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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DIY Aquarium Test Tube Holder


DIY Test Tube Holder

by Seapetal111 from Everything Aquatic Forum 

This is to share a little idea I came up with that has made working with the liquid water tests a lot easier and nicer for me, so I thought others may find it helpful too. 

It's a separate holder for the tubes, a simple foam block with holes in it and it's a breeze to make. I've found it solves every little frustration I've had in working with these tubes and has some added benefits as well. 

All you need is: 
  • a new block of filter foam
  • some straight pins
  • an exacto knife
  • 20 minutes

THE FOAM  Choose whatever size suits your needs.  The one here is 3.75" long and perfect for 6 tubes, but you could use a larger size for more tubes, or to have a spot for your dropper or even an open area for lids. You could make a separate block with holes to hold lids so as not to lose them. Note: the foam shown here is orange as I had used bleach on it, new ones are white of course. 

PIC 1  Decide where you want to make holes to stand your tubes in, and mark the position on the foam. I used lids and just eye-balled it to space them out evenly. 

PIC 2  Markers don't work great on this coarse foam, so instead I inserted pins to define each 'circle' then removed the lids. Simple straight pins would be more exact, but these are what I had.

Using an exacto knife, cut a cross into the foam in the centre of each circle. I found holding the blade almost vertical worked best. Some sawing was needed.

Keep the size of your cross a bit smaller than the size of circle marked (only needs to be large enough to push the tube in; the tube will push the foam out and shape the hole from there). Also, go only half way through the depth of the foam, not more.. you'll see why in a bit.  Remove pins.

PIC 3  Insert the tubes into the holes. As they sit for a while the foam will take the shape of the tube and stay like that. 

You now have all your tubes seated firmly and upright on the one block. It's easy to hold the block up to eye level to fill the tubes. If you get a fairly large dropper like the one shown here, it holds more than enough to fill a tube, so it's easy while holding the tubes up to eye level, to fill slowly and often avoid that overfilling, dumping out and repeating routine!. You can fill all your tubes at once, then go to run all of your tests. 

Test tube tip:  The tube I'm holding in this pic is one with a lid that fits into not over a tube (from a Hagen kit). It will stick on your finger which I've found is fantastic for running the GH/KH tests where you have to add a drop, shake, add a drop, shake. This style of lid makes it very easy to quickly add a drop, close and shake the tube, repeat.

The block makes it so easy to transport used tubes to the sink. No clanging tubes, no broken tubes!. As you rinse them out, return then to the block INVERTED ie facing down. Drops of water left in them will drain down into the foam usually without wetting the surface below (the reason you left some thickness to the foam there) and the tubes will dry quickly, much faster than if left in the kit's holding spot or laying down! If you made space for them, the lids can sit on the block to dry or on some tissue. Once dry they can go on the inverted tubes for safe keeping. If you make a separate holder for them, they can dry there and the two blocks can then be stacked for storage. 

So that's it, folks. Hoping a few at least will find this helpful... cheers!


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  • At September 6, 2014 at 9:49 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Very good idea! I like how detailed you were in explaining the process of attaching the test tubes to the foam and the problems with liquid water testing it solves. Great write-up! :)

  • At August 30, 2019 at 10:25 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Thank you so much for this suggestion, I bought a snap together one on a child’s science web page but if mine breaks or I need to test more things I will definitely use your suggestion. Thank you again! 😁🐠🐟🐡


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