The reef keeping hobby has had many interesting advancements in the past 10 years from
reef controllers to Hanna checkers, but when I heard you can send your tank water to a lab to be
comprehensively tested for a realistic price, I was quite excited. Once mailed the information is then
sent to your phone via email, but here’s the kicker, they created their own methodology and product
line to return your tank to healthy parameters if you are using their particular “method” called the Triton Method. After doing some high level reading around the Triton Method, it seems quite simple considering they do all the math and all you have to do is measure out volumes of the recommended product, but we will cover that in a later article.
Bruce the Reefer: A little bit about my setup
Working at metal plating shop, I deal with monthly water testing of our used water, require by
law, which costs a lot of money! So when I heard this test kit was around 50 bucks and tests more
parameters than you can count on both hands, I had to go get one and try it out! So before buying a
bunch of different products from them I just wanted to do the test and see where my base point is.
My current tank is a 120 gallon wide with a 40 breeder as a sump, my total volume of water is
roughly 150 gallons. I use a reef octopus 8 inch for skimming and fuel the corals with a calcium reactor.
My lighting is a combination metal halides and t5 and I do water changes with red sea salt. I’ve been in
the hobby for about 5 years now and have built a decent tank mainly populated with sps corals,
although I do have some acans and a carpet anemone. My main problem down the road of reef keeping
has definitely been nutrients, whether that be phosphates or nitrates, but mainly nitrates.
Why I am trying a Triton Test
My top concern with sending this test in is to see if there is an abundant amount of potassium
and or silver in my tank. This is because I recently had bought some cheap PH probes on eBay and long
story short I found crystallization on the PH probes wiring in the inside, which wasn’t their when I got
them. This means there was ion exchange happening between the probe and the tank water. The
reference solution used in a PH probe is potassium chloride and sometimes saturated with silver nitrate.
Recently I have had some die off of my large sps colonies, which makes me wonder if its because of the
probes or just because I didn’t notice my co2 tank for my calcium reactor was empty.
This brings up a good point, apparently Triton has unearthed some interesting data since the
start of these tests. If ones’ tank shows a high amount of certain heavy metals it means you may need a
new pump or wave maker. Cheaper brands of products use cheaper materials and the Triton tests can
find this. Also I guess everyone in America has high amounts of lithium in their tanks, but the weird part
is I haven’t found anyone to explain why or how this is.
Preparing the Triton Test Kit for Mailing
Okay so here’s the fun part. After opening the box, the instructions are simple, first set up an
account with Triton on their website(www.triton-blab.de). You then set up your tanks profile with the
total water volume. You then take the 2 vials rinse them a few times and fill. Once they’re filled, capped
and dried you place a provided barcode on each. Then on your Triton account you click the connect
barcode. This relates the barcode you send in to your tanks profile. My favorite part was the box design,
it comes with a sticky side so when your done with filling and labeling you just take the paper off the
sticky section close the box and stick the provided address on the outside of the box.
My Current Readings
As I prepared my vials to send in to Triton, I thought I could also take this opportunity to get a sanity check on the test kits that I run on my reef so I decided to run a full battery of tests on my water as I filled the Triton vials. This way, when I see their results, I should be able to get an idea if any of my test kits are not showing accurate results. The following are the tests that I ran before sending in the vials to Triton.
KH-Carbonate(Salifert)- 7.0 DKH
Calcium(API)- 540 ppm
So now the worst part, waiting…… I have sent my vials off to the California team at Unique Corals who currently act as the US leg of Triton. They will then pile up the weeks vials from across the US and ship that box over to Germany where they will run the ICP test on my water and publish the results to my test page. Once I get those I will put up part 2 so we can see how my water looks and if there are some actions I will have to take.