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  • Results 1 to 18 of 18

    Thread: Seneye Accuracy ( or Lack Thereof. ) Any Ideas what can Throw it Off?

    1. #1
      sidepipe is offline Junior Member
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      Seneye Accuracy ( or Lack Thereof. ) Any Ideas what can Throw it Off?

      Sorry, but this is going to be a long post... just hoping someone has had similar issues and managed to resolve them, or maybe someone can point out what an idiot I'm being and my understanding of chemistry just sucks I really don't have the energy to deal with Seneye "support."

      I bought a Seneye around the middle of last year... certainly wasn't expecting miracles but was hoping it would be useful to spot trends etc because I'm pretty bad at doing manual water tests on a regular basis. However, the NH3 readings it seems to me ( though not Seneye support ) are WAY off, like a factor of 50 or more.

      When I first put it in the pond, both Ph and NH3 were "wrong." However, I'd never really taken any notice of KH, and it turned out mine was close to zero. Seneye give a plausible explanation of why the Ph readings ( of their device or other tests such as reagents ) won't necessarily be accurate at very low KH... plus having such a low value isn't good so I added some sodium bicarbonate over the course of a week or so to get the levels to around 5 degrees ( and I keep it there or thereabouts now ) which did stabilise the Ph readings somewhat, though the variations still seemed quite large compared to reagent tests. If nothing else though, the Seneye made me think a little more about parameters other than ammonia/nitrate/pH so I'm grateful to it for that, and I guess so are the fish!

      Anyway, the main issue is the NH3 ( which Seneye claims to read directly rather than calculating it from TAN/Ph and temperature. ) Reagent tests have always shown TAN to be "much less than 0.25ppm" ( which is about as accurate as I can get with those things ) suggesting NH3 is less than 0.02 even if you assume high-ish Ph and water temp... but in reality probably much less. The Seneye was reading around 0.15ppm.... which if true would probably kill the fish quite quickly I'd think! ( Don't forget, this is free ammonia, not TAN or total ammonia that the test kits read. ) Looking back at the Seneye readings at that time, for example on July 23rd, 18:00:

      NH3: 0.147ppm
      Ph: 7.73
      Temp: 17.4C

      These figures would suggest a TAN of around 7.2ppm, which would cause a reagent test kit to have a very significant colour change, but at the same time as the Seneye was saying this, an NT Labs kit I had was showing almost no change at all. By this point I'd tried several slides in the Seneye, had several email conversations with them, and the current slide had been in the device for several days ( but in any case the readings were consistently high over several weeks and slides. ) Seneye also replaced the USB unit ( though it turned out the reason they did that is that support didn't actually know how the device worked.... it was giving readings every minute or so and "it shouldn't do that," but it turns out that's exactly what happens when your alert limits are breached. )

      Just to make 100% sure I wasn't doing something strange, I went out and bought a Hanna pocket colorimeter for low range ammonia. The highest reading I got from that device over a period was 0.09ppm, BUT in common with other test kits, that reads TAN ( technically it reads NH3-N, because the first reagent bottle makes the Ph of the water high enough that no NH4 exists. ) That would suggest an NH3 reading in the original sample of about 0.0018, meaning the Seneye disagreed with the Hannah by an order of magnitude! That can't really be explained by normal range inaccuracies in the two devices.

      My email conversations with Seneye eventually lead to one of their "scientists" calling me, and I was on the phone to him for over an hour. On the one hand it's good that they took the time to call me, but the conversation was really painful. In my opinion, any scientist worthy of the name shouldn't have any pre-conceived ideas about an outcome... they should look at the evidence and try to reason why things appear to be the way they do. That certainly wasn't the attitude of this guy, it was more "I know our device is accurate, and the fact that the other tests you're doing don't agree isn't our problem." I suggested that what he was saying is that reagent tests simply don't work so why are they used by thousands of labs and probably millions of fish keepers, but he wouldn't agree that he was suggesting that, but also wouldn't offer an explanation as to WHY the Seneye was reading so different to other tests. He did suggest that the sample when testing with reagents is altered with respect to the original, so you have to infer what the original parameters would be, but, well, that's just how they work, and the inference is actually pretty well understood chemistry!!! He also accused me of believing the reagent kits because that's what I wanted to see.... at the time frankly I didn't know what to believe, only that IF the Seneye was even close to being accurate I had a serious issue, but needed to know if that was true before trying to fix an issue that might not exist. I was erring on thinking the reagent tests were closer to the truth simply because I'd tried several of them, they use simple chemistry rather than some invisible algorithm which Seneye won't disclose, and, oh, yes, my fish were still alive. I was sort of assuming that the Seneye actually works, because many people have them in ponds and seem happy with them, so really what I was looking for is any reason why either the Seneye, the reagent tests, or both, could be so far out ( the water's clear - I can see the bottom which is nearly 6 feet down, and there's no detectable chlorine, so the two obvious things are ruled out. )

      Fast forward to now and I put a new slide in a few days ago after not having one in for months. I haven't fed the fish since before Winter, so thought I'd see where we're at now. Latest reading from the Seneye is 0.072ppm NH3 at Ph 7.89 and 4.6C, suggesting TAN at 6.6 ( vs the Hannah at 0.05 ) so nothing's really changed.

      I could be being REALLY stupid here and my understanding of the relationship between NH3, NH4+ etc is just wrong - I'm certainly not an expert. I would like to try to understand what's going on here though! On the plus side, the main reason I didn't try to send the Seneye back ( apart from probably having to fight battles to do so ) is that it has pretty good "out of water" detection. I've tried other leak sensors, and they're quick at detecting water, but not good at detecting the lack of it. Linked up to a home automation system which cuts the filter pump on an out of water condition, the Seneye is actually a really useful safety device.

