API MASTER FRESHWTER KIT - Readings - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-30-2013, 11:12 AM Thread Starter

Ive been using the kit for bout two months now and its really hard to decifer certan readings. For example Nitrite levels greter than 2 and less than 5 ppm all look the same color to me. I test in a well lit area and against a white background but to me the test tube liquid colors dont seem to match up exactly to the colors on the chart. Ammonia readings are pretty simple to differentiate....

Anyone else have the same problems?

Last edited by Cja313; 01-30-2013 at 11:15 AM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-30-2013, 11:19 AM
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I find the pH colours very confusing. I've not had problems with the nitrate test, but then my tanks are all down around 5ppm which is the first colour on the card, so that's all I look at.

If at all possible, always read these tests in daylight, not direct sunlight but bright daylight. Never under room lights, as all artificial light is coloured depending upon the spectrum, and this distorts other colours.


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 #3 of 4 Old 01-30-2013, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
I was confused with Nitrites...sorry not nitrates. And yea the pH can be a bit tricky as well. unfortuantely during the week i dont have access to daylight because its dark when I get home from work. All I can do is try and test on weekends ourdoors.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-30-2013, 05:56 PM
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Use an LED flashlight. I started using that when I realized that my evening testing is skewed due to the yellow incandescent lighting whic is mostly fine due to the relative colour changing on the card to but it's not the best. The LED is a little blue, depending on the light, but it doesn't seem to shift the colours much, and it bright and right where you need it.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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