False High Nitrate Readings?

SunnyQs

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Hello, this is my first time posting on this forum! I'm new to keeping fish and I need some guidance. Here is some information:
  • I have a 10 gallon tank. It has finished cycling.
  • There is only gravel in the tank (no plants, decorations, etc.)
  • I test my water with the API Freshwater test kit.
  • I have a betta fish (he's temporally living in a bowl).
After completing a nitrogen cycle, my nitrate readings were through the roof (160ppm) I decided to do a large water change to bring the nitrate down. I waited 24 hours before testing and the same results appeared. I tested my tap water and it also read 160ppm! I know there is some nitrate in my tap water, but that seems too high. I decided to buy spring water to combat the issue. I tested the spring water and it's saying there is 40ppm of nitrate. I followed the instructions on how to test for nitrates carefully. The results seem way off.

It's also important to note that I bought my API test kit back in November. I store it in a cool/dry place. Could something be wrong with my kit? Advise, please!

Thanks
 

Logan Bock

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There could always be something wrong with the testing kit, and that is why I always get a second opinion. Most LFS will do free water testing as well as petsmart. Reading your problem I just have one question, did you do a full water change with the spring water or only partial? If you only did a partial water change and there was still water left in the tank than that is why it read at 40ppm, doing a water change does not fully remove nitrates it only reduces. As for your problem with the water reaching 160ppm I would say that your tap water is terrible and that it has a lot of nitrates in it. I would consider always buying spring water for water changes
 

Cichlidude

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Please tell us exactly the procedure you did to test for the Nitrates.
 

Algonquin

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Also maybe describe how you cycled the tank. Sounds like a fishless cycle, you mentioned your betta is in a bowl and nothing else is in the tank. What ammonia source did you use, and how much etc. High nitrates at the end of a fishless cycle is normal if you haven't been changing the water while it's been cycling. Also maybe post you other parameters as well (ammonia, nitrates and ph).
Sorry I just reread the post, does sound like an issue with the test kit or method, if your tap water also read 160!!
 

Skavatar

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no way bottled spring water will have 40ppm nitrates.

did you shake both bottles very well?

did you set a timer for 5 minutes? more than 5 minutes and the test results are void.
 

Logan Bock

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Skavatar said:
no way bottled spring water will have 40ppm nitrates.

did you shake both bottles very well?

did you set a timer for 5 minutes? more than 5 minutes and the test results are void.
I don’t think he tested the spring water I believe he did a water change with the 160ppm wate and the spring water brought it down to 40ppm
 

oldsalt777

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TheGhostWantsCookies said:
Hello, this is my first time posting on this forum! I'm new to keeping fish and I need some guidance. Here is some information:
  • I have a 10 gallon tank. It has finished cycling.
  • There is only gravel in the tank (no plants, decorations, etc.)
  • I test my water with the API Freshwater test kit.
  • I have a betta fish (he's temporally living in a bowl).
After completing a nitrogen cycle, my nitrate readings were through the roof (160ppm) I decided to do a large water change to bring the nitrate down. I waited 24 hours before testing and the same results appeared. I tested my tap water and it also read 160ppm! I know there is some nitrate in my tap water, but that seems too high. I decided to buy spring water to combat the issue. I tested the spring water and it's saying there is 40ppm of nitrate. I followed the instructions on how to test for nitrates carefully. The results seem way off.

It's also important to note that I bought my API test kit back in November. I store it in a cool/dry place. Could something be wrong with my kit? Advise, please!

Thanks
Hello...

I believe your test kit is giving you a false reading. Legally, the public water people can't have nitrates this high in the water supply. Since the tank is established, all you need to do is maintain a steady water chemistry for the benefit of your fish. For such a small tank, you should change half the water twice a week. This will guarantee a safe environment for your fish and you won't need to test the tank water. If you keep up with the water changes, you'll always know the water is safe for the fish.

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