and only the resulting solution need be shaken after adding all 3 reagents. Doing this with a clear plastic vial is much more suitable, in my opinion, as you can see if it has dissolved.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]I would struggle to point out very many significant negative points with this kit. Perhaps the GH, KH and Phosphate tests might not apply to some freshwater keepers? There are only 6 vials but 7 tests – a minor point. The kit itself does come across as cheaply made – cardboard box construction, cheap looking cut-out cardboard on the inside to contain the bottles/tubes. The bottles themselves are quite unsophisticated looking as well, definitely not the rounded, shaped containers of the API kit.
[SIZE=10.5pt]Customer Service - online retailer.[/SIZE]
In my case, I ordered this product online so the only customer service I received was the automated emails confirming my order and the subsequent dispatch notes. What you would expect from most online retailers, I suspect.
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Good Value for money – 7 tests.[/SIZE]
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Seemingly accurate and reliable results.[/SIZE]
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Very easy to use.[/SIZE]
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Quite a cheap looking kit on the face of it.[/SIZE]
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Only 6 vials with 7 tests...[/SIZE]
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Some tests may just not be necessary[/SIZE]
[SIZE=10.5pt]Rating [/SIZE]
·         [SIZE=10.5pt]Would highly recommend[/SIZE] 

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