Nope. Here's a picture of the test strip after a dip in the water. The nitrate is very confusing, because they show pinks, with white being the safest. But my strip comes out this shade of orange? I am looking to buy the API master kit when I can get the funds.
what is 1ppm and how do I measure that? I have the Prime so that's good. It doesn't seem to be lowering the ammonia though. Can I put a few squirts in the tank or should I only do it during changes? The level seems to be staying at 0.25 if I can judge by the slight green tint in the yellow in the tube after I test. That's not terrible, but I guess we really want zero. I will get some Stability. I see one thing I did wrong twice. I took the filter media out and rinsed it twice in the tap water. Well, hopefully she is a tough little gal. She sure seems happy. She even swam through a hair tie loop I dipped in there! She likes to bump things and wiggle through plants. Very interesting. Keeps my mind off my cat that's for sure. She's not as affectionate as a cat, but I find myself engaged with her activity. In between jobs... time on my hands... LOL Thanks for everyone's help and kindness.What is your ammonia level?
What kind of filter do you have?
Here is a good write up on the nitrogen cycle.
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
Your fish is producing ammonia and the fish food adds ammonia if there is any not eaten. Your tank can take 6 weeks or more to build up enough nitrifying bacteria to process the ammonia.
Since you have fish, we can try to guide you with a fish in cycle. Just make a note to research fishless cycle if you set up another tank in the future.
My recommendation is to:
1. Get liquid test kits for nitrites and nitrates. PH is pretty important too. The API master test kit has all 4. The strips can give you an indication something is off, but are not always accurate.
2. Get stability which is a bacteria starter and start adding ASAP.
3. Use prime during water changes as well as daily to help to keep the water safe. It will detoxify ammonia and nitrites up to 1ppm. Anything over that needs a water change.
4. As long as your ammonia and nitrites are high, do daily 50% water changes using prime. If that does not get you down to less than 1ppm, do back to back until it does. If levels are below 1ppm, just dose prime every 24 hours.
Don’t worry about overdosing with prime. It will not hurt to be a little over. I always round up to the next 10 so you can dose for a 10g.
5. Do not change or wash any filter media in tap water. Use a bucket and tank water or prepare some dechlorinated in the bucket.
6. Breathe. We have all been there. It is overwhelming, but you will get there. If you use the stability, maybe in about 2 weeks or less if the cycle has already started.
I hope I covered the important points. Others that have been there can chime in with advice. We all have our own methods for cycling, but all are based on understanding the nitrogen cycle and feeding the nitrifying bacteria to build a good colony.
Let us know what questions you have.