Updated on 19 October, 2021
The ICP test stands for intra-ceremony carbon sample collection. This testing method is used in order to ensure that new chemicals are entering the reef aquarium at the same rate that the existing species will consume them. It also keeps other animals and fish from consuming imported seawater which has not been filtered and is therefore high in heavy metals. The process is easy enough to use as all that is needed is one bucket and some plastic gloves. The samples can then be placed into a separate container which has been provided by the dealer.
There are several types of ICP systems including multi stage units which have been designed for fast collection of samples in an efficient manner. Multi stage units are normally fitted with special membranes which trap and absorb contaminants on a molecular level. These filters are easy to maintain and replace and many of the multi stage systems can even run on solar power. Some of the water testing labs use a combination of sub micron filtration and ICP for their filtering needs.
There are a number of accredited laboratories in the US that provide the ICP testing services. The labs usually have expert staff members who are very well trained in the installation of the system. Once all the equipment and filters are installed, it is important that regular samples are taken and studied in order to detect abnormalities. The laboratories offer a wide range of services which includes the sample collection, analysis and printing of detailed reports which are essential for reef salt mix management and maintenance.
The laboratory analysis services include the measurement of the amount of heavy metals present in the samples as well as determining their levels. The heavy metals can be analysed using the latest methods such as the gas chromatography method, ion chromatography method, infrared spectroscopy, electrophoresis and UV-visible absorption techniques. Different elements present in the samples can also be detected using different techniques. ICP testing does not just involve detection of heavy metals, but also detects other elements present in the seawater that might have eluded traditional testing methods.
The ICP testing process has a long tradition in Europe, but it has been adapted for use in different parts of the world including the US. There are three different approaches that are used in the US to test for ICPs. The first and most widely accepted way to test for ICPs is to use the sub micron method. This is particularly useful when dealing with minute elements which are difficult to detect using other methods. The sub micron method is also the best method to determine the presence of parasites, heavy metals and parasitic microscopic algae.
For the second approach, known as the MSHP method, multiple concentrations of a heavy metal or an element with a high concentration of hydrogen fluoride are tested in a water sample. Water samples are usually sent to the testing labs by companies who specialize in providing analytical facilities. Water samples from public water sources, especially lakes, are also sent to testing labs. Samples are analyzed using gas chromatography, gas detection, ion mobility and other analytical methods to identify the elements. After analysis, the results are read and a report is created containing ICP status, concentration of heavy metals and pH value.
The third approach, the tank method, makes use of a special filter or a mobile filter that can isolate a particular contaminant while enabling continuous testing of the seawater sample for a specific period of time. This method can easily be implemented using a special tank, usually a polyethylene tank that houses multiple sample containers. After the filtering system completes its job, the filtered water sample is then sent to the lab for analysis. A special type of sample jar known as the 'hay stack' is usually used in water testing labs. This type of jar has a built-in, adjustable airlock that prevents elements contained in the water sample from being mixed with air.
The above three testing methods are suitable for providing detailed analysis services to the laboratory professionals. However, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed carefully before deciding which one is best suited for your requirements. The laboratory professionals also need to determine the cost effectiveness of the different techniques for providing ICP testing services. The best method should be chosen after considering the level of accuracy it provides, the time it takes for analysis, and the costs associated with implementation and maintenance of the system.