Advice on Testing for the Colorblind

Gunner02

New member
Nov 1, 2020
4
Little Rock, AR
Just finished my first pool (yea!) and the builders haven’t and aren’t inspiring a lot of confidence in either the building or teaching process so I found this site (which I think is going to be a life saver for me!).

I’m sure I’ll have a ton more questions later, but for now I’m trying to get testing supplies and after trying to use the strips that were dropped off I came to the frightening realization that my degree of color blindness is going to make using any color based testing very difficult.

I saw that there are some concerns about the accuracy of the LaMotte ColorQ in some of its tests, but I would assume this problem has to pop up from time to time so what are my best options from my friends out there that also have trouble with colors?!?

Thanks in advance!!

In case it matters, the pool is gunite/plaster, ~20k gallons, uses chlorine, and in the southeast.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
478
Melbourne, Australia
Welcome to TFP!

I guess it depends. I know that some people with colour blindness can still do some or all of the titration tests from the TF100 or Taylor K2006 test kits, esp. the FC test where you add drops until the colour changes from pink to clear. Others, like the CH test where you are after a change from pink to blue, or the TA test with a change from green to red, can be trickier.

Most difficult is probably the pH test, but that also has the most straight forward solution: An electronic pH-meter. I am using one myself, as I have difficulties with the orange shades in the pH test.

Let's see what others with personal experience think. And search for videos on YouTube showing the Taylor titration tests, and check if you can see the colour changes.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
478
Melbourne, Australia
... and a question to the forum moderators (@Leebo ?):

Would it be a good idea to add photos of the colour changes to the test instructions in pool school? That would allow those with colour blindness to check if they can see the colour changes before buying a test kit.
 

Gunner02

New member
Nov 1, 2020
4
Little Rock, AR
I know there are a lot of types of color blindness, in my particular type, I have trouble telling the differences between shades of color, especially transitions from one color through shades to another. That’s why when I put the strips beside their reference colors on the bottle, I panicked a little and started looking into this because I had no idea which colors matched. I then watched a couple of YouTube videos and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see the transition points as I titrated them. I never really thought about this being a problem with pool maintenance as I assumed in this day and age there would be digital options that were actually more accurate than using the human eye, but it seems I may have been overly optimistic about this.

Has anyone tried this? I saw it on another thread that got linked to mine. Or does it suffer from the same problems that the ColorQ does?

 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
478
Melbourne, Australia
The test strips are not very highly regarded here, very inaccurate. Some use the ColorQ for a quick inbetween test, but usually we rely on titration based drop test, where you don't rely on different shades of a colour but you add and count drops until you get a sharp transition from one to another colour, e.g. from pink to clear for the chlorine test. Here is a video:


Have a look if that would work for you.

Here are the test kits that we recommend:

Test Kits Compared

Most here use the TF100.

EDIT: Just realised that I missed the bit of your post where you said that you already watched videos about titration, thought you were just referring to comparing colours on test strips. Sorry for that...
 
Last edited:

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,429
Fletcher, OK
I am MOJORLY color blind but I am not red green color blind so I can tell those colors apart.. I only get 2 of the 14 color blind tests correct :)

I have no issues at all using the TF100 with any of the tests... I would get the TF100 and start testing, if your significant other is not colorblind you can ask them to watch also... I have found that even if the shades are not what they are supposed to be I can still see the shades in my way and tell the difference.. I have been doing this for 6 years now, no problems :)
 
Hey @Gunner02 !!

I'm also terribly colorblind, and while not this groups preferred method of testing I use a sensafe digital pool meter and have had no issues. Note that the sensafe is NSF/ANSI 50 L1 Certified unlike the Lemotte

https://sensafe.com/pool-exact-ez-photometer-starter-kit/

Below is what it'll test for
Total Alkalinity 10 - 200ppm
Calcium Hardness 20 - 700ppm
Cyanuric Acid 1 - 110ppm
pH 6.4 - 8.4
Free Chlorine 0.00 - 12ppm
Total Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppm
Combined Chlorine 0.00 - 12.0ppm
Chloride (as salt) 80 - 6700ppm
Copper 0.00 - 9.0ppm
Phosphate 0.2 - 3.0pp


The only limitation would be if you need to test for some of the higher chlorine levels as it maxes out at 12 ppm
 
Last edited:

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,485
Stuart/FL
Gun,

You're gonna need one of these. I've been using them for years. The less expensive versions work for a while but my experience was less than 3 months. There are several brands $30-under $100 that are much better quality and last for years. Some even have replaceable tips and they should last even longer.

I hope this helps.

Chris
1604671290715.png
 

Gunner02

New member
Nov 1, 2020
4
Little Rock, AR
Thanks for everyone's responses. I watched the above video and have some hope that I might be able to do that since the color changes seem pretty significant. I do have some worry that I might think there is a change and there is still some pink in it (as an example), but I'm going to give it a try with my family present and see how it goes! I'll use the Sensafe as my backup plan if the cheaper (and potentially more accurate) option of the Taylor kits are just too hard for me! And if my only problem with the Taylor kits is the pH, I'll get a digital pH meter as suggested.

