Please Help Interpreting Test Results

Discussion in 'Test Kits' started by Nada Mucho, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. Nada Mucho

    Nada MuchoWell Known MemberMember

    I've set up a new 30 gallon tank and I'm running an Eheim 350 Classic canister filter. I've been running the filter 24/7 for two weeks. For the first week I used SeaChem Stability according to the directions. Half way through the second week I received my plant order and have planted the tank out with 7 different types. Most of the plants are medium size to full grown.

    I am now thinking, finally, about a fish order so I figured I'd do my testing using a standard API Test Kit. Here are my results:

    Temp - 77.5 (no heater)
    pH (meter) - 7.2
    pH (chemical) - 7.8
    Ammonia - 0 ppm
    Nitrite - 0.4 ppm
    Nitrate - 5.0 ppm

    The little directions with the test kit said that any Nitrite level above 0 can harm fish so I'm a bit worried. Could anyone just peek at the numbers and give me some feedback?

    Thank you!
  2. Tanks and Plants

    Tanks and PlantsWell Known MemberMember

    It looks like it's almost there, what kind of food source are you giving your BB? The plants should help with the nitrates
    I would if you have some stability left, put a dose in and put a pinch of fish food in the tank. Don't add fish yet. It might have a small bump in ammonia but the BB should take care of that and the stability should help your BB grow a little more so that you have enough BB to take care of the nitrites. The BB need a food source and that food source is ammonia, which should come from the break down of the fish food. Don't add a bunch just small pinch.
    That's what I would do. But that's just me
  3. OP
    Nada Mucho

    Nada MuchoWell Known MemberMember

    I'm guessing that BB is my biological filter? Yes I hadn't used any shrimp or flake food or anything as I thought the Stability took care of it. I actually dosed Stability a few minutes ago so I'll add a little pinch of food if that's what's required. I really appreciate the information.
  4. Tanks and Plants

    Tanks and PlantsWell Known MemberMember

    BB- stands for Beneficial Bacteria, which is the bacteria that breaks down,

    Ammonia-nitrites-and if you have the right biological media, which will start to grow anaerobic bacteria which will break down nitrates.
    In the meantime weekly water changes is what will help keep down nitrates.
    Biological media like Biohome Ultimate is what helps grow anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria grow in low oxygen, low water flow areas.
    Try and YouTube Biohome Ultimate
    And this is a good read....

    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

    Also do you use any type of dechlorinator when adding water or changing water to your tank?
  5. OP
    Nada Mucho

    Nada MuchoWell Known MemberMember

    I'm using SeaChem Prime per the directions when I add water to the tank. I'm using the standard media that came with the Eheim Classic 350 but know some folks customize. I'm still learning about that level of filtration. Thank you very much for the good information.
  6. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    If you haven't used any ammonia source in the form of pure ammonia, fish food or fish, your cycle hasn't started and your bacteria has likely starved.

    Have you tested your water source? Those readings could be coming from there.
  7. Tanks and Plants

    Tanks and PlantsWell Known MemberMember

    No problem I hoped I helped some. Also what el337 said could be true. Try and test your tap water and see if you have any................


    I have to admit and I am sorry I didn't think about the other side of your water parameters. Since you don't have any fish and didn't put any food in the tank, the BB could have starved and the readings you got was from your tap water. BUT hopefully your tank has the BB growing. Just make sure to check your water parameters for the next couple days. And remember that the BB needs some sort of food while there are no fish in the tank. And it all starts with ammonia, and then the rest should follow.
    I'm glad that you are using Prime and every time you add water to your tank make sure to always use Prime.

    Good Luck!
  8. OP
    Nada Mucho

    Nada MuchoWell Known MemberMember

    I really thought that SeaChem Stability took care of everything you needed to get the BB going. I wish those dorks would put something in the instructions indicating you need to add food/fish/ammonia/something to get the process working. Look at these lame instructions:

    Shake well before use. Turn off UV/ozone. Use 1 capful (5 mL) for each 40 L (10 US gallons) on the first day with a new aquarium. Then use 1 capful for each 80 L (20 US gallons) daily for 7 days. Fish and other aquatic species may be introduced at any time as long as dosage is maintained for 7 days. For optimum biofilter performance use 1 capful for each 80 L (20 US gallons) once a month or with each water change and whenever introducing new fish or whenever medicating an aquarium. Product shelf life is 4 years from date of manufacture, see expiration date below.

    I followed them exactly and from what I now understand it was all a complete waste of time and conditioner. I put in some food last night, although it seems to be floating so maybe I should push it down, and I'll start the 7 day cycle all over again. Thank you both for the insight because without it I'd be banging my head against the wall trying to determine why my filter wasn't working.
  9. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I suggest familiarizing yourself with the nitrogen cycle. The bacteria (Stability) needs a food source in order to survive and cycle your tank.

    Fish food is fine to use but it takes a while to break down and you can't control the amount of ammonia it will produce. I would look for pure ammonia to cycle your tank. It's much easier to dose and control. You just want to start out with 1ppm ammonia and test both ammonia and nitrite daily before dosing more.

    I'd also test your water source as mentioned so you know your baseline readings.