This can’t be right? API nitrate test

GlennO

I couldn’t get my usual brand so I bought API. The colour for 10 & 20 ppm looks exactly the same? Have I got a faulty colour chart?
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carsonsgjs

Nope - one of the quirks of the api test kit unfortunately. 10 and 20 look the same. Even worse if you are colour blind!
 

GlennO

Nope - one of the quirks of the api test kit unfortunately. 10 and 20 look the same. Even worse if you are colour blind!
Well dang. Money wasted.
 

Clarity

Well... Atleast your nitrates aren't bad I guess XD
 

GlennO

Well... Atleast your nitrates aren't bad I guess XD
It's rare that they are much over 20ppm. But 10 or 20 makes a difference for me in determining when and which ferts to add.
 

86 ssinit

Yeah it’s a product selling test. My card
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a lot darker than yours.
 

GlennO

Yeah it’s a product selling test. My card
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a lot darker than yours.
What do you mean, have they changed the cards?
 

WRWAquarium

Could it be worth lowering the dilution of the test and halfing the water sample and drop amount?

Haven't used api for a while now but it might show a slightly different result color or something. 2.5 ml sample. 5 drops of the test bottles each?

Might not make a difference.
 

Bwood22

This might help.

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GlennO

Could it be worth lowering the dilution of the test and halfing the water sample and drop amount?

Haven't used api for a while now but it might show a slightly different result color or something. 2.5 ml sample. 5 drops of the test bottles each?

Might not make a difference.
I think I'd still have the same problem. The issue is with the chart rather than the result.
This might help.

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Interesting. I guess someone has created their own reference?
 

TClare

I use the seachem one, its also very difficult to tell between the various shades of pink. Mine are always in the lighter ranges (below 10) so I don't worry too much, but still...

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Bwood22

I use the seachem one, its also very difficult to tell between the various shades of pink. Mine are always in the lighter ranges (below 10) so I don't worry too much, but still...

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Wow that's worse than the API chart lol.
 

FishDin

Can someone recommend a test kit that doesn't have this issue? GlennO, what is you usual brand?

I use the API kit as well, and this issue has frustrated me too.
 

WRWAquarium

NT labs freshwater kit could be worth looking at. It's what I use at work alongside salifert.
 

TClare

On both the Seachem and API ones it seems particularly difficult to distinguish between 10 and 20, which could be quite important really. The Seachem is the only one I have been able to get here without buying the API master kit which costs about $90.
 

PAcanis

I haven't noticed them looking the same, but I don't have the card.
My API Master kits have the chart on the back of the instructions. I'll have to take a look.
 

86 ssinit

I’ve seen the color chart in different shades on many api nitrate tests. Mine is from 2003. I also have a test kit from 2018. The funny thing is the shades are different. But the test results are the same. That’s why I say it’s like this to sell product. The lighter the color the more people think they have a problem. So the more stuff they sell that they claim reduce nitrate. Who has ever had a fish with a nitrate problem?? What is the problem? Bet it can be traced to something else.
 

AvalancheDave

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RayClem

The specific nitrate reading is not that important unless you are trying to raise shrimp which prefer low nitrates. For a planted tank, anything between 20-40 is fine.

Rather than relying on nitrate tests for adding nitrogen containing fertilizer, it is best to observe the plant growth If the plants are growing well, they have enough nitrogen.
 

JustAFishServant

I can tell the difference but I see why most can't. 10ppm is *very* slightly lighter :)
 

BradleyH2O

They’re actually a little different. 10ppm is a dark orange (darker than 5ppm), whereas 20ppm is more of an orange-red.

As mentioned above , doesn’t help if you’re color blind lol. Glenn’s test result looks to be 10ppm
 

GlennO

The specific nitrate reading is not that important unless you are trying to raise shrimp which prefer low nitrates. For a planted tank, anything between 20-40 is fine.

Rather than relying on nitrate tests for adding nitrogen containing fertilizer, it is best to observe the plant growth If the plants are growing well, they have enough nitrogen.
Yes that’s the problem I’m trying to fix. Been having a few algae issues and noticed that nitrates are consistently reading low yet phosphates are high, despite 60% water changes. I’m using an all-in-one fert so can’t increase dosage without increasing phosphates. I think I may need to switch to an NP free fert and add N separately.
Can someone recommend a test kit that doesn't have this issue? GlennO, what is you usual brand?

I use the API kit as well, and this issue has frustrated me too.
I've been using Fluval for a while. Salifert prior to that.
 

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