I'm trying to use the Lamotte test strips to test for borates, but I'm finding it to be effectively impossible to get accurate results. I just can't tell with any sense of accuracy what color actually matches the strip. It's one of three colors, which doesn't tell me much. I've read about drop tests for borates, but they are either discontinued or somewhat prohibitively priced. Other than really obvious things like using good light, are there any "tricks" to getting more accurate results from the Lamotte strips, which I keep reading are the best of the strip tests for borates? Does anyone have any better luck with any other borate tests, strips or otherwise?
On that note, does the Lamotte test get easier to read as the level of borates rises? At the moment, I'm honestly not sure what the borate level in my pool is because I don't know what the previous owners did. If I had to guess I would say it's probably zero, but using the test strips it looks like it could be anywhere between 0 and 30. Is it more difficult to read a "0" level of borates than it is to read a "30" or "50"? In other words, would be easier to tell if it was "30" if the level was actually 30?
I'd like to add borates to help control pH rise in my pool, but I don't want to do this unless I can confidently measure the level.