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JBL ProScape Testlab - professionel test kit for freshwater analysis


HOW CAN WATER TESTS HELP?

Water ideally looks crystal clear and any problem substances it may contain are often not visible. Clear water can definitely be toxic, for example, if it contains arsenic in sufficient quantities or nitrite, which also can also lead to internal suffocation in us humans. In aquatics the water test helps us to measure the invisible substances dissolved in the water and to act accordingly.
Until now there were only two tests available for plant friends: The CO2 Permanent Test and the Iron Test Set (Fe). The CO2 Permanent Test is very well suited to monitor the CO2 fertilization systems, but it reacts with a time delay. Whereas the new JBL CO2 Direct Test indicates the current CO2 situation in mg/l with high accuracy. Until now the iron test was used by aquarium owners as single test method to monitor the fertilization. There simply wasn’t any other test to indicate how much fertilizer was being consumed. Because all manufacturers’ iron tests show a clearly visible purple colour, they were always offered as an easy-to-read test. Iron was always measured TO REPRESENT the many other micronutrients and it was assumed that all trace elements would have a similar consumption. Meaning if there is a lack of iron, there also is a lack of the other trace elements. And the other way round: If there is still sufficient iron available, this also applies to the other trace elements and the dosage of the fertilizer could be reduced. This general assumption has proven its worth through decades of experience in plant aquariums. But on closer inspection this is only valid for micronutrients.

The consumption of the individual fertilizer components, especially the macronutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg) varies considerably, depending on the plant species! This is why the professional aquascaper needs to measure the individual components separately and adapt the dosage accordingly.

The new JBL Potassium Test is of very simple design but it works very professionally! And with very accurate results! In case of a deficiency a direct supplementation of the potassium content with JBL ProScape K Macroelements is possible. A too low potassium level has a serious effect on the longitudinal growth of plants.
With the new JBL Magnesium Test for freshwater it is now possible to check the essential plant nutrient magnesium in seconds and if necessary to adapt the fertilization with JBL ProScape Mg Macroelements. Magnesium is the central atom of the leaf green (chlorophyll) and therefore crucially involved in the energy production of the plant. A magnesium deficiency leads in general to a stunted growth in plants.
With the JBL Nitrate Test (NO3) you receive information about the nitrogen content in the form of nitrate in the water. The recommended nitrate level also varies from plant species to plant species. It shouldn’t be exceeded because higher nitrate levels lead to algae problems.
Ammonium is another source of nitrogen for plants. And the JBL Ammonium Test could also be used to determine the level of NH4 precisely, but the ammonium is oxidized from nitrite to nitrate by micro-organisms so quickly, it makes the determination of a then current level pointless.

In stock
SKU
JBL25511
€89.56

JBL Testlab-FAQ

JBL PROSCAPE TESTLAB

The most important water parameters for plant aquariums with new, highly sensitive test sets Proscapers always know exactly what’s going on in their aquarium. For this they need a complete water analysis! These tests enable every proscaper to analyse the most important water parameters in their tank, to measure the exact dosage of the individual fertiliser components, and so on.

HOW TO TEST

•         Be sure to rinse the cuvettes several times in the water you will be measuring.
•        Please be careful to follow the instructions regarding the narrow and the broad end of the spoon when adding a powder (nitrate test broad end of spoon, phosphate test narrow end of spoon).
•         Please also be careful to follow the instructions regarding swivelling and shaking the cuvette.
•       ALWAYS hold the test jars vertically when you add the drops. The droplet size changes if you hold the bottle at an angle or in a horizontal position.
COLORIMETRY

The colour comparison test (colorimetric test): according to the instructions add the required number of drops of one or more reagents into the prescribed amount of water inside the cuvette. A coloration results, and you can refer to a colour chart to indicate how much of the substance is present in the water. The pH test, the iron test, the freshwater magnesium test and many more tests all follow this principle. The special feature of the JBL colour comparison test is the fact that you also fill a second cuvette with aquarium water and put it on the colour chart with the colour field. If you now look from above through your water sample onto the colour field, the printed colour changes because of the inherent colour of your water and the inherent colour is taken into account for the result. This comparison system makes the colour comparison easier, yet gives you laboratory accuracy!

TURBIDITY

The turbidity test: add indicators into your clear water sample to generate turbidity. Put this “cloudy” water into the special test tube millilitre for millilitre until the cross on the underlying colour chart is no longer visible, due to the thickening layer of cloudy water. This is how the JBL potassium test works. In the JBL oxygen test turbidity also results, but in the end the colouring is compared by referring to a colour chart.