    2. #2
      *Ci*'s Avatar
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      Omg - my Seneye scenario is exactly the same! Bought last year - same pH inaccuracy - same confusing ammonia readings - bought the same Hannah colorimeter which gave me the same contradictory readings. Replaced slides to no avail and had the same unsatisfactory email conversations with tech support.
      I finally gave up, took it down, packed it away with all my other spare equipment. Id like to use it on my new freshwater aquarium, but feel it would be an exercise in futility...

      I know this is not being very helpful, but I feel your pain ... lol, and would also greatly appreciate any insight someone else may have on the subject!
      Last edited by *Ci*; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:49 PM.
      ________________________________________
      Cheers,
      Ci


    3. #3
      icu2's Avatar
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      I used mine to see changes in pH or NH3... meaning I could see the reading change when I
      knowingly added ammonia or BS to the water, but I started ignoring readings of small changes.
      I forget to buy slides for it so now I use it as a nifty thermometer.
      --Steve

    4. #4
      sidepipe is offline Junior Member
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      Thanks for the replies - at least I know I'm not alone. Trouble is it's bugging me, because I like to understand these things! I find it difficult to believe that it just doesn't work - not sure the company would've lasted this long if that was the case. Also as I say I wasn't expecting 100% accuracy, but it's just so far out I can't really trust it at all...

    5. #5
      No Buddy is offline Senior Member
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      I did some very in depth testing of this system and came to the absolute conclusion they are not accurate nor worth the time and money. The company has many excuses as to why they are so inaccurate and most of their explanations they were blowing smoke

    6. #6
      Jkrang2000 is offline Supporting Member
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      I can say the out of water alert is accurate. Its saved my butt on at least 2 occasions

    7. #7
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      Could dampness be effecting the probe readings?

      Try immersing them in water proof dry pockets.
      Find more about Weather in Durban, ZA

    8. #8
      *Ci*'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
      Could dampness be effecting the probe readings?

      Try immersing them in water proof dry pockets.
      The Seneye is designed to sit in the water all the time. It is not a probe but rather more like a colorimeter the senses colour changes on a slide that gets replaced once a month.
      ________________________________________
      Cheers,
      Ci


    9. #9
      kimini is online now Senior Member
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      When this system popped up on this forum, I withheld judgement, but was skeptical that it could do all that it promised. It's very helpful posts like these - from users and not sellers - that shows what's really going on.
      Last edited by kimini; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:12 PM.

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      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by *Ci* View Post
      The Seneye is designed to sit in the water all the time. It is not a probe but rather more like a colorimeter the senses colour changes on a slide that gets replaced once a month.
      Why does it lose it's accuracy?

      With age?

      Was it ever accurate?

      Picture if possible please
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    11. #11
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      Where are they made?
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    12. #12
      sidepipe is offline Junior Member
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      Mine's never been accurate. Here's the latest data since I put the last slide in - the nh3 reading's gone really haywire again this afternoon ( not that it was good before that. )

    13. #13
      *Ci*'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
      Why does it lose it's accuracy?

      With age?

      Was it ever accurate?

      Picture if possible please
      I took mine down 4-5 months ago and did not save any screen shots. It never matched my API test kit, it always showed high fluctuating ammonia levels (even deadly levels) when both the api and Hanna colorimeter showed close to zero. The pH levels were always way lower than reality as well. Even the temperature did not match my non-digital (mercury?) floating pond thermometer. It was inaccurate from the very first slide and every slide thereafter was the same (I think I tried, maybe, 4 slides total).
      ________________________________________
      Cheers,
      Ci


    14. #14
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      At the prices I see quoted for their goods here, they must be coining it. . . .
      Find more about Weather in Durban, ZA

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      icu2's Avatar
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      Mine always see very stable. I had a Milwaukee SMS122 that would read within .05 pH
      of the Seneye all but when a new slide was installed. I never really solved the fact that for
      several days after a new one was installed the Seneye would read erratically until it would
      sort of fall back into a rhythm.





      --Steve

    16. #16
      coolwon is offline Senior Member
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      What actually reads each parameter.

      What readings would you get in your clean bath water?

      Then add each chemical to check it's reaction and compare with a drop test kit.

      Drop the water and try with the next additive and compare with a drop test kit
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    17. #17
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      Mine's always been fairly stable and hasn't had any erratic readings. I use it to read trends over time vs trying to nail down a specific number. For example, when I see ph starting to dip, I know it's time to add more baking soda. Within 30 min of adding baking soda, I'll get a spike in ph readings so I know it's measuring something. When I stop feeding for a day or two, I can see ammonia dip.

      But lately the slides have gotten pricey so I haven't renewed. They were $30 for a 3 pack a few years ago. Now it's $40 for the exact same product with no new tech or features, a 30% increase in cost. At those prices, I'll probably just buy a few slides for the summer season only.

      Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
      ~ Jose

    18. #18
      sidepipe is offline Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
      What actually reads each parameter.

      What readings would you get in your clean bath water?

      Then add each chemical to check it's reaction and compare with a drop test kit.

      Drop the water and try with the next additive and compare with a drop test kit
      The device uses a slide which has to be replaced every month... it's got two chemical patches which are similar to those on a test strip, with colour change being read by a colorimeter type setup. The two patches are for pH and NH3 - Seneye claim to be able to read the NH3 component directly, which in one way makes sense because normal reagent tests also only measure NH3, but you make the pH of the sample high before the main reactive chemical is added because otherwise the sensitivity wouldn't be high enough. I did try last year with a bucket of dechlorinated tap water, which still read around 0.015ppm NH3 ( also not true ) but was quite honestly losing the will by then.

      Apparently someone sucked a load of Ammonia out of my pond last evening......

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