Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Charlie 09-28-2008 12:57 PM

Aquarium Testers
Hi, I have the API aquarium testers (the "freshwater master test kit") and have been checking the readings. But, sometimes it seems like the results are "off", and I get different results depending on how exactly I do the test.

For instance, checking my cycled fully-stocked tank for nitrates wielded a 0 ppm result while following the back of the card. Specifically, using the scientific way of mixing the liquids by inverting the test tube repeatedly.

However, I tested again, and instead shook the bottle a little more vigourously, as well as for a longer amount of time. This test came back with 10 ppm nitrates.

I'm having the same kind of problem with the nitrite tester. The ammonia shows up fine, and has done a spike in amount, and is now lowering. However, every time I test for nitrites in any of my tanks, they come back 0. (Note: This is a different tank, yes.)

Blah blah blah, how do you guys do your tests? Does giving the bottle a good shaking give skewed results compared to the relaxed inversion process? Do I just have a defective test kit (nitrites)? What brand of kit do you guys use, and anything else related to test kits..

Also, one more thing to tack on: I've read that the use of ammo-lock (and similar products) can be detrimental to the cycling process, however elsewhere I've heard that the chemical just converts the ammonia to a similar but non-toxic form that is still able to be used by the bacteria. Which is true? I know the tank will still cycle regardless, but will it slow down the process?

Tyyrlym 09-28-2008 01:46 PM


1) I use an API test kit. I always give the regent bottles a good shake before use and I shake the test tube pretty vigorously as well. Neither test, nitrites, or 'trates has given me problems. Given that the goal of the shaking is mixing I don't see it creating a problem with the results. My nitrates readings are typically in the 5-10ppm range.

2) The products that convert ammonia are not supposed to slow down cycling. I haven't tested it but I also haven't heard anyone dispute that..

willow 09-28-2008 05:52 PM

i do the same,i give all the bottles a good shake before i open them,and then really shake the tested water,
never had conflicting readings.

Flashygrrl 09-29-2008 05:08 AM

I always shake the absolute beejeezus out of them, especially the nitrates test since it seems to be most affected if you don't. Still works better than the strips do.

Tyyrlym 09-29-2008 07:59 AM

Yeah, don't skimp on shaking up the nitrates test. If you don't that thing will never work right, and its the least accurate of them all to begin with.

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