TITRATION

The drop count test (so-called titration):  count the number of drops of the reagent you add till the colour changes to another defined colour. For the total hardness test this would be from red to green, for the carbonate hardness test from blue to yellow and for the CO2 direct test from colourless to pink.

DETAILS

If we transfer this Liebig’s Law of the Minimum to aquatics we quickly see how important balanced fertilization for plant aquariums is and how important the coordination between the fertilization and the intensity of lighting, the initial values of the used waters, the biomass of the plants and with this the daily consumption of nutrients is.

If we transfer this Liebig’s Law of the Minimum to aquatics we quickly see how important balanced fertilization for plant aquariums is and how important the coordination between the fertilization and the intensity of lighting, the initial values of the used waters, the biomass of the plants and with this the daily consumption of nutrients is.

IRON (FE)

Besides an adequate supply of CO2, aquatic vegetation needs iron and trace elements. Since healthy aquatic plants constantly consume iron and other trace elements, which only keep in the water for a limited period even when bonded to so-called chelating agents (usually found in modern fertilizers, e.g. in JBL Ferropol), the iron content must be monitored regularly with the JBL iron test set Fe and replenished if necessary. A concentration of 0.1-0.2 mg/litre (ppm) is normally adequate for good plant growth, for very plant intensive aquariums values up to 0.5 mg/l (ppm) can be useful. The JBL iron test set Fe can also be used to measure the iron content in tap water (normally iron-free) or in natural waters as well as in garden ponds. Levels between 0.002 and 0.05 mg/l are recommended in marine aquariums.
< 0,1 mg/l
JBL Fe + Mircoelements
> 0,5 mg/l
Water change, JBL Biotopol

NITRATE (NO3)

The process involved in the breakdown or the mineralization of organic matter in the water (feed and plant debris, fish excrement) follows these stages: proteins - ammonium - nitrite - nitrate.
Certain bacteria are responsible for this process. Measuring the intermediate stages ammonium, nitrite and nitrate allows certain conclusions to be made about the “function” of the system "aquarium” or the system “pond". Normally, ammonium and nitrite should not be allowed to enrich above concentrations of 0.2 mg/l (ppm). If they do, the bacterial balance may be disturbed.
A continuous increase in the nitrate content, especially in the aquarium, accompanied by a low or undetectable ammonium and nitrite content, is characteristic of a well-functioning bacteria balance but indicates at the same time a insufficient balance in the aquarium (too many fish, not enough nitrate-consuming plants, too few water changes).In garden ponds this often happens with highly populated koi ponds without ground-covering material and marshy area, which works as a plant based purification system.
In heavily planted aquariums without fish or with only a few small fish the opposite may occur: Nitrate becomes a deficiency and needs dosed additions for the plants to thrive and grow. This is especially the case with so-called aquascaping, a specialized trend to create underwater landscapes in the aquatic field.
If phosphate is present in the water in addition to nitrate, levels of nitrate which are too high promote the growth of unwanted algae. This is why the nitrate content of the water should be kept below 30 mg/l (ppm) in freshwater and 20 mg/l (ppm) in saltwater. In garden ponds the nitrate level should not exceed 10 mg/l and ideally it should not be measurable. In ponds which have not been correctly planned, nitrates from fertilisers used on the surrounding area can often seep into the pond.
< 10 mg/l
JBL NPK Macroelements, N Macroelements.
> 30 mg/l
Water change, JBL NitratEX, JBL BioNitrat EX, JBL ClearMec plus

PHOSPHATE (PO4)

