API Master kit warning

pamd
  • #1
If you see your API Master Kit nitrates at 0, it's probably a false negative reading and you must check this:



I think I lost a precious Cory cat about a week ago because of it. I followed the directions exactly and precisely as specified in the kit. My nitrates seemed at = 0, but they were through the roof as it turned out after knocking nitrate Bottle #2 against a kitchen counter and shaking it vigorously for a minute or more. API does not specify this in the initial instructions.

We've been fighting the nitrates ever since, for more than a week. They can really get out of control.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #2
Your instructions and/or the nitrates card (back) don't say to shake bottle #2 for a minute? We replace our kit annually.
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Nope! It says to shake Bottle #2 for 30 sec. There are no instructions to knock it on a countertop and shake it for a minute. That was the "gottcha" for my poor third Cory. The instructions said to shake the Nitrate solution for one minute, which I always did. But the real "gotcha" was following the instructions and shaking Bottle #2 for only 30 seconds. It really needs to be shaken very hard and knocked on a countertop for at least a minute to dissolve crystals in it. They don't tell you this in the instructions.
 
Butterfly
  • #4
Nope! It says to shake Bottle #2 for 30 sec. There are no instructions to knock it on a countertop and shake it for a minute. That was the "gottcha" for my poor third Cory. The instructions said to shake the Nitrate solution for one minute, which I always did. But the real "gotcha" was following the instructions and shaking Bottle #2 for only 30 seconds. It really needs to be shaken very hard and knocked on a countertop for at least a minute to dissolve crystals in it. They don't tell you this in the instructions.
Seems this is happening a lot lately. Maybe that would be good information to communicate to the API company. Maybe their instructions need to be modified a bit.
I just re-read the instructions on my instruction sheet and it says "shake vigerously(sp) for "at least 30 sec" .
carol
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Their instructions need to be modified a lot regarding Nitrate! It cost at least one Cory his life and I suspect some more sweet fishies! I thought all my parameters were Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 0, Ammonia = 0. I was, however, suspicious about the Nitrate reading but complacent. Now I know.

I thought their tanks were nearly perfect.

You have to shake the Nitrate test tube for at least one minute, including knocking Nitrate Bottle #2 on a kitchen counter.
 
capekate
  • #6
HI Pam
over time in the threads we have discussed this very issue with the #2 bottle of nitrate tester. So many false readings were questioned. I believe that whenever someone finds a 0 reading for NitrAtes, they need to question it, as its not a 'normal' reading at all. We all have some nitrAtes in our cycled tanks. A 0 reading is suspicious at best. Thanks again for the reminder for all to make sure they bang the heck outta that #2 bottle!
 
sirdarksol
  • #7
My kit, which I got a year ago, says to "Shake vigorously for 1 minute. Failure to do so may result in inaccurate reading."

Kate's got a good point. There's no way a tank is going to be nitrate free.
 
chickadee
  • #8
I have only ever had a zero Nitrate reading that was confirmed one time and that was when I used bottled Spring water to fill a tank that I had just cleaned. The filter was cycled with Bio-spira and the Spring water was Nitrate free otherwise I always have them and sometimes too many. I went back to real plants as they are the absolute best Nitrate controllers other than regular water changes. All the tanks with them in now have nitrates of less than 10. They use the nitrates for fertilizer and keep the tank pretty low on nitrates.

Rose
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
HI Pam
over time in the threads we have discussed this very issue with the #2 bottle of nitrate tester. So many false readings were questioned. I believe that whenever someone finds a 0 reading for NitrAtes, they need to question it, as its not a 'normal' reading at all. We all have some nitrAtes in our cycled tanks. A 0 reading is suspicious at best. Thanks again for the reminder for all to make sure they bang the heck outta that #2 bottle!

You're right! In deference to the accuracy of the API test kit, I thought I was mistaken about what I know about the nitrogen cycle. I did think the 0 reading for nitrates was strange, but I had not seen any cautionary info about shaking Nitrate Bottle #2, and again I went by the instructions on the Nitrate card to shake Bottle #2 for 30 seconds, then shake the solution (10 drops each from Nitrate Bottles #1 and #2 for one minute). Very false 0 reading.

Again, caution: Bottle #2 needs to be shaken vigorously for at least one minute and knocked against a countertop at least a few times in spite of what appears to be API's more recent instructions to shake Bottle #2 for 30 seconds!

I have been a member here since August 2007 but only recently branched out beyond the Betta area. I had no reason to suspect the accuracy of the test, so I figured this was some misunderstanding on my part. Duuuhhhh me! Hope this thread helps some sweet betta and someone else. I am sorry if this warning is redundant to FishLore people who already knew about it.

