Simple chart?

  1. RileyK Initiate Member

    Is there an easy to follow chart out there that shows what your test strip levels should be at in order for your new freshwater tank to be ready? I have a small pleco and a couple of tetras?

    Also, my test kit does not show ammonia levels. But it does show nitrite, nitrates, alkalinity, Ph, hardness, and chlorine. Is this enough to diagnose a safe tank?
     
  2. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    API freshwater test kits have Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates among several others. This is a liquid testing kit.

    Most strips are very unreliable.

    Do you know about the Nitrogen cycle?
    Beneficial Bacteria needs food to grow and multiple. Ammonia is the result of fish waste, excess food, decaying plant leaves etc. Ammonia is very toxic even in small amounts. Beneficial Bacteria(BB) turns ammonia into less toxic but still toxic Nitrites. BB turns Nitrites into Nitrates which aren't harmful to your fish except in high numbers. 20 our under for Nitrates is good.
    It can take from 6 to 8 weeks for this process to happen and level to where your ammonia is always 0, Nitrites are 0, and Nitrates are 20 or less.

    Adding media from an already cycled tank will hurry the process up considerably
    Hope that helps:)
    carol
     

  3. daz Member Member

    Hi and welcome

    Ideally you want 0 nitrite,0 ammonia and 20 or under nitrate

    You would be better getting a master test kit as the strips are not very accurate.I don't no how to post links but there are lots of good threads about starting new tanks.

    Hope you have fun with your new tank :)

    Ninja'd :(
     

  4. xNick Member Member

    I don't think there would be a single test strip (or even liquid test kid) colouring chart for all the different products in one due to different concentrations used in them
     

  5. pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    You may be able to use one of those 5 in one test strips but I have never found them to be all that great.

    As said above, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and less than 20 Nitrates would be great but even less than 40 is a good thing. Its the first two that you really need to get below 0.
     
  6. gourami88 Member Member

    About a year ago just for the heck of it I got some of the test strips. I've always used the liquid master test kits and was curious if the test strips were as inaccurate as i'd always heard. To be clear I was using them on a tank that was moving towards the end of its cycling phase and so would still have trace amounts of ammonia, some nitrites and nitrates. Well I don't have the numbers down exactly but the test strips ALWAYS showed no ammonia, no nitrites and 10ppm for nitrates, when my liquid test kit did show ammonia (although after about a week of this experiment my ammonia levels were 0, and a little while after that the nitrites went down to 0) and nitrites. Had I listened to the test strips as opposed to the liquid test kit I probably would have lost fish and possibly crashed my establishing cycle. So test strips are, at least from my 2 month "experiment" period, inaccurate and a poor indicator of aquarium health.
     
  7. RileyK Initiate Member

    Thank you for the advice guys:) I will keep you updated! My strips don't test ammonia, can I tell by the nitrite level if it's safe? Doesn't ammonia turn into nitrites or something like that?
     
  8. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    When a tank cycles there is a phase when ammonia levels grow until enough bacteria grows in your filter media to convert all of it into nitrites. And since fish are constantly producing ammonia, nitrite continues to build up until bacteria forms to convert all nitrites into nitrates.

    So altough not the best way to keep track of the progression of your cycle, you could assume that after you start testing positive for nitrites, then they drop to zero and you start getting an increase in nitrates, you are cycled.

    But I highly recommend that you get a liquid based test kit such as the API Master Test Kit for Freshwater. Right now, since you do not have an ammonia test, you'll have no way of knowing it you ever go into a mini cycle due to excess cleaning, adding new fish etc. And since the test strips are notorious for being inaccurate, you really don't know for sure if your nitrites as zero of not.
     
  9. RileyK Initiate Member

    Hi jdhef!

    Am buying an API Master Kit today. I am going to test daily with it, and maybe test a second time with just the strips. I know their not very accurate, but they do give the range. Anything funny shows up there, I'll know to test with the Master immediatly.