Cycling My First Tank

Are API liquid tests easier to decipher?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 66.7%
  • No

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Blondeath

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i started cycling my tank on 9-13. I put a few pellets in there that morning and again in the evening. On 9-14 I added some more pellets. Today I tested the water and got these results.

I’m using the Tetra Test Strips, which I’m starting to regret because I cannot tell the difference in colors. I can’t match them. So I’m starting to think I should spend more money and get the API Test liquid kit.

Instead of using pellets should I use pure ammonia instead?

Any help reading the numbers would be appreciated and any other advice!

(My plants are from a local mom and pop fish store and some of the others were ordered from A. Co-op. Rocks are slate and granite/gabbro.)
 
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Blondeath

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It seems to be cycling awfully quickly. Is that normal or are my tests off?
 

BlackOsprey

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Test strips have a reputation for inaccuracy. Liquid tests have been easy enough for me to decipher (the colors actually match what's on the charts) but more importantly they tend to be more on the mark than strips.
 
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Blondeath

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what substrate are you using?

add a few more pellets, try to get ammonia up to 4ppm
Sand
Okay 4ppm

Test strips have a reputation for inaccuracy. Liquid tests have been easy enough for me to decipher (the colors actually match what's on the charts) but more importantly they tend to be more on the mark than strips.
Yes I’m hating the coloring on these strips and then I see all other people showing coloring for the test tubes and chart and it’s super easy to see where it matches. Going out to get it today.

My plants are already growing so that must be a great sign!!!!
 
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Blondeath

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I just added some flakes into the tank. And also checked my numbers with the liquid tests.

8.2-8.3 pH
1ppm ammonia ?
5-10ppm nitrate ?
.5-1ppm nitrite ?
 

Skavatar

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your cycle is moving along nicely. now that you have high nitrites you can keep the ammonia at 2ppm.

once your nitrates turn red 40ppm or higher, do a 50% water change to replenish minerals that the bacteria have consumed.
 
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Blondeath

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your cycle is moving along nicely. now that you have high nitrites you can keep the ammonia at 2ppm.

once your nitrates turn red 40ppm or higher, do a 50% water change to replenish minerals that the bacteria have consumed.
Would you say the ammonia is at 4.0 and the nitrites are at 5.0? And the nitrates are at 5.0-10.0?

Will my nitrates get that high with all the plants I have?
 

Skavatar

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looks about right.

technically, you're not heavily planted enough to keep nitrates low. once the nitrite bacteria colony gets big enough you'll see the nitrates get pretty high, into the red, 40-80ppm.
 
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Blondeath

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looks about right.

technically, you're not heavily planted enough to keep nitrates low. once the nitrite bacteria colony gets big enough you'll see the nitrates get pretty high, into the red, 40-80ppm.
Awesome! Thank you for all your help!
 
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Blondeath

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My tank is getting closer! Should I do a water change and add more ammonia? I added ammonia to 4ppm on 9-21-19. I didn’t get to test the water yesterday but did first chance today.
Ammonia - 0-0.25ppm
Nitrite - 2.0-5.0ppm
Nitrate - 80-160ppm
 
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Blondeath

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yes, go ahead and do a 50% water change, and dose to 2ppm ammonia.
Okay and wait for it to go down to 0-.25 again? See how long it takes?
I’ve seen a ton of posts of people saying the api Test can show 0.25 when it’s really 0. So how will I know for sure it’s clear? When nitrites read 0 too then there’s most likely no ammonia?
 
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