Thanks again for all the help! I'll try to remember to update this thread after I figure out what works for me in case others could use the information.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
10,070
Eastern Ohio

This video is from the TF-100 Give it a watch to see the color changes. All you’re really gonna see is a close-up of the test itself, so hopefully that’ll give you a good idea how it’ll work for you.
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
1,023
SE Virginia
I am MOJORLY color blind but I am not red green color blind so I can tell those colors apart.. I only get 2 of the 14 color blind tests correct :)

I have no issues at all using the TF100 with any of the tests... I would get the TF100 and start testing, if your significant other is not colorblind you can ask them to watch also... I have found that even if the shades are not what they are supposed to be I can still see the shades in my way and tell the difference.. I have been doing this for 6 years now, no problems :)
My experience is similar to yours. Using Taylor kits, the only test that gives me real trouble is the calcium hardness test. Fortunately, calcium level isn’t important in our vinyl pool and our fill water is low in calcium, so I skip that test. Sometimes the pH test gives a result that’s a little tricky to nail down, but not to the extent where a reading error would matter.
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
1,023
SE Virginia
Thanks for everyone's responses. I watched the above video and have some hope that I might be able to do that since the color changes seem pretty significant. I do have some worry that I might think there is a change and there is still some pink in it (as an example), but I'm going to give it a try with my family present and see how it goes! I'll use the Sensafe as my backup plan if the cheaper (and potentially more accurate) option of the Taylor kits are just too hard for me! And if my only problem with the Taylor kits is the pH, I'll get a digital pH meter as suggested.

Thanks again for all the help! I'll try to remember to update this thread after I figure out what works for me in case others could use the information.
Keep in mind absolute accuracy isn’t needed here. Close enough is good enough. 😉 Keep your chems well within the TFP recommended ranges and it won’t matter if you’re off a little one way or another.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
478
Melbourne, Australia
I do have some worry that I might think there is a change and there is still some pink in it (as an example), but I'm going to give it a try with my family present and see how it goes!
I think it won't be much of a drama if you get that last hint of pink wrong, that adds an error of 0.5ppm to the test (assuming a 10ml sample with 0.5ppm per drop resolution) - that's still a lot better than test strips or pool store testing.

Once you went through the pool school articles, particularly FC/CYA Chart, you will realise that we keep our FC a bit higher than pool store recommendations, and that it is perfectly safe to swim up to SLAM level FC.

FC is not a measure for the actual "active" (sanitizing) chlorine, the biggest chunk of FC is "reservoir" chlorine which is not killing germs and algae, and is not aggressive to swimmers or pool equipment - the actual level of "active" chlorine has to be calculated from FC and CYA. Pool stores unfortunately keep ignoring this, even though the science of that has been worked out and published by O'Brien et al. in 1974 (plus later work from others that worked out the consequences of O'Brien's work on the sanitizing efficiency of chlorine).

Just aim for 1ppm more chlorine which should give you enough room for a higher testing error.
 
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peterl1365

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
251
Murrieta, CA
I'm red-green colorblind and I've been using the AquaChek TruTest meter for the last 14 years.


It's not perfect by any stretch, but it's accurate enough for me to get a general sense of how the water is doing. I supplement this with pool store testing about once a month. It's the cheapest of the "automatic" testers, which is why I started out with it.

Over the years, I've learned that 1 or 2 ppm variation in FC doesn't really matter if my target is 5-7 ppm ( I have a SWG and keep CYA around 60-80).
Similarly, I don't stress about PH, so long as I get a rough idea of how much acid I need to add to get it into the 7.4-7.6 range. The PH is always changing in my pool anyway, so it's pretty hard to mess this up.
 

johnmw1

Well-known member
Oct 7, 2015
70
Adelaide, Australia
Most difficult is probably the pH test, but that also has the most straight forward solution: An electronic pH-meter. I am using one myself, as I have difficulties with the orange shades in the pH test.
Hi,
Do you mind me asking which electronic pH-meter you are using? I ask because I see you're Melbourne based (I'm in Adelaide). I to am colourblind and have a terrible time telling the difference in colours.

Cheers,
John
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
478
Melbourne, Australia
Hi,
Do you mind me asking which electronic pH-meter you are using? I ask because I see you're Melbourne based (I'm in Adelaide). I to am colourblind and have a terrible time telling the difference in colours.

Cheers,
John
I use the Apera PH60. Very happy with it. There is also the PH20, which has "only" 1 digit precision vs the PH60's 2 digits. Pretty sure the PH20 would be sufficient for pool testing. But I liked that you can replace the PH60's sensor head, which I reckoned would create less waste over time. Bought it at instrumentchoice.com.au.

I also recently got the Apera Salt20 for salt testing. Very consistent results with the titration test, but much easier.
 
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johnmw1

Well-known member
Oct 7, 2015
70
Adelaide, Australia
I use the Apera PH60. Very happy with it. There is also the PH20, which has "only" 1 digit precision vs the PH60's 2 digits. Pretty sure the PH20 would be sufficient for pool testing. But I liked that you can replace the PH60's sensor head, which I reckoned would create less waste over time. Bought it at instrumentchoice.com.au.

I also recently got the Apera Salt20 for salt testing. Very consistent results with the titration test, but much easier.
Thanks for that information, there are certainly lots of toys to look at there that's for sure.
I have just received my Clear Choice Labs test kit, but as usual, have had to ask someone else to check the results for me. So I will be looking at the pH tester you have recommended.

Cheers,
John
 
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