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  1. Default API Nitrate test completely unreliable!

    0 Not allowed!
    I've done as instructed even using a stopwatch for the 30 sec and 1min times you should shake the bottle. Yet in my cycling log I have from march 12th or so looks like this for nitrates 5,5,5,5,40,40, now I redid the test 3 times and I'm getting 5 everytime. Nothing changed between my last reading of 40ppm to this one no water changes etc.

    Is there some secret way to get accurate tests? What the hell am I doing wrong.

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    How old is your test kit? They have a shelf life.
    "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." Carl Sagan

    ~ 350 Litre Tank Journal ~ ~ 30 Litre Tank Journal ~

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Shake the bottle like your life depended on it

    If I really really shake those bottles hard, I find I get accurate results. A light shaking typically will not due

    Have you checked the experation date on the bottle yet ?
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I have over 4 years left on the expiration.

    I shake it like my life counts on it with a timer for bottle 1 and 2.

    Could it be how I fill it up using my thumb to hold the bottle top and let it drip out til I'm at the line? Perhaps the fact I clean em in tap and let them air dry? All the other tests are spot on and I do the same thing.

    A better question is I'm 3+ weeks into cycling so are all the 5ppm results correct and the 2 40ppm results wrong?; actually was 10 or so this time every time I did it today I got 10-15ppm.
    Last edited by FishGuy67; 03-17-2013 at 08:49 PM.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I'm in the Nitrite spike stage now so my nitrate should be somewhat high even with the water changes I do no?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    A little further from sanity

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    0 Not allowed!
    It could also be the way you are holding the reagent bottles, they have to be perfectly straight so the drops are uniform in size, or as close to uniform in size as you can get them.

    Every cycle is different, some have high nitrates some don't, same with nitrites.
    When I go fishing I just place a sharp rock in the water and sit there waiting for all the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Brutal honesty will be shown on this screen.
    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Tolerance is a great thing to have, so is the ability to shut up.

    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I'm going to do it 2 more times and see with all the advice if I get accurate readings.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Okay following all the advice (thank you all very much) I got 7.5 both times. So mostly likely the 2 40ppm readings were wrong. So its basicly 5,5,5,5, then 2 misreads of 40ppm and now 7.5 which seems about right.

    Like i said I've been keeping logs since march 11th (been cycling since feb 25th) or so when I got my master test kit; you know water changes when I added filter media from my pet shop which they were nice enough to give me 2 large pieces. So I really hope I can order at least 7 corys by the 1st of next month.

    It really sucks having the lights and substrate etc for a planted tank with a koi who loves to rip plants up.

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    0 Not allowed!
    Do you clean out the vile after use? Left over chemicals or water will leave behind nitrates (they are not volatile.) Also, fill and empty the vile three times with tank water before filling the final time.
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I clean the tubes and caps well in tap water every time and let them air dry. I'll have to start doing the vile thing you mentioned as well. My friend who just passed was a chemistry major and said I should be cleaning the vials and tops with distilled water because of the tap contaminates. Though it sounds like your method would serve just as well.

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