Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Holly 12-07-2007 12:26 PM

Update water levels
OK I tested again last ngiht to see where I am in the cycling process.

pH 6.0
Ammonia 8.0
Nitrite 0-0.25
Nitrate 30ppm

I haven't put anything at all in my tank for the past 4 days. Would the Stabalizer still be throwing the levels off? The fish seem fine but if my ammonia was really at 8.0 I'm sure everyone would be dead and my nitrites would not have come down from 2.0. I even tested it 2x thinking I screwed it up. Any advise? I'm confused!!

verbosity 12-07-2007 01:24 PM

When you shake the test tube, do you put the cap back on it? Or do y just hold your finger over it?

Holly 12-07-2007 04:07 PM

Put the cap back on always. Like I said, I did the test twice thinking I put too many drops of something in it. :dunno:

MattD 12-07-2007 05:10 PM

Well, sorry to tell you this but either your test kit is defective, expired, or you aren't doing the tests right. These levels you've been posting are too inconsistent, disproportionate, and awfully high/low to be accurate readings.

I'm not quite sure what advice to give other than possibly purchasing a new test kit. You could see if your test kit it working properly by checking already tested water at your lfs and comparing your results. :dunno:

Holly 12-10-2007 01:13 PM

how long is the test solution normally good for? The kit is less than a year old and I can't see Dr Foster and Smith selling old stuff. I'll pick up a new kit tonight and compair since I testing everything last night again and the levels are still the same. I'll let you know what happened tomorrow....

Unrulyevil 12-10-2007 01:37 PM

why dont you just get one of those 5 in 1 testing strips? easy and somewhat accurate and no need for tubes and caps and all that crap

verbosity 12-10-2007 01:41 PM


Originally Posted by Unrulyevil
why dont you just get one of those 5 in 1 testing strips? easy and somewhat accurate and no need for tubes and caps and all that crap

I believe most of this site disagrees with you. Strips are not that great.

fish_4_all 12-10-2007 02:40 PM

Test strips are horribly inaccurate. I bought brand new ones and tested them against the liquid regeant test kit and the results were terrible. I also confirmed the tests with my LFS. The test strips were off by at least 25% and in some cases didn't show anything when the reading was sky high or showed nitrate levels at 160ppm when it was actually only 20-30ppm.

As for the readings from your tests, I still think that the biological suppliments are causing it. I have not used them myself but know some that have tested them and while the fish were healthy through the cycle, the ammonia levels tested off the charts for the entire cycle. Ammonia and Ammonium are locked by the treatments but they are still read by some of the best tests. This leads to misleading readings and stressing out your fish even worse from doing multiple water changes to try and control a problem that might not even exist.

This is why I advocate never using chemicals unless you absolutely have to. More often than not they cause more problems than they are worth to simply try and save a couple weeks on cycling a new tank.

Calibrate you liquid regeant test kit. This can be done by mixing a known concentration of ammonia, nitrates and other chemicals to a known concentration.

I.E. Mix 2 parts ammonia to 1 million parts water and then test the water. The levels should test perfectly and if they don't you can tell how far off the test actually is. There is a resource for calibrating them but I have not been able to find it again. I will post it if I do.

1 uniform drop ammonia in 1 gallon water is approx. 17.13ppm ammonia
1 uniform drop ammonia in 5 gallons water is approx. 3.43 ppm ammonia

southafrica1001 12-10-2007 09:50 PM

yea i found out the hard way that test stripes werent great i tested my pH and it was telling me (yes it talk to me lol joking) that the pH was right however my fish started to die and i found my pH was way off and when i tested the stripes it has the same reading as the tank when i had clearly changed the tanks pH.

Holly 12-20-2007 10:21 PM

New test, new results......

Nitrites 3.0
Nitrates 10
kH 0
gH 300
pH 6.0
Ammonia 6.0

I picked up test strips just to see what the differance between the strips and my master kit. Ammonia is reading the same on both kits, and it has come down since last week, and everything else is close. I'm going to try to find a lfs tomorrow that doesn't test with strips since they're going to get the same thing I did since we're using the same strips. My nitrites came up a bit also which makes me think that it's at least moving in the right direction.

I didn't want to use chemicals in the tank but I had to do something that day or I'd loose the fish I upgraded for! I bought bio-spria(?) and put that in about 4 days ago and the only other thing I've used is Stress Coat. I'm done with the other stuff if it's just going to screw everything up. Speaking of my little friends, Plecky and the 2 cories are doing fine. He's been coming out to play once the lights are of and he's also been nice enough to rearrange the tank to his liking! He has low spots in the sand where he sleeps and just kicks the sand around when it's not confortable for him. I think he likes his new bigger home!!! The cories have gone back to chasing themselves in the reflection up and down the walls.

I am concerned with my kH being so low. Doesn't the kH basically stabalize the pH? Also I have very hard water so what's the best thing to use to soften it? I want to put Apisto's in the tank once I'm ready and they like soft water with low pH. Oh, I was also told that the ammonia isn't killing the fish since my pH is so low. It's not as toxic with lower pH levels? If I bring the pH up to 7.0 with high ammonia then it would really affect the fish. Any input on this one?

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