ATI Analytics Reference Solution – Long live to your test!

Salinità, Calcio e Kh... ma anche Magnesio, Stronzio e Potassio nella soluzione ATI Analytics Reference.
Salinity, Calcium and Kh… but also Magnesium, Strontium and Potassium in the ATI Analytics Reference Solution

Reagents, vials, syringes, pipettes, suspicious liquids and difficult to read test… What are we talking about? Of our test, obviously!

Iquitos - mangimi tropicali - Colombo

This article is also available in: italiano

Raise your hand if you never had to feel like chemists while doing the analysis of the water of the tank! Maybe even putting on your imaginary lab coat!

I know that among you there’s someone that does a test every week, trying to figure out every small variation of the values, and others that do relevations when they change the water! There’re new aquarists that buy the whole series, not knowing that they’re not going to use all of them, and then there’s the savvy, that stored all the tests because now he understands the water from sight, and brings them out when something doesn’t seem right. There’re also who does ICP analysis and bring their water to their trusted shopkeeper.

So, some more, some less, we all have did our test. And it’s essential if we want to control the values of the water in the tank. The most difficult and most important thing is to keep the equilibrium in the aquarium.

But that’s also why we find ourselves with closets full of boxes of tests, of different brands, bought and set aside because or unreliable or difficult to read. And among these I bet that there’s also that box bought years ago that now we’re forced to use, but being expired the results will be busted…

And now the critical doubt!

Use or throw it?

If we throw it we don’t have another to use… but we need the read and need it right now! So, what do we do? Do we take the risk???

Don’t worry, now there’s the result, and it’s called ATI Analitycs Reference.

The presentation video

In our Youtube video you can find the presentation video of this product. It’s in Italian but you can show the english subtitles.

What is this about?

The idea, per se, is very simple: to provide a reference solution with the main parameters all balanced and verified, close to the value of the marine water.

The ATI Aquaristik, famous german company of aquarium products, launched a new piece that fulfils the requiments.

The solution ATI Analytics Reference is made by marine water recreated through the mixture “Absolute Ocean”, produced by the same company. For those who don’t know Absolute Ocean has to be used in replacement of the marine salt in order to recreate marine water with osmotic water. Its main characteristics is the liquid form, easier to be mixed.

In this solution you’ll find, balanced and stabilized, some important parameters, in order to have a known quantity, always the same, for every batch. This guarantees a stable value of reference on which we can base while evaluating the accuracy of the values we measure with the tests.

The main part of the tests on the market doesn’t have a far expiration date and anyways it’s good sense not to go over 6 months after you first open it. It’s also true that this temporal limit can be influenced by external factors. For example, stocking conditions, temperature fluctuations, or the possibile contaminations of the reagents with other substances or impurities when you use it.

So a well preserved test can be use in absolute security even over 6 months, a not so well preserved one could be already useless after few weeks.

But how can we know if our test kit is actually reliable?

You only have to do your test using the necessary quantity of ATI Analitycs Reference and control the given result.

The packaging

ATI Analytics Reference is sold in packages of 1000 ml and the price is about 15€.

The liquid is transparent because it’s actually sea water. It’s packed in a plastic bottle typical of ATI products.

On the label on the back are reported the values of the elements we are interested in.

L'etichetta posteriore della ATI Analytics Reference riporta i valori degli elementi ponderati.
The label on the back of the ATI Analytics Reference that reports the elements.

The parameters

The considered parameters are Salinity, Carbonate hardness, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium and Strontium.

And that’s enough to have a pretty specific frame of the elements that have a strong impact on the stability and the health of our reefs.

Let’s see the parameters in detail:

Salinity: 35 PSU

The salinity is of 35 PSU that stands for Practical Salinity Units.

Remember that the Practical Salinity Unit is expressed in gr/Kg and for its very own nature isn’t influenced by temperature, instead of other salinity units of measurement.

It’s actually the quantity of salt in grams dissolved in 1 Kg of solution. Practically speaking, we can say that in 1000 gr of solution we find 35 gr of salt and 965 gr of water. And this independently of the temperature. If you want to explore futher the topic of salinity and the exact amount of salt needed to create the perfect salt water we leave you this feature article.

Carbonate hardness: 7,5 dKH

The carbonate hardness is certified at 7,5 german degrees or dKH (degrees karbonathärte). In marine aquariums the measure of the carbonate hardness is the reference for the alkalinity.

The value of 7,5 is slightly over the necessary so that the alkalinity can stabilize the pH, that is the value in which its action agains acidifiers is effective. So it’s very close to the value we sould keep in our water, and a great reference.

Calcium: 421 mg/l

The value of calcium, expressed in milligrams per liters, is 421, slighlty more than what you would find in the sea, but it can be easily found in our tanks and is the perfect amount for the growth of corals.

Magnesium: 1313 mg/l

The magnesium is stabilized at 1313 milligrams per liter, which is the average found in sea water (about three times the calcium).

Potassium: 408 mg/l

Don’t underestimate the potassium, because it’s essential for the growth and the coloration of the corals. The concentration of potassium in the solution is calibrated to 408 milligrams per liter, which refers to the average if we consider a reasonable range of 390-430 mg/l.

Strontium: 8,1 mg/l

The strontium is a trace element that until some years ago has been completely ignored. Over the years, however, its benefits for the depositing of the hard skeleton in corals have been highlighted. Basically, the right amount of strontium allows the coral skeleton to grow with stability and it improves its mechanical resistance.

This is why today we tend to keep it in control and to integrate it whenever it is needed.

In nature the average concentration is about 8 milligrams per liter, whereas in our tanks we could keep even slighlty higher concentrations without risking particular problems given the fact that it isn’t toxic. In this case the solution, calibrated to 8,1 mg/l, reflects a more than correct value to measure. Anyway, be careful not to exaggerate, because it can turn out toxic for corals.

E' una "semplice acqua di mare"... ma non potrete più farne a meno!
It’s “simple sea water”… but you won’t do without it anymore!

A useful help

We loved the idea to have a stable reference to rely on and to be used for evaluating the correctness of the values in our water. By now we had plenty of occasions to try this product and we can affirm that it hasn’t any flaws at all.

It can also be used for other purposes in addiction to the control of our test kits, even this is a good reason to buy it already. I personally found it extremely useful even for the calibration of the refractometer. In fact this tool is often influenced by the temperature and can lose its calibration easily. It should be controlled frequently if you don’t want to run into errors that compromise the salinity.

I also want to add that in the classic calibration procedure with osmosis water the calibration is done by taking the 0 as a reference. This value is pretty far from the 34-35 PSU that we should measure, and it’s a fact that the accuracy of the measurement decreases with the increasing of the greatness of the measure.

With the reference solution ATI Analytics Reference we can calibrate the refractometer directly on the measure we’re about to verify, reducing to the minimum the errors of the tool because we would always make it work around the calibration value.


Well, whether you simply want to try the validity of a test, whether you want to make the calibration of your refractometer easier, ATI Analytics Reference is the product you should always keep in you locker.

In the worst of cases it can save you some money keeping alive the test kits that you thought were expired, but in other circumstances it cas save your tank from unexpected disasters, making you realize errors that you never would have thought possible.

What do you think? Do you think it’s useful? Let us know what you think!