Are My Ammonia Test Strips "bad"?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by MossBall, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. MossBall

    MossBall Valued Member Member

    I set up my tank on Sunday night.(almost 7 days ago.) It is a 10g. I have been adding about 7-12 flakes of food a day plus small peices of algea tabs every day. The tank smells like ammonia but my strips still read zero?? I also added 3 days ago powdered BB. I plan to wait to add more powdered BB until my amonia is at 3. I am sure the feedback I am going to get is to test and wait another week, but why am I smelling amonia but not getting a reading?
     
  2. Ed204

    Ed204 Well Known Member Member

    Hi there,
    In my experience I find test strips somewhat "inaccurate" and thats why I don't use them anymore.
    Why don't you bring your water to your LFS? Most will test your water for free.
     
  3. Yoda

    Yoda Valued Member Member

    I just read a post that said that you can find the API master test kit for 18 bucks online. I cycled my 2 tanks in 18 and 9 days using it. Takes a minute or two + you gotta be careful not to get the chemicals on your hands, but worth the accuracy

    I cycled with fish both times and simply splashed in more BB when my levels went up. Levels never went above 1 or 2 ppm
     




  4. OP
    OP
    MossBall

    MossBall Valued Member Member

    Well... I was trying to avoid getting the master kit until the cycle was over. The last time I kept fish I was taught by someone who used some out dated methods and that is why I bought the strips to begin with. But now that I know about the master kit I knew I needed to get that if I wanted to keep my inhabitants alive. I was just hoping I could use the strips during the cycle. The main problem with the strips for me is I must be color blind because I can't tell the difference between the first two levels on the ammonia, NO3 or NO4. So I guess I could be getting readings and not even know. Plus the master kit measures in smaller increments. These strips jump up a lot higher in increments. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. Sounds like I just need the Master Kit and call it a day.
     
  5. APierce

    APierce Well Known Member Member

    I would just get a master kit and call it a day :) The key with them is to make sure you use really bright light when you are reading them, and shake the number 2 nitrate test bottle really hard, bang it on the counter, throw it up against a wall (well, maybe not that, but you get what i'm saying)
     
  6. Yoda

    Yoda Valued Member Member

    If you're color blind the master kit will be just as hard to decipher.

    Take a color blind quiz online or post images of your readings here on Fish Lore.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    MossBall

    MossBall Valued Member Member

    So I hope someone can explain this one to me lol... been testing everything since Sunday night. It has been a week now. All readings have been zero until just now. Nitrate is 20. Everything else still zero. So anyone care to explain lol? Makes no sense to me how NH and NO2 have never shown up but NO3 was created?? So am I cycled now?? Lol.
     
  8. APierce

    APierce Well Known Member Member

    You are using strips right...maybe they weren't working properly, they are known for being inaccurate...maybe they are accurate and you are color blind :) Maybe you should post pics and have us look at stuff to make sure...I'd double check with a master kit test though!
     
  9. NavigatorBlack

    NavigatorBlack Fishlore VIP Member

    Someday, someone will offer proof test strips are not as accurate as liquid reagents.
    That's not my experience in the least.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    MossBall

    MossBall Valued Member Member

    This is the first time I did the test in daylight. Makes a big difference for me. I can see the difference on the strip with the day light shinning in. With the room light bulb on I can not. Anyway I am going to go buy the master test kit on Wed either way. Still seems odd that the final product Nitrates are only 20. I have been adding a lot of food every day for the past week. But the Master Kit will tell the whole story on Thursday.
     
  11. NavigatorBlack

    NavigatorBlack Fishlore VIP Member

    Don't bet on that - they are great tools, but they too can be inaccurate, and difficult to read.
     




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