I'm off now to do another 20 or 30% water change overnight, still trying to fight this out-of-control nitrate situation. It's still almost exactly the same, hovering near 40 PPM in spite of daily 20 or 30% water changes since I realized this dangerous problem. (BTW Nitrites and Ammonia are at 0 and have been for more than two months.)
 
capekate
  • #10
HI Pam
don't worry about that warning sounding redundant, if it helps others as it did me a long time ago as well its all good!
I have not been following a thread on your dilemma on the high nitrate level in your tank so I may ask a question that has already been answered by you.
It seems that the nitrate level is pretty high for some strange reason, and you have been doing all those daily water changes. It must be pretty frustrating for sure. What do you think is going on in the tank? Have you tested the water coming out of your tap? This is your betta tank, what size is it?
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
HI Pam
don't worry about that warning sounding redundant, if it helps others as it did me a long time ago as well its all good!
I have not been following a thread on your dilemma on the high nitrate level in your tank so I may ask a question that has already been answered by you.
It seems that the nitrate level is pretty high for some strange reason, and you have been doing all those daily water changes. It must be pretty frustrating for sure. What do you think is going on in the tank? Have you tested the water coming out of your tap? This is your betta tank, what size is it?
The nitrate level is high at 40 PPM, for sure, in spite of daily water changes. Nitrites and Ammonia both are 0 and have been for two months. I trust those. I think the nitrates are high because they got out of control because I was too trusting of the API test kit, not knowing about the #2 Nitrate Bottle. I was complacent and didn't change the water enough.

It's a six-gallon tank with a precious female betta and two pygmy cory cats.
 
chickadee
  • #12
Pam, check some TAP water straight out of the faucet with your test kit for Nitrates. Some water supplies go through times of the year when their Nitrate levels straight out of the tap will go haywire. If your tap water is high in Nitrates all the water changes in the world will not help. I had this happen a couple of years ago and lost a betta. The Nitrates were at 80 right out of the tap! This was only handled with temporarily (until the water system got straightened out) using store bought SPRING water by the gallon to change the water in the tank. With a 40 reading you may get by with using 1/4 tap water and 3/4 Spring water from the store to shave a bit of the expense off the job. I am just sending this along as if water changes do not do the job right off with the first change, the problem is not with your tank it is with the water. The only other method that I know to really lower your Nitrates fast is to get a bunch of real plants like Wisteria, or Water Sprite, or even Anubias that have BIG leaves and put them in the tank even if you only float them in there. They use Nitrates for fertilizer and will lower the levels even with high Nitrate in your water system. (It really works better to plant them in the gravel, but floating will help some)

Please keep us informed on the progress you make, we do care.

Rose


By the way, you do not have to dechlorinate the Spring Water out of the gallon jugs if they are sealed. If you buy the jugs and have to fill them from a machine, I would be suspicious as some of those have been found to be TAP water (shame on them).
You can allow the jugs to come to room temperature overnight by not putting them in the tank the day you bring them home from the store or if you want to heat it to tank temp (approx) you can heat a small amount of it in a microwave and pour it back in the jug to warm it, but do that with care. I found that small water changes of room temperature water do not hurt and are really safer than trying to heat it unless you are very careful.
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Kate and Rose,

I think you nailed it!! I'm so sorry I didn't post more info about the tap water as Kate suggested. It would have saved Rose some time and I apologize to you both. Many thanks to both of you, and I think we're onto something here.

My tap water read nitrates = 20. I went out immediately tonight upon seeing the test results and got some spring water sealed in a bottle. I mixed it 50/50 with tap water, as I assumed the pH would be quite different from what they are used to and didn't want to make an extreme change. I acclimated them to the new water, one cup at a time over about two hours.

Their aquarium water still reads 40 PPM nitrates, but we'll get back down with this valuable info!
 
capekate
  • #14
HI Pam
glad to hear that you found out what was going on. I just couldnt understand it, with all those water changes you were doing and the nitrates were still so high. It had to be the tap water. At least now.. you know what needs to be done and can move forward ...
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Yes, I feel pretty confident in what's happening. Thank you again!!!

I don't feel good about API's Nitrate Test Bottle #2 instructions and will write them, now that I'm pretty sure what's going on (as much as you can be, considering it's an aquarium).
 
pamd
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Yay!! Three 30% water changes later, slowly over about three hours each with a gradually increased amount of the bottled spring water, and the nitrates are now at 15 PPM. Thanks again for the help!
 

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