Issues With Api Freshwater Test Kit (nitrates)

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leader716

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Hey everyone, been a long time watcher. I have a quick question regarding the API Freshwater Test. Over the last few weeks I have been testing my water in my tank, Ammonia is at 0, Nitrites are at 0, but Nitrates are off the chart. After doing a 50% water change twice, I'm still getting readings off the chart. All of my fish seem to be doing fine.

I took a water sample to my LFS, their test showed that everything is fine with the water. As far as I know I'm doing the test properly, making sure to shake the 2nd bottle well before doing the test. Does anyone have any idea either what I'm doing wrong or is there something wrong with my bottles?

TIA, John
 

AWheeler

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Hi there, have you tested your tap for nitrates, and have you done the "half tap/half tank" test? I'd test the tap first, then I'd test 2.5 ml of tap water to 2.5ml of tank water (this is a way of diluting the solution and then doubling the number to get the correct result that some of us have had to do before)
 
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leader716

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I have tested my tap water with my kit, the test showed 0ppm nitrates. I have a water softener and a separate RO system that I use for the aquarium.

I haven't tried to do a 50/50 test, I didn't think about that.

I will give that a try tomorrow.
 

SkookulBob

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If you post a photo of the test tube against the card, we can all take a shot at interpretation. But the nitrate test results are pretty hard to read no matter what.

Bottom line, I think the API test only has three meaningful results: (1) zero or very little, (2) meh, or (3) whoah baby.
 

OnTheFly

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If you post a photo of the test tube against the card, we can all take a shot at interpretation. But the nitrate test results are pretty hard to read no matter what.

Bottom line, I think the API test only has three meaningful results: (1) zero or very little, (2) meh, or (3) whoah baby.
Ha, that's how I feel about nitrites. After 1ppm my eyes don't want to play. I have to dilute about 3:1 to reach an intelligent conclusion when they are spiked during cycle.
 

SkookulBob

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Ha, that's how I feel about nitrites. After 1ppm my eyes don't want to play. I have to dilute about 3:1 to reach an intelligent conclusion when they are spiked during cycle.
Totes agree. Nitrites tough to read after about 1 or 1.5 for me too. But mostly a cycling issue, since anything over that post-cycle probably means you have bigger problems than differentiating 2 from 4. But I've also found that the 50-50 approach, or even 75-25 tank/distilled, works very well with nitrite test. A precise nitrate reading just seems less critical in a FW tank.
 
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leader716

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Hey all, thanks for the help, I finally got around to testing my nitrates again today using the 50/50 tap/tank method. I was finally able to get a reading, which was high, but at least I was able to get a reading. After calculating it was around 100 ppm, which is scary high so I did a big water change to try and get the levels down.
 
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leader716

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Have you tried calibrating the Nitrate kit at all, it might be well off as it goes higher up the scale.

I.e. get some fertiliser, calculate the amount to add to RO water for 10ppm/50ppm/100ppm Nitrate concentration and test with your API kit.

How to Calibrate your Nitrate Test Kit
That's a good idea I will have to give that a try. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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