One of the more interesting products we have come across at MACNA 2014 thus far is the new line of LAQUAtwin compact digital testers from Horiba Scientific. These interesting little handheld meters are available in seven different models that measure water parameters such as pH, conductivity, salt, sodium, potassium, nitrate, and calcium. While there are already a bevy of different digital testers on the market from other companies, the LAQUAtwin testers are unique in that they do not require the addition of chemical reagents and they only require a tiny amount of sample.
The LAQUAtwin handhelds can accurately read their respective parameters from just one drop of water (0.05mL is the minimum stated amount) or they can read solid samples and powders (unit dependent, obviously). On top of that, the method of sample introduction can vary as well. The business end of the meter can be submerged directly into the sample, or aquarium water in our case. Additionally, water can be introduced by scooping sample with the tester or adding it with a pipette.
Calibration and sample reading is done with the push of one lonely button. Regarding how the probes work, each unit employs an ion-selective electrode that produces an electric potential according to the concentration of the specific ion in solution. It then compares the ion concentration to known ion chromatography measurements, yielding an accurate result in a very short amount of time. On top of that, the meters can account for interference from competing ions, and the pH meter can even compensate for temperature.
Assuming these work as described, they could be a game changer for the aquarium water parameter testing market. Of course, being digital they will be somewhat cost prohibitive (sometimes you can’t beat a $15 test kit), but we can definitely see how beneficial they could be.
Images via Carrie Dax