Important Information for API Freshwater Master Test Kit Users!

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Terry

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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

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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!!
 
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Terry

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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 Eheim cannister filter was about half the price in my local store.
 

chickadee

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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
 
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Terry

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Well that's certainly worth a try. Thanks!
 

Butterfly

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

Isabella

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A great piece of information Terry. Thanks
 

Eskielvr

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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)
 
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Terry

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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

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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

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How long do the different bottles have before they expire?
 
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Terry

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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

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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

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

ewolfe315

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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
 
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Terry

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 
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