api liquid nitrite test question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
api liquid nitrite test question

Hello, I was testing my 12 gallon tank for nitrites, and I noticed that while testing in the test tube, I would initially get a reading of 2-4 ppm. However, as I left the solution sitting in the tube, for about 5 minutes, it would drop down to .5-1 ppm, and if left longer, say about 10 minutes, it would drop down to 0 ppm. Is that a sign that my tank is done cycling? Whenever I left the mixture in the tube before it would always stay at the same level, if not get darker.

My ammonia levels are at .25 *but I'm not worried about that, mixed in pure ammonia earlier in the day up to 4 ppm, and in about 6 hours it dropped down to .25* Nitrate levels are 5-10 ppm.

I'm a little surprised because just yesterday the nitrite levels stayed at a steady 2 ppm, with no change, and it's only been a little over 2 weeks since I started this tank. I also did start using sea chem stability the other day though. pH level at 7.4-7.6

So verdict? Is it done cycling?

*edit* I also have found a baby snail. Still too small to figure out which species, but judging from where I got my plants, most likely its a golden mystery snail. Huzzah for free snails!

Last edited by excal88; 04-25-2011 at 03:30 AM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
Ok, tested my water today and it was back to 2-3 ppm. Has this thing happened to anyone before? Where the liquid test gives a false reading or changes that drastically while waiting for the results?
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 12:38 PM
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for me, when i had Nitrites, it would start out at the Blue zero color, and then gradually increase to a purple. i've never had it start at purple, and then change back to blue. from your post, it looks like you're doing a fish less cycle. when i was doing that, the Nitrite Levels were off the chart, at a Hot Pinkish Purple kind of color.

the test that i don't really like in the API Master Test Kit is the ones for PH. i find that the colors are too similar to really tell what the PH actually is. and the PH low test doesn't have a 7.4, and the PH high test doesn't have a 7.6. all of my tanks usually have to be tested with the PH High test, and i find it hard to distinguish the difference between 7.4 and 8.0. i actually prefer to use a different liquid test kit that i have by Red Sea, and use that for PH. sorry to ramble about PH, when your question was about Nitrites.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
Yea the ph test is a little wacky. But yea, it started at a purple but then went back to the blue. Today it acted normally; light purple to a darker purple. So weird that it would change like that. It got my hopes up that my cycle was over :(
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 01:26 PM
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My API nitrite test kit is an old one [don't use it any more] but the instructions said to leave the regent in the tube for 5 minutes before comparing the colour. That may have changed...

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
My API nitrite test kit is an old one [don't use it any more] but the instructions said to leave the regent in the tube for 5 minutes before comparing the colour. That may have changed...
Nothing's changed there. I have a fairly new kit and that's the lenght of time it suggests.

I've never had a color change back from another color before in any of the tubes.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
Yea, I left it in for 5 minutes and then it started slowly changing. Now its back to working normally I think? It was super strange though. I tested it 3 different times with 3 different test tubes, and one of them actually turned gray! The other 2 changed to the blue color after indicating a 2 ppm nitrite reading. For my 5 gallon it never had any issues like this before, so I was very perplexed. It also looked like the test solution separated from the water after I mixed it, kind of like some drinks where you have to shake it to mix it again. So odd. It all started happening after I started using sea chem stability as well.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
Ok guys, I figured it out. After some sleuthing around, it turns out that in my 12 gallon there's way too many nitrites at the moment, and the reason it gives a false reading is due to that the test simply wasn't made to test for that high of a nitrite count. From what I read up that means I'm adding too much ammonia *dosing 3-4 ppm each day* right now. I guess I'll dose ammonia every couple of days, rather than each day. Problem solved; I still have quite a while until I can add fish into my tank. Thanks to everyone that contributed, and hopefully this will help out in the future for other people if they have similar problems!
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 10:40 PM
whhaaaaattt. The API nitrite kit goes pretty high in terms of toxicity for fish, if your readings are off that chart, theres seriously something wrong with you water. Good thing theres no fish in there right now.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-26-2011, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
Yea thankfully its the fish-less cycle. And I'm not that surprised though; my bacteria ate ammonia like mad, so naturally the nitrite eating bacteria couldn't keep up just yet. Just did 2 pwc to hopefully bring the nitrite levels down a little bit. Will post updates.
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