Phosphate, an important plant nutrient, only occurs in very low concentrations in natural waters. The average levels are about 0.01 mg/l in freshwater and about 0.07 mg/l in saltwater. Plants and algae have adapted to this scarce supply of phosphate, so that they can survive with minimum amounts.
In an aquarium, phosphate primarily enters the water as a result of the digestive processes of the fish or in the form of food remains. If conditions are unfavourable (particularly in heavily-stocked aquariums), the phosphate levels may reach values that are sometimes 100 times higher, and more, than natural levels. Undesirable algae will then multiply explosively as an inevitable consequence. By regularly measuring the phosphate concentration using the JBL phosphate test set PO4 sensitive, this threat can be recognised and prevented with the appropriate measures. It is important to know that algae can store considerable quantities of phosphate, enabling them to continue to grow even after the level of phosphate in the water has been reduced.  Therefore the sooner the danger of a rise in the phosphate content is identified, the better the chances of quickly averting an imminent plague of algae. In a freshwater aquarium, levels of up to 0.4 mg/l are acceptable. Better are levels under 0.1 mg/l.
In heavily planted aquariums without fish or with only a few small fish the opposite may occur: Phosphate becomes a deficiency and needs dosed additions for the plants to thrive and grow. This is especially the case with so-called aquascaping, a specialized trend to create underwater landscapes in the aquatic field.
< 0,1 mg/l
JBL NPK Macroelements, P Macroelements.
> 1,5 mg/l
JBL PhosEx Ultra, JBL PhosEx rapid, fast-growing plants, water change

CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important plant nutrient. Aquarium water usually has values between 2 and 4 mg/l if no carbon dioxide is added. However, a CO2 concentration between 15 and 30 mg/l is recommended, with 20 - 25 mg/l having proven to be optimum levels. This level is not harmful to fish whilst at the same time promoting luxuriant plant growth. Therefore, gradually adjust your CO2 fertilisation unit until this level is attained.
The amount of CO2 which needs to be added to your CO2 fertilisation unit to achieve this value depends on various factors. These factors include water agitation and the intensity of illumination (more light causes plants to grow faster, thereby increasing the required CO2 ) in addition to direct consumption by plants.  Thus the correct dose must be determined individually for each aquarium. You can find out more on this by reading the instructions for use of your CO2 fertilisation unit.
Tanks with few or no plants such as those preferably used to keep fish from Lake Malawi or Lake Tanganyika do not need to be supplied with additional CO2.
< 20 mg /l
JBL ProFlora CO2 fertilizer system, JBL ProFlora Bio, less movement of water surface
> 35 mg/l
Aeration with JBL ProSilent a, increase water surface movement.

MAGNESIUM (MG)

Magnesium and calcium together form the total hardness. Like potassium, magnesium is a macroelement which is required for healthy and strong plant growth. The magnesium levels in mains water (including water with a high total hardness) are very often too low for aquatic plants, so that deficiency symptoms appear after a short time already. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are similar to those of iron deficiency. Yellowing (chlorosis) occurs between the veins of the leaves. This may be significantly more pronounced than in iron deficiency. Incurved leaves are another symptom. These symptoms are not just limited to old leaves and instead, also appear in new fresh leaves.
As a result, the available magnesium concentrations may be too low, causing plant growth to stagnate, even if the aquarium water is fertilised regularly (e.g. weekly). We recommend daily measurements of the potassium concentration of your tank water initially. This permits determination of the plants’ requirements and corresponding correct dosing of the fertiliser. Afterwards, you can gradually change over to routine measurements carried out at longer intervals.  The value should be somewhere between 5 and 50 mg/l for good plant growth.

< 5 mg/l
JBL AquaDur, JBL Mg Macroelements
> 10 mg/l
Mixing with reverse osmosis or deionized water.

CARBONATE HARDNESS (KH)

Depending on origin and consistency of the subsoil, water may contain varying quantities of alkaline earth salts. Owing to the effects of CO2, a large proportion of these salts is represented by hydrogen carbonates. By definition, the proportion of calcium and magnesium salts represented as carbonate is described as carbonate hardness.
As a rule, the carbonate hardness is below the total hardness value. In certain exceptional cases (e.g. the East African lakes) the carbonate hardness can be higher than the total hardness.
Most freshwater fish and plants in an aquarium thrive well at a carbonate hardness of roughly between 3 and 15°d. For successful CO2 fertilization, the carbonate hardness should not fall below 4 to 5°d. For optimized pH buffering action in saltwater, a carbonate hardness around 7-10°d ought to be maintained.
< 3°dKH
JBL AquaDur Malawi/Tanganyika : JBL AquaDur Malawi/Tanganyika.
> 8 °dKH
Addition of JBL pH Minus in stages, mixing with reverse osmosis or deionized water.

