Help Me Read My Nitrites (fishless Cycle)

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Dori.anne, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Dori.anneValued MemberMember

    I get a bit frustrated with my API master test kit sometimes. I find the colors hard to read. Usually nirtrites are the easiest, but I'm having a hard time with this.
    What would you say this is? 2ppm?

    While we're at it, how about my nitrates? I find it impossible to tell the difference between 40 and 80. I know for tank maintenaince it shouldn't be that big of a deal, since you would want to do a water change any time it's over 20, but for fishless cycling I would really like to see if the nitrates are going up...

    If the nitrites are in fact 2, do you think I should do a water change? Yesterday was the first day I saw nitrites. Yesterday it was clearly .25.

    And finally, since we're on the subject, anyone know of a better test kit that's easier to read? I haven't been able to find one.

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
  2. aquatickeeperFishlore VIPMember

    NItrites looks 0.25 on my screen.

    I can't tell the difference between 10, 20 and 40, 80 on the nitrate section either. So, I'd say 40-80 ppm
  3. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I think nitrits are 0.25 and nitrates are 40-80
  4. Dori.anneValued MemberMember

    Wow, thanks for the input. So interesting, because it looks much more purple to me than the .25. 2 days ago it was the baby Blue of 0, yesterday it looked to me to match the .25 exactly (like an indigo color), and today I see much more red/purple. It's definitely not as dark as the .5 and 1, but I see more of the red like in the 2 and 3, but it just looks more washed out than those colors.
    Thank you though! I won't worry about doing water changes right now. Cycling seems to be proceeding on...
  5. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I actually agree. To me, the nitrites do look more purple. My best guess is between 1 and 2pmm. I don't know how you guys are reading .25. I'm with you all on the nitrates, 40-80 ppm.
  6. LorekeeperWell Known MemberMember

    Nitrite looks like 1-2 PPM to me.

    Nitrate 40-80.
  7. BriggsWell Known MemberMember

    Using this test kit gives me flash backs to my Color and Composition class in college. I never thought color mixing would be a useful skill outside of painting! My advice is to look for the amount of color change and not how saturated the color is. So with nitrites, look for how much red has mixed into the blue, not how dark it is. Yours looks just under 2 to me. Any nitrates between 40 and 80 is just red. The chart shows juuust a little shift in the amount of yellow, but not enough to be practical in pinning down a number. It's very frustrating!
  8. Dori.anneValued MemberMember

    Yes! Thank you! the fact that it can be interpreted anywhere from .25-2 is frustrating.

    So yes it has clearly gone up. I just don't how to judge whether it has gone up too much. At what level are nitrites too high, that they could stall a cycle?

    And nitrates I guess I won't know if they are going up unless it ever gets to 160. It's been looking like 40-80 since about day 3 of cycling (I am now on day 12 I think).

    So anybody got an easier to read test kit? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  9. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    Perhaps the Elos freshwater test kit is easier? I only use the ph one for it, but so much easier and simpler to read than API. Maybe the same with the rest of their test kits.
  10. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

  11. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    For the nitrates you could try the dilution test
  12. Dori.anneValued MemberMember

    oooo, nice. Fancy.
  13. Dori.anneValued MemberMember

    So I did the dilution test, and it looked pretty much the same (40?) so I'm going to go with 80 for the nitrates.

    I repeated the nitrite test and watched it during five minute wait time, which actually really helped. At 1 minute it went to .25, at 2 minutes it was .5, and then at 3 minutes it looked like 1, and didn't get any darker after that. For some reason it was easier to make out the color if I was watching it change.

    So that's that.

    Thanks Scarface, I'll research the Elos tests. I haven't seen them anywhere around here, but a quick search looks like they're available online at Drs. Foster & Smith.
  14. SkookulBobValued MemberMember

    To me your nitrite looks a between 1 and 2, closer to 1. I don't that test gets really hard to interpret once the levels get any higher.

    The nitrate...I can't even.

    I find 25% tank / 75% "known zero" (distilled, tap, whatever) dilutions give more information.

    Also, I've found that taking photos of the test results under more or less uniform conditions (e.g. flash, against white paper), and then pulling a hue using a color picker app can help discern whether one test is showing a higher or lower result than the last test. It's colorimetry on the super-cheap!
  15. Dori.anneValued MemberMember

    In a happy turn of events my nitrites were back to zero this morning
    That was a quick nitrite spike (not that I'm complaining)!
    I think there is a good chance that they were already falling when I retested last night and got 1, so I'm guessing my first pic was over 1 as several of you said.