In a recent article I described in detail various attributes of boron in the reef aquaria.1 These attributes include providing pH stability and the potential for toxicity from excessive boron. One of the issues with boron is that it provides alkanity that is detected by standard alkalinity test kits,2 but that is not directly beneficial to organisms for calcification.3 Consequently, if boron levels are greatly higher than in natural seawater, the interpretation of total alkalinity tests as carbonate alkalinity is confounded. Since carbonate alkalinity is one of the most important water parameters in maintaining reef aquaria, knowing that the boron levels are not causing interference in alkalinity tests is important.
Towards this end, Seachem developed a borate alkalinity test kit that I reviewed in a recent column.4 In short, it seemed to significantly overestimate the alkalinity contribution from boron, and the need for an accurate boron kit still exists.
Salifert has taken a different approach using different chemistry in their boron test kit. The remainder of this article is a review of that kit.