You are here: Products & Services / ICP-OES


In 2008 TRITON burst onto the reefkeeping scene as the first company to offer high quality, cost effective macro element water analysis to aquarists using HPLC. Then in 2012 TRITON revolutionised the industry again by adding a comprehensive 32 element analysis (macro and trace) using ICP-OES technology.

Bringing high quality, cost-effective water testing to aquarists sparked a revolution. For the first time they had detailed knowledge of their water chemistry giving them conscious control of their systems and taking reefkeeping to the next level in the process.

What is ICP-OES?

Known as Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES) is a sophisticated analytical technique for measuring a broad spectrum of macro and trace elements. It does this by splitting your water sample into component atoms suspended in a fiery 10 000°C plasma. ICP-OES delivers a detailed snapshot of macro and trace elements from a single sample preparation* with each element measured thousands of times in a pass.

Unfortunately testing sea water presents unique challenges to the ICP-OES technique** forcing an analytical pass for each element to deliver results that would normally achieved in a single pass. Historically this made testing sea water with ICP-OES very expensive. But in 2012 TRITON changed all that by developing laboratory techniques to overcome the ‘multi-element pass’ problem. Now ICP-OES testing a was affordable for reefkeepers everywhere.IS ICP-OES?

* other techniques require multiple preparations and passes

** e.g. co-existing element interference, nebuliser clogging due to salty matrix  


Each TRITON LAB ICP water analysis provides an accurate snapshot of the water quality in your system. We analyse a comprehensive suite of macro and trace elements crucial to healthy function of your reef system:

Sodium (Na), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Potassium (K), Strontium (Sr), Boron (B), Bromine (Br), Sulphur (S), Lithium (Li), Beryllium (Be), Barium (Ba), Titanium (Ti), Vanadium (V), Chromium (Cr), Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Cobalt (Co), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Aluminium (Al), Silicon (Si), Arsenic (As), Antimony (Sb), Tin (Sn), Cadmium (Cd), Selenium (Se), Molybdenum (Mo), Mercury (Hg), Phosphorus (P), Phosphate (PO4), Lead (Pb), Iodine (I), Tuncsten (W), Scandium (Sc), Lanthanum (La)

Note: TRITON LAB is continually innovating and expanding the scope of elements and compounds reported to our customers.

Over time the composition of sea water in closed system aquaria departs from that of Natural Sea Water through biological consumption, conversion and external contamination. Regular TRITON LAB testing of your sea water will detect trends in the consumption, conversion and contamination of elements before they become lethal to your living investment. As you gain confidence in the stability of your closed system the interval of testing can be reduced.

Understanding your results

After completion of your sea water analysis TRITON publishes the results to your online account and sends you an email. Because we are both reefkeepers and chemists we have made it easy for you to interpret results via our traffic light warning system and algorithms that provide detailed information about problems and how to fix them. See TRITON METHOD for more detail.

A yellow light should grab your attention while a red light is a call to action. Just click the traffic light and a summary of the required remedial action (including dosages) pops up. Still got concerns? We’re here to help. Visit our forums or email us direct.

The TRITON Community

At TRITON we believe that great chemistry and great husbandry combine to bring deeper understanding. TRITON’s commitment to excellence and continual improvement in partnership with our customers empowers the TRITON community to explore and extend the limits of modern reefkeeping.