Important Information for API Freshwater Master Test Kit Users!

Terry

Member
Hello all. I have gone back & forth via email with API today, and they've given me some valuable information on the API Freshwater Master Test Kits. The original topic thread on concerns that I had about the test kit results are in a previous topic:

Basically, I was seeing nitrate test results yesterday that I found unbelievably low - zero - in an established tank.

I was very impressed with the quick responses I got from API, and my faith is restored in their test kits. I'll paste in the information from emails with API. Note - I was finally able to get a nitrate reading of 40 ppm after following their directions:

"Thank you very much for contacting us regarding our products. All of
your comments and questions are valuable. We use your feedback to
create the most effective line of aquarium and pond products available.

Your solutions are not expired. Each reagent bottle has a Lot # printed
on the bottle. The last four digits are the month and year of
manufacture. Example: Lot # 28A0102. This is a pH reagent manufactured
in January of 2002. Pond Care Wide Range pH, Ammonia, High Range pH,
Nitrate, Phosphate, Copper, Calcium and GH all last for three years.
Nitrite and KH will last for four years. Freshwater pH(low range) and
Pond Care Salt Level will last for five years. I would not trust these
kits after they have expired.

Liquid Nitrate Test Kits from any manufacturer can have a common problem
with their last test solution. For some companies, it is bottle number
3, but for us it is bottle number 2. One of the ingredients wants to
solidify out of liquid solution. If the test bottle sits for any period
of time, this can happen. If this does happen and the test is performed
without Bottle # 2 mixed properly, then you can get a falsely low
reading. I have never heard of falsely high readings with Nitrate Kits.
I would try tapping your Bottle # 2 a few times on a table or counter
top. This should loosen-up anything that has solidified. Then I would
shake this bottle for about 2-3 minutes, to really mix it up. Try the
test again and hopefully this will fix your problem. With regular weekly
usage, this bottle should only need to be shaken for 30-60 seconds.

Always check results at the recommended duration of time. Letting the
tubes sit longer can result in falsely high levels."

I then asked if heating the nitrate test solution #2 would help get the material back into solution and got this reply:

"I don't think heating is necessary, plus I don't want to degrade the
chemicals in any way. Tapping your Bottle # 2 a few times on a table or
counter top and then shaking should be adequate, but you will
immediately know with the next test."

I then asked if the proper way to match the colors was to place the test tube directly on the card, or back it up a bit, since the color can get a little darker when placed directly on the card. Since the gentleman was being so honest with me, in admitting that there could be a problem with their test solutions (or anyone elses) I thought it would be courteous to ask if I could share this information in the forums I read:

"You do touch the test tube to the color card.

It will be ok for you to share the Nitrtae Test Information. It is a
problem that every manufacturer has and we are interested in the kit
working properly for the consumer. "

As I said, the nitrate test finally gave me an expected reading, and my faith is now restored in the test kits. And I am really impressed with any manufacturer that replies quickly, tells you that there could be a problem with their product, and tells you how to fix it!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Added by Lucy 9/21/2014:
Since this thread was posted we no longer have to look at the Lot #.
The expiration dates can now be found on the bottles.
 

kalika

Member
Thanks for looking into this. I have the test strips and I know they aren't that adequate but was a little trepidacious about spending the bigger bucks on a liquid test kit. Thanks to what you looked into and the response you got back, I will definitely get this kit when I am next at the LFS. Thank you for sharing!!
 
  • Thread Starter

Terry

Member
You're welcome. I was hoping this information would be helpful to some people. By the way, I think the online price from Petsmart is probably much lower than the in-store price. I've found that out with several Petsmart purtchases - the online price for an EheI'm cannister filter was about half the price in my local store.
 

chickadee

Member
If you make a copy of the page where it is listed online, I believe that PetSmart honors the online price in the store.

Rose
 
  • Thread Starter

Terry

Member
Well that's certainly worth a try. Thanks!
 

