Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Aquarius Keeper 09-29-2008 11:48 PM

API master fresh kit - color accuracy??
I'm loving my API test kit but I have to ask -

When I test for ammonia now, all three of my habitats (the turtle tank, the aquarium, and the impromptu goldfish rescue tub) I get this color which looks almost completely yellow (o ppm) but I can't honestly say I don't detect just a hint of green.

It's weird to think of color gradients in such quantitative terms, and I wonder how much of a margin for error should I be giving? If I had to put a number to the color, I would say 0.1 - 0.05 ppm.

But I'm trying to be really good about this and I understand I'm not supposed to have fish in anything above 0.00 ppm.

Am I being too uptight or should I keep working/waiting for the ammonia?



ps - nitrite/nitrate levels are a totally different story - I'm just asking about ammonia here (although I guess the question would also apply to a barely discernible reading for nitrite...)

Tyyrlym 09-30-2008 12:04 AM

You're probably being overly cautious. If the tank has been set up and you've seen the normal ammonia spike and drop followed by a nitrite spike and drop and then a steady rise in nitrates your tank has cycled and most likely the color is the 0 ammonia yellow.

Aquarius Keeper 09-30-2008 12:14 AM

Thanks! I think what's got me spooked is that the turtle water could be that low in ammonia (I've got two 4" turtles in a temporary habitat with 20 gallons of water - turtles put goldfish to shame in the bioload dept) but I guess their tank is finally cycling...

Does anybody else get slightly off color readings?

iamntbatman 09-30-2008 01:32 AM

In my opinion, the nitrite test is much easier to see than ammonia at the low end like that. For ammonia, even distilled water seems to show up as just the slightest bit "green" to me. However, nitrite I find much easier, as a zero reading will be blue without question, while any amount of nitrite will make it have at least some saturation of red to turn it even the tiniest bit pink/purple.

Tyyrlym 09-30-2008 06:59 AM

I agree, the ammonia test at low levels is very iffy. When I was cycling I played it safe and until I saw the nitrites spike and then fall off I assumed that if I thought I saw green there was some and did a water change. Now that my tank is cycled I'm pretty certain there's no green its just tough to read test.

bigk_54 09-30-2008 07:22 AM

Totally agree! I was getting way freaked out cause I couldn't get an accurate read to satisfy myself. Guy at LFS told me not to worry too much if it mostly yellow you doing fine! Almost all of them are hard to tell when you are comparing between the top 2 colors!

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