Reading API tests
I noticed that when comparing the colour of the water against the API colour chart, there is a variation of colour depending on whether the tube is held right up against the chart or slightly away from the chart. The colour is lighter when the tube is a about an inch away from the chart due to light behind the tube. This makes a particular big difference to the nitrate test; it appears to vary between 10 and 40 as you move the tube away from the chart. So can someone please advise on the best way to take a reading.
IIRC the instructions say to put it up against the white on the card~I agree it's hard to read and I'm somewhat color blind so I ask everyone else in the family their opinion.
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Good memory , That's exactly what it says.
Originally Posted by MrJim
This is exactly what you should do.
Originally Posted by From the API kit instructions
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I do my tests on a piece of paper towel. And allow the tests to sit there for 5 minutes before taking a reading.
The paper towel is there for another reason, too! One of those tests will make stains on a white counter top. Blue-green spots all over that nothing will get rid of. They also will make discolorations in a stainless steel sink. Poor the liquid directly down the drain and don't let it run down the sink.
Thank you Lady Hobbs for your advise. I'm aware of the staining and always throw the liquid down the drain. I was more concerned with the apparent variation in colour as you move the tube away from the card. My nitrate test is usually in the orange region - around the 30 if right up against the card and around 15 if I move it away. I wanted some expert opinions.
Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
i actully emailed the company and asked this question.
they said that it should be against the white on the chart but you should leave a 1 cm space between them.
so there you go
Originally Posted by vafa
That's a change from what the company has said before when people have emailed them.
I understand your frustration, even the instructions are not detailed enough. It's like asking several people driving directions to somewhere, they all seem to give you different answers though you always wind up at your destination. Only thing is, who's directions would have gotten you to your destination faster?
My point, you're going to need to do your own research on this one. Everyone has given their experience, some have been in this hobby for decades.
This is what I would do. Take a water sample to a local fish store and have them test it, ask to see the results and compare to the color chart they use. My local PetSmart does free water tests with the strips. With these results I would test my water again and move the tube ever so slightly until it matches the appropriate color. Then I will know how far the tube needs to be from the color chart.
If you set a goal to lose so many pounds in a month, would you weigh yourself at different times of the day from the previous day to get an idea of your progress? No! Not saying you should test your water at the same time - though if its convenient do so. What I'm saying is don't change your testing methods. Use the same method to draw the water from your tank, same area to read the results, etc etc.
I would also start keeping a log if you have not already started. This can help you determine if there's going to be some issues in the near future, e.g. nitrates get slightly higher each week though your water change frequency and quantity are the same and you have not added any additional fish.
I apologize if this is rather long, my mind tends to go in overdrive just before I'm about to crash for the night. Good night everyone!
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One thing that helps me is not to use a point source of light to light the test tube/color chart. A point source of light is badly diffracted by the test tube into light and dark areas on the color chart. A point source would be like using the sun to read the color chart.
Now this only helps those who have tanks lit by flourescent tubes, but I move close to the tank and turn my back on it so the tank's flourescent light lights up the test tube/colorchart as I hold it up to check its color.
The flourescent light being 4 ft long, and being so close, sends light into the test tube from all angles and evens out the shadows/differences in the color. The test tube is placed right in contact with the color chart. Come to think of it, this problably does the same thing as pulling the tube away from the color chart. It diffuses the shadows.