Butterfly

Member
Thank you so much for checking that out so thoroughly. The responses you got are a definite encouragement to use this reputable companys products.
Carol
 

Isabella

Member
A great piece of information Terry. Thanks
 

Eskielvr

Member
That's good to know. I haven't had a problem with my test kits, though. By the time you shake the Nitrate one to the recommended time on the instructions your arm feels like it's going to fall off! lol

I can't remember how old my other test kits are though........I wonder if they're expired? (Ph, Ammonia, Nitrite, etc)
 
  • Thread Starter

Terry

Member
Terry said:
Each reagent bottle has a Lot # printed
on the bottle. The last four digits are the month and year of
manufacture. Example: Lot # 28A0102. This is a pH reagent manufactured
in January of 2002. Pond Care Wide Range pH, Ammonia, High Range pH,
Nitrate, Phosphate, Copper, Calcium and GH all last for three years.
Nitrite and KH will last for four years. Freshwater pH(low range) and
Pond Care Salt Level will last for five years. I would not trust these
kits after they have expired.
If you can trust API check out the lot numbers on your bottles. On mine they're near the top of each bottle label, I know someone will argue the point and say don't trust them past 6 months, but I'll trust API unless I run out of solutions before their recommended expiration date.
 

tan.b

Member
good to know!!! cheers terry! I often wondered why it said on the instructions to shake the bottle for 30 seconds! makes sense if it precipitates. as someone else said, by the time you've done that and shaken the test tube for a minute it does feel like your arm will drop off! worth it though for the accuracy! I also had noticed that when i've left the test tubes out they have got even darker, so also glad to hear I was ok taking the reading after 5 mins rather than 5 hours when they're really dark! thanks again for that info terry ;D

good to know!!! cheers terry! I often wondered why it said on the instructions to shake the bottle for 30 seconds! makes sense if it precipitates. as someone else said, by the time you've done that and shaken the test tube for a minute it does feel like your arm will drop off! worth it though for the accuracy! I also had noticed that when i've left the test tubes out they have got even darker, so also glad to hear I was ok taking the reading after 5 mins rather than 5 hours when they're really dark! thanks again for that info terry ;D
 

myfishskip

Member
How long do the different bottles have before they expire?
 
  • Thread Starter

Terry

Member
An condensed reply on the expirations of the master test kit solutions from API :

Each reagent bottle has a Lot # printed on the bottle. The last four digits are the month and year of manufacture.
Example: Lot # 28A0102. This is a pH reagent manufactured in January of 2002.

Ammonia, High Range pH, Nitrate all last for three years.

Nitrite will last for four years.

Freshwater pH(low range) will last for five years.

Don't trust these kits after they have expired.
 

ewolfe315

Member
Terry,
Fantastic job.. I was always getting nitrate readings of 0 and after reading this, I beat the heck out of bottle #2 for nitrates and I could'nt believe it. Readings of over 100, I know it only goes up to 100. But in my 120 gallon tank I changed 70 gallons and retested,still at 100. So had to get to work and done a 100 gallon change, next day the reading was 5.

The 55 gallon was the same way, did a 40 gallon change and then the the next day,a 20 gallon change and got it down to 20. So everyday now the 55 gets a 15 gallon change til it gets to 5 or 10.

So Carol (Butterfly) if you read this,you were certainly right a few months back when I was having problems with keeping my PH at a constant level. You advised me that usually the PH is bothered by something with the Nitrates being high. And now I'm rethinking why the heck did I add all that crushed coral to maintain a PH balance.

Terry thank you so much for posting this,I actually think this should be a sticky on the board.
 

tan.b

Member
I agree this info is invaluable and should be stickied! glad you (ewolfe) got to the bottom of the problem in the end!!!
 

ewolfe315

Member
Is there a moderator that can sticky this info that Terry got us.  This came in very handy and I'm sure this would be great for beginner's  as well as others.

Another good reason to sticky this is when you go to a LFS you can check to see if it's outdated. It happened to me with buying a KH test box and after reading this, here the darn thing is 3 years past it's overdue date.

