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  1. #1

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    Default Question about API Freshwater Master Test Kit


    0 Not allowed!
    I got my test kit today and checked all my levels. My pH is at 7.4, the ammonia read at 0ppm, and the nitrite read at 0ppm. The nitrate read at like 40ppm but I'm not entirely sure that I did the test correctly. All the other tests specifically say to remove the cap after shaking but the test for nitrate didn't say to do that so I left the cap on. Are you suppose to do that or should I redo without the cap while it sits? Is it normal to read 0 for ammonia and nitrite but have high nitrate?

  2. #2

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    I always leave the cap on, and my nitrate is accurate as far as I can tell.
    it is normal to read 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, but some nitrate. as a matter of fact that is the sign of a cycled tank.
    however, nitrates still should not exceed 20 parts per million.

  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    +1 to the above...I actually contacted API with that very question, cap-on or cap-off while waiting for results, and learned that it does not matter....

    BTW, the instruction manual that comes with the kit isn't very "user friendly", to put it mildy...I made myself a little quick-read cheatsheet to use for testing, I can post it here if you'd like a look

    And yeah, a PPM of 'trate at 40 means time for a PWC!
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  4. #4

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    +1 to madagascariensis' post. Is this a tank with fish in it? If so, you need to do a 75% PWC to get those nitrates down to 10 ppm.
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  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by gronlaura View Post
    +1 to the above post. Is this a tank with fish in it? If so, you need to do a 75% PWC to get those nitrates down to 10 ppm.
    Oooops, me and gronlaura were typing at te same time!...of course she is correct, if fish ARE in there then a PWC is in order, the quicker the better
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  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    Huzzah, a cycled tank! Is the pwc a needs-to-be-done-tonight urgency or would it be safe to wait until tomorrow when I can enlist my brother's manpower to get the water from point A to point B? Also, how do you keep nitrate levels down in your tank?

  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by zombieaddict View Post
    Huzzah, a cycled tank! Is the pwc a needs-to-be-done-tonight urgency or would it be safe to wait until tomorrow when I can enlist my brother's manpower to get the water from point A to point B? Also, how do you keep nitrate levels down in your tank?
    I am assuming your tank has fish, right? Do it as early as possible tomorrow. The way to keep nitrates down is with consistent weekly 40-50% water changes. Also, some plants will help with nitrates and those members way more knowledgeable than I can help you with that.
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  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    As long as you do your large water change my tomorrow (Friday), all should be fine.

    How to keep the nitrates down; I do a water change every week of 25% for my freshwater tank.
    If your feeding your fish and you see uneaten food on the gravel or in the water column your feeding too much. Only put in enough food (once a day will do), that it is all eaten within a couple of minutes.
    Do you gravel vacuum the bottom of your tank during a water change?
    Live plants will also assist in keeping the nitrates down as they use this for nourishment.
    After you do your large water change, I would test for nitrates again the next day. If they are still over 10ppm, I would do another water change that day and test again the day after. No need to test for ammonia and nitrites at this time unless you add more fish or have a filter media malfunction.
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  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I keep the cap on the test-tube while shaking it and also during the time it's at rest and the color is developing. I also read it with the cap on by holding it vertically under a good light and placing it against the white space on the card beside the nitrate color blocks, so I'm looking in through the side of the tube. I find that if I take off the cap and try to look down into the tube from the top, the color is always darker than looking at it through the side. I would think that would skew the reading. Since API says it doesn't matter, I'll continue doing it this way, since taking off the cap runs the risk of spilling the contents.

    Nitrates will build up in a tank in which the water isn't changed and the substrate isn't cleaned regularly, and in a filter that isn't kept clean. A prefilter sponge over the intake tube will keep the filter and its media cleaner longer. Live plants can help keep nitrates down, but regular maintenance is still necessary.

    Some schools of thought put 40 ppm as the highest end of the safety margin. Ideally, you should regard 20 ppm the high limit and change the water before it gets there. Forty is pushing it. Fish are becoming stressed by then.
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  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by zombieaddict View Post
    Also, how do you keep nitrate levels down in your tank?
    Every tank tank will be a little different. I find weekly water changes of 50 to 75% as well as some plants seam to work very well for me. I can't even remember the last time my nitrates tested over 10 ppm. What ever you decide, just remember to test often so you can adjust along the way until you find what works for your tank .
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
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