So I meant to post this yesterday, but I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t let me blog. Apparently my computer signs me off wordpress every so often so I have to sign back in.. So this information is from my time in the lab yesterday.
Dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and ammonia tests came with no reagents… really? It’s almost as if they expect us to have an abundance of reagents for nitrate test before we have the tools to run the test. Oops, our bad! So that’s a bit frustrating, but we ordered more reagents for everything which should come by tomorrow hopefully.
The Phosphorous and Nitrite kits came with a couple reagents (still annoying), but this allowed us to run a couple trial runs with them on salt water from one of the tanks. Alex did a few tests in the morning (check out her blog entry) and I did a few in the afternoon.
I’m glad I familiarized myself with the tests because I had to make a few modifications to the procedure, because it was just… not good. For example in these tests, you have to blank the meter (makes sense, right?) but then you have to add the reagents from a small packet into a small cuvette (harder than it sounds) and mix for at least two minutes according to the instructions. However, the meter turns off after two minutes. I solved this by having two cuvettes: one to blank the meter and one with the reagent in it.
Phosphorous gave a reading of 200 ppb, which leads me into our next problem. The meter maxes out at 200, so we can assume phosphorous is at a level higher than 200. We need to get another kit with a meter that measures a higher concentration of phosphorous. I measured Nitrite at 70 ppb, which was similar to what Alex measured.
I also measured pH at 7.46 and salinity at 48.3 mS
David and I hoped that the hardness and alkalinity tests would give similar results since they both test for CaCO3. If we had gotten the same result, we could eliminate one of the tests and save time. I measured alkalinity at 114ppm CaCO3. When I ran the hardness test, it didn’t work. I attempted twice and had the same result: failure. We’re thinking the test just doesn’t work with salt water? We’re going to look into it.
It was really good to familiarize myself with all the equipment because now when we begin our intensive sampling and testing of the succession of the coral ponds, I’ll be ready to go with those water chemistry tests!
And now we wait! We wait for an email telling us they’re going to load the water into the containers for the coral ponds. At this point we have a lot of sampling to do! I’ve decided to call it Occupy Bio Labs since we’ll be spending quite a bit of time in there 🙂