Important Information for API Freshwater Master Test Kit Users!

Discussion in 'Test Kits' started by Terry, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Terry

    TerryValued MemberMember

    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2014
  2. kalika

    kalikaValued MemberMember

    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!!
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Terry

    TerryValued MemberMember

    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.
     
  4. chickadee

    chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    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
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Terry

    TerryValued MemberMember

    Well that's certainly worth a try. Thanks!
     
  6. Butterfly

    ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    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
     
  7. Isabella

    IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    A great piece of information Terry. Thanks :)
     
  8. Eskielvr

    EskielvrValued MemberMember

    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)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Terry

    TerryValued MemberMember

    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.
     
  10. tan.b

    tan.bWell Known MemberMember

    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
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2018
  11. myfishskip

    myfishskipNew MemberMember

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

    TerryValued MemberMember

    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.
     
  13. ewolfe315

    ewolfe315Valued MemberMember

    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.
     
  14. tan.b

    tan.bWell Known MemberMember

    i agree this info is invaluable and should be stickied! glad you (ewolfe) got to the bottom of the problem in the end!!!
     
  15. ewolfe315

    ewolfe315Valued MemberMember

    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
     
  16. Mike

    MikeFishloreAdmin Moderator Member

    Just stickied it. Thanks Terry for sharing this excellent info.

    Mike
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Terry

    TerryValued MemberMember

    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.
     
  18. poohfan61

    poohfan61New MemberMember

    :;deteI'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
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  19. Regal

    RegalWell Known MemberMember

    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.:;banaman
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2018
  20. ewolfe315

    ewolfe315Valued MemberMember

    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
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008