The JBL ProScan system is a new approach to testing and logging aquarium water chemistry that unites something really old, with something really new. With the use of the JBL ProScan App, you can use the phone’s built in camera to take a snapshop of the ProScan test strips, and the system will automatically evaluate the color of the strips and the corresponding chemistry.
When we started our very first marine aquarium in 1996, we used Mardel test strips to literally track the nitrogen cycle by logging the rise and fall of ammonia, then nitrite. The gradual rise of nitrate indicated that the cycle had completed and it was time to add fish. In the twenty years since testing aquarium water hasn’t gotten any easier. In fact, test strips have all but fallen out of favor having been replaced by “more accurate” test kits with more involved and time consuming procedures.
But when someone is just beginning an aquarium, or they just want to get a quick and dirty value for a given parameter, compared to conventional test kits testing strips are super simple, economical and they are borderline magically fast.
If there is a drawback to test strips it’s the relatively subtle differences in the color ranges of the pads, but using a smartphone camera as a readily available colorimeter, the JBL ProScan makes test strips even easier to use. Once the JBL ProScan app measures the chemistry of your water using the strips, it also logs the values, and give advice on what changes need to be made to the water parameters with suggestion on what JBL products to use to reach a target level.
The only “catch” for us reefers is that the ProScan test kits are made primarily with freshwater in mind. However, Tetra does still make saltwater test strips which measure nitrate, nitrite, alkalinity and pH so it’s possible this smartphone-driven concept could be applied to saltwater use by some intrepid company in the future. [JBL]