POTASSIUM (K)

Potassium is one of the macroelements which is absorbed very quickly and effectively within a few hours and stored temporarily by plants in fresh water. Growing plants require more potassium compared to other elements. As a result, potassium concentrations can drop to a minimum range, causing plant growth to stagnate, even if the aquarium water is fertilised regularly (e.g. weekly). Potassium levels in mains water are usually too low compared to natural biotopes, particularly with regard to calcium and magnesium concentrations. We recommend daily measurement of the potassium concentrations of your tank water initially. This enables you to determine the plants’ requirements and the corresponding correct dosing of the fertiliser. Afterwards, you can gradually change over to routine measurements carried out at longer intervals.  Values of around 5 to 10 mg/l are generally required for good plant growth. In aquariums with a high rate of illumination of around 1 W/l illumination intensity and higher, the value should be between 10 and 20 mg/l. Higher potassium values in aquarium water favour growth of green blanket weed.
< 10 mg/l
JBL K Macroelements
> 30 mg/l
Mixing with reverse osmosis or deionized water, water change.

SILICATE (SIO2)

Silicon is one of the most common elements in the world. As a result of the weathering of silicate rocks, silicon is washed into surface and ground water in the form of silicate. Depending on the composition of the rocks in a particular area, the mains water will contain varying amounts of dissolved silicate. Mains water can contain up to 40 mg/l and, on rare occasions, even more. Silicate is non-toxic and there is no threshold set in the regulations governing the quality of drinking water.
The significance of silicon for aquariums and garden ponds is as a nutrient for algae (diatoms), some aquatic plants (e.g. hornwort) as well as siliceous sponges and many other invertebrates. When a new aquarium is set up, the first sign of settlement is a brown coating of algae (diatoms). This coating disappears when the aquarium is run in and sufficient competition from other algae and micro organisms has established itself. This also significantly reduces the amount of silicate in the water. However, such coatings of algae can often reappear, particularly in saltwater, after the water has been changed, adding new silicate. For this reason, osmosis water should preferably be used when changing the water or filling a marine aquarium.
We recommend the following values:
Freshwater and garden pond water: up to approx. 1 mg/l to 2 mg/l can be tolerated.
Saltwater: max. 1 mg/l
0 mg/l
Not appropriate
2,0 mg/l
JBL SilicatEX, heavy alkaline ionexchanging resin (MP600)

PH 6 - 7,6

The well-being of fish and the growth of aquatic plants depend to a large extent on the pH level being kept as constant as possible. The pH level plays a significant controlling role in CO2-fertilization. The CO2-concentration best suited for plants and harmless to fish is reached with a pH level around 6.8 to 7.2, provided that the water does not contain any other substances which might influence the pH level. The carbonate hardness should not drop below 4° and not significantly exceed 18° dH. This means that a simple pH measurement is sufficient to check the best possible CO2-fertilization. Precise measurements may also be required even if CO2 is not used for fertilizing, for instance for the breeding of special fish species. The pH test set 6.0 - 7.6 is also suitable in these cases.
< 6,0
JBL AquaDur, JBL pH-Plus
> 7,0
Addition of JBL pH Minus in stages, adding CO2, filtering with peat pellets (JBL Tormec).
HOW MUCH FERTILIZER DOES YOUR AQUARIUM NEED

The dosing of the plant fertilizer depends on several factors and can’t be generalized in aquascaping. Because an excess of fertilizers can lead to algae problems, a precise adjustment of the fertilizer quantity for your personal aquarium is really very important! Specify the factors you want and you’ll receive a calculation about the individual fertilizer components.
CALCULATOR
RECOMMENDATION

Uptil now there were only two tests available for the plant-lover: the CO2 permanent test and the iron test set (Fe). Now three new tests have been added, all of which are of course also separately available.

The CO2 permanent test is very well suited to monitor the CO2 fertilization systems but it takes time to react. The new JBL CO2 Direct Test, however, indicates the current CO2 situation in mg/l with high accuracy.

The new JBL Potassium test is very simple but very professional!  A too low potassium level can have a serious effect on the longitudinal growth of plants, amongst other things.

Using the new JBL Magnesium test for freshwater it is now possible for anyone to check the essential plant nutrient Mg in seconds and if necessary to adapt the fertilization. Magnesium is the central atom of the leaf green (chlorophyll) and therefore crucially involved in the energy production of the plant. A magnesium deficiency leads in general to a stunted growth in plants.
K TEST
CO2 DIRECT TEST
MG TEST
ONLINE LAB

Enter your water parameters – and let us analyse them! Here, you have the opportunity to enter your water parameter results directly in the JBL Online Lab, which will analyse your parameters, explain them and recommend means for correcting them.

More Information
Name JBL ProScape Testlab - professionel test kit for freshwater analysis
SKU JBL25511
Manufacturer JBL