Thank You

John
 
  • Thread Starter

Terry

Member
You are all welcome! Thank you for putting a sticky on this - now I can find it easily, since I try to point people to it when they get no nitrate reading.
 

poohfan61

Member
I'm using an API Test kit and am concerned about redings. I'm getting Ammonia .25 Nitrites 0 and PH 7.4. I took the water to my LFS and he got a reading on the Ammonia .25 and Nitrates .25. I know this isn't much of a variance. I've done the test several times after I've returned home and I don't show any nitrites yet. The LFS suggested instead of changing water to add two capfuls of PRIME and to add a into my filter a bog a ammonia nuetralizing crystals. Being fairly new I have read different recommendations on the forum. Now I'm not sure what would be best. Any suggestions
 

Regal

Member
Petsmart Prices

They do honor the online price. You have to print the page and take it in. I have saved tons (like half price) over the years on filters etc.

Nitrate readings

I'm off to retest my nitrates. I tested it a bunch of times last night and could not figure out why it was as low as it was. I love this forum! I have a problem and look on here and sure enough someone else has dealt with it before and has found a solution.
 

ewolfe315

Member
Here's another one:

If testing for KH with the ApI test be sure to bang the heck out of the bottle:

Test 1 that I did not banging it:

Drop1-yellow
Drop 2-20 yellowish gold

Test 2 after shaking and banging the bottle:
Drop 1 - blue
Drop 2- light geen
Drop 3-Yellow= 53.7 ppm

Note that there is only 1 bottle for this test, but everything must of been stuck to the bottom of the bottle in test 1 from above

According to the instructions that came with this bottle. It states that your first drop should be blue and count the drops you place in the test tube til it turns yellow and then check the chart corresponding with the number of drops you added. This will give you your Carbonate Hardness (also known as Alkalinity). Aquariums with a very low (under 50) are subject to rapid PH shifts if not monitored carefully.

Hope this helps

John
 

quatermass

Member
Two points worth noting:

1. Is the expiry date affected by the storage temperature of these liquids to give us 3 years of use? (I'd be surprised if it isn't!)

2. Does the expiry date affected once we open the tops of the bottle and let oxygen in?

I've asked Mars this and am waiting an answer.


UPDATE:
1. Temperature is critical if you want the full 3 years out of them API told me over the phone. Keep them cool!

2. They had no idea and despite promises they never got back to me on this point.
 

navyscuba

Member
Wow. Good on API. Awesome.
 

scootfish

Member
+2 on the research!
 

Jupiter

Member
Thanks for the info Terry. We just started tested the nitrate in our tank. (No need to until now.) My son and I are planning on being in the Guiness Book of World Records for longest time to cycle! My fingers are crossed we may see fish this weekend.
 

quatermass

Member
API nitrate can read high

I had a set of API liquid Nitrate test bottles and they were 2 years and 4 months old.

I'd knock the #2 bottle against my palm to really shake it up. Seemingly the black particles have to be well mixed according to the API support person I spoke to.

This set of bottles read my water as ~80mg/l which I knew couldn't be right as I had a good planted aquarium.

I tried a Tetra 6in1 test strip and it read barely 25mg/l.

I bought a new set of API Nitrate and they read 10mg/l

The new set was already a year old when I bought them!

API told me over the phone that the 3 years life assumes you keep them reasonably cool <25C.

So if you want them to last the full 3 years, stick them in a fridge!
 

Aquarist

Member
Thanks for the info QuarterMass! I'm sure it will be very helpful to other members!
KEn
 

Tigerfishy

Member
Ooh, quatermass, thanks, I just got a new set, will stick it in the fridge
 

ldsdbomber

Member
What I would like to know is what is the tendency of all the tests when done with old/out of date bottles, as we had an ammonia of 0.25 with a kit that was a few years too old, but it was clearly 0 with a brand new test set.
 

quatermass

Member
I find from my personal experience that the API Ammonia bottle tends to shift towards becoming more sensitive as it ages.

Of course just knowing Total Ammonia (which is what the API bottle tests) isn't the whole answer.

You also need to know the pH and temperature of the water to work out the amount of free ammonia which is the real toxic chemical we need to be aware of.

