Friday, November 7, 2008

SeaChem pH Alert Compared To Mardel Live pH Monitor

Update added December 6, 2008 -

I remember using the SeaChem Ammonia Alert years ago just to see how accurate it was since one of the "Fishless Cycling" sites actually used the Ammonia Alert instead of doing testing of ammonia levels. More recently, I've been seeing the Mardel brand of various water parameter "monitors" being advertised and since I had a free gift certificate for PetsMart and they had these Mardel monitors on sale, I decided to give the Mardel Live pH monitor a tryout.

I bought the 3-pack and after using it the past couple of months, I was never really happy with the levels it was showing since my API pH test kit and Tetratest-Laborette pH test kit were both showing higher levels than the Mardel Live pH monitor ever showed.

In order to be fair, I was placing a recent order with and they had the SeaChem pH Alerts on sale so I decided to buy a couple of them.

I put one in my tank this morning and within an hour, it was clearly showing a pH level that I knew to be accurate. It's right next to the Mardel Live pH monitor which is showing a much lower pH... which is NOT accurate.

The other BIG factor is that the SeaChem pH Alert is supposed to last 3 to 6 months where the Mardel Live pH monitor only lasts 4 to 6 weeks and the cost was similar.

In closing, if you were going to use these handy little monitors, DEFINITELY go with the SeaChem pH Alert. Let me know, in the comments section, if your own comparison testing showed similar results to mine.... and I'll try to remember to update this blog when the SeaChem pH Alert finally wears out to see if it makes it to the 3 months or more mark.. or maybe even to the 6 month mark.

Update - December 5, 2008 -

It has been a month since I started using the SeaChem pH Alert and it seems to be very accurate when compared to my API test results. I have moderately hard water with a pH range of 7.4 to 7.8, so I'd like to hear from others who have used this little inexpensive monitor in softer water, lower pH conditions to see how accurate it has been for you. I've calendared another update in four weeks.

Lenny Vasbinder (aka GoldLenny in forums)


  1. Thank you for the review. I wish I had read it before I shopped. Anyway, now I got the Mardel Live pH, but don't know how to use it. Am I supposed to peel off the plastic on the test strip? I have only stuck it in the tank as-is from the package. The monitor has been there 13 hours now, and all I see is blue all over, no idea what it is that I'm supposed to be reading. Thank you for your help. I'll continue to search the Web for directions on how to use it in the meantime.

  2. It's been several months since I've used the Mardel Live pH Monitor and I really do not remember the precise instructions. If I'm not mistaken, there was like a plastic film over the little 2" long cartridge and it stayed in place and then the cartridge slid into place. I tried to find some instructions online but the best I can offer is that you visit the Sergeant's website, which owns Mardel Brands now and they have a "Contact Us" link at the top of the page so you can contact them for a copy of the instructions. Here is the Mardel page with some FAQ's but I didn't see any specific instructions about the Mardel Live pH Monitor.

    Lenny aka GoldLenny

  3. Oops.. right after I posted my comment, I saw another hit on my Google search that has some vague directions but mentions viewing the color through the "active membrane" which I take to be the plastic film. Here's the page I found these directions on.

    Below the price, they have a section with Description through Directions. Click on the Directions tab to read the rest but it isn't 100% clear so the Contact Us might still be your best option.

  4. I was the poster with the question on directions... Thank you for the speedy response. Your pointer helped. There isn't any directions that came with the package, and I suppose the "hints" (from the website you mentioned) could have been a more direct and explicit. It has dawned on me (duh!) that I'm such a newbie that it was I who didn't understand what comes as natural to others. The plastic is the "membrane" (do not remove), and I'm supposed to match the color of the strip to the color bars on the sides for a pH reading. I was expecting an arrow pointing to a color/pH number :). Ok, I've never done a chemical test before, problem with user. You did solve my puzzlement. Thanks ya!

  5. You should seriously consider getting an API or Tetratest-Laborette Master Test Kit. I have a review of these on another blog article about "Everybody needs a good Master Test Kit". Either the API or T-L Master Kit are available at for under $20.00 with free shipping to your local Wal-Mart store and as far as I know, that's the best price you will find on a decent Master Test Kit. I use both of these kits but either one will give you a good start on all of the tests you will regularly need. If you replace these annually, that's still less than $20.00 a year for accurate testing. A lot more accurate than the stick on monitors and a lot less hassle than running to the pet store to get your water tested.


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