Best method to read water test results???

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suzybelle

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Hi! I'm completely new to keeping an aquarium and am a bit lost on how to read the test results for my ammonium and nitrite levels. I am trying to do fishless cycling of my 10 gallon tank. When I check for nitrite, however, I can't tell if it's beginning to appear or not. When I hold the test vial up to the sunlight, it looks like the color that indicates there is no nitrite (yellow), but when I hold the vial up against a white background, it appears more orange-ish. Wish is more accurate - the color when held up to the sunlight or should I put the test up against a background? Thanks so much for any info!!!
 

Meenu

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I personally turn on all the lights and hold the vial up against a white door.

welcome to FL. enjoy the forum.
 

FLGirl

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I asked API and they said
FLGirl to determine the correct level for your tests you will want to hold the test tubes directly against the white background. This will give you the correct reading for all of your tests.
I put it on the white and use the bright light from outside. Usually just a window.
 

midthought

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Yeah, I wouldn't hold it up to sunlight...for one, I thnk you'd get a different reading if you were testing during the night (or on a cloudy day!). I think most people just hold it flush against the white plastic with good indoor lighting on. Just do it consistently so that your readings aren't all over the place unnecessarily.
 

claudicles

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I hold it against the white paper next to the colours on the results sheet. That way I have a white backing and the reference colour there to help.
 

FLGirl

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I just wanted to clarify I don't hold it up to the sunlight, that would be difficult to read or incorrect by refraction of light alone. I just use natural bright light because normally the rooms with open windows are the best well lit places in my house. If I couldn't do that because it was night I could still manage but I find it much more difficult to figure out what the right result actually is because I guess my house is just not that well lit , but that could just be me.
 

jetajockey

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with the nitrate test I hold the vial directly over the color chart and if its on a certain amount then thats the one that will be the least visible. if that doesn't work then I just hold it to the side next to the colors against the white of the chart, thats what the instructions say to do.

Another thing to help with the nitrate test is to just put your 10 drops of #1 in there, then shake it and look at how it looks against the chart, that will give you some sort of baseline as to whether it changes or not.
 

Jrobber

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I hold it against the white on the card but I still have a hard time convincing myself what colors I'm actually getting.
 

catsma_97504

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I use the white area on the card. Also, anytime I cannot decide between 2 levels, I always assume the higher level just to be safe.
 

flyin-lowe

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What test kit are you using, I think blue is the color that indicates no nitrites with the API.
 
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suzybelle

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Thanks for the info guys! Love this forum! Now if only my tank would cycle so I could finally get some FISH...hmmm...
 
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