My raw tap water shows 0.25ppm of Total Ammonia. But at a pH of 6.8 and a temperature of 20C then this is only 0.0006246mg/l of free ammonia. So it's harmless to my fish, etc. but it will cause algae growth.


See
there are calculators of free ammonia available from there.
 

danisaquarium

Member
thanks

Thank you so much! After researching test kits and reading Terry's post--I bought Walmart's $19.73 API freshwater master kit. In my first set of tests, I measured 0 for ammo, 0.05 (est) for nitr, and 0 for nitrates. So I tried again but this time shaking bottle#2 for 2-3 min and got 15 (the 10 & 20 ppm colors look almost exactly the same to me!)--which makes more sense for my 2.5-week-old cycling tank using stability (except I expected my cycle to take ~4 weeks).I also labeled my bottles with an expiration date based on their manufacture date and his post. I am happy with the results although I missed the speed of the Jungle Labs 6 in 1 test strips. I learned my pH was relatively high at 7.8 although the strips only indicate 7.2-7.4. I think pH is high because the the new substrate is the CaribbeanSea Eco Complete which the label said may cause higher pH for a few weeks or maybe because I put 3 fighting conch shells in the tank and 4 pieces of 'safe' driftwood.
 

quatermass

Member
You're welcome.
Don't be surprised by Stability ;perfect). I've had a fish populated aquarium cycle in 5 days with this product. Isn't that why we buy it?

The speedy 6in1 test strips are actually made by Tetra and are not accurate. Think of them as an indication. Rather than giving you facts.

Sounds like a nice setup you're making. What have you got it is regarding animals?
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member


Let's please stay on topic.
Any quesrions about set up etc can be asked through profiles or pm's

This topic is about The API Master Kit
 

Ashley45

Member
Great post!!! I was told that the numbers were the expiration dates and I was going frantic because I had spent 30 bucks on a kit that was expired!! Come to find out it is perfectly fine and I DO NOT have to out and spend more money on another kit!!

THANKS!!!!!!!

Ashley
 

Aquarist

Member
Update for Individual Test Kits

Updated Information for Freshwater High Range pH and Freshwater Ammonia, Single kits:

Good morning,

I just received an API Freshwater High Range pH and Freshwater ammonia test kit. I purchase them individually as this is all I test for for my established aquariums. (and then only from time to time).

On the bottle, they now stamp an Expiration Date on the front and not just the lot #.

These new kits do not expire until 3/2017! That's 5 years each that they are good for.

I think having the actual Expiration Date on the bottle will help prevent a lot of confusion compared to trying to figure out the lot #.

So, if your bottles are stamped with an actual Expiration Date and not just a lot #, then go by the Expiration Date that is stamped. For old bottles, continue to use the Lot # for the expiration date.

Thanks!

Ken



 

horsin1787

Member
API Nitrate Test - Bottle 2 Info

First I want to say, this is not directed at any one person. This is meant only to clarify what I already suspected, which is that bottle 2 can't be shaken too much.

Secondly, I know there is a closed thread with this info already.
https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...or-api-freshwater-master-test-kit-users.6439/

In addition to this, I also asked a question pertaining to shaking it for an exact amount of 30 seconds. In addition to what has already been said in exact words in the previous thread. I add this to the knowledge, since I asked a slightly different question about an exact amount of time.

"If the bottle is shaken more than 30 seconds it will not give an incorrect reading. Shaking it for less time could. " This was a reply by e-mail directly from the company.

If you also notice in the mentioned thread, the company also mentions shaking for 30-60 seconds on a regular weekly basis. If it has been sitting, they mention to tap it on a hard surface, and to shake for 2-3 minutes.

Therefore, OMI, there is no reason to be telling people potentially hazardous information about shaking it for an exact time. Shaking it for an exact time could be hazardous to one's fish in the way that if they do not properly get the chemical into solution that first time, or any time the bottle is allowed to sit for an extended amount of time. They could be getting falsely low readings. Which could potentially be hazardous to their fish, or other aquatic creatures. I bring this up only as an attempt to end a debate which seems to have